Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Silvering (Poem)


Her seed-cluttered core
bears no more fruit

to feed what need
still hungers for,

what another's eyes
have closed to.

Hands, onionskin
-smooth, hold

themselves the mirror
to aging.

Flint-flecked hair

like a lake silvering
in moonlight.

Words that once moved
through her heart


indifferent to gestures
of good-bye

she's been whispering
daily at  twilight.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Muse: Jane Austen Annotated

What goes into the design and production of an annotated edition of a Jane Austen novel? This short video gives readers an inside look at the making of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks (Harvard University Press, 2010).

Inside Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition from Harvard University Press on Vimeo.

HUP released in 2011 Austen's Persuasion: An Annoted Edition, edited by Robert Morrison, who talks here about his experience of editing the novelist. In 2012, the press published Austen's Emma: An Edited EditionBharat Tandon, the editor, explains here how he selected the illustrations. More on HUP's series of annotated Austen editions is found here.

HUP's Video Interview Archive and iTunes Podcasts

HUP on FaceBook and Twitter

HUP Blog

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Marked in Damascus (Poem)

Marked in Damascus

You prune, snipping
away what's failed

to thrive in sand
and heat and dust,

you, raising a desert
storm's lament of love,

its echoes uncountable
in the splintered wood

of ouds. Deep in a tangle
of sweet white jasmine

vines, the Levant viper
uncoils, its head already

marked. I hear you
hiss before it strikes.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Thought for the Day

. . . I think confessionalism is when
the material remains the property of the poet.
~ Stanley Plumly, Maryland Poet Laureate

Quoted from Lisa Meyer, "A Conversation with Stanley Plumly", Boston Review, Summer 1996

Profile of Plumly at Writing Without Paper

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Short

What happens when 15,000 volts of electricity go through plywood? Pratt Institute student Melanie Hoff decided to find out and, in the process, discovered the patterns shown in the video below; the effect, Hoff says, is "like lightning made from molasses." The grain of the wood affects both the pattern and its direction.

My thanks to Open Culture where I first watched the fascinating video.

Note: The music is "Aire de Zamba" by Augustin Barrios Mangore.

Friday, April 26, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Fans of Romare Bearden, take note: A new iPad app, "Black Odyssey Remixes", created for the Smithsonian's SITES traveling exhibition, lets you appropriate elements of Bearden's collages to create your own digital artworks. See a demo of the app here.

Jonathan Fuller salvages sea glass scattered along the Cornish coastline for beautifully hand-made wall sculptures that betray the artist's sensitivities to line and form. (My thanks to Hannah Stephenson at The Storialist for the link to Fuller's work.)

✦ Be sure to check the online exhibitions section of the New York Public Library Website. There is always something there that will catch the eye and inspire a click.

✦ While the combination of art and dance is nothing new, the Art Series launched earlier this year at New York City Ballet offers a first for the company: its own artists-in-residence who will be creating site-specific works during the season. NYCB's choice for Art Series 2013 is FAILE, an art collaborative from Redhook in Brooklyn, profiled in this ArtInfo video (photos are available at FAILE's Website):

Also see this video on the NYCB Website.

John Cage was a Mountain Lake Workshop artist-in-residence in 1983. The video below features some of the watercolors, drawings, and prints Cage made there. (The video originally was shown in conjunction with the recent exhibition "John Cage: The Sight of Silence" at the National Academy Museum in New York City. Information about Ray Kass's The Sight of Silence: John Cage's Complete Watercolors (University of Virginia Press, 2011) is available here

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, Massachusetts, has extended through May 26 an exhibition of recently acquired Kara Walker prints: "Kara Walker: Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)".  The suite is based on wood engravings originally published by Harper's in 1866; Walker has enlarged the illustrations through lithography and, using them as backgrounds, overlaid her trademark silhouettes, executed in silk screen, thereby upending our understanding, perception, and acceptance of history as traditionally written. Walker printed the stunning 15-image suite at the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies in New York. A catalogue containing the images with the original Harper's engravings is available. See images of the prints here.

MHC Art Museum on FaceBook

See for Yourself, MHC Art Museum Blog (A post on the exhibition is here.)

✭ Continuing until May 5 at New York City's International Center of Photography: "Roman Vishniac Rediscovered", comprising Vishniac's social documentary work from the early 1920s through the 1950s. This dedicated Website lets you browse the exhibition online. The images have been grouped into 14 discrete sections that showcase Vishniac's remarkable pre- and post-World War II photography. 

