Friday, May 31, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Master glass artist, sign-writer, and graphic designer Dave Smith is a wonder. At his studio in Torquay, Devon, United Kingdom, Smith creates intricate pieces requiring many hours of meticulous attention to detail. His Website features images of his acid-etched silvered mirrors, reverse gold-leaf mirrors, and hand-painted and hand-lettered pictorial pub signs. Smith is the subject of a wonderful documentary, David A. Smith — Sign Artist, by Danny Cooke. The film goes behind the scenes to show us what goes into the making of Smith's extraordinary handcrafted artworks. Also see Cooke's excellent film The Making of John Mayer's 'Born & Raised' Artwork, in which singer-songwriter Mayer explains the difficulty of finding what he wanted until he saw Smith's work.

✦ Edwin G. Lutz, who inspired Walt Disney, published in 1921 Drawing Made Easy: A Helpful Book for Young Artists (C. Scribner's Sons). The step-by-step guide may be viewed in full at The Public Domain Review. Lutz's charming What to Draw and How to Draw It (Dodd & Mead, 1913), which makes drawing look easy, is at the same link. The Internet Archives features a copy of Lutz's illustrated Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development (C. Scribner's Son, 1926).

✦ Using vintage books as sculpture, Dutch artist Frank Halmans creates sets of imaginary buildings. His built of books series, spotlighted at Design Boom, is a wonderful metaphor for his explorations of domesticity and memory. 

✦ Award-winning painter, muralist, illustrator, designer, and writer Michele Wood is an artist to watch. See her original paintings, original charcoals and collages, and prints of original linocuts here. Wood most recently did the illustrations for the honors-winning I Lay My Stitches Day: Poems of American Slavery (Eerdmans) by Cynthia Grady.

✦ One of the most visited nontraditional galleries in Prague is Art Wall Gallery. Originally a space for posting Communist propaganda, it was re-imagined by American artist Barbara Benish for exhibitions of contemporary art. The Art Wall has been abandoned and brought back to life several times since it was conceived; from 2008 to 2011, it was forced to remain closed when the city withdrew its lease. Read about the project and its ban and subsequent reuse as exhibition space. Currently, Prague's mayor serves as Art Wall's patron, while organizational management is provide by c2c Circle of curators and critics. (My thanks to the Art21 blog, where I first learned about Art Wall.)

✦ The book trailer below is for Aimee Lee's Hanji Unfurled: One Journey Into Korean Papermaking (Legacy Press, 2012), the first English-language book about Korean paper arts. I encourage you to explore Lee's interesting Website and to note her workshops, which draw many students here in the U.S. and abroad. (Aimee Lee was spotlighted at one of my favorite sites, All Things Paper, in 2010.)

Hanji Unfurled book trailer from Aimee Lee on Vimeo.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ New York City's Rubin Museum of Art continues "Living Shrines of Uyghur China", an exhibition of New York artist Lisa Ross's photographs of sacred landscapes in Xinjiang in northwestern China. Ross has been privileged to explore the region, largely closed to artists and foreign researchers, thanks to her connections to a Uyghur anthropologist and a French historian. The images in the show, which remain on view through July 8, speak to a time and place that greatly contrast with the region's current rapid modernization. 

Lisa Ross, Black Garden (An Offering), 2009
Archival Pigment Print on Cotton Paper
© Lisa Ross

A book of photographs, Living Shrines of Uyghur China (The Monacelli Press), with text by Ross and essays by Alexandre Papas, Beth Citron, and Rahile Dawut, is available. With book purchases, the artist is offering a signed, limited-edition print, in one of two sizes and printed on 100 percent cotton rag paper, of her Black Garden (Desert Offering) from 2009. Purchasing information is here. See images from Ross's four online galleries for Living Shrines. Marvelous, often moving work!

Rubin Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and ArtBabble

✭ Cast bronze sculptures by Mark Calderon are on view at Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, Washington, through June 29. The gallery also is showing sculpture and paintings by Sherry Markovitz. (Markovitz is profiled in this Art Zone in Studio video.)

✭ The 2013 California-Pacific Triennial (formerly, California Biennial) opens June 30 at Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California. This re-launch of a survey of contemporary California art will bring together artists from a cross-section of Pacific rim countries, including Peru, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Guatemala, Australia, and China, as well as the United States and Canada. A list of participating artists can be found at the link.

OCMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ New work by award-winning Moe Brooker (b. 1940) will be on view at June Kelly Gallery, New York City, beginning June 2. The exhibition will run through August 2. An alum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Philadelphia's Tyler Schol of Fine Art, Temple University, Brooker was awarded the 1985 Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Arts, the 2003 Van Der Zee Lifetime Achievement Award, and a 2004 Conrad Nelson fellowship. You cannot look at Brooker's work and not smile.

