Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Art: Could You Do That?

How many times have you looked at an artwork and responded, "My kid could do that!" or "I could do that!" (Own up, please.)

PBS Digital Studios, a weekly series, takes on the subject in the video "I Could Do That: The Art Assignment". With quick glances at work by the late Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996), Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), and Cy Twombly (1928-2011), among other artists, the video suggests nothing, especially in artmaking, is quite so simple as putting down marks.

The Art Assignment on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Haiku

bittersweet summer—
more seed than apple, my mother
old and parting


spools of old highway
long hours walking round-shouldered
just tree-cupped sunlight


fine powder cupped
in paper capsules I reach
ahead for another


his palm cupped, opening
her third button—sunlight
for the rest of us

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Muse: Interview with Poet Fred Foote (Pt 1)

. . . art and healing and reality are all connected.
~ Frederick Foote

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing by e-mail one of the Washington, D.C., area's most notable local poets: Frederick Foote. A retired Navy Medical Corps physician, Fred currently leads the Warrier Poetry Project at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and works tirelessly on behalf of our veterans. His debut poetry collection is Medic Against Bomb: A Doctor's Poetry of War (Grayson Books).

Part 1 of my interview, "Healing with Poetry: Interview with Poet Fred Foote", appears at TweetSpeak Poetry. There, Fred talks about his early experience with poetry and about writing poetry as a veteran (he served in the 2003 Iraq War on the "U. S. S. Comfort". Included is an excerpt from his poem "You Made the Iraqis Their Scarves".

The second and third parts of my interview are forthcoming, also at TweetSpeak Poetry.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thought for the Day

Tenderness does not choose its own uses.
 ~ Jane Hirshfield


Quoted from Jane Hirshfield's poem "Late Prayer",  reprinted in Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry | Essays by Jane Hirshfield (Harper Perennial, 1998), page 211.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday Short

I don't want to be a victim anymore.
~ Marcy Borders

Today's short, filmed by Mike McGregor, is a video with Marcy Borders, who on September 11, 2001, became the subject of an unforgettable photograph that quickly became famous: "The Dust Lady", by New York-based Stan Honda.

Marcy Borders, whose life following 9/11 was filled with pain, died this past Monday of stomach cancer. She was 42. May she rest in peace.

In her remembrance:

Coverage of Borders's death has been worldwide.

Friday, August 28, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ On November 24, Yale University Press will publish Mark Rothko: From the Inside Out, by his son, writer and psychologist Christopher Rothko, who chairs the board of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. Read an excerpt from one of the book's 18 essays, which, among other topics, address Mark Rothko's commissioned works, his works on paper, his writings of the 1930s and 1940s, his appreciation of music, and his role as father.

Cover Art

✦ Sophia Khan, the subject of one of my Artist Watch features at Escape Into Life, is offering from September 14 to October 12 a four-week online watercolor workshop, "Let's Paint the Beauty of Italy: A Unique Online Watercolor Workshop". The workshop will include a tutorial, access to a private, dedicate Webpage providing step-by-step illustrated exercises, a private group page on FaceBook, and watercolor tips and techniques.

✦ The resource-sharing Creative Exchange offers a number of toolkits for artists, arts councils, community organizations, and other art-related groups. Among them are "Artists' Health Fair", "Pop Up Museum", "The People's Creative Toolkit", and the forthcoming "Work of Art: Professional Development for Artists".

Creative Exchange on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ The nonprofit Chicago Artists Coalition is dedicated to artists' advocacy and professional development, and champions collaborative partnerships and development of innovative resources. In addition to offering educational opportunities and promoting leadership in the arts, the coalition sponsors exhibitions. Forthcoming on September 18 is "The ANNUAL: An Exhibition of New Chicago Art".

CAC on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

✦ Sister Jacques-Marie was the "true initiator" of Matisse's Chapel of the Rosary, Vence, France, according to the artist. See the trailer for A Model for Matisse (2005), directed by Barbara Freed. Read "Matisse and the Nun" at ArtNews. [Note: I have visited the chapel; seeing it was one of the highlights of my first tour of France.]

