zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
This week, y'all. (In)substantial pomp and circumstance on larger stages notwithstanding (the BYM: "Dude, you have got to watch Bill Clinton with the balloons. I want balloons!" Hee), there were deadlines and revelations galore.

Read more... )

peppers
this morning's harvest, which I'll be taking to a cousin and an aunt

best years

Oct. 20th, 2015 07:32 pm
zirconium: doll with bike @High Point Doll Museum (doll with bike)
Prompt 38 in Upper Rubber Boot's 100 Untimed Books photo challenge is best years.

38 - best years

I'm indulging in irony here, as Niki and Harry's marriage did not last, though Harry would later remember their years together as "fabulous" and Niki would write about becoming close friends with Harry's second wife and sharing many secrets with her. A woman who spent her life with a paintbrush in one hand and a 22-calibre rifle in the other, Niki de Saint Phalle survived abuse and multiple suicide attempts to create compelling works of art.

Harry and Me is a book that zigs and zags from memories of delight to memories of frustration to memories of contentment. There's Niki being so distraught at the death of a parakeet that she slashes "a very good painting"; she says that Harry then became "furious with me and he made me promise to never ever take my grief out on my work like that again." Then, a few pages later, there's a clash of styles in Madrid:


Harry was very careful and meticulous with his proper use of the Spanish language. I on the other hand, wanted only to communicate. I did not care about grammar (or mistakes in general) and my Spanish annoyed him no end. Because of Harry's perpetual correction, which grated my nerves, I stupidly gave up speaking it although I could understand it well enough.


But there was also happiness:


One of Harry's and my great pleasures during our several trips to Spain was to eat in tapas bars instead of regular restaurants. We ate at tapas bars in Cordoba when we went to visit the mosque there, and I think also in Madrid. These tapas bars served a huge variety of spicy, heavy and delicious nibbles to be eaten while sipping the strong red Spanish wine. There were tapa of all kinds: squid tapa, sausage tapa, chicken and olive tapa, and shellfish tapa, etc. Harry and I would sit at the bars for long hours and just point to the things that we wanted to eat.
zirconium: snapshot of oysters enjoyed in Charleston (oysters)
So much happening in Nashville today. Assorted friends and colleagues were at either the Southern Festival of Books or Frist Center events, especially in relation to the Shinique Smith show. My Twitter timeline seemed to be checking in from either Oktoberfest or the Grace Potter concert. I was tempted to walk to the trunk show hosted by my yoga studio (especially on hearing that hot whiskey cider would be served), and equally tempted to stay home and nap, since I'd stayed up longer than I should've rereading a Lee Bros. cookbook.

But I had reserved a spot in the free 9 a.m. screenprinting workshop at Plaza's Hands On Creativity day, so that's where I went after breakfast. The hands-on part of that session involved applying glow-in-the-dark ink to a t-shirt, which is now on my ironing board upstairs, awaiting the heat-before-wearing/washing step. (Note to locals: there are workshops and demos on various topics through Sunday, too.) To my relief, the group opted for the skull-with-flowers design rather than the four-leaf clover pattern. The rep warned that the blue ink we selected would not glow as intensely as the original practically-invisible-in-daylight formula, but I was willing to make that tradeoff, especially since it sounded like the latter might register as yellow (which, no thanks. I have plenty of dingy-looking shirts already).

While at the store, I also picked up a copy of Huis Clos, a new paper I'd heard some buzz about. The "What's It Like to Bike That Pike (Volume VII: Murfreesboro Pike)" column was both fun and informative enough read for me to see if the earlier installments were online, but I've come across only an abridged version of the feature on Hillsboro.

After a stretch of housework, I went back out to Charlotte Pike, dropping off dry cleaning and picking up twenty pounds of rice at K&S, along with a sack of snow pea leaves. Chinatown and Lucky Bamboo have both been out of those greens the past few times I've attempted to order them, so spotting them was today's winning-the-shopping-lottery moment. On the way home, I stopped at Sweet 16th for kung pao quinoa and an Elvis mini-bundt cake.

After lunch, it was back to Plaza for the Gamblin workshop, which involved 2- and 3-D color wheels as well as extended discussions about layering and opacity/transparency:

Gamblin oil demo

The take-home samples included a bottle of Galkyd Lite, a bottle of Gamsol, and a tube of Torrit Grey. A new pair of products of particular interest: solvent-free gel and fluid, which are sufficiently non-flammable that artists can bring them onto planes.