Enjoy this short video with Brooker at his studio:

Moe Brooker Profiles at Moore College of Art & Design, Fabric Workshop and Museum, and Sande Webster Gallery (Images Available)

Notable Exhibits Abroad

Sundaram Tagore Gallery is presenting through June 23 at its Singapore location "Joan Vennum: The Space Around Us". Vennum (b. 1930), a New York-based artist represented by the gallery, floods her abstract paintings with gorgeous color; her hand is assured, her line beautiful. See, for example, her Yes (2011),  Latitude (2007), Distant and Candid (2003), and O (for Rimbaud) (2006), all oils on canvas. The gallery offers several publications about Vennum's work. Vennum's O (for Rimbaud) was featured in "Hong Kong 2010", a temporary exhibition of the Art in Embassies Program, Department of State. She was featured in the gallery exhibition "Perspectives: Nine Women, Nine Views" in 2011 (watch video of opening reception).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Richard Serra Asks, Why Make Art?

I always wanted an alternative existence. . . I wanted to do
something where I could study my own sentiments 
and experiences. . . I [can] do that in relation to making things
and making art in particular.

. . . [Artmaking] fulfills in each of us something we lack. . . .
~ Richard Serra

How would you answer the simple question, Why make art? In this short video interview from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, sculptor Richard Serra considers the creative process and the artist's perception of the world and how each can influence the other:

The video was produced for SFMOMA's "Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective", October 15, 2011 - January 16, 2012. Check the multimedia section at the link for other videos in which the artist talks about his materials, artistic tradition, and other aspects of his work. A 56-minute talk between the artist and co-curator Gary Garrels is here.

My other posts about the artist can be found by using the Search This Blog box at the top right of the main page of Writing Without Paper.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If Money Didn't Matter....

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like
doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
~ Alan Watts

Whether you are a new graduate undecided about your life's direction, are considering or must make a career change, or are nearing retirement but not ready to spend your days on the links, the late philosopher Alan Watts, who narrates the video below, invites you to consider two questions: "What would you like to do, if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?

What if money didn't matter - Alan Watts from Evoke & Evolve on Vimeo.

Alan Watts (1915-1973), Philosopher, Writer, Lecturer

Alan Watts Audio Collections

Alan Watts Podcast at iTunes

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Stick of Cinnamon (Poem)

A Stick of Cinnamon

I start with a stick
of cinnamon

drizzled in honey
from some Virginia hollow,

too sweet, perhaps,
to move our conversation

beyond more talk
of the art

of making perfect
cups of infused tea.

You watch
as hardness softens,

focusing what soothes
in the heat that dissipates

and curls into steam,
stinging our eyes.

Before I've had a chance
to bring rim to lips,

you notice that crack
I've finally resealed.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Muse: Prideaux on Strindberg

I was expecting to write the life of a villain
and a rather unpleasant man. . . and I found 
an extraordinarily sympathetic and vulnerable human being. . . . 

Cover of Sue Prideaux's Biography

Sue Prideaux is the author of a biography about August Strindberg (1849-1912), Swedish novelist, poet, photographer, painter, playwright, journalist, actor, and more. Her Strindberg: A Life (Yale University Press, February 2012), which was shortlisted for the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction, is the subject of this interview with Yale University Press, London. In addition to speaking to Strindberg's prolific writings, Prideaux addresses Strindberg's obsessions, psychological focus, and legacy.

Sue Prideaux, who resides in Sussex, United Kingdom, is the author of Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream (Yale University Press, 2005; available paperback, Amazon US, 2007), awarded the 2005 James Tait Black Memorial Prize in biography.

Strindbergsmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden

The August Strindberg Society, Los Angeles, California

Yale Press Blog

Yale Books on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

Review of Biography at The Spectator (March 2012)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Angel's Trumpet (Poem)

Ponytail by Last Exit
Image Courtesy of Tess Kincaid, Magpie Tales

Angel's Trumpet

The x-ray will tell you
nothing about the smell

of Brugmansia, how the scent
of citrus and almond collects

in the drooping bell, the head
so like the angel's trumpet

pointing down to earth, calling
us to a heady vision of heaven.

Its woody stem gives up
nothing to the negative view

of supplication. The bowing
and curving-in are but a show

of evening prayers for more
flushes of ever-weeping blooms.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is my response to today's photo prompt, "Ponytail" by Last Exit, at Tess Kincaid's Magpie Tales. Go here to read other writers' responses to the promp and drop the link to your own poem or piece of flash fiction.

The Brugmansia is known variously as the "Angel's Trumpet", "Horn of Plenty", and "Devil's Weed". It has a fascinating background. See, for example, the article "Angel's Trumpet" at Fragrantica.

Thought for the Day

. . . Part of being optimistic is
keeping one's head pointed toward 
the sun, one's feet moving forward. . . . 
~ Nelson Mandela, from Long Walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandela (b. 1918), Nobel Peace Prize Winner (1993), Activist, South Africa's First Democratically Elected President

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Short

Today, Saturday Short presents a sand mandala of the deity Chakrasamvara created by Lama Karma Tenzin at the Rubin Museum in New York City. It took Lama Karma more than two weeks to create the artwork, comprising millions of grains of crushed marble, and just two minutes to destroy. (Note: The video is without audio.)