ICP on FaceBook and Twitter

Robin Cembalest, "Taking Roman Vishniac Out of the Ghetto", ARTNews, January 3, 2013

✭ In Salt Lake City, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts is presenting "Bierstadt to Warhol: American Indians in the West", through August 11. Drawn largely from the Diane and Sam Stewart Collection and focused on the Pueblo people of Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico, the exhibition features more than 100 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper.

UMFA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ On May 18, Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, opens "Life on a String: 35 Centuries of the Glass Bead". The show, drawn from the museum's own large historical glass bead collection, is organized thematically to explain the use of glass beads as ornament, trade object, and symbol of power and wealth. The exhibition, which also examines the process of glass bead production, will continue through January 5, 2014.

CMOG on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Notable Exhibits Abroad

Earlier this year, Britain's National Portrait Gallery, in London, unveiled two never-before-seen sketches, one cubist and one figurative, of poet T.S. Eliot. The exhibition, "Patrick Heron: Studies for a Portrait of TS Eliot", continues through September 22.

Felicity Capon, "Unseen TS Eliot Sketches Displayed for the First Time", The Telegraph, January 31, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Haegue Yang's 'Dress Vehicle'

It functions like a baby walker, which means
that movement itself is quite primitive. 

For Tate Modern's 15-week exhibition "The Tanks: Art in Action", which concluded last year on October 28, 2012, South Korean-born artist Haegue Yang created colorful metal sculptures of aluminum frames, venetian blinds, and macrame that she calls Dress Vehicles. She gave her three sculptures the evocative names Bulky Lacoste Birdy, Zig Zag, and Ying Yang

Light projections, triggered when viewers made use of a drum kit and microphone the artist provided, animated the sculptures, which are equipped with wheels so that they can be "danced" or moved around a gallery space by performers on the insides.  

In the video below, Yang, who is primarily a performance and video artist now living and working in Berlin, discusses her work and what she aimed to achieve through its creation. What to me fascinates is the potential of the performative aspect of these mobile sculptures, how they can come alive seemingly spontaneously in the space they occupy, if visitors and the performers who "drive" or "dress" in them choose consciously to interact. I'm also drawn to the rich implications of Yang's explorations of occupied space; of what we're willing to accept as constraints on movement, especially where our public and private selves intersect; of what it takes to motivate participation or interaction, to enter the "inside" when we are outside our comfort zone; and of feelings of being disconnected while connected. 

Direct Video Link (The video also is available on YouTube.)

The Tanks is a relatively new industrial space at Tate Modern. The exhibition, which included a commission by Sung Hwan Kim, was devoted to live art, performance, installation, and film.

For other videos about work included in The Tanks, go here. You'll find interesting articles at The Tanks Blog.

The Tate on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Tate Blogs

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Poem in Escape Into Life Feature

I'm delighted to be included today in a new feature at Escape Into Life: "Joy in Transgression: Poems on Poetry." Please enjoy the wonderful artwork by Susan Yount and the fine poems selected by Kathleen Kirk, EIL's poetry editor. My poem is titled "The Flavor of Neruda in Pomaire".

Thank you, Kathleen!

Some poems of mine also appear at VerseWrights, a site to which poet Carl Sharpe devotes considerable time.

Wednesday Wonder: Music by Theremin

The star of today's Wednesday Wonder is the theremin. Invented in the early 20th Century, the theremin is an electronic instrument that is played not by touch but by moving the hands back and forth in the surrounding air. In this performance, filmed at a TED gathering, Pamelia Kurstin gets to play the sound waves on which the device operates. Can you identify the songs?*

Direct Video Link

Interesting, there's a wealth of information available about the theremin; here are a few resources:

Jim Fusilli, "An Instrument Comes Into Its Own", The Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2013

Jane McGrath, "How to Play a Theremin", HowStuffWorks

"Among the songs played are Autumn Leaves, Lush Life, and Listen, Words Are Gone.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Give a Stone Another Name (Poem)

Give a Stone Another Name

Take up your quarried white stone
and give it, once more,

a new name. Don't speak
of its hardness, known only

to that other heart. Engrave
its fullest sound where you feel it

most: not in the empty hand, not
on the back twice broken. Feel it

where you lean into it, softening.
Let it call you, your own return to home.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Muse Asks Did You Know?

This post is another in my occasional series offering something you might not know about poets, poems, or poetry and publishing.

Did You Know. . .