On my way out, I spent a couple of minutes at the Winsor and Newton table, where there were markers and blenders to play with. On my way home, I stopped at Woodland Wine Merchant, where today's tasting was from their barrel of Eagle Rare. Its smell? Glorious.




Upper Rubber Boot's prompt 27 for 100 Untimed Books is "dog-eared." That entry is over at Vary the Line.

Prompt 28 is "water":

28 - water
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle)
Upper Rubber Boot prompt 20: travel
21: black and white
22: can't wait to see

I have fond memories of a morning I spent in Jacksonville almost three years ago. There were beautifully bedecked lions...

San Marco Square

...and a spice shop, where I purchased some presents, and the San Marco Bookstore, where I picked up three more gifts. (This was the road trip where I picked up Christmas stamps for that year's holiday mailing and then couldn't remember where I'd stashed them until January. This year I'm sticking with roses.) The store was having a Buy 1 Get 1 free sale, so I treated myself to Samuel Chamberlain's Bouquet de France (sixth printing August 1960), which includes both black-and-white photographs and line drawings:

Prompt 21 - black and white 21 - black and white28 - water

A painting I can't wait to see again (and unsuccessfully searched for online a few nights ago) is Irwin Hoffman's Portrait of Dorothea G. Hoffman, which hangs in the Boston Public Library's Fine Arts/Music Reading Room. It's a marvelous record of a beautiful woman, and it's been almost a decade since I last visited her (and the danger is, of course, that the painting may be rotated out by the time I next get myself to Suffolk County. Not too long ago, Cheekwood put back into a storage a painting I'd just started writing about but hadn't taken complete notes on, thinking it would be there the next time...). I keep my precious copy of the BPL reading room art list tucked inside a guidebook from Cambridge's Globe Corner store:

22 - can't wait to see

At the moment, though, I'm abandoning all my grand plans for the afternoon in favor of a nap. (Current rule of thumb: if I'm too tired to wash the dishes, I'm too tired to go out again. Plus there are mushroom bao to make...) I did sing in two services this morning, and I write about how the Gospel of Luke got me thinking about Jack Gilbert over at Vary the Line, which Mary is reviving, with contributions from me and Joanne at least once a month.
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
My stop at Cheekwood Saturday afternoon had been a maybe on my list. I'd gone to an intense dress rehearsal in the morning, and was torn between wanting to sleep for twelve hours and wanting to enjoy a change of scene.

The sun shining and a dining discount won out: I stopped at 360 Bistro for lunch (white port, scallop-grapefruit salad, fig cheesecake, and tamayokucha tea), where Colombia vs. France was on the TV, and then said hi to the black pepper plants...

Cheekwood - Plensa

... and the tree-hugging statues (Purcell on a back, Schubert around a neck, Monteverdi at a waist, Mozart on a hip...)

Cheekwood - Plensa Cheekwood - Plensa Cheekwood - Plensa

... and enjoyed part of documentary not only on the screen but reflected in a nearby door:


Cheekwood - Plensa Cheekwood - Plensa
zirconium: doll with bike @High Point Doll Museum (doll with bike)
[subject line from Matthew Arnold's Lines Written in Kensington Gardens, which correspond to a UU hymn set to a Thomas Tallis canon that I often play when in need of solace]

Asheville Art Museum mural
(The Writing on the Pharaoh's Wall (detail), Gabriel Shaffer, Asheville Art Museum)

Hello, new month
of maybes, maybeings,
and wish-I-mays now here --
behold how bedecked
you already are
with swirls of stitchery

already a diary
of crossouts and detours
and acronymed prayers
and half-rehearsed words
and words for rehearsals.

To tally today:
how many angels
in toeshoes on
the sparkling tips
of pinwheel spokes?

Any minute now
the rules that you thought
were to keep you in line

will vault
with a vehemence
over the handlebars.

O brace yourself
for the many-tongued wind

its whipsharp accents
its cloudblurred vowels

you will grapple for years
with what it has to say to you.

~pld
zirconium: sculpture of owl at Cheekwood, Nashville (Cheekwood owl)
Michael Kimmelman, in a November 30, 1997 NYT review of Jenny Uglow's Hogarth:


This extravagantly detailed biography by Jenny Uglow is less a book of art history than a history of Hogarth's milieu. Much of his character, and the book's, is encapsulated in the colorful story Uglow recounts of a woman named Mary Tofts, who claimed to have become so obsessed with rabbits after failing to catch several of them in a field she was weeding that she suffered a miscarriage and began to deliver animals and animal parts. Fashionable medical men verified her story, among them a certain Nathanael St. Andre, a Swiss who was Anatomist to the Royal Household and a teacher of fencing and dancing before he took up surgery, who announced that he had personally delivered her of several rabbits.