Lama Karma appeared at the museum in conjunction with "The Dragon's Gift - The Sacred Arts of Bhutan" exhibition (2008). The show featured nearly 90 artworks, including gilt bronze and wooden sculptures, ancient and modern ritual objects, and thangkas (paintings and images created with applique and embroidery framed in brocade).

Friday, May 24, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Brooklyn- and Dallas-based painter Michelle Mackey has produced a number of striking series, including, most recently, Star Service (bonnie and clyde); The Berlin Stories and Inscape, both from 2007; and The Layers Series and Residual States, both from 2003. She is as apt to find her inspiration, she says in her Artist Statement, in "the surface mix of cracked mortar, shiny metal, peeling paint, and rusty scaffolds" as in "conversations, books, music, patterns, and other sources for ideas on color, form, and composition." See her Painting Process Video. Mackey most recently was in a group show, "Fresh Tracks: an abstract dialog", at the Beatrice M. Haggerty Gallery at the University of Dallas.

✦ I dare you not to say "Wow!" after you watch Shinichi Maruyama's water sculpture movie. Be sure to look at each of the series on his site, including the Water Sculpture images and the marvelous Kusho. His Artist Statement offers some of his reflections on those series. Maruyama is part of the "Turbulences II" exhibition at Villa Empain, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, through September 1. He was also in "Marcel Duchamp: Nude Descending a Staircase — A Homage" at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York, earlier this spring.

✦ Enjoy this digital exhibition "1913 Armory Show: The Story in Primary Sources", created by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art to mark the centennial of the International Exhibition of Modern Art ("Armory Show"). (My thanks to Indianapolis Museum of Art blog for the link.)

✦ Earlier this year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York launched post: Notes on Modern & Contemporary Art Around the Globe. It is intended to be an online journal, archive, exhibition space, and open forum for exploring modernism in all its aspects: established and experimental, historical and emerging, local and global, scholarly and artistic. You'll find essays, interviews, practices, workshop listings, and continually augmented image and video content. Some content is organized thematically.

Also of note is the new MoMA site Louise Bourgeois:  The Complete Prints and Books. Documentation is being added incrementally by theme. Eventually, the site is to offer 3,500 images.

✦ Today's short video features Nancy Dwyer, figurative painter and sculptor, whose work was installed earlier this year at Fisher Landau Center for the Arts, Long Island City, New York ("Nancy Dwyer: Painting & Sculpture, 1982-2012"). Dwyer, who is an associate professor of sculpture at the University of Vermont (brief profile here), calls her word sculptures her "expressions. They're very short poems."

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In New York City, the Museum of Modern Art has mounted an exhibition of images by modernist British photographer Bill Brandt (1904-1983). The show, "Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light", on view through August 12,  presents for the first time Brandt's beautiful photographs of moonlit London during the Blackout and improvised shelters during the Blitz. Sarah Hermanson Meister's illustrated catalogue Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light (MoMA, March 2103), accompanying the exhibition, presents the photographer's entire oeuvre in the context of 20th Century photography; it includes an illustrated glossary of Brandt's retouching techniques and an appendix of his photo-stories published in World War II.

Bill Brandt Archive (You'll find a four-part video interview with Brandt on the site.)

MoMA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Last week, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, opened "Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey". Comprising approximately 50 collages and watercolors, the exhibition is Bearden's reinterpretation of Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey". On view through August 11, the exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service. See it if possible. It's marvelous!

"Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey" Exhibition Website (You'll find images, an audio tour, a video tour, and educational resources at the link.)

The Carter also is exhibiting a series of lithographs created by Ed Ruscha at Tamarind Lithography Workshop (now, Tamarind Institute) in 1969. "Ed Rusha: Made in California" continues through July 21.

Amon Carter on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

✭ The Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design is featuring through June 30 artists Angela Bulloch (Copper 2, 2011), Haroon Mirza (Pansonic2, 2011), and Anthony McCall (Miniature in Black and White, a slide projection installation, 1972) in "Double-and-Add". The artists use time-based media (programmed light, sound, and slide projection) to "investigate the sensory transmission of information" through electricity, RGB-light (Red/Green/Blue color-changing strips/bars), algorithms, and other immaterial systems. The exhibition title is a play on a mathematical term used in binary coding.

RISD on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Washington, D.C.'s National Portrait Gallery continues through August 18 "Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge", showcasing superb work by Mequitta Ahuja, Mary Borgman, Adam Chapman, Ben Durham, Till Freiwald, and Rob Matthews. If you can't get to D.C. to visit the show, see the "Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge" Website, which includes an introduction to the exhibition and separate pages, with images, for each of the featured artists. The show will travel to Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, in October.

Mequitta Ahuja, Dream Sequence: Winged I (Detail), 2011
Enamel, Acrylic, Glitter on Stamped, Collaged Vellum
Image Courtesy of Artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France

National Portrait Gallery on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes

✭ John Mulvany curated for Tamarind Institute "Good in the Kitchen", an exhibition that explores gender and scenes of domesticity. The exhibition included lithographs created at Tamarind over the last 30 years; interestingly, more than half the images were by men. Among the artists represented: Mark Licari, Donald Sultan, Marie Watt, Hung Liu, and Alison Saar. The exhibition closed March 13 but the online component may be viewed here (pdf).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

29 Ways To Stay Creative

Learn how, in less than two minutes, you can stay creative:

Even though No. 4 is "Get away from the computer." (did you laugh at that, as I did?), you'll have to stay online to check out these articles matched to each of the suggestions. (My thanks to cut-paper artist Elsa Mora for the video link and articles list.)