Flannery O'Connor wrote poetry, some of which ("Effervescence", 1943), was published in The Corinthian, Georgia College's literary magazine. O'Connor's poems are among the memorabilia and other manuscripts in the Flannery O'Connor Collection housed at Georgia College

✦ Pushcart Prize winning poet R.T. Smith, writer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University and editor of its literary magazine Shenandoah, evokes the voice of O'Connor in his recently released collection The Red Wolf: A Dream of Flannery O'Connor: Poems (Louisiana Literature Press, 2013). Smith composed the poems in 10-syllable lines.

✦ Known for discovering talented poets and fiction writers, the North American Review is the oldest literary magazine in the United States. It was founded in Boston in 1815 and currently is published at the University of Northern Iowa at Cedar Falls. In print since 1842, The Nassau Literary Review is the oldest student publication at Princeton University and the second oldest undergraduate literary magazine in the U.S. Poet Galway Kinnell first published his work in the periodical.

✦ What is thought to be the oldest love poem in the world is inscribed on a 4,000-year-old Sumerian tablet.

✦ The first edition of The Norton Anthology of Poetry was published in 1970. Edited by Arthur M. Eastman, it contained 49 poems. (Anthologies of British Poetry: Critical Perspectives from Literary and Cultural Studies, Rodopi Bv Editions, 2000) The full fifth edition, published in 2004 and running to 2,256 pages, contains 1,828 poems by 334 poets.

✦ There is a Web-based companion to the fifth edition of The Norton Anthology of Poetry. Though intended for students, those of us who no longer are engaged in the classroom will find much of interest on the site, including a section called Poems in Dialogue, which links poems that address similar subjects; a glossary that explains all those terms instructors talk about; and a feature called Poetry Workshop, which uses text and other resources to enrich our understanding of poetry.

✦ Poetry is part of this year's celebration of the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Selections posted in tube stations include poems by Ghanaian Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Jamaican Lorna Goodison, Jo Shapcott, Connie Bensley, and William Butler Yeats and William Wordsworth. (Judith Chernaik, "Poems on the Underground: Time to Celebrate 150 Years of London Life", The Guardian, February 8, 2013)

Poems on the Underground

✦ The International Nonino Prize (Premio Nonino), established by the Nonino family of Italy in 1977, originally was conceived as a way to recognize Friuli growers' achievements in reviving and safeguarding indigenous grape varieties (background here). In 2012 Chinese poet-in-exile Yang Lian received the prestigious literary award. V.S. Naipaul, who presented the prize to Yang, was himself awarded the prize in 1993 (list of award recipients). Poet Jorie Graham is the 2013 International Nonino Prize winner.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thought for the Day

. . . a novel is the only place in the world
where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy.
The reader and the writer make the book together. No other
art can do that. No other art can capture the essential
inwardness of human life.
~ Paul Auster, Novelist

Quoted from "Paul Auster, The Art of Fiction No. 178", Interview by Michael Wood, The Paris Review, Fall 2003

Paul Auster on FaceBook

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Short

If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high,
you never do anything. . . .
~ David Foster Wallace

The quote above opens the wonderful animated presentation from Blank on Blank of Leonard Lopate's 1996 WNYC interview with the late David Foster Wallace (1962-2008). Hear more from the original interview here.

David Foster Wallace Books

Friday, April 19, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Take a few minutes to check out this relatively new contemporary digital art magazine, Visual Language. You'll find browsable issues here. Each monthly has a theme or focus (for example, the May edition will feature landscapes, the June mixed media, and the July figurative art) that is complemented by spotlights on blogs, art reviews, and artists working in the medium. An online subscription is free.

Visual Language on FaceBook and Pinterest

Visual Language Blog

✦ Don't miss the excerpt from the video Golden Sea on painter Makoto Fujimura's Website and at Vimeo. (A Golden Sea monograph is forthcoming and will include a 25-minute extended cut.) If you have the opportunity to see Fujimura's work, do! His paintings are gorgeous, evocative, and profound. (See related item below.)

Makoto Fujimura's River Grace

✦ A permanent site-specific installation, Laib Wax Room, has been installed by Wolfgang Laib at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. It opened last month. Earlier this year, Laib, whose work I first saw in a retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum in 2000/2001, created what is to date his largest pollen installation, Pollen from Hazelnut, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Below you'll find an ArtInfo video in which the artist talks about collecting pollen and his work's symbolism.

✦ Enjoy this interesting process video with Bruce Herman as he describes working on one of the panels included in "QU4RTETS", a collaborative exhibition with painter Makoto Fujimura, figurative painter Jeremy Begbie, and Yale composer Christopher Theofanidis responding in music, text, and visual art to T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets. A review of the exhibition catalogue is here. The exhibition is touring (it is at The Gallery at Barrington Center for the Arts, Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts, until May 1; gallery link), and plans are to take it to Japan, China, and the United Kingdom in the fall and winter.

