Thursday, May 31, 2012

Color: Make It Relative

If you want to learn the "grammar" of color to avoid visual mistakes, just watch this wonderful video from Richard (Dick) Nelson, creator of the color matrix. Nelson, who studied with Josef Albers at Yale, used animation to build a 3D color wheel illustrating the dimensions of color relationships. The video is part of Nelson's Dimensions of Color series.

See more of Nelson's work here.

My thanks to Deborah Barlow at Slow Muse who introduced me to the great site Color Is Relative (lots to explore there). Also enjoy the interactive Same Same or Different site; it's equally engaging.

Also Of Interest

Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

Josef Albers at The Art Story

Josef Albers, Interaction of Color (Revised/Expanded Edition), Yale University Press, 2006

Richard Nelson Lessons (Dimensions of Color)

Richard Nelson's Dimensions of Color Blog

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Wonder: Sound, Visualized

Maybe you've wondered what sound waves look like? 

The video below shows you sound's geometric vibration patterns, called Chladni patterns, named for "Father of Acoustics" Ernst Chladni (1756-1827). Chladni published one of the first treatises on the science of sound. (A musician, he invented both the euphonium and the clavicylinder; a meterorite enthusiast, he was among the first to claim, correctly, that meteorites originated in outer space and, subject to earth's gravity, fell from the sky.)

Note: You might want or need to adjust the video's sound.

(My thanks to Open Culture, where I first saw this visualization.)

Chladni Plates: First Step Towards Visualizing Sound at Whipple Collections

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Color Theory (Poem)

Color Theory

You did not send white
roses; what innocence

protested you sore denied.
You did not send peach

roses, hope for the future
flagged. And no, you did

not send red roses. No
emblem of the heart you stole

with words could fix what
passion spent in petals picked.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: 'Arlington'

The award-winning music video below, Arlington (Dream Wild Productions), seems especially fitting for today's Memorial Day observances. Released April 24, the music video was inspired by the story of Private First Class Michael Arciola, who died at age 20 in Al Ramadi, Iraq, on February 5, 2005. Bringing blood-red roses and a favorite childhood storybook, his mother, Teresa Arciola, drives hundreds of miles up to six times a year to visit her son's grave in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery.

The lyrics to the song "Arlington" were co-written by Lisa Nemzo and the late Artie Colatrella.

Donations raised through the video go to The Global Stress Initiative and The David Lynch Foundation's Operation Warrior Wellness, each of which serves veterans and active military members and their families.

ArlingtonTheFilm on FaceBookTwitter, and Flickr

"A Military Mom Never Forgets", January 27, 2011 (Video with Pvt. Arciola's Mother)

"Arlington: Call to Honor", Smithsonian Channel Video

Dream Wild Records/Lisa Nemzo Music on FaceBook

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thought for the Day

. . . If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift. . . .
~ Poet Eavan Boland, from "The Pomegranate"

Eavan Boland Profiles at Academy of American Poets, The Poetry Foundation, Stanford University

Eavan Boland reads "The Wife's Lament" at Poems Out Loud

Jeffrey Brown, "Conversation with Eavan Boland", PBS NewsHour, March 9, 2012

Poets Q&A with Eavan Boland at Smartish Pace

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

The days are getting longer, giving you more time to explore in the light. Today's edition of Saturday Sharing shows off the original memoirs of Casanova, jazz album covers in the Smithsonian's Folklife archives, a new site that promises all things Gandhi, a place for every final sentence, a discussion list for those reference questions you haven't been able to answer, and The Reading Glove, which may or may not be self-explanatory.

✦ France's National Library, now the owner of the original manuscript of Casanova's Histoire de ma vie, has uploaded excerpts online. Click the cover image to explore the selected pages in the writer's own hand.

Tony Perrottet, "Who Was Casanova?" Smithsonian Magazine, April 2012

Smithsonian Magazine on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

✦ Enjoy browsing these jazz album covers from the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at the Smithsonian. Some of those album titles might make good poetry prompts. The Duke Ellington Collection is another great resource for jazz fans.

✦ A new site GandhiMedia, from Berlin-based GhandiServe, features audio, more than 17,000 images, video, and close to 5,000 written documents in more than 50 categories relating to Mahatma Gandhi.

✦ If you're doing research online and can't find what you're looking for, try Project Wombat, a discussion list for difficult reference questions.

✦ If you've ever wondered how to end something you've written, perhaps The final sentence will be of help. The site is described as "[a]n evergrowing compilation of 'final sentences' from every literary work, if we could find them all, that has ever existed."

✦ You've heard about Google Glasses. But what about The Reading Glove? Can you imagine trying to combine the two?

Friday, May 25, 2012

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

At Tracing Bosch & Bruegel: Four Paintings Magnified, be an art detective and explore how four paintings from the 16th Century use the same scene but look very different, and discover techniques and materials used to uncover the artists' narratives. There's much on the site to keep you absorbed.