What's your favorite way to keep the inspiration going?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Wonder: A Tip o' the Tongue

Today's Wednesday Wonder is Mother Nature, which never fails to surprise and awe. To wit: scientists at Brown University who have been studying a certain species of bats (Glossophaga soricina) have determined that the bats are born with a "hemodynamic nectar mop", that is, a tongue tip designed by nature to use blood flow to improve ability to feed. As blood flows, small "hair-like" structures go erect, extending tongue length and surface area, thereby allowing optimal amounts of nectar to be "mopped up" and consumed at once. 

Here's a wonderful video made available with the news release about the study findings, which have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study's lead author Cally Harper and her colleagues Sharon Swartz and Beth Brainerd say additional study and understanding of the bats' vascular system could inspire innovations in medical technology designs, including development of more flexible mini surgical robots.

Be sure to click on the news release link to see an up-close image of the "nectar mop". That image also appears in Kenneth Chang's "Tongue Like a Mop" at The New York Times (May 10, 2013).

Also of interest: the robotic bat wing Brown researchers have built.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lovesick (Poem)


      All sorrows can be borne, if you
         put them in a story. . . .
           ~ Karen Blixen

No heart is ever perfect
and every cut,

every word that stops it

makes it easy
to see

red through blue
-blacked eyes.


People don't have words
when they are out
of touch.


A nightmare has meaning,
too. You have to

let it run long

to face it
before you begin

to dream.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Muse: Joy Harjo Performs 'Eagle Song'

Joy Harjo, a member of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation, is a poet, memoirist, playwright, nonfiction writer, and musician. Harjo has written numerous collections of poetry, including She Had Some Horses: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2008), How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 (W.W. Norton, 2002; paper 2004), A Map to the Next World: Poems and Tales (W.W. Norton, 2001), The Woman Who Fell from The Sky: Poems (W.W. Norton, 1996),  and In Mad Love and War (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 1990). Her recent memoir is Crazy Brave (W.W. Norton, 2012). 

In addition to being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, Harjo is the recipient of a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

In the music video below, which combines archival footage and contemporary scenes, Harjo recites her famous "Eagle Poem" and performs a solo on her saxophone. Directed and produced by Native Hawaiian filmmaker Lurline Wailana McGregor, the video was nominated for a prize at the Native American Indian Film and Video Festival in 2002; it has been screened nationally and internationally at film festivals around the world.

To see more of Harjo's work in theatre, film, and video, go here.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

In Church Together (Poem)

In Church Together

The old oak seat holds
our chapters and verse

of months of Sundays
spent side by side,

first eating His bread
then drinking the wine.

We bowed heads
in this communion,

consuming faith in words
given to one in love

of another, each time as if
newly received, our hands

tendered for accepting.
Our vows made the frame

we, reckless, un-built the way
hurricanes rush in,

defining themselves
forever by what they take,

not what remains behind.
We have not sat since

in church together.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Thought for the Day

. . . Possibility is the secret heart of time.
~ John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

John O'Donohue (1956-2007)

Books by John O'Donohue

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Girl Can Dream (Poem)

A girl can dream

of stepping out
on the High Road,

a flame in heels
that'll steel no beau's

heart. What laces
each ankle in place

she'll turn to take
his fancy and he,

blood pressure rising,
will let her lead and whirl.

© 2012, 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem, which first appeared as part of the Image-ine series at the T.S. Poetry Press blog TweetSpeakPoetry, is inspired by Nicola Slattery's painting Red Shoes (acrylic on board), which may be seen in the Image-ine post and also here on the artist's Website.

Friday, May 17, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ You'll find some of the most interesting art-related features anywhere on Global Museum.

Global Museum on FaceBook and  Twitter

✦ If you can't get to Canada to visit the country's many wonderful museums, do the next best thing: browse the Virtual Museum of Canada, which offers more than a million images and access to hundreds of virtual exhibits.

VMC on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

✦ Browse the Web long enough and you'll find there's a museum, physical and virtual, for the strange, the wonderful, and everything in between. Among some recent finds that stretch our most common definitions of art: the nonprofit Birds of Vermont Museum, in Huntington, which has a collection of more than 500 carved wooden birds representing more than 250 species; the Wooden Nickel Historical Museum, San Antonio, Texas, boasting a collection of more than 1 million wooden nickels; the Museum of Anti-Alcohol Posters, a collection of Soviet propaganda; The Toaster Museum, currently owned by the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan; the fascinating Virtual Museum of Bacteria; and Devices of Wonder from Getty Exhibitions.

✦ Earlier this year Design Sponge spotlighted 25 papercut artists you should know about. Fabulous work!

✦ A subscription to Marquis Biographies Online gives you access to Who's Who in American Art and other biographies in Marquis print titles that have been digitized.

✦ The portrait of Van Gogh you'll see in the video below is by multimedia artist Phil Hansen, who drew it in permanent marker using words from more than 1,000 individual stories "about an experience that shocked or caused disbelief". 

You'll find many more art projects on Hansen's Phil in the Circle. Also visit his site Phil in the Whaaat?, where Hansen espouses his "everyday creativity". Hansen, who is the author of Tattoo a Banana (Perigee Trade, 2012), spoke earlier this year at the TED 2013 conference "The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered."

Phil Hansen on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ A retrospective of the cross-disciplinary work of Jay DeFeo (1929-1989), part of the Beat movement, continues at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, through June 2. DeFeo's amazing painting The Rose (1958-1966), subject of Jay DeFeo and The Rose by Jane Green and Leah Levy (University of California Press and Whitney Museum, 2003), is included in the exhibition with more than 150 other artworks, including collages, drawings, paintings, photographs, small sculptures, and jewelry. Don't miss online Slideshow: Installing The Rose, a massive work weighing almost one ton. A catalogue, Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective, accompanies the show. (This exhibition previously was at the San Francisco Museum of Art.)

Here's a brief video about the exhibition:

Online Gallery of DeFeo's Paintings, Works on Paper, Photographs

Read Holland Cotter's informative article "Not Just 'The Rose', but Also the Garden", The New York Times, February 28, 2013, and John Yau's "'The Rose' Is Not a Rose", Hyperallergic, January 6, 2013.

Whitney Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Continuing through June 30 at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is the two-shows-in-one "Parallel Practices: Joan Jonas and Gina Pane". In addition to examining the complementary aspects of the conceptual work of these multidisciplinary artists (performance art, sculpture, drawings, installations, film, video), the exhibition looks specifically at their differences. Jonas's video installation Reading Dante III (2010) is included in the show, which presents a comprehensive selection of Pane's work. An illustrated catalogue is available.

On Reading Dante, Video, Venice Biennale 2009: Joan Jonas (The work features sculptural elements as well as performance, film, and drawings.)

CAMH on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ In Massachusetts, Worcester Art Museum is presenting through July an exhibition of the White-Line Prints by Japanese master printmaker Yoshida Toshi (1911-1995). The seven serene woodblock prints primarily depict Zen-temple gardens. What distinguishes these beautiful landscapes is Toshi's use of white lines rather than traditional black outlines. 

Images of Tenryu-ji Garden (1963), Stone Garden (1963), and Two Lanterns (1964)

Worcester Art Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

Jeffrey Gibson's paintings on stretched animal hides and sculptures using hide wrapped around cinderblock are on view through July 14 at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. The Western-trained Native American artist (Choctaw-Cherokee) combines traditional craft motifs and materials with geometric abstraction and urban building materials to underscore the bridging of two cultures and to depict cultural life, beliefs, and criticisms. Selections of work from 2010 to now may be viewed at Jeffrey Gibson Studio.

ICA Boston on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ More than 130 drawings and prints, select paintings, and photographs will be on view beginning June 22 in "Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy" at the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition, which will continue through September 29, is a companion to "Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity" and explores representations of informal dress and undress in intimate, personal situations as depicted in late 18th Century to mid-20th Century artworks by, among other artists, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Edouard Manet, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cezanne, Edvard Munch, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

ARTIC on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Preserving Daguerreotypes with Nanotechnology

George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, has a large and important daguerreotype collection numbering thousands of images from all over the world. Considered to be the first form of photography, the daguerreotype was invented in the late 1830s by Louis Daguerre (1787-1851). One of the inventor's own daguerreotypes is in the collection.

Conservators at George Eastman House are using nanotechnology to preserve and stop the decay of the images in their collection. Below is a brief video, The Nanotechnology of the Daguerreotype, that explains the fascinating use of this pioneering technology and what it has helped conservators at Eastman House learn about deterioration of the silver plates on which the images were recorded.

My thanks to the Smithsonian's The Bigger Picture blog where I first learned of the video.

Also of Interest:

Michael Zhang, "The Beauty of Decayed Daguerreotypes", PetaPixel, January 9, 2013

George Eastman House on FaceBook and Twitter

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kassube Animates Lowe

Here's a relatively recent release from the wonderful MotionPoems: an animation by visual artist Angella Kassube of award-winning poet Bridget Lowe's "The Pilgrim Is Bridled and Bespectacled". Lowe's debut poetry collection At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky was published earlier this year by Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Text of Poem

Other Poems by Bridget Lowe

To see more of art director and animator Angella Kassube's work for MotionPoems, go here.

MotionPoems on FaceBook

Carnegie Mellon University Press on FaceBook

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Working Theory (Poem)

Working Theory

How you lose
the one you love

takes invention.
Consider the way

your screen flickers
before it goes

dark, its blinking
some kind of code

you fail to receive
and system checks

miss too often.

Human intelligence
is no match

for what happens.

Somewhere inside,
deep in the heart

of that computer,
you let go the one

last key stroke
impossible to retract.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Muse Asks Did You Know

Today's post is another in an occasional series presenting something you might not know about poets or poetry.