F O U R Q U A R T E T S from bruce Herman on Vimeo.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Buffalo, New York's Albright-Knox Art Gallery is presenting through May 12 "Agnes Martin: The New York-Taos Connection (1947-1957)". The show features rarely seen paintings and drawings, as well as texts by Martin dating to 1957, the year of her first exhibition in New York. In September, the show travels to the University of New Mexico Art Museum.

Albright-Knox on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr

Portland Museum of Art in Maine is featuring through May 19 photographs by contemporary artist David Brooks Stess. The unsentimental 50 gelatin silver prints in "Blueberry Rakers", including portraits and landscapes, document the physical labor of blueberry harvesting and the social life enjoyed by migrant workers after a hard day of hand-raking. Stess spent more than 20 years photographing northern Maine's annual blueberry harvests. See images from Stess's "Maine Blueberry Harvest" gallery here and here.

In June, the museum opens "SHANGAA: Art of Tanzania", which will focus on the country's traditional arts and include 155 objects from private and institutional collections.

PMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Continuing through June 30 at the Dallas Museum of Art is "Loren Mozley: Structural Integrity". Showcasing 18 works dating from the late 1930s through the 1970s, all from public and private collections, the exhibition is the first retrospective since 1978 of the Texas modernist's work. Mozley (1905-1989) spent some 37 years in the art department at the University of Texas at Austin. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the show.

Uncrated, DMA Blog (See exhibition-related post here.)

✭ A celebration of the book, "Bound Together: Seeking Pleasure in Books", at the University of New Mexico Art Museum, continues through May 25. Books of all kinds — limited-edition and unique artist books, pop-ups, medieval manuscript facsimiles, architectural folios, 19th Century photographic albums, and more  — are on view. Of note are Henri Matisse's Le Florilege des Amours, Georgia O'Keeffe's Some Memories of Drawing, and a first edition of Frank Lloyd Wright's An Autobiography. The show includes work by such contemporary artists as Kara Walker, Julie Chen, and Enrique Chagoya.

UNM Art Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

National Academy Museum, New York City, opens "Visualizing Time: An Artist's Eye with Andrew Raftery, NA" on May 23. The show, which will run through September 8 and feature a selection of narrative prints from the Academy's collection, will focus on how printmakers structure their representation of time. Tickets will be required to view the exhibition.

NAM on FaceBook and Twitter

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Adanto's '3D: Darkly Digital & Divine'

. . . New cameras, printing techniques, and software 
allow artists greater freedom than ever before to take 
photographs of the real world and to generate images from
 the imagination. Indeed, the medium's value to myth-makers 
and storytellers has increased enormously with digital 
photography's capacity to seamlessly merge and morph
 pictorial elements, which poses a challenge to 
photography's historical documentary nature. 
Never has this been more true than now. . . .*
~ Robert Adanto, Documentary Filmmaker

The clip below, with photographer Lisa Holden, is from documentary filmmaker Robert Adanto's 3D: Darkly Digital & Divine, which explores digitization and its influence on photography, manipulation of images and visual truth, and, more generally, our "post-photographic" future. The film includes interviews with, among others, Jamie Baldridge, Julia Fullerton-BattenRuud van EmpelErwin Olaf, Sabine Pigalle, Vee Speers, and Tereza Vickova. The film's director of photography is Alana McVerry.

Adanto's debut film was the feature-length The Rising Tide (2008), an essay on the contemporary art scene in China; it looks specifically at the work of photographers and video artists. See a clip here. The California-based Adanto also is the producer-director of Pearls on the Ocean Floor (2010), which profiles 16 female artists inside and outside Iran and examines how they use their art to overcome stereotypes about their identity, gender, culture, and religion. Brief clips from Pearls on the Ocean Floor may be viewed here, here, here, and here.

Lisa Holden in Robert Adanto's 3D: Darkly Digital & Divine from Robert Adanto on Vimeo.

Additional clips from 3D may be seen here and here.

