Art and Photography > What Others Say About Adi Da's Art > Lisa Paul Streitfeld


by Lisa Paul Streitfeld

Lisa Paul StreitfeldLisa Paul Streitfeld is an art critic, curator, performance artist and novelist who delivered a paper, "Applying the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to 21st Century Art", at the 2009 International Association of Art Critics (AICA) Conference in Dublin. She has written on metaphysics and contemporary art for The New York Times, The Hartford Courant, Art New England, and the international avant-garde. As regular reviewer (2000-2005) for Southern Connecticut Newspapers, she interpreted a 21st century icon, the hieros gamos, subject of her forthcoming four volume critical study. In her memoir and personal blog, she analyses "magic and media," the title of a panel she co-chaired, with Mina Cheon, at the CAA Centennial Conference in Los Angeles, 2012. She is the author of Kundalini's Daughter.

This is an excerpt from an informal note Lisa published on her blog/memoir, Critical Trilogy: A Critic's Millenial Journey, on October 19, 2010. See also her formal review of Adi Da's art, published on The Huffington Post website, which very nicely complements this note about how she found Adi Da's art.

The divine feminine born out of the sacred marriage and therefore indifferent to the male gaze!!!
The divine feminine born out of the sacred marriage
and therefore indifferent to the male gaze!!!

"The Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes The Second-Birth of Flight:
Part Eleven – IX" Orpheus One
2007, 2010

My images are created to be means
for any and every perceiving, feeling,
and fully participating viewer
to “Locate” fundamental and Really Perfect Light —
the world as Light,
all relations as Light,
conditions (or naturally perceived) light
As Absolute Light.

Adi Da Samraj

About five years ago, I was leaving a Chelsea galley with my friend Peter Frank, when he said: “You have set a difficult task for yourself.”

“What is that?” I asked.

“To find the spiritual in art,” he replied.

Was he joking? I never really know with Peter the wit, the punster.

From my 1997 launch as newspaper critic, I managed to interpret from within my own reality structure established through an experiment catalyzed by a Heaven meets Earth planetary configuration which metaphysicians were interpreting as the gateway to the Age of Aquarius.

But in the time that has passed since I stopped writing regularly for the public about art, the only passage forward was surrender, as there didn’t seem to be any existing track for my journey to uncover the post-patriarchal archetypes. The New York art world has little concern with spirituality in art. Surviving, never mind triumphing, in New York City requires a great deal of ego. For the last two decades, it was the ambition of pushing the slick and salable object into an insatiable market. Currently, it is illusion of finding the “next great artist” through the competition of a “reality” TV show.

The Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes the Second-Birth of Flight: Part Eleven - VIII: 2007, 2008 Lacquer on aluminum 72 x 71"
The Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes the Second-Birth of Flight: Part Eleven - VIII
2007, 2008 Lacquer on aluminum 72 x 71"

Fortunately, the New York premiere of Adi Da Samraj at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Chelsea revealed a new modernism — that ironically for a self-declared avatar — resolved the postmodern obstacle of ego. Not only because the artist is dead, but because the fallen guru managed an entire trajectory of death and rebirth the last decade without being tempted by the prospect of fame. The hand that removed itself from the physical manifestation of his vision was also the hand that waved away the vicissitudes of fame and fortune, and the audience expectations that come with such an unholy pursuit.

Yet, it turns out that Peter Frank led me onto “Orpheus and Linead,” Adi Da Samraj’s premiere exhibition in Chelsea! It began with an e-mail “By way of Peter Frank” which contained an invitation to a special preview from Mei-Ling Israel, author of The World as Light, a fascinating book about the evolution of the avatar’s vision into the material of his art. The images from the exhibition didn’t initially attract me. They were so blatantly digital with primary color combinations reminiscent of a child’s plastic game. The viewing experience was jarring; how could their source be organic? Yet, I found his videos so compelling that I did some research. After reading much about the avatar Adi Da Samraj, and nothing about his art, I was prepared to dismiss him as yet another of the stream of fallen gurus that have appeared in my path. . .

But in an internet search for his astrology chart, I discovered this writing from his appointed astrologer:

. . . Adi Da’s view of the conditional cosmos is, essentially, that of a machine that constantly spits out patterns. In his view, the entire cosmos is a single pattern that is endlessly modified at every level and viewpoint, which, while always appearing differently in every time and place, yet retains the same basic patterning. Therefore it is possible in his view to study any kind of phenomena at the level of pattern, and if one compares it to any other phenomenal pattern, the correspondences will reveal the something about the greater pattern of the universe itself. In his view, astrology is just one particular way of studying a pattern and seeing its correspondences with other patterns. One could do the same thing with tea leaves, or lines on one’s palm, or the birds in one’s backyard. Any patterning correspondence studied with enough attention and depth will reveal the same universal patterning, and yield insight into what is going on everywhere else in the cosmic pattern. . . .

This view of patterning fits my experience. I have had my astrology chart read many times, my palms read, my numerology and voice analyzed. My tarot card readings were invaluable aids to my life journey. In revealing the same pattern, these insights were my introduction into magic — the raising of my vibration — as the practice by which I could overcome them. So, I was intrigued and prepared to re-enter Chelsea with an empty mind. I entered the gallery with a single goal — to experience the art of Adi Da Samraj, not as a critic, but as a participant in a subjective search for — well nothing, in particular.

How could I resist an artist who claims he has a key to unlock me from my patterns?

My visit to the gallery knocked me out. The power of the New bounced right off the smooth surfaces and reverberated deep into my psyche. The tremendous scale, the sleek surfaces that seemed to mock the postmodern with the depth of their meaning. The sacred marriage of opposites on the surface symmetry/irregular geometries of meaning as well as the objective/non-objective merging of abstract and figuration. The newly imbedded archetypes of liberation busting up old patterns. I left feeling incredibly free and optimistic about the future of art.

The shock of discovering what I had long given up expecting to find in Chelsea took over a month to sink in. I wasn’t ready to penetrate Mei-Ling’s book or the catalog until September 29, and I didn’t write a review until I returned from the October 9 closing with Peter Frank .

Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic Parallel Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narrative In Geome and Linead (Second Stage) - 1, 2:  2007, 2010 Lacquer on aluminum 96 x 96"
"The Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes The Second-Birth of Flight: Part Eleven – XI" from Orpheus One
2007, 2008 – Lacquer on aluminum, 84 x 41 inches / 213 x 104 cm

Ultimately, when “point of view” is transcended, there is no longer any separate self at all — but only love-bliss — brightness, limitlessly felt, in vast unpatterned joy.

Adi Da Samraj

Adi Da’s position on astrology can be found in Chris Tong, Three Views of Reality and Human Potential: Book 8 of The Practical Spirituality Series.

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
© Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

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