Bosch & Bruegel on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ With financing from UBS, New York City's Guggenheim Museum launched last month the Guggenheim UBS Map Global Art Initiative. The museum deems the cross-cultural project "unprecedented".

Carol Vogel, "Guggenheim Project Challenges 'Western-Centric View'", The New York Times, April 11, 2012

✦ It takes people to create portraits. Check out Craig Allen's artworks, including the Statue of Liberty and Marilyn Monroe.

✦ If you're looking for an artist residency, grant, or fellowship and unsure where to start, take a look at this multi-part series (Part One, Part Two, Part Three) compiled by ArtInfo.

✦ Photographer Ian Ruhter's Silver & Light project, which involves shooting wet plate, is an exercise in creating beauty. (My thanks to OnBeing blog for the video link.)

SILVER & LIGHT from Ian Ruhter on Vimeo.

Ian Ruhter Photography on FaceBook, Twitter, and Tumblr

Ian Ruhter's The Enabled Project

World Wet Plate Day

Exhibitions Here and There

Kathleen Schneider sculptures are on view through June 17 at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Schneider is a professor of art at University of Vermont, where she teaches sculpture and experimental drawing.

A.I.R. on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ In Reston, Virginia, Greater Reston Arts Center presents through June 9 "Play", featuring six regional artists who explore facets of play through sculpture, furniture, painting, fiber art, installation, and performance. The participating artists are Ed Bisese, Calder Brannock, Dickson Carroll, Jacqueline Levin, Marco Rando, and Ming-Yi Sung Zaleski

GRACE on FaceBook and Twitter


✭ As part of its Currents 35 series, Milwaukee Art Museum is exhibiting through October 7 the work of New York-based sculptor Tara Donovan, who, through accumulation, "regenerates" Styrofoam, tar paper, straight pins, pencils, straws, buttons, plastic cups, electrical cable, and other common manufactured materials into fantastic biomorphic shapes. Donovan uses in each of her works a single material, which may be glued, stacked, folded, or otherwise manipulated into an installation that surprises and delights. Donovan was the recipient in 2008 of a MacArthur "Genius" Grant

Tara Donovan, Untitled (Detail), 2008
Polyester Film; Dimensions Variable
© Tara Donovan Courtesy The Pace Gallery*
Photo Credit: Dennis Cowley

* Videos of Donovan's installation of mylar sheets, exhibited at Pace in 2011, can be found on YouTube and Vimeo

Tara Donovan Profiles/Images at ACE, New York, and The Cool Hunter

Slideshow of Tara Donovan's Pin Drawings at Fast Co.

MAM on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ From June 8 to September 3, visitors to the St. Louis Art Museum will have the opportunity to watch a team of conservators restore a 348-foot-long painting, the Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi River, the sole surviving mural (c. 1850) depicting the landscape along the Mississippi. Go here for a brief history of the panorama and here for a selection of images. 

SLAM on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Fans of French surrealist Andre Masson will find much to like at "Andre Masson: The Mythology of Desire: Masterworks from 1925 to 1945", on view through June 5 at Blain | Di Donna in New York City. The exhibition of more than 30 paintings and works on paper is described by the gallery as "the largest and most comprehensive" in New York City since the Museum of Modern Art's 1976 retrospective.

Slideshow at ArtInfo

Andre Masson Profile and Images at MoMA

Notable Exhibitions Abroad

✭ If you are lucky enough to be in London this summer, spend an afternoon at the British Museum, which is showing, until September 2, "Picasso Prints: The Vollard Suite", a remarkable series of 100 etchings created between 1930 and 1937. The exhibition marks the first time a complete set of the prints has been shown in a public institution in England. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Pablo Picasso, Young sculptor at work, 1933
Plate 46, Vollard Suite, Etching
© Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2011

British Museum on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

"A Guide to Collecting Picasso's Prints: Chapter 6: A Survey of Picasso's Prints: 1930-1944, The Vollard Suite through Dora Maar"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Art21's 'Change'

Take 55 minutes to view this opening-season episode, "Change", from Art21. The show features Los Angeles-based documentary photographer Catherine Opie, Ghanaian-born "found-object" sculptor El Anatsui (once you've seen his gorgeous work, you don't forget it), and Ai Weiwei, arguably China's most famous artist and human rights activist. Those unfamiliar with these artists will be well-rewarded by these personal profiles.


Catherine Opie at The Guggenheim

Catherine Opie at Art21

Holland Cotter, "A Midcareer Retrospective of Catherine Opie at the Guggenheim", The New York Times, September 25, 2008

El Anatsui at Art21

El Anatsui at Jack Shainman Gallery (Images)

El Anatsui at National Museum of African Art

"A Conversation with El Anatsui", ArtInfo, March 18, 2010

Ai Weiwei at Art21

"Ai Weiwei: The 2011 TIME 100"

Alison Klayman's Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Art21 on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday Wonder: Aurora Borealis

The aurora borealis is a wonder, truly, and, as captured here, in landscape photographer Ole C. Salomonsen's 2012 stop-motion film, Celestial Lights Viewed From Earth, it will leave you in awe. 