Did You Know. . .

✦ The voice of English poet Robert Browning (1812-1889) was recorded in 1889. Go here to listen to Robert Browning Trying to Recite His Poem "How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix".

✦ The renowned Italian painter, sculptor, and architect Michaelangelo (1475-1564) wrote more than 300 sonnets and madrigals in his lifetime. In 1904, Charles Scribner's Sons published the second edition of The Sonnets of Michaealangelo Buanarroti: Now for the First Time Translated Into Rhymed English, currently housed at the Internet Archive.

James Joyce's publisher Elkin Matthews rejected Joyce's Dubliners in 1907 but that same year accepted Chamber Music, a selection of 36 poems written for an imagined love; it is, perhaps surprisingly, accessible reading. The version available at the link was published by B.W. Huebsch in 1918. Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company Press published in 1927 Joyce's collection of 13 poems titled Pomes Penyeach; a group of composers subsequently wrote musical settings for each of the poems, which were compiled in The Joyce Book, published in 1933 (see "Musical Settings of Pomes Penyeach").

✦ Witty poet e.e. cummings dedicated his collection No Thanks (1935), which he self-published with $300 from his mother, to the 14 publishers that had turned him down. The collection, originally titled 70 Poems, was issued in three formats of 9, 90, and 900 copies. The dedication was a concrete poem, that is, a poem composed visually to resemble a funeral urn.

✦ In addition to being a writer, cummings was a painter. The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin owns 87 original artworks by the poet, including portraits and landscapes, as well as some works by others from cummings's personal collection.

✦ There are more than 133,000 entries for poetry in the Open Library. Among some of the more unusual titles are Soul of Tiger Woods: Sports Poetry in Motion (Gramercy, 1998),  Asinine Love Poetry (XLibris Corp., 2005), Supernatural Poetry (Riverrun Press, 1978), and Parlour Poetry: A Hundred and One Improving Gems (Michael Joseph, 1967).

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thought for the Day

. . . Wherever I am
I am what is missing....
~ Mark Strand's "Keeping Things Whole"

Mark Strand, Poet, Editor, Translator, Prose Writer; Recipient of The Gold Medal for Poetry from Academy of Arts and Letters (News Release, 2009) and Numerous Other Awards

Mark Strand Poems at The Writer's Almanac

Nathalie Handall, "Not Quite Invisible: Nathalie Handal Interviews Mark Strand", Guernica, April 15, 2012

Wallace Shawn, "Interviews: Mark Strand, The Art of Poetry No. 77", The Paris Review, Fall 1998

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saturday Short

Today's Saturday Short features a brief demonstration of the art of Medieval blackletter typography by Seb Lester, a video graphic designer and illustrator.

My thanks to the Smithsonian's The Bigger Picture blog, where I first saw this example of beautiful script, and to This is Colossal, where the video also was featured ("Seb Lester Demonstrates Medieval Blackletter Calligraphy").

Friday, May 10, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦  Los Angeles-based fine arts photographer Aspen Mays completed in 2009-2010 a Fulbright Fellowship in Chile. Her wonderful Sun Ruins series, exhibited in 2011 at Golden Gallery in New York City, was one body of work to come out of that experience. Take a few minutes to look at the online images from the abstract series and then read this interesting Art21 post about Mays's work.

✦ Istanbul-born painter and photographer Asli Erel, whose work recently was in "Letters of Love and War" (March 14 - May 8) at Lahd Gallery in London, pursues through her art an interest in traditional calligraphy and Islamic decorative arts that draw on Sufi philosophy. In addition to oils, Erel works on wood. Images of some of her beautiful paintings are here.

✦ The series Reading Women (2012) is performative photographer Carrie Schneider's documentation of writers, artists, and musicians engaged in "the incredibly intimate experience" of reading, Schneider explained to The New Yorker, adding that what impelled her to undertake the project was the desire of one artist to connect with another creative "in a way that resonates with her own art and life." Enjoy exploring Schneider's fascinating work on her Website.

✦ The nonprofit Museum Computer Network, founded in 1967, provides opportunities to explore, implement, and disseminate new technologies and best practices. If you're a member of the greater museum community, take a look at the benefits and resources of the group and follow its blog Musematic.

MCN on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Indulge your interest in patterns at Pattern in Islamic Art, where you may download more than 4,000 images of patterns and designs found in Islamic decorative arts. The wonderful site also includes among its features information about the origins and significance of decorative arts in Islam, interesting drawings and analyses of patterns, and a glossary. Slideshows (by region) are found on the Photo Archive page. Be sure to visit the About page to discover all that's available on the site.