* Source: Selection from Adanto's "Photographic Reality" Statement

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Wonder: 'Grain Chaser' Virgil Leih

I didn't create that grain, I didn't create that beauty. 
All I did was [be] a participant to reveal the beauty
that was already there. 
~ Artist Virgil Leih

Minnesota wood-turner Virgil Leih haunts urban "tree trunk dumps" looking for logs he can reclaim for his art. A self-professed "grain chaser", Leih limits himself to native woods, among them ash, walnut, cottonwood, and maple, rescuing from the chipping machines huge (2,000- to 4,000-pound) trunks whose shape, texture, and grain catch his eye. He says it's his privilege to let the beauty that's hidden in nature's raw material be revealed. 

In the wonderful Minnesota Original profile below, Leih, who comes from a family of woodworkers, describes how his need for a challenge in retirement motivated him to become the innovative wood sculptor he is today. The monumental vessels he creates are impressive not only in scale but also in beauty. They reflect a genuine passion both for material and craft.

For a photo series about Leih's creative process, much of which he had to devise on his own to accommodate the huge pieces he shapes, go here.

Virgil Tree Trunk Art on FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, "Spring Trunk Show II" with Virgil Leih, March 19, 2010 - May 2, 2010 

Randy Johnson, "Scrap Wood to Polished Wood", American Woodworker Blog, April 28, 2009

My thanks to On Being blog, where I first learned about Leih.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is Never Forever (Poem)

Is Never Forever

Begin any way, with things
that have no name: the sky
scorning the moon, its
impersonation hanging on
the last rim of light, you looking
in the window of the cab
shutting out her hand raising
a bid goodbye, dust on the skin
of the eye refusing to close,
the futurist's claim there
is never forever.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Muse: Poet-Sound Artist Duriel Harris

A blog post by poet Donna Vorreyer was my introduction to the work of Duriel E. Harris. Harris collaborated with videographer and photographer Scott Rankin to produce the wonderful Speleology, which debuted in 2011 at International Literary Film Festival in New York City. It's a production that, like Harris's poetry, deserves attention. Listen closely to how Harris reads.

Speleology from Scott Rankin on Vimeo.

Text from "Speleology" that is used in the short is here.

The award-winning Harris, who, in addition to writing poetry, is a performer and sound artist, playwright, and professor of English at Illinois State University, has published Amnesiac: Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010) and Drag (Elixir Press, 2003). Harris also is a member of a jazz ensemble.

Duriel Harris Poems Online: "Portrait of Thee I Sing", Excerpts from "Speleology", "The Ascended Black", "self portrait in relief", All at Shampoo Poetry (Issue 35); "black magic" and "girl, 8," Audio at Drunken Boat (Issue 12); "Before this dream...", at Ploughshares (Spring 2012); "In memoriam", "Simulacrum: Sonnet after Reginald Shepherd", "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", All at Ambulant (Issue 2); "black hand side" at BlackNetArt

Reviews of Amnesiac at  Constant CriticKenyon Review, Lambda Literary 

Elixir Press

2011 InLiFiFe Films and Filmmakers (Do browse; there are some wonderful shorts here.)

International Literary Film Festival on FaceBook

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thought for the Day

. . . the way to live is to know
what you will forget. . . .
~ Richard Jackson, Poet

Quoted from Richard Jackson's poem "Living On"

Richard Jackson Pages at UTC and Vermont College of Fine Arts

Richard Jackson, "Translation, Adaptation and Transformation: The Poet as Translator", Numero Cinq Magazine, March 2011

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday Short

Filmmaker and screenwriter Kahlil Joseph's remarkable Flying Lotus — Until the Quiet Comes, recipient in 2013 of a Sundance Film Festival Short Film Special Jury Award, is today's Saturday Short. Filmed in 35mm in Los Angeles's Nickerson Gardens housing projects in Watts, Until the Quiet Comes, a collaboration with the musicians Flying Lotus, is just 3:50 minutes long. Depicting a black youth breaking free of his gritty, impoverished, violence-ridden existence in America, the film is described as "deal[ing] with themes of violence, camaraderie and spirituality through the lens of magical realism." Caution: There is a graphic opening scene.

Read Duane Deterville's prescient essay "Kahlil Joseph's 'Until the Quiet Comes': The Afriscape Ghost Dance on Film" (Parts I and II) at SMOMA's blog Open Space. Deterville calls the film "stunningly brilliant"; its "oblique narrative", he says, is "informed by African philosophy". Also see Hilton Als's "Kahlil Joseph's Emotional Eye" at The New Yorker's blog Culture Desk.

Joseph is part of the What Matters Most film company.