Salomonsen, of Tromso, Norway, spent the months from September 2011 to April 2012 on a project that took him across Norway, Sweden, and Finland; in his quest to film the aurora borealis, Salomonsen shot some 150,000 exposures from which he selected approximately 6,000 frames for use in the video below. (Salomonsen plans to use other sequences for another project.) Using two to three cameras, he shot most of the sequences using circular fish-eye optics; his list of gear appears on his Vimeo page.

Norwegian composer Kai-Anders Ryan contributed the gorgeous music for Salomonsen's film.

Celestial Lights is the second of Salomonsen's video projects. The first time-lapse video, In the Land of the Northern Lights, may be viewed here.

Stunning still photos by Salomonsen may be seen on his Website and on Flickr.

Northern Lights Explained

Ole C. Salomonsen on FaceBook and YouTube

Kai-Anders Ryan on FaceBook

Audio Track for Celestial Lights on iTunes

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Words Wouldn't Come (Poem)

Words Wouldn't Come

      On reading a review of a Norton lecture

Think of arms, wrists, hands, fingers
erasing the dark to let in more light.

Then you can do something unforgiving
to dead words traveling the thick black lines

on paper: smudge everything with the hush
of the artist's gestures. The first sentence

without fire, without oxygen in its voice,
rendered in double negation, at odds with

the ornamented images you draw in calligraphy
to get at what is hidden, does not answer

the puzzle of what makes blossoms prized
objects, even when they balk, refusing to come

out. Inside every riddle is understanding:
we cannot pull the chest ache close enough

to experience escapes from gravity. Unfolding
the creation of a poem is an art form, revealing

disparate strands of days when the ink presents
itself, waiting for instruction, our own translation.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

This is another example of a "found poem"; each word used is taken from this review of artist William Kentridge, Norton Lecturer this year at Harvard. Other "found poems" of mine can be read here and here.

For an explanation of "found poem", go here. Also see The Found Poetry Review, a quarterly that celebrate found poetry, centos, erasure poems, and other forms incorporating elements of existing texts.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Muse: Minnesota's Poet Laureate

. . . I also think rules make it possible to break rules. . . .
~ Joyce Sutphen on Writing Sonnets*

Minnesota's second official Poet Laureate is Joyce Sutphen, who succeeded Robert Bly in 2011.

See my post on Bly, who served from February 2008 to August 2011, for details about the establishment and responsibilities of the honorary state position. In a news conference following announcement of her selection, Sutphen stated she hoped to arrange events that will bring together Minnesota's many poets who do readings, "who work in the schools, who put poems into the parks, into galleries, and on sidewalks and in film and on the radio."** Since her appointment, Sutphen has been involved in many poetry readings around the state.

* * * * *
Poetry makes the world real for me . . . In the end,
it isn't hard: When I sit down to write a poem,
one thing just leads to another.
~ Joyce Sutphen***

Called by poet Louis Jenkins "a true daughter of the Minnesota soil", Joyce Sutphen is the author of First Words: Poems (Red Dragonfly Press, 2010), Fourteen Sonnets (Letterpress Ed., Red Dragonfly Press, 2005), Naming the Stars (How Cow! Press, 2004), Straight Out of View (Holy Cow! Press, 2001; Beacon Press, 1995), and Coming Back to the Body (Holy Cow! Press, 2000). She is co-editor, with Connie Wanek and Thom Tammaro, of the anthology To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present (New Rivers Press, 2006).

A writer in free verse and forms such as sonnets, Sutphen writes often on childhood and family, everyday rural life, home and place, relationships, poets and poetry, truth and beauty, and mortality (she says she is a fan of memento mori). Her work, Sutphen says, is informed not only by her deep study of Shakespeare but "everything else that I know and love: driving Highway 169 back and forth each day, listening to Bob Dylan, memorizing poems by Emily Dickinson and Yeats, listening to the news, reading poems by my contemporaries, or watching a Little League baseball game."****

Among often-mentioned qualities of Sutphen's poetry are her wit, lyricism, use of metaphor, sensitivity to meter and rhythm, and clarity of vision achieved with largely unadorned and accessible language. Her voice can range from the elegaic to the celebratory, from solemn to joyful. Her imagery gets its strength from the many details she employs to create a particular scene or mood or to share with us a particular memory, as these lines from several of Sutphen's poems show:

[. . .] I thought about the way we'd aged,

how skin fell into wrinkles, how eyes grew
dim; then (of course) my love, I thought of you.
~ from "At the Moment"

[. . .] sometimes you woke because you thought
you heard a cry but they were all sleeping,

so you stood in the moonlight just listening
to their breathing, and you didn't mention

that you were an expert at putting toothpaste
on tiny toothbrushes and bending down to wiggle

the toothbrush ten times on each tooth while
you sang the words to songs from Annie, [. . .]
~ from "Things You Didn't Put on Your Resume"

[. . .] The apples, coming off the peeler,

Are winding staircases, little accordians,
slinky toys, jack-in-the-box fruit, until
my grandmother's paring knife goes slicing
through the rings [. . . .]
~ from "Apple Season"

The image that haunts me is not beautiful.
I do not think it will open into a field 
of wildflowers; [. . .]

