Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Facts, New or Not

This is the third in a series of increasingly regular posts featuring interesting facts, new or not, brief items aimed at helping you increase your knowledge of the esoteric.

♦ Analysis of mortar samples from ancient Chinese buildings points to a most unlikely substance holding everything together: sticky rice. ("Staying Power of Sticky Rice" in International News in Brief, The Art Newspaper, August 25, 2010)

♦ Do you know which literary journal was the first to publish Frida Kahlo's artwork in color in the United States? The answer is here.

♦ Be sure to hold onto your print edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. A third edition in print, according to the publishers, is questionable at best. ("Third Edition of OED Unlikely to Appear in Print Format", Guardian, August 29, 2010) Some Web alternatives remain. Everyone on both sides of the Atlantic has had something to say about this, from The New York Times, to NPR, to Google News. In fact, as of 3:05 p.m, August 31, there were more than 700 news articles about this story. Go ahead, weigh in yourself. 

♦ The Happy Planet Index, version 2.0, represents 99 percent of the world's population. The HPI is described as "the first ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which, country by country, people live long and happy lives". 

♦ Not so very long ago,  Los Angeles was "bombed" — with some 400 poems. ("S.A. Griffin, Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Poetry Bomb", Alibi.com, Vol. 19, No. 17) More recently, Berlin was the scene of a similar "crime" when 100,000 bookmarks printed with poems were dropped from a  helicopter. ("Berlin 'Bombed' with Poetry", Guardian, August 31, 2010, and "Poetry Bombs, in Berlin and L.A.", Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2010) 

♦ Nebraska's Sheldon Museum of Art may be going where few museums have dared go before. It is giving 85 percent of its exhibit space to artists who are women, after having discovered that among the artists represented in the museum's 12,000-piece permanent collection, men outnumber women nearly 12 to 1. Kudos to the Sheldon! May this be the beginning of a new trend. ("Female Artists Become Museum's Primary Focus", Omaha World-Herald, August 15, 2010; also see "Seductive Subversion Exhibit Focuses on Female Pop Art", Daily Nebraskan, August 1, 2010) The Sheldon's exhibits showcasing artists who are women are "Better Half, Better Twelfth: Women Artists in the Collection" (running through April 1, 2011) and "Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968" (the show ended September 24).

♦ Wearable art takes on new meaning when it costs US $100,000, as this Chennai silk saree did. Hand-woven, using more than 7,400 jaquard hooks as well as 12 precious stones and metals, the saree depicts a selection of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings, including, most prominently, "Lady Musicians". It took 4,680 hours to create and has been awarded a certificate from Guinness World Records. View a series of images of this stunning work here. A Chennai Silks video promo showing the saree worn is here.

1 comment:

Joyceann Wycoff said...

Maureen ... I love this stuff! I hope this becomes a regular. Thanks for entertaining and informing me.