What does my haircut have to do with the Whitney Biennial?

You know about my evolution with my hair and my haircuts.

A few years ago, bereft of someone I could rely on to cut my hair, I went online in a desultory way to wander around in various salon websites. Eventually, I found Fringe (the British word for “bangs,” although I think the name was selected for other reasons).

I was amused to see pictures, bios and specialties of each stylist. Then I came to Laura Ortman and I knew she was the one for me. Two reasons: first, she was Apache, and second, she was a musician and composer.

Also, she cuts hair wonderfully well.

Last week, as I sat down at Laura’s nook, I saw — tucked into the corner of the mirror in front of me — a card saying “Whitney Biennial,” and a picture of Laura playing her violin.

I got so excited. “Laura,” I gasped, “are you in the Biennial?”

“Yeah,” she said with astonishing calm.

This is a total thrill, because the Biennial is the premiere show for young American artists, introducing them and their work, often radical, to a huge audience. I remembered from (envious) artist friends that you don’t apply to the Whitney. It’s more exclusive than that. The Whitney Finds You all by itself.

Sort of like the MacArthur Foundation Grants.

And the Whitney found Laura.

I asked her if she was going to put the link on her website. Laura doesn’t have a website! She murmured that maybe she should have one and might get one.

Well, I have this blog and…

Here’s Laura Ortman in the Whitney Biennial online catalog.

As nuts as this sounds, I am so proud of her. This is a really big deal.


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