✦ Below is a Pace Gallery interview with Jim Dine, who talks about his painting  A Color Chart from 1963. The interview is part of the "50 Years of Pace" anniversary celebration in 2010 that highlighted the artists, landmark exhibitions, and key events that have continued to distinguish Pace's presence in the art world.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In Doylestown, Pennsylvania, The James A. Michener Art Museum continues through June 16 "Transformations II: Works in Steel by Karl Stirner". Known as "the Father of the Eastern Pennsylvania Art Movement", Stirner (b. 1923), formerly an industrial designer, creates his abstract expressionist sculptures from discarded metal that he collects from the street, scrapyards, shipwrecks, and Bethlehem Steel, among other sources. The exhibition complements a retrospective of Stirner's sensual, beautifully fluid, and compelling work earlier this year at Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethelem, Pennsylvania. A catalogue of Stirner's work is available.

Images of Karl Stirner Sculpture, Drawings, and Portraits of Stirner at Work

Karl Stirner Arts Trail, Easton, Pennsylvania

Kelly Huth, "Off the Canvas: Profile of Karl Stirner", The Express-Times, April 30, 2010

JAMAM on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ An exhibition of glass sculptures by Corrine Whitlatch, "Visual Musing on a Search for Peace", continues through May 24 at The Gallery at The Jerusalem Fund in Washington, D.C. The pieces, representing Whitlatch's reflections on traveling in the Middle East, comprise glass, iron, and pottery shards from places she visited and incorporate regional symbols and icons.

✭ The exhibition "Frank Gehry at Work", presenting more than 30 process models from 1985 to 2012,  continues through June 30 at Leslie Feely Fine Art, New York City. 

The Architecture of Frank Gehry, Gehry Technologies

Leslie Feely Fine Art on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Fifty primarily figurative and representational artworks, including paintings, works on paper, collages, and fabric works, representing the lives, traditions, and environments of African Americans are on view at Michigan's Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in "Reflections: African American Life from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection". Artists represented in the show include Romare Bearden, James VanDerZee, Elizabeth Catlett, and Betye Saar. Myrna Colley-Lee is a costume designer and arts patron.

Elizabeth Catlett, Sojourner Truth (from Black Woman Series), 1947
Linocut, 18" x 14"
2nd Edition, 1989
Myrna Colley-Lee Collection

Organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C., the exhibition will travel to Louisiana's Alexandria Museum of Art (November 1, 2013 - February 17, 2014), Mississippi's Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel (September 2, 2014 - November 16, 2014), and Alabama's Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (January 15, 2015 - March 15, 2015).

KIA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ A group show of landscape paintings, both representational and abstract, is up at Morton Fine Art, Washington, D.C. On view through June 4, "Beyond Yesterday: A Collection of Landscape Memories" features work by five MFA artists: Ethan Diehl, Jason Sho Green, Choichun Leung, Julia Fernandez Pol, and Vonn Sumner.

MFA on FaceBook and Twitter

MFA: Curator's Notes, Gallery Blog

Thursday, May 9, 2013

'Babeldom': Poetic Elegy to Urban Life

A  talent to watch, London-born Paul Bush is an experimental filmmaker and stop-frame animator with a background in fine art. He began making shorts in the 1980s and, following considerable critical acclaim, turned to filmmaking in the 1990s. In 1996, he founded Ancient Mariner Productions to produce his films, which he currently finances primarily with lecture fees, workshops, and teaching. 

In his debut feature-length (81-minute) film Babeldom, which he wrote, produced, and directed, Bush creates a portrait of a city of the future as narrated by one of its inhabitants. Described as a "science fiction documentary", the movie is a collage of sorts, assembled from film shot in cities around the world, including London, Berlin, Barcelona, Shanghai, Dubai, and Osaka, as well as from "found footage", that is, moving images collected from recent research in science, technology, industry, and architecture. In his Director's Notes, found toward the end of this News page, Bush explains, "The central metaphor of Babeldom is that all of time is present at the same moment, captured in different layers of the city. The prehistoric lies beneath the Roman, the Roman below the Medieval. We too are buried below countless centuries in which the city has built upwards like a futuristic Tower of Babel. As in Boethius's vision, all of time can be seen at once, if only one could view the city from outside, but each of us is destined to live our lives in one small layer of the city, unable to move lower or higher more than a few levels. . . ."

Have a look at the trailer for this fascinating conceptual film, which was completed in 2012 and was shown earlier this year in the United Kingdom and also screened in Lisbon at the animated film festival Monstra:

To see extracts from selected shorts and some longer films, including The Albatross (1998), Furniture Poetry (1999), While Darwin Sleeps (2004), and Lay Bare (2012), go here. Bush's The Albatross is a beautiful animation of 19th Century wood engravings of Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, brought to life by scratching directly on the color film stock. The five-minute-long Furniture Poetry is an amusing play on the concept of "now you see it, now you don't". Lay Bare is a composite portrait of the human body, assembled from close-up images of more than 500 men and women from all over the world. His While Darwin Sleeps, in which thousands of insects pass through the film, each for a single frame, is on view with the Walter Linsenmaier exhibition of insects at the Natural History Museum in Lucerne, Switzerland. (See the film on YouTube.) Various university and college libraries in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, China, Switzerland, and Austria have Bush's titles in their holdings.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Wonder: Fiber Optic Tapestry

Artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese invented a technology for creating a new media art form they call fiber optic tapestry. Out of it came 50 Different Minds, which they describe as "a conversation between Bauhaus artists Josef Albers and Anni Albers" during which the color theory of the former unites with the advances in weaving achieved by the latter. 

Conceptually, it is, at its most basic, a form of communication and networking redefined in 21st Century style. The warp-and-woof or patterning of the data visualization, the artists explain, is produced with words from Twitter tweets and flight arrival and departure times at nine of the world's busiest airports. The software is programmed to display colors that respond to tweets using the hashtag #optictapestry and color words.

This video shows the custom tapestry, which comprises nine fiber optic panels and a computer controlled lighting system, as it is being woven on a hand loom, and describes the processes behind its fascinating making:

LigoranoReese 50 Different Minds from LigoranoReese on Vimeo.

The tapesty debuted in 2010 at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Kickstarter Campaign for Fiber Optic Tapestry

Josef Albers (1888-1976)

Anni Albers (1899-1994)

Josef & Anni Albers Foundation

Ligorano/Reese Collaborations

"Joy of Collaborating: recipes for time-based art"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Last Full Moon (Poem)

Last Full Moon

the night of the last
full moon your face

opens to the light
while there is light

you see this is
what love holds

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Muse: Poets on Faith

A book about faith is as much about "engagement with beauty, hope, doubt, and fear" as about belief (or not) in your god. Nowhere is the truth of this statement more evident than in A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith (Tupelo Press, 2012). 

In their wonderful collection of interviews (presented in essay form), author and editor Ilya Kaminsky and novelist Katherine Towler share their conversations with 19 poets about the "difficult topic" of creating and sustaining a spiritual life that is not defined by the limits of being named "Christian" or "Jewish" or "Muslim", "believer" or "atheist" or "non-religious", but by willingness to be, in the words of Kazim Ali, "not certain" and ever-seeking.

Searching the inner spiritual landscape is no facile exercise. Sometimes borne from loss, mostly it rises from need for making meaning, for marking in words, if you are a writer, a steep ascent to fuller understanding of one's community with god.

It will come as no surprise that the poets featured in A God in the House — it's important to grasp what is implied in the use in the title of that word "A" — are eloquent and remarkably open in relating what Gregory Orr intuits as "the experience of the voice speaking to me". If you are a reader who moves from page to page with a highlighter in hand, you will find yourself marking many passages, especially where the poets expound on what faith shares with poetry, which is, Kaminsky and Towler stress, first and foremost "a sense of awe" and deep appreciation for "a life of wonder" fully lived.

The following brief quotes give some idea of the line of thinking of the interviewed poets, whose writing lives, it is clear, are bound to and animated by a connection to the divine that finds its most personal expression in language.

Carolyn Forche — "We are beings in process, in a deep spiritual process that we recognize and intuit and do not understand at all. . . If we live long enough, if we are given enough time on earth, we can live to see the spiritual potential of human beings. What else do we need? We're in an incredible adventure here with God." (Page 16)

Gerald Stern — " Poets — maybe all artists — get away from their own religious upbringing in order to arrive at a condition of faith." (Page 21) "My faith is in existence." (Page 26)

Kazim Ali — "Prayer is speaking to someone you know is not going to be able to speak back, so you're allowed to be the most honest that you can be. . . Prayer is not a refuge of shelter, so much as it is an opening of arms, an acceptance into whatever storms exist in the world." (Pages 41, 42)

Jane Hirshfield — "The only way we can know anything is with our own eyes and our own looking." (Page 51)

Jericho Brown — ". . . poems ask us not to understand in the same way that we often find ourselves not comprehending the possibility of a God in this world." (Page 89)

Li-Young Lee — "For me the question of what is poetry is very narrow, but then my definition of what is God is very wide." (Page 130)

Alicia Ostriker — "Like other poets, I am often asked if I have a spiritual practice. Yes, writing is my spiritual practice. Ultimately, the words come from somewhere beyond myself. . . ." (Page 146)

Marilyn Nelson — "Surely everyone has a spiritual journey. . . Mine began with wonderment." (Page 153)

Joy Harjo — "Our most beloved spiritual teachers are those who have been tested the most in this world." (Page 211) "What is common to all indigenous peoples is a belief that we are all relatives, all being. All is sacred. . . we are one person, one poem, one story, and one song." (Pages 211, 212)

Julius Lester — ". . . the fact that we pray in song and in silence, that's heaven to me. . . Having a religion [Judaism] that makes this central keeps me in touch with the wonder and the awe. Part of my personal journey was coming to a religious sense of awe, the wonder that I'm alive, and all this is here, too." (Page 233)

Dunya Mikhail — "Poetry is my homeland and my religion." (Page 257)

Other poets included in the book are Jean Valentine, Grace Paley (this interview was conducted the year before the poet's death in 2007), Fanny Howe, Annie Finch, G.C. Waldrep, Eleanor Wilner, Christian Wiman, and Gregory Orr

Each poet's interview is preceded by helpful biographical notes, and information about where, when, and how each was interviewed. Each conversation is framed with a memorable epigraph and followed by a poem that opens still another window of insight into these artists and how they have used their gifts to enlighten their own and our lives.