This put Londoners off rabbit stew for a while. Then Mary conceded the hoax and St. Andre was forced to make a public apology. It was the sort of ripe event that Hogarth, like any tabloid cartoonist today, couldn't resist: absurd, bawdy, a perfect opportunity to skewer self-proclaimed experts like St. Andre and his fellow quacks, and also to strike a blow against mystification, which Hogarth despised in all forms, whether from doctors or politicians or art critics. His print "Cunicularii," or "The Rabbit Warren," sold briskly.
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Holland Cotter in the NYT on getting close to paintings (in this case, those of Piero di Cosimo):



Over the years, I had passed by some in museums, only half noticing them, and seen others in books and online. They registered in my mind as polished but somewhat impersonal variations on standard themes, distinguished mainly by an incidental wealth of fine realistic detail. Piero, it seemed, had brought formal finesse to his altarpieces but left himself out.

I had a different impression standing in front of them in Washington. For one thing, details that I'd been able to make out only with the aid of a zoom function online--feather-perfect birds, botanically correct flowers, glinting gems--were now clear to the eye and not incidental at all: They were integral to the compositions they appeared in. Pieros paintings were holistic in a way I hadnt guessed from afar.

And there, underneath the formal polish, was his hand in action. In one area, hes laying on color in chunky strokes, paint-by-numbers style. In another, he’s adding thin, raised lines of highlight with a calligraphers precision. Elsewhere, hes impatiently smooshing pigment around with his fingers. You can't see all of this by standing directly in front of a picture. You have to move around, adjust your position, bend down and look up, catch the surface in different angles of light. In other words, to see a painting, you have to do a little dance with it, and take your time. From a digital distance, you see an image. In person, in a gallery, you feel that image breathing.
zirconium: sculpture of owl at Cheekwood, Nashville (Cheekwood owl)
I wasn't expecting to like this show much (it's at Cheekwood through January 4), but there are some great pieces in it that I'd like to see again, time permitting. I'll dig up the rest of my notes later, but the one I'm enthralled with is Jacob Lawrence's The 1920s . . . The Migrants Arrive and Cast Their Ballots.

In the meantime, one of the guards at the entrance to the Color Garden has some backup now:

on guard at Cheekwood

Cheekwood caution
zirconium: Photo of Joyful V (racehorse) in stall (Joyful Victory)
I first encountered Yto Barrada's work at the Tate Modern, in a group exhibition titled I Decided Not to Save the World, which was part of a series titled "Project Space." I was drawn especially to the poster-page that declared I AM NOT EXOTIC I AM EXHAUSTED.

Earlier today, I was at the Walker Art Center. Around the corner from the Oldenburg exhibit, some of the pages I saw at the Tate and some other Barrada pieces are on display. The theatre maquettes are brightly colored, but what really caught my attention (text fiend that I am) was the ceiling-to-floor wallpaper of Tangier street names (before and after Morocco's reclamation of independence):

detail
zirconium: French word for "light" (on wall of Cheekwood Mansion) (lumière)
What with the holiday and the rain, and the current main attraction a night-time thing, I pretty much had the local botanical gardens all to myself all afternoon. (There was a group of three people outside who weren't staff.)

The original plan had been just to hit the trails for an hour, for exercise. But the rain somehow made everything seem brighter and deeper and more of itself.

cell phone snapshots behind the cut )
zirconium: Unitarian Universalist chalice with pink triangle as base (rainbow chalice)
In the Cheekwood permanent collection:

From Cheekwood// via The Athenaeum


His First Vote, by Thomas Waterman Wood, 1868. This image (part of a larger painting titled American Citizens (To the Polls) is featured in a 2001 catalog of the permanent collection. Celia Walker writes:


Waiting in line with the other voters [a Northerner/Yankee, an Irishman, and a Dutchman], who smoke, whittle, or fidget, the African American is the only one of the four who appears to be focused on his task. This is hardly surprising, since African Americans had just gained citizenship through the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868. The first legal vote by an African American actually took place in 1867 in New Orleans, making this a timely scene.


Also mentioned in the catalog: Jacob Lawrence's The Migrants Cast Their Ballots.

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zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
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