[. . .] it takes off its clothes and crawls
between the top and bottom sheet. [. . .]
~ from "In Black"

Sutphen has published poems in American Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, The Atlantic MonthlyPoetry, Minnesota Monthly, North Dakota Review, PoetryShenandoahThe Virginia Quarterly Review, The Writer's Almanac, and numerous other literary periodicals. 

The recipient of a Barnard New Women's Poets Prize (for her debut collection Straight Out of View) and a Minnesota Book Award in Poetry (for Naming the Stars), Sutphen also has been awarded a Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize and a Willow Poetry Prize. The poet was a Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress in 2006 and George Morrison Artist of the Year in 2009. In addition, she won the 2010 What Light competition for her poem "Polygamy".

Sutphen teaches courses in British literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.


Photo Credit: Poetry Foundation

All Poetry Quotations © Joyce Sutphen

* Quoted from Connie Wanek, "In the Country for Poets", Minnesota Artists, August 25, 2011

** Quoted from Tim Pugmire, "Joyce Sutphen Named Minnesota Poet Laureate", MPRNews, August 23, 2011.

*** Quoted from Brian Ojanpa, "GAC Professor JoyceSutphen Has Been Named Minnesota's New Poet Laureate", The Free Press, August 23, 2011

**** Quoted from Holly Vanderhaar, "Joyce Sutphen", The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf 

Press Release, "Governor Dayton Names Joyce Sutphen as Poet Laureate", Office of the Governor, August 23, 2011 (Poet's Biography [pdf])

Joyce Sutphen's Poetry Online: "Crossroads" at Academy of American Poets (; "From the 6th Floor" at The Cortland Review; "A Bird in County Clare", "A Kind of Villanelle", "All Reason and No Rhyme", "At the Moment", and "Casino", All at The Poetry Foundation (Others Listed); "Grounded", "The Wordsworth Effect", and 26 Other Poems at The Writer's Almanac; "Tornado Warning", "The Bob Dylan Dream", "Death Becomes Me", and "At the Moment", All at Minnesota Artists; "At the Cardiologist's", "Death Inc.", and "Harrow", All for the What Light Poetry Project, at Minnesota Artists; "How to Listen" and "Just for the Record", Both at Joyce Sutphen Website; "Harrow", "Homesteading", "Into Thin Air", "Living in the Body", "My Brother's Hat", "The Problem Was", "To Take Her Home", and "What to Pack", Audio, All at The Knox Writer's House; "Seeing, Up Close Again" at Caffeine Destiny; "The Aunts" and "The Exam", Both at American Life in Poetry; "Living in the Body" at Yahoo! Voices; "At the Moment" at Altered Faces; "Secret Agent Man" at Bossy Betty; "Things You Didn't Put on Your Resume"; "The Book of Hours" and "November, 1967", Both at Your Daily Poem; "Silo Solo" at; "From Out the Cave"; "Apple Season" at Images for Renewal; "Guys Like That" at Poetry Dispatch; "As Time Always Does" at Alehouse Journal; "Bookmobile" at another eye opens; "Naming the Stars" at American Poems; "Ever After" (scroll to end); "The Aunts" at The Learning Network/Poetry Pairing, The New York Times; "From Out the Cave" at 37days blog; "The Nereids" at Whistling Shade; "Crossroads" and "Naming the Stars", Both at Best Poems Encyclopedia

Drew Kerr, "Joyce Sutphen: Minnesota's Poetry Promoter", Twin Cities Metro

"Minnesota's New Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen on 'Luxuriating in Language'", WTIP Radio Interview, September 23, 2011

"Minnesota's New Poet Laureate Ponders Next Move", StarTribune, August 26, 2011

Podcast with Joyce Sutphen at, KMSU, December 30, 2010

Joyce Sutphen on FaceBook

First Words Book Review at Verse Wisconsin Online

Straight Out of View Book Review at Eclectica

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thought for the Day

. . . When a poem can lead you into an unfamiliar place,
where what you must do is watch and listen closely,
think and associate quickly, and find your footing from scratch, 
it is imparting a set of skills that are yours to keep. . . .*
~ Tracy K. Smith, Poet

* Quoted from "The Wisdom of Clouds: Why Poetry Is Essential to Democracy', SpeakEasy, The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2012

Tracy K. Smith, Poet, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University; Winner, 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, 2008 Essence Literary Award, 2005 Whiting Award, 2004 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award, 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, James Laughlin Award; Recipient, Wallace Stegner Fellowship and Breadloaf Writer's Conference Fellowship 

Life on Mars (Graywolf Press, 2011), Duende: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2007), and The Body's Question (Graywolf Press, 2003)

"NewsPoet: Tracy K. Smith Writes the Day in Verse", All Things Considered, NPR, January 27, 2012

Jacques J. Rancourt, "An Interview with Tracy K. Smith", Devil's Lake, July 8, 2011

Tracy K. Smith on FaceBook

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Words, music, photographs, film, science, and recycling are at the heart of today's Saturday Sharing links.