Flying Lotus on FaceBook

Thursday, April 11, 2013

'Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters'

My pictures are about search for a moment, a perfect moment. . .
Something always necessarily goes wrong. . . .
~ Photographer Gregory Crewdson

Producer, director, and cinematographer Ben Shapiro spent a decade making his film Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters. His fascinating documentary is an effort to discover what impels Crewdson, an award-winning Brooklyn-based photographer whose work is in numerous public collections and has been shown in museums throughout Europe, to devote days, weeks, even months to methodical creation of images that depict what is at once both real and not.

Poster for Ben Shapiro Documentary

Crewdson, who teaches in the graduate photography program at Yale University's School of Art, uses photography to, as he says, draw out "something psychological" from the ordinary he finds in suburban America. He travels with a crew of lighting, set, and production designers — the kind of contingent a Hollywood movie-maker might employ — to small New England towns like Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he literally directs or stage-manages the production of the images he sees in his mind's eye. In addition to working on location, he uses domestic interiors constructed to his specifications and yielding a narrative that's started but never finished. His images or tableaus, as he describes them, ultimately look like movie stills; the atmospheric shots, often large in scale, are beautiful (notice the lighting especially and the care taken with placement and arrangement of objects) but filled with silence; they're emotionally unstill, raising questions — about the subject and location, what did or might have happened — for which the viewer must conjure his or her own answer. (His typical title is "Untitled", although his image series tend to be named.) You cannot look just once at one of Crewdson's photos and not be struck by its sense of isolation and the underscored loneliness or sadness,  and even after looking many times you're left to wonder.

Here's the trailer for Brief Encounters:

In this interview at Nowness, Crewdson, who says "the most important thing is to create a beautiful picture," talks about his artistic vision and process and his influences.

The documentary opened at New York City's Film Forum last October. It was screened in 2012 at the  Newport Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival, Independent Film Festival Boston, Woods Hole Film Festival, and Savannah Film Festival (SCAD). Go here for a list of current screenings.

Selected Books of Crewdson's Photographs: Sanctuary (Abrams, 2010), Gregory Crewdson: Beneath the Roses (Abrams, 2008 ), Gregory Crewdson from 1985 to 2005 (Htje Cantz, 2005), Hover (ArtSpace Books, 2005), Twilight (Abrams, 2002), Gregory Crewdson: Dream of Life (University of Salamanca, 1999)

Gregory Crewdson on FaceBook and Tumblr

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Wonder: Animated Paper

Note: I apologize that the video, as embedded originally in this post, had to be removed. Please go to this YouTube link, where you may watch the film. A one-minute sample also is available on YouTube.

Les Trois Inventeurs (The Three Inventors), a cut-paper animation, was created by Michel Ocelot in 1980. Even if you don't understand the French narration, you will be amazed at the artistry.

Ocelot is a producer, film director, screenwriter, storyboard artist, character designer, and composer. Formerly president of the International Animated Film Association, he was awarded the Legion d'honneur in 2009. His films include Princes and Princesses, Kirikou and the Sorceress, and Azur & Asmar.


Brief Biography (pdf)

Michel Ocelot on Tumblr

Interviews with Michel Ocelot at GhibliWorld and Milan Presse

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Timeout (Poem)


You and I, we were always
too un-supporting, limbs careering,

threatening to break, failing to
hold, easily bared of our camouflaging

bark not thickened enough to shut out
cold air trapped between rings of years.

When that one last blow toppled
our newly rebuilt canopy many stories

high, leaves streaming to brittled ground
like corsages unpinned and thrown

down on one more spring's eve, you and I,
we stood in place just long enough

not yielding, not resisting.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Muse: Literary Lots

I recently learned about Literary Lots, a wonderful community-based program that aims to "bring books to life" by creatively reshaping, repurposing, and reusing vacant lots in Cleveland, Ohio, to promote educational programming for youth. The program was conceived by urban planner Kauser Razvi of Strategic Urban Solutions in Cleveland and artist Julia Kuo, who were inspired by the city's reuse of vacant lots for gardening or creative activities.

This summer, having exceeded its funding goal via a Kickstarter campaign, Literary Lots plans to transform from two to four vacant lots adjacent to libraries into six-week summer-program locales for Cleveland's inner-city children. If all the programming challenges are met and the lots secured, local artists, drawing on themes from children's books in the public domain or for which copyright or authors' permission for use has been obtained, will recreate in the newly christened literary spaces some of the places, concepts, and adventures from the books, designing, for example, treasure hunts, plays, gardens, or interactive games or other learning activities. Readings and classes in writing will be offered.

Here's a video that fully describes the concept for the program, which involves Cleveland Public Library and LAND Studio, and some challenges:

This is an idea that should be duplicated in all of our cities!

Literary Lots on FaceBook and Twitter

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thought for the Day

. . . Life's essential length is only a few pages long,
as succinct as a line of verse
 and as brief as the title of a poem.
~ Kiki Dimoula, Greek Poet

Quoted from Interview with Cecile Inglessis Margellos for The Margellos World Republic of Letters, Yale University Press (The interview is full of wonderfully quotable responses to Margellos's questions.)

Kiki Dimoula (b. 1931), Poet, Member of Academy of Athens, Recipient of Greek National Poetry Prize, Grand National Prize, Ouranis Prize of Academy of Athens, Aristeion of Letters of Academy of Athens, and European Prize for Literature

Three Poems by Kiki Dimoula at World Literature Today

What Sea? 20 Poems by Kiki Dimoula at The Drunken Boat

The Brazen Plagiarist: Selected Poems (Yale University Press, November 2012)

Rachel Donadio, "Inside a Greek Poet's Work, a Reflection of Her Country's Hard Times", The New York Times, January 11, 2013

Margellos World Republic of Letters on FaceBook and Twitter

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Short

The Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature at the 2013 SXSW festival went to the inspirational William and the Windmill, by director-producer Ben Nabors of Brooklyn, New York. The feature film, which had its world premiere in March at SXSW, is about "the boy who harnessed the wind": William Kamkwamba (b. 1987) of Malawi, who scavenged junk parts and scrap to build a power-generating windmill that is credited with saving the lives of his subsistence-farming family and others in Masitala Village, Wimbe. Below is the trailer for the documentary, a testament to how a single motivated individual can overcome extraordinary challenges, including poverty and hunger, to change lives, especially his own.

WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL (official trailer) from {group theory} on Vimeo.

Kamkwamba was just 14 when he taught himself how to build the windmill. His achievement came to the attention of Tom Rielly, an entrepreneur who subsequently befriended the teen and took it upon himself to help ensure Kamkwamba's future. The youth was invited to speak at the 2007 TEDGlobal conference (watch the talk for which the link is provided below) and later, with assistance from Bryan Mealer, wrote The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope (William Morrow, 2009). Mealer had learned about Kamkwamba from a Wall Street Journal article (see link below). 

Moving Windmills Project (This nonprofit, the co-producer of the film, supports Malawian-run rural economic development and education projects.)

{group theory} (This production studio, based in New York, collaborated with Moving Windmills Project on the film. The studio creates documentaries, short narratives, animations, and commercials. Ben Nabors founded {group theory} in 2010.) 

"William Kamkwamba: How I Built a Windmill", 4:15-Minute TEDTalk, 2007

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba's Blog

Q&A with Bryan Mealer  (This feature describes the origins of the book.)

Sarah Childress, "A Young Tinkerer Builds a Windmill, Electrifying a Nation | Mr. Kamkwamba's Creation Spurs Hope in Malawi; Entrepreneurs Pay Heed", The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2007

Friday, April 5, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Don't miss Elsa Mora's marvelous cut-paper sculptures at Art is a Way. Especially noteworthy there are Mora's The Secret Hand, El Corazon (Heart)Frida Kahlo Necklace, and Don't Be Afraid.

Elsa Mora on FaceBook

✦ Award-winning Italian sculptor Fabio Viale creates from marble "narrative forms" inspired by everyday objects. What he fabricates — a large crumbled paper bag, life-size interlocking tires, a boat that sails despite its weight — is astonishing. Viale had a solo show, "Fabio Viale: Stargate", at New York City's Sperone Westwater in January and February and, as part of its coverage, ArtInfo conducted an interview with the artist during which he talks about his artistic vision and process and the physical challenges of working in stone; you'll find the video included with the article "Fabio Viale's Radically Modern Marbles at Sperone Westwater". Viale maintains a studio in Torino.

A catalogue from the show is available.

✦ These beautiful colored line drawings are taken from Mario Kolaric's own journal. Kolaric, who lives and works in Belgrade, began making his minimalist drawings as a simple exercise that has now become a daily practice, he says in this interview. The fluidity he achieves with his pens seems to make the lines stand out from the paper, as if in 3-D.  (My thanks to DesignSponge for spotlighting the Kolaric project.)

✦ At Shakespeare! A Tumblr for the PBS series Shakespeare Uncovered, discover the great bard's tragedies, comedies, and histories in colorful interactive visualizations. For example, the illustrations for Hamlet and Macbeth show just how each character came to his or her bloody end.

