The Cage and The Key
This novel tells the story of a New York City artist who travels west—to Arizona and New Mexico—on a spiritual sojourn to find her authentic self. In many ways, it parallels my own story of personal, professional and spiritual growth. Straight from my heart, its honesty has hit a nerve with women facing challenges in career, motherhood and romance. The book encourages readers to access their power and find happiness. Everyone tells me, really everyone, “I couldn’t put it down.” I also hear this a lot: “I laughed and I cried.” If you read it, I hope it helps you expand your limits of self-discovery and encourages your authenticity.
The book takes you from the psychological drama of everyday existence to metaphysical reality and its eventual peace. – Agnese Udinotti, artist, art dealer, museum director
This book might be described as a “thinking woman’s” EAT,PRAY,LOVE. It will certainly be more valuable to anyone who is looking for a book that addresses some of life’s more serious issues and examines an array of possible paths to explore as one searches for wholeness and healing. Beautifully written, with great depth and soulfulness, and a heroine you will be pulling for from beginning to end. I hope we’ll hear more from Amy Abrams. Read more reviews+
Your courage on your spiritual path has led you to this final lesson. You will attempt grabbing onto the last vestiges; it is human nature. But your goal is to transcend, to release everything you have relied on, so that you may relinquish the ego, enabling the loss of fear. When your grief transcends all bounds, you will arrive. Nothing to lose is the optimal state. The gate to paradise is often entered through your deepest pain. This is the greatest riddle. When all the effort you can muster reaches nowhere, you will break free. Like a caged bird, you will finally fly free, and looking back, see that you were the cage and the key.
Schenck in the 21st Century:
The Myth of the Hero and the Truth of America by Amy Abrams
212-page coffee table book about Pop artist Bill Schenck wins The 2013 US Literary Award for Fine Art.
Although the plentiful plains of the American West are long gone, the cowboy remains the country’s hero. With a massive public relations campaign spanning over a century including railroad promoters, Wild West shows, country-western crooners, rodeo stars and six-guns Hollywood westerns, the all-American hero saved the day—and the girl. The paintings, prints and photographs of artist Bill Schenck debunk the longstanding myths of the cowboy and his country, while celebrating what’s truly magnificent about America—the land.
In the 1970s, while the 24-year-old artist was living and working in New York City amid Andy Warhol’s entourage and the Pop art scene, Western movie stills inspired a series of paintings that catapulted Schenck to fame. Appropriating “cowboy and Indian” icons with a Pop art sensibility, Schenck set in motion an entire genre—Contemporary Western Art. In the decades that followed, his work has been showcased in 97 solo shows and included in 41 museum collections worldwide. The subject of six museum retrospectives, Schenck’s work is also in prominent public and celebrity collections across the globe.
Today, the artist calls a sprawling ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico home. No “drugstore” cowboy, Schenck holds prestigious equestrian national and state championship titles and provides professional ranch sorting events in his rodeo arena. More prolific than ever, he is creating paintings and prints with a bolder palette that place him at the apex of his career. In various media, the artist continues interpreting the people and places that comprise America. Always innovative, radical at heart, Schenck reveals what’s real, what’s not, and more than ever, what’s at stake in the United States.
“Without being pedantic, this wonderful book manages to provide a fascinating and comprehensive biographical overview of the life and works of Billy Schenck, while placing him clearly in historical, social perspective of art trends in the last 40-50 years. This is no mean feat as Schenck is a protean, serious living artist who continuously explores our American psyche and culture as he dances back and forth over the line separating iconic imagery, media, kitsch, satire, truth, genius, and originality. Visibly influenced by most of modern art’s developments, Schenck’s explorations and contributions of the American Southwest are ably captured and set in context by the author, Amy Abrams. So much of art writing is pompous, jargon-laden, and self-important – which this book isn’t; it strikes me as a great match between author and subject.”
Dede S. Schmitt