✦ You no longer have an excuse for throwing out empty toothpaste tubes, thanks to the Recyclebank, devoted to recycling issues and strategies for living green. 

Recyclebank on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ More than 100,000 concert recordings from more than 5,200 bands are available at the Internet Archive's Live Music Archive. It's quite a collection!

✦ You'll find thousands of metaphors in this database created for The Mind Is a Metaphor by Brad Pasanek of the University of Virginia. Be sure to read the About page for information about the assembly of database and its taxonomy. (My thanks to The New Yorker Book Bench blog for the link to this resource.) 

The Mind Is a Metaphor Blog

Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary and thesaurus, which uses the opensource WordNet database, helps you learn about associations among words and concepts.

Visuwords™ on Twitter

✦ More than 1,900 documents, photographs, and films are included in the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project, which launched in late March and continues to be augmented. (My thanks to the Smithsonian's The Bigger Picture blog for the link to this wonderful resource.)

✦ NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio is responsible for this mesmerizing animation of the surface currents of the world's oceans, 2005-2007: Perpetual Ocean.

NASA Goddard Images on FaceBook and Twitter

Friday, May 18, 2012

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Today is International Museum Day.

✦ The latest iteration of Google Art Project launched last month. Among the enhancements: many more participating arts institutions, improved search options, cross-collection highlighting, and a facility that allows users to create their own collections and share them with friends.

✦ The work of "paper engineer" Matthew Shlian is inventive and captivating.

✦ The educational Website Oh Freedom!, developed by Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Museum of African American History and Culture, aims to be an in-depth resource for teachers who use American art in studies of African American civil rights.

✦ There's a museum for everything, and the latest is the Museum of British Surfing in Braunton, United Kingdom. (My thanks to Art Beat for the link.) The collection includes surfboards, wet suits, photographs, memorabilia, and more, including a section where you may upload your own surf history.

Museum of British Surfing on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ In Washington, D.C., the Hirshhorn Museum, wrapped in Doug Aitken's SONG 1, became a panoramic movie screen. Here's how it looked before the sunset-to-midnight show ended on May 13:

Hirshhorn Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

The Seattle Art Museum is next to get an Aiken treatment. The museum has commissioned the artist for Mirror, shown here. The artwork is to be installed in early 2012.

✦ Realist painter Andrew Wyeth is the subject of this motionpoem. Go here for text of the poem, which is by L.S. Klatt.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In Colorado, Denver Art Museum is the exclusive U.S. venue for "Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective", on view through July 8. The exhibition spans 40 years of fashion design and includes a selection of 200 haute couture costumes by Saint Laurent. Organized thematically, the exhibition also includes photographs, drawings, and film.

Here's a video of the exhibition in Paris:

Denver Art Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, is showing paintings, drawings, and prints of Julie Mehretu. Organized by Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis, Minnesota, "Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu" is on view through June 17. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Julie Mehretu, Entropia (review), 2004
Lithograph and Screenprint on Arches 88 Paper
© Julie Mehretu

Exhibition Press Release

Julie Mehretu at Highpoint Center for Printmaking

National Museum of African Art, David Binkley and Kinsey Katchka Talk with Julie Mehretu at Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora, March 28, 2003 (NMAfA Profile of Mehretu)

Julie Mehretu on art21

FLLAC on FaceBook

✭ Running through June 9 at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is "Fluid: Rhythms, Transitions & Connections". The exhibition, at the center's art gallery in Washington, D.C., presents the work of artists Francie Hester, Lisa Hill, and Rebecca Kamen, each of whom addresses questions relating to loss, memory, and our connections to nature and one another.

Hester is showing her Connectome Series, on the complexity and transitoriness of memory. Kamen, working with sound artist Susan Alexjander, investigates the biological and metaphysical relationship with water and the body. Hill, drawing on her parents' signatures, examines how identity is formed and altered by time and health.

Included in the exhibition is the installation Words as Legacy - A Leaf of Knowledge, created by Hester and Hill and inspired by the words of Bendan Ogg, a poet who died from brain cancer at age 20. A feature of the installation is a community knitting project that attracted more than 100 participants.

Words as Legacy

Rebecca Kamen's Fluid Series (Also see the series as installed at The Brink Gallery, Missoula, Montana.)

Fluid - The Soundtrack Story (pdf) Note: The Fluid sountrack is available to download at Alexjander's site.

Smith Farm on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

See my post "She Got to Build the Universe", about Rebecca Kamen's installation Divining Nature.

✭ New York City's Rubin Museum of Art, one of my favorite haunts, is presenting "Illuminated" through September 3. The exhibition, which examines both aesthetic and technological approaches to creating and adorning sacred books, features illuminated Tibetan manuscript pages and entire books dating to the 13th Century, in addition to a bi-folio of the "Blue Qur'an", illuminated pages of Jain Sutras, and other exquisite ancient texts. Also on view are book covers that are carved from wood, painted, and made of leather or silver repousse

Rubin Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, ArtBabble, iTunes, and YouTube

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stradivari and Guarneri, Violin Masters

By any measure, a violin is a thing of beauty,
an object of extravagant curves and burnished surfaces,
fragile and delicate in the hands yet powerful enough
to fill a hall with soaring sound. 
But not all violins are created equal. . . .
~ Introduction to Violin Masters

Two grandmasters of violin-making, Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu, are the subject of a new film that debuted on PBS May 1. Produced by John Forsen and narrated by actor Alfred Molina, Violin Masters: Two Gentlemen of Cremona tells Stradivari's and Guarneri's story with interviews with world violin expert Charles Beare and other historians and professionals, luthiers, and virtuosos of the violin, including Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas Zukerman, who share their perspectives on owning and performing with a Stradivari or a del Gesu.

Here's the short trailer for the film:

Watch Violin Masters: Two Gentlemen of Cremona (Trailer) on PBS. See more from PBS Arts.

Go here for brief biographies of the talent associated with the film. The PBS site offers a number of Web-only interview clips and slideshows.

Check your local PBS affiliate for program-scheduling information. The film is available for purchase as a DVD.

Also Of Interest

Beare's, Violin Dealer/Expert, Founded 1892

Stradivarius Violins at Encyclopedia Smithsonian 

Violin Makers at Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Interview with Poet Kelly Cherry

Award-winning Virginia Poet Laureate Kelly Cherry graciously accepted my recent invitation to be interviewed by e-mail. Part of that interview appears today at the T.S. Poetry Press blog, TweetSpeak, where Ms. Cherry talks about her earliest memory of experiencing a poem, what influenced her to become a writer (she's also a novelist, short story writer, memoirist, essayist, critic, and translator), her writing aspirations, and the wide range of poets who have influenced and inspired her. Ms. Cherry also provided a poem, "Two Roses", to accompany the interview; you'll find that, too, at TweetSpeak. 

The remainder of my interview — Ms. Cherry shares her advice to students, the value to her of her travels, her poetry collections she's most proud of, her experience as Poet Laureate, and the titles of poetry collections on her reading table —  is below. 

I first wrote about Kelly Cherry's appointment as Poet Laureate here.

Interview with Virginia Poet Laureate Kelly Cherry

Maureen Doallas: You were born in Louisiana and grew up in Virginia. What role does place have in your poetry?

Kelly Cherry: We left Louisiana for Ithaca, New York, when I was five, and when I was nine, we moved to Virginia—Richmond and Chesterfield County. I've also lived in Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, England, and Wisconsin, and have traveled elsewhere. All these places have impressed themselves on my work. Place is often but not always acknowledged in my poems. But place — and climate — are always important.

MD: And music?

KC: I love music and cannot remember a time when I didn't. My parents were string quartet violinists. They specialized in the late Beethoven quartets but also played Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, etc., and usually included a contemporary quartet on each program, which in those days meant, say, Diamond, Elliot, Riegger. When I was still crawling, I crawled around the legs of a quartet in rehearsal.

MD: Of the dozen poetry collections you've written, of which are you most proud, and why?

KC: Well, of course, every parent loves every one of the children. But I guess I'd pick out Natural Theology, God's Loud Hand, Death and Transfiguration, and The Retreats of Thought. I'm not sure I know why. Maybe I just feel more comfortable about them. Maybe I took big steps in them. I like Rising Venus for its bravery and organization.

MD: What do you advise your students who want to become poets?

KC: Read and write. Read and write. Read and write. Read and write. Read and write.

Secondarily, I tell them the wastebasket is their friend. That they must make good friends (the human kind) who write, and keep them, because they will need to cheer one another along the way. Also, that they are in competition with no one except themselves. And that if they want to be writers, writing must become a habit.

MD: Where have you found some of your most satisfying and meaningful connections to people or place?

KC: I love talking with my writing buddies but I also like to talk with people who aren't even interested in reading. I am infinitely grateful to my husband, who is smart and fun and kind. We both love our dogs Pippin and Booker. Halifax is a pleasant little town. I go to pulmonary rehab and enjoy talking with folks there and at a small seniors group I teach every other week at an assisted living home.

I found the Philippines to be full of generous, open-hearted people and am sorry I've not been able to go back. Theatre in London is fabulously exciting. Any classical concert is likely to send me into ecstasy, especially if the program includes Beethoven. Latvia and Russia registered deeply on my work. Germany's museums. The cities of Helsinki and Vienna. And, like everybody else, I love Paris.

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst [Virginia] has played an important role throughout my career. [It's] located on Mt. San Angelo, with beautiful landscaping and sculptures, [and] creative artists in residence have time and peace to work.