✦ A recent acquisition by the Brooklyn Museum includes work from the arts collective AfriCOBRA, which was established in Chicago in 1968 to celebrate art that "spoke directly to the needs, aspirations, and experiences of black America." The brief video below introduces the aims of and some of the artists who belonged to the influential collective.

AfriCOBRA on Tumblr

AfriCOBRA The Wall of Respect (Video)

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ "State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970" continues through May 19 at SITE Santa Fe. The exhibition, featuring some 150 works by 60 artists, focuses on the development of conceptual, video, performance, and installation art among California artists in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

SITE Santa Fe on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Cutting-edge conceptual and technical trends in woodworking are examined in "Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design" at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Running through July 7, the exhibition, part of the museum's Materials and Process series, features dozens of installations, sculptures, furniture, and objects by more than 50 artists and designers, including Ursula von Rydinsvard, Martin Puryear, Sarah Oppenheimer, Gary Carsley, Maarten Baas, and Wendell Castle. All the work in the show has been created since 2000 and is grouped loosely around themes of mimicry, assemblage, virtuosity, and purposeful whimsy. A 160-page catalogue that includes essays on the exhibition's conceptual framework, cultural preoccupations with wood, and how history, environmental issues, and politics have influenced use of wood is available. The exhibition originated at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.

On May 8 at the New York Public Library, participating sculptors Ursula von Rydingsvard, Willie Cole, and Sarah Oppenheimer as well as designer Sebastian Errazuriz will be discussing the exhibition with moderator and exhibition curator Lowery Stokes Sims

MADMuseum on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ In Poughkeepsie, New York, Vassar College's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center continues through June 30 the survey "The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation". Among the 40 artists whose work is represented are Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, Chuck Close, Robert Mapplethorpe, and William Wegman, as well as Byran Graf, Catherine Opie, and Dash Snow

FLLAC on FaceBook, YouTube, and Vimeo 

✭ Work by local photographers Nels Akerlund (portraits of local residents), Brian Hampton (wildlife images and video), and Bradley Nordlof (images of natural landscapes) will be featured in "Exposed" at Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois. The exhibition opens April 26 and continues through August 11.

The current retrospective exhibition of Chicago native Michele Feder-Nadoff, whose body of work includes painting, lost-wax casting, embroidery, sculpture, and drawing, concludes April 14. 

RAM on FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest

✭ In Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Museum of Art is showing 37 paintings, watercolors, and works on paper by Mark Rothko; most of the work is drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. "Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade 1940-1950"continues through May 26.

Mark Rothko at National Gallery of Art

CMA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roger Feldman's 'EKKO: Return'

The metaphorical connection between what's going on outside
the piece and what's going on inside the piece, I think relates to
what's going on, what we perceive the world around us is saying
to us and what we're hearing on the inside. . . .

There's an ancient Chinese proverb that says I hear, I forget, I see,
I remember, I do, I understand. . .  And that is probably the premise
of all my work for the past 30 years. . . that I'm interested in 
experiential metaphor. . . 

I would rather have the viewer move into the piece, 
be part of the process, experience [it] with all the senses. . .
People have to think for  themselves, understand for themselves 
what this is about, and make sense of it.
~ Artist Roger Feldman

In December 2011, I presented the first of what was to become a two-part documentary about artist Roger Feldman's creation of EKKO commissioned for Scotland's Freswick Castle, built on the foundations of a 12th Century Viking settlement. (Read my post "Roger Feldman's Art of Kinesthetic Experience" and watch Part 1.) Feldman completed his stonework installation at Freswick in 2012, thus allowing the completion of the documentary by Toby Watts (Far North Film). His installation is beautifully sited and deeply evocative, its spiral design recalling the hand of the wind as it sweeps across the land, the curve of the waves breaking off the coast; its hewn stones stand as a reminder of what perseveres and lasts. 

Here is the second and final part of the documentary, Ekko: Return:

ekko: Return from Far North Film on Vimeo.

Feldman is a professor of art at Seattle Pacific University. (His faculty profile is here.)

The documentary also is available at the Far North Film Website.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Wonder: Kurtis Hough's 'Toyland'

The short Toyland (2012) from digital freelance artist, 3D animator, and filmmaker Kurtis Hough of Kh Studios in Oregon and The Ocean Floor is described as "a festive technicolor dreamland". Take a look; I think you'll agree! 

Find a few minutes to view at Hough's Website or on Vimeo some of Hough's other films and unique creations, including his 3D animation and motion graphics, photographs, and paintings. He's blessed with a creative spirit, a