✦ Below is A Portrait of Pat Carey (2011), a documentary about the late San Francisco activist and artist. (She died in May 2013 at age 93.) The film, by Anson Musselman, includes many of Carey's drawings and portraits and interviews by those who knew her.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Continuing through September 27 at Clark Art Institute is "Whistler's Mother, Gray, Black, and White". A collaboration with Colby College Museum of Art and Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies, the exhibition offers a selection of Whistler's prints and drawings, Japanese woodblock prints, and cultural ephemera. The heart of the show is the artist's iconic painting Whistler's Mother.

The Website for the exhibition includes links to a checklist of works, an image gallery, and a timeline and provides brief profiles of the artist and his mother Anna Matilda McNeill Whistler.

Read The Arts Fuse review of the exhibition.

Clark Art Institute on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Pastel works by Rae Smith and Rhoda Yanow are on view through September 20 at Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville, New Jersey. The internationally exhibited artists also are teachers.

Rhoda Yanow Art on FaceBook

Noyes Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ At Colby College Museum of Art, 65 paintings, cutouts, and collages, some of which come from Katz's own collection and others from major public and private collections, are on show through October 18 in "Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s". Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue (Random House/Prestel) of the same title (see image below), which includes color and black-and-white illustrations. Click the exhibition link above for a selection of images and related articles and other features. A wing of the museum is dedicated to the work of Alex Katz.

Cover Art

Alex Katz Website

Colby College Museum of Art on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo 

✭ Wall-mounted low reliefs, such as Leonard Baskin's bronze Owl; mixed media floor installations, and other sculptures, including Louise Nevelson's Thrones, John Newman's Fuchsia Unfurls in a Gilded Cage, and John Bisbee's Zero, may be seen through September 27 in "3D: Contemporary Works from the Farnsworth". The Farnsworth Art Museum is in Rockland, Maine.

Farnsworth Art Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

Farnsworth Blog

✭ Drawing from its own collection, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, continues through October 18 "Playing with Perception: Photographs by Florence Henri". The early 20th Century artist (1893-1982), who studied painting with Fernand Leger and others, used mirrors to create reflections, distort images, and challenge reality. 

Florence Henri at ApertureBauhaus Online, and Jeu de Paume (The latter mounted an exhibition of Henri's work earlier this year.)

Everson Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Notable Exhibition Abroad

Copper wire is the material of choice of London-based Alice Anderson. More than 100 of her works currently are on view at London's Wellcome Collection. A highlight of "Alice Anderson: Memory Movement Memory Objects", which runs through October 18, is "The Studio", an immersive experience that "extends into the gallery" the artist's creative process by allowing visitors to help "mummify" with copper wire a 1967 Ford Mustang and smaller objects. See the preview below and images of a selection of works on view.

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue that includes commissioned new photography of the artworks and essays by Wellcome Collection senior curator Kate Forde (Read Forde's "The Art of Memory") and scientist Israel Rosenfield. See image below.

Catalogue Cover Art

Alice Anderson's Website 

Alice Anderson's Travelling Studio on Tumblr

Wellcome Collection on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, August 27, 2015

'Poetry in Bronze', A Documentary

Called Iran's "greatest living sculptor", Parviz Tanavoli is the subject of the documentary Parviz Tanavoli: Poetry in Bronze from director Terrence Turner and producers Timothy Turner and Tandis Tanavoli. (Both Turners are the makers of the documentary Adele's Wish, about Gustav Klimt's painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.)

The film examines the life and artistic expression of Tanavoli, from formal training in Italy to emergence internationally, from the sculptor's break with Persian influence and traditions to his involvement in the 1960s in the founding of the contemporary Iranian art movement, the Saqqakhaneh School. In addition to interviews with Tanavoli, the documentary features some of the most prominent people in international art, including curators and gallery directors, art collectors, other artists, and art critics and writers. 