In 2009, I was a Rockefeller Fellow at Bellagio, in Italy. The center and the town are beyond gorgeous. I had a book I planned to work on but, even so, before I went, someone said to me, "Don't write poems about Bellagio in Bellagio. It never works." Sure enough, as soon as I arrived, I began a poem about Bellagio. Fortunately, my friend's warning echoed in my mind and I turned away from a failing poem back to my project. [Bellagio's] a wonderful place to write as long as you don't attempt to capture what can't be captured. It's also a place to meet interesting people working on interesting projects.

In 2010, I was a Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, working on a poetry manuscript. Again, a verdant campus, a studio with wonderful windows, and whole days and weeks in which to concentrate. Perfect!

MD:  What has most surprised or delighted you in your role as Virginia's Poet Laureate?

KC: I've never been around small children much, and getting to read a storybook to a bunch of pre-K kids was one of the highlights of my life. Such amazing energy! Such good spirits! And every single one was adorable.

I was also very pleased to deliver the keynote address at the opening of the Virginia Book Festival this year and to read at the National Book Festival last year. [You will find a transcript and recording of the latter here.]

I should also say I've met a lot of warm, interesting folks — beginning with the Poetry Society of Virginia and extending to countless communities — who care deeply about poetry and contribute immensely to the life of poetry.

MD: What poetry collections are sitting on your reading table now?

KC: Christian Wiman's translation of Osip Mandelstam [Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam]. For the Mountain Laurel by John Casteen III. Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith. . . . and Love..., an anthology edited by Richard Krawiec. Conditions of Grace: New and Selected Poems by Mark Sanders. A Wiser, More Beautiful Death by Miklos Radnoti. The Cold War by Kathleen Ossip. They Carry a Promise: Selected Poems by Janusz Szuber.

MD: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.

* * * * *

Kelly Cherry's two-year tenure as state poet ends this year. She plans to publish a new collection of poems in 2013.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Let Rain (Poem)

Let Rain

Let rain slip
from the puffed-up lip

of a cloud,
ping like the heart

roughed and raw,
needing a little

grey light of calm.
Let rain finger

its way deep
into ground dried,

cracked, and abandoned
by the hand

that gave it
inner life. Let rain

prime resistance
against a sullen sky,

tatter the sheathing
of morning's face,

remind us how shutters
shelter against the cold.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

My recording of "Let Rain":

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Muse: Kentucky's Poet Laureate

You know, when times are hard, people want poetry.
There is something about it that speaks to the human spirit.
And for that reason, I  think it will live.
~ Maureen Morehead*

Kentucky's Poet Laureate is Maureen Morehead, who will fulfill her two-year term of service at the end of 2012. (The deadline for nominations for the 2013-2014 term are due September 30, 2012.) Morehead succeeds Gurney Norman for whom I posted a profile here.

Information about Kentucky's statutorily mandated position and its responsibilities can be found in my post about Norman.

Note: In the coming weeks, please look for Monday Muse profiles on these Poets Laureate: Joyce Sutphen (Minnesota), Sheryl Noethe (Montana), Eddie D. Wilcoxen (Oklahoma), Sydney Lea (Vermont), Patricia Forlander (Wyoming), and Steven Kealohapauole Hong-Ming Wong, otherwise known as Kealoha (Hawaii).

* * *  * *

I believe that what is abstract, spiritual or mythic
 about a poem begins in imagery anchored in place.
 For me, that place is Kentucky....**

Louisville resident Maureen Morehead, Ph.D., is the author of the forthcoming Late August Blues: The Daylily Poems (Larkspur Press), The Melancholy Teacher (Larkspur Press, 2010), A Sense of Time Left (Larkspur Press, 2003; available through resellers),  In a Yellow Room (Sulgrave Press, 1990; available through resellers), and Our Brothers' War (Sulgrave Press, 1994), which includes short stories by Pat Carr about Kentucky women during the Civil War. (A first edition of Our Brothers' War may be available through resellers. The book was reprinted by Sulgrave in 1995 and by Howell Press in 2005, according to information at Amazon.)

To read one of Morehead's poems is to learn something about how deeply the subject of place informs her writing. As Morehead told an interviewer, "Poetry is imagery and metaphor. My imagery is drawn from here, and my imagery becomes my metaphor for what I want to say. You could follow me around for a while, and you'd see where my images come from. "*** The poet also draws on her teaching experience and historic public tragedies, such as the Civil War, the destruction of Hiroshima, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Themes in her work include love, isolation, and mortality, death, and grief, as well as time and memory. Written in free verse, Morehead's poems display great attention to craft.

Here is an excerpt from Morehead's "Why I Stopped Writing in My Diary" from Our Brothers' War:

It was May when we married.
I was sixteen.
The peach trees were in bloom,
and the white peony.

[. . .]

Forgive me.
Have you noticed
when someone you love dies
it is the sound of his boots upon gravel
that you wait for, [. . .]

Morehead's poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, California Quarterly, The Iowa Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The Louisville Review (the Winter 2012 issue is planned in honor of Morehead), The National Poetry ReviewPoet and CriticPoetry Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, and other literary periodicals, as well as in a number of anthologies, including The Kentucky Anthology: Two Hundred Years of Writing in the Bluegrass State (University of Kentucky Press, 2005), Place Gives Rise to Spirit: Writers on Louisville (Fleur-de-Lis Press, 2000), and The American Voice Anthology of Poetry (University Press of Kentucky, 1998).

The recipient of poetry fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council and Kentucky Foundation for Women, Morehead is on the faculty of Spalding University, where she teaches in the brief-residency MFA Program in Writing. She is retired from public school teaching to which she devoted more than 30 years of her career.


Photo Credit: Spalding University MFA Faculty

All Poetry Quotations © Maureen Morehead

* Quoted from "Maureen Morehead, Kentucky Poet Laureate", Kentucky Public Radio, April 25, 2011 (Audio is included with this article.)

** Quoted from Induction Comments

*** Erin Keane, "Kentucky Inspiring to Poet Laureate Maureen Morehead", The Courier-Journal, June 19, 2011

Video of Induction Ceremony for Maureen Morehead

Maureen Morehead Profile at Spalding University

Maureen Morehead Poems Online: "Tsunami", "To Matisse", "Books", "The Melancholy Teacher", "Words", and "May These Six Poems Avoid the Slush Pile", All at Kentucky Arts Council; "Ode to the Workshop Poem" at The Kenyon Review Online; "Plans" and "Walking the Beaches for Michael" at Southern Poetry Review; "A Woman Remembers Hiroshima" at The Poet's Corner; "My Mother Is a Hand" at Public Republic; "Why I Stopped Writing in My Diary" and "Driver's License" from The Kentucky Anthology at GoogleBooks

A broadside, "The Night for Writers" is available through Larkspur Press.

Candace Chaney, "New Poet Laureate Forged Her Craft in the Classroom",, April 24, 2011

Liz Nethery, "Maureen Morehead: Kentucky Poet Laureate" in The Magazine of Spalding University, Summer 2011 (In this brief interview, Morehead talks about her affinity for language, the inspiration for her writing, influences, and her experience as Poet Laureate.)

Barbara Sabol, "Shifting and Layering of Tone in Maureen Morehead's 'My Mother Is a Hand'", Public Republic, October 8, 2008

"Maureen Morehead" in L. Elizabeth Beattie, Conversations with Kentucky Writers II (University of Kentucky Press, 1999), at GoogleBooks

"Q&A with Maureen Morehead", Kentucky Monthly, November 2011 (Morehead's poem "November" appears in a sidebar.)

Maureen Morehead on FaceBook and Pinterest

Video of Maureen Morehead Reading from The Melancholy Teacher (20:25 minutes)

Kentucky Arts Council, Five Kentucky Poets Laureate: An Anthology

Kentucky Page at Academy of American Poets

Kentucky Poetry

Kentucky Writers' Day

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thought for the Day

God is not found in the soul
by adding anything but by subtracting.
~ Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart, c. 1260 - 1327/8, Theologian, Philosopher, Christian Mystic

The Eckhart Society

Meister Eckhart Profile in Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Today's new edition of Saturday Sharing reflects just how eclectic the Web's offerings are. Take a moment and browse the maps at Flowing Data, a site dedicated to computer scientist Alan Turing, the interactive Body & Soul, ballet in ultra slow-motion, and a digital archive of World War I poetry. Also enjoy listening to today's video recording of Marian McPartland's musical tribute to environmentalist Rachel Carson.

✦ The interactive Body & Soul is based on the book Body & Soul: The Courage and Beauty of Breast Cancer Survivors (Clerisy Press, Emmiss Books 2004) by photographer Jean Karotkin, who herself is a breast cancer survivor. The site allows you to view the book, comprising a series of black-and-white photographs of and brief essays about breast cancer survivors, and links to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national education and support organization dedicated to assisting anyone who is newly diagnosed, in treatment, finished with treatment, or years beyond living with metastatic breast cancer; it also provides information and support for family members, caregivers, friends, and health care providers. 

✦ At The Collections, you'll find a digital archive of First World War Poetry. Among the poets whose work is featured are Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen. 

✦ A Website dedicated to Alan Turing marks the centenary of the computer scientist's birth.

✦ At Flowing Data, find out what your state ranks "the worst at"; then look immediately below the "The United States of Shame" to see "The United States of Awesome". While on the site, also be sure to look at the "hand-crated wall map" of the U.S.

✦ Have you ever watched ballet in ultra-slow motion (1000 frames per second)? Here's an example.

✦ Enjoy this recording of Marian McPartland's A Portrait of Rachel Carson, the jazz pianist's tribute to the pioneering environmentalist. This year marks the 50th anniversary of publication of Carson's famous Silent Spring.

Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson

"Marian McPartland's Rachel Carson in Concert", NPR Music, April 2008 (You'll also find at  the same link a video about the making of A Portrait of Rachel Carson.)

David Hajdu, "Hajdu: The Many Musical Tributes to Rachel Carson", The New Republic, March 23, 2012