To date, the documentary has been screened at Wellesley College, whose Davis Museum held a comprehensive retrospective of Tanavoli's work February 10 - June 7, 2015; Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, California; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It will be screened September 25 at Whitechapel Gallery, and followed by a Q&A between Tanavoli and director Turner.

Here is the trailer for the film:

Immediately below is a video from the exhibition at Wellesley's Davis Museum:

Parviz Tanavoli on FaceBook


Nadim Roberts, "The Mountain Carver", Longreads Blog, Spring 2015

Sara Dehghan, "Iranian Artist Parviz Tanavoli's 'Heech Garden' Exhibit Mixes Old with New", Voice of America, April 14, 105

Firouzeh Mirrazavi, "Parviz Tanavoli: Half a Century of Art in U.S. Museum", Iran Review, February 8, 2015

Amelia Smith, "Iran's Most Celebrated Visual Artist, Parviz Tanavoli, Speaks to MEMO about His Work", Middle East Monitor, February 3, 2015.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Danish Potter Anne Mette Hjortshoj

[T]he fundamental magic occurs at the moment when wood,
fire, salt and ashes combine with the clay to change shape
and surface. The image of perfection disappears—
the piece obtains its identity. . . .
~ Anne Mete Hjortshoj

Below is a lovely documentary about the talented Danish ceramist and potter Anne Mette Hjortshoj, who studied with Phil Rogers, a Welsh potter. In the film, which shows us the potter's workspace and where she sources her clay, Hjortshoj explains how she learned her vocation and introduces some of the artists who inspired and mentored her.

The Goldmark Art Gallery in the United Kingdom, specializing in 20th Century contemporary art and ceramics, carries Hjortshoj's work, including lidded jars, slab bottles, teapots, tea bowls, and mugs, dishes of varying shapes and sizes, and jugs. Not only is her pottery beautiful to look at; it also is functional.

The documentary is available as a DVD.

My thanks to 50 Women: A Celebration of Women's Contribution to Ceramics for the link to the video.

Anne Mette Hjortshoj on FaceBook

Goldmark Gallery on FaceBook

Another video on Vimeo is "Oval Teapots by Anne Mette Hjortshoj". In addition, Goldmark Gallery's "Anne Mette Hjortshoj '2012 Pottery Exhibition Invitation'" is available to watch on YouTube. Both are worth viewing to learn more about Hjortshoj's forms, glazes, and techniques.

The potter's salt-glazed porcelains and stoneware also can be seen at Oakwood Ceramics (UK) and Sylvester Fine Art (UK). She has exhibited in Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Hjortshoj was the subject of a Studio Visit feature in Ceramics Monthly in February 2013. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Inside Ship Windows (Poem)

Inside Ship Windows

From her husband's teeth, the thin lady hangs,
a grave excuse for spinning. Both eyes narrow
to a funnel, glazed, as they turn to look around

the room. Her eyes mirror the lost time both feel
as her fingers release the photograph made at sea
after the too-smooth waves round, slow the ship

for the sake of 24 good whales, undulating. Baby,
we are emulous, slow-dancing a liquid sonnet
with the uneven boat. See into the twining windows

of his dimpled pink heart? The mimosa flowers hide
the signals a mammal always blushes, that beard
we found in the carpet.

What now?

This poem is composed of words found among "Top 10 Dip Into Poetry Lines" at TweetSpeak Poetry. Special appreciation for the first line, the opening of Majorie Maddox's "Death Defying".

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Muse: New Vermont Poet Laureate

Poems you love stay in your unconscious. . . .*
Chard deNiord

Chard deNiord is Vermont's eighth Poet Laureate. (I learned of the appointment from deNiord's FaceBook page.) He succeeds Sydney Lea, whose four-year term began November 4, 2011. (Lea's last work published as Poet Laureate is the forthcoming essay collection, What's the Story? Reflections on a Life Grown Long, from Green Writers Press. Read Lea's column "On Poetry: Thanks from a grateful Vermont Poet Laureate" at Vermont Today.)

Information about the state poet's position and related resources are found in my 2010 post about the late Ruth Stone. Stone held the office from July 2007 to July 2011.

* * * * *
I feel writing must take over
in order for me to succeed at discovering
something I didn't know I knew. . . .*

Poet, essayist, interviewer, and book critic Chard deNiord is the author of Interstate (Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, forthcoming Fall 2015), The Double Truth (Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), named a Top 10 poetry book by The Boston GlobeNight Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), and Asleep in the Fire (Alabama Poetry Series, University of Alabama Press, 1990).

Other publications by deNiord include Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs: Conversations and Reflections on 20th Century American Poets (Marick Press, 2011), a collection of interviews with seven "senior" American poets (Robert Bly, Lucille Clifton, Jack Gilbert, Donald Hall, Gallway Kinnell, Maxine Kumin, and Ruth Stone) and essays on correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. [Note: The interview with Jack Gilbert was published at Poetry Daily.]

Some themes and subjects found throughout deNiord's poetry are loss, the witnessing of injustices, compassion, nature and animal life, self-exploration, love, sex, myth, truth and its fractures, redemption, religion and the bible, the spiritual and the transcendent—what deNiord calls "writing toward the unsayable". There is darkness in his work but also humor.

Below are excerpts from several of deNiord's poems that give a sense of his elegant style, firm command of technique, sensualness, and richly evocative imagery. Many of deNiord's poems are brief and yet pack a punch, especially in their concluding lines.

I still taste you from the time
you painted my tongue
with your scarlet finger.
It cured my heart of innocence, [. . .]
~ from "The Double Truth" in The Double Truth

[. . .] I picked up the bodies
like bloody socks and prayed to the god
in charge of this field for my own weakness
to feel this much for slaughtered chicks.
For an understanding of his need to kill
the most vulnerable thing, whether hungry or not.
~ from "In the Grass" in Interstate

[. . .] I stared at the fire that had formed a heart
and tongue together and raged in rain.
I watched it rise like a beautiful dress. [. . .]
~ from "Burning the Brush" in Sharp Golden Thorn

DeNiord's free verse and formal poems, which may be lyrical or narrative, have appeared in numerous, prestigious literary periodicals, including Agni, American Poetry Review, The Antioch Review, Bellevue Literary ReviewBlackbird, The Cortland Review, Green Mountains ReviewHarvard ReviewHudson Review, Hunger MountainKenyon Review, Natural BridgeNew England ReviewThe New RepublicPloughsharesPlume, SalamanderSalmagundi, Slate, Smartish PaceThe Southern Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Verse Daily. Some of his prose poems ("The Prodigal Driver", The Bear Speaks to the Boy", and "Say I Sound Like One of the Hosts") can be found in StoryScape Literary Journal. (See a more complete list in the Journals section of deNiord's Website.)

Some anthologies in which deNiord has contributed are American Religious Poems (The Library of America, 2006), Best American Poetry (Robert Bly, Ed; Scribner, 1999), Best of the Prose Poem (White Pine Press, 2000), Pushcart Book of Poetry, The Best Poems from Thirty Years of the Pushcart Prize (Pushcart Press, 2007), American Poetry Now: Pitt Poetry Series Anthology (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), and Ploughshares Winter 1998-99: Stories and Poems (Ploughshares Books, 1998).

In addition to the Joseph R. Accinno Faculty Teaching Award from Providence College (2011-2012), deNiord has received the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America (for his poem "Crow"), a Pushcart Prize (for "What the Animals Teach Us") from Pushcart Press, and a Best American Poetry award (for "Pasternak"). (See the Awards & Citations section of deNiord's Website for other honors.) [Note: DeNiord's "What the Animals Teach Us" is part of a book of 26 etchings of animals by printmaker Brian D. Cohen. Information about this limited-edition fine art book is available at Bridge Press. In addition, 11 of deNiord's poems are included in Brighton Press's limited-edition, The Book of Darkness, complementing 11 etchings and paintings by Michele Burgess.]

A founder of the master's program in poetry at New England College, deNiord is a professor of English and creative writing at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.

Besides his master's degree in fine arts (creative writing) from the University of Iowa, the poet holds a master's degree in biblical studies from Yale University.


Photo Credit: Liz deNiord

All Poetry Excerpts © Chard deNiord

* Quoted from deNiord's Interview with Katie Fagan (See link below.)

Chard deNiord Poems Online: "What the Animals Teach Us", "The Thin Path", "Pasternak", "Curtains", "To Hear and Hear", "My Other Body", and "The Police", All at Chard deNiord's Website; "The Percherons", "Sunday Calls", "This Ecstasy", and "Trailer", All at Poetry Foundation; "The Double Truth" at Academy of American Poets; "An Incident at the Catholic Worker" at How a Poem Happens; "Poem on My 60th Birthday" and "A Soul Addresses Her Beloved in the Non-Green Zone", Both at Blackbird; "The Fire in the Distance", "Through a Glass", "The Bride as Scout", "All the Unlikeness", and "The Return of Jan Weiner", All at The Cortland Review (Audio Available); "Anchorite in Autumn" and "Under the Sun", Both at Verse Daily; "The Muse Writes Luis Jorge Borges A Letter on His 86th Birthday" at Plume; "Crows" and "Mr. Handsome", Both at Connotation Press; "Frog" at Academy of American Poets; "In the Beginning" at Tupelo Quarterly; "Augustine's Pears" at Slate (Audio Available); "Dumuzi Bids Innana Goodby" at The Antioch Review Blog (Audio Available); "Goshawk" at Marsh Hawk Press; "Anchorite in Autumn", "The Sweet Invisible Smoke", "Dress Poker", All at University of Pittsburgh Press Page for Interstate (pdf); "Raiding the Bees", "To Hear and Hear", "Frog", and "Sugaring", All at University of Pittsburgh Press Page for The Double Truth (pdf); "Cloud Copy", "Halfway Down", "At the Bardo Barber", and "Oh, Besotted, Critical Father", All at Body; "Poetry" at Vox Populi; "Connecticut", "I Heard a Willow Fall", "Tree of Wisdom", and "Behold, The Lord God Bird", All at OnEarth Magazine; "Jefferson's Baths", "Drive-In", and "Memoir", All at Zocalo Public Square; "Happy Hour", "Anima", and "Anchorite in Autumn", All at March Poetry Monday, International Psychoanalysis Blog; "Graven beloved", "I cannot grieve", and "What the river said", All at Cardinal Points

Ryan Pait, "Poet deNiord Shares Advice from Masters in Brown Bag", The Chautauquan Daily, June 30, 2015

Meslisa Studdard, "Chard deNiord", The Tiferet Talk Interviews, Tiferet Journal, Blog Talk Radio, July 10, 2014 (Transcript Available)

Harvard Review, "Mid-Century Modern: Conversations with 20th-Century American Poets", Interview, Harvard Review Online, June 3, 2013 [Note: This interview with deNiord also appears at the poet's Website.]

Katie Fagan, "Interview with Chard deNiord", Poetry International, April 22, 2012 [Note: This interview also can be found on deNiord's Website.]

"English Professor Receives Teaching Award", Providence College News, April 4, 2012


Poetry Society of Vermont

Sun Dog Poetry Center

University of Alabama Press

University of Pittsburgh Press

University of Pittsburgh Press Page for Interstate

University of Pittsburgh Press Page for The Double Truth

University of Pittsburgh Press Page for Night Nowing

Vermont Arts Council (FaceBook)

Nominations Process Explained at VAC

Vermont Arts Council Blog

Vermont Humanities

Vermont Literary Review (Castleton University)

Vermont Poetry

Vermont Resources for Writers

White Pine Press

Video: "Chard deNiord Reads His Poem 'At the Sap Wells'" (2014)

TEDTalk, "An Homage, A Prayer, A Poem" (22:38 Minutes), TEDxShepaugValleySchool, July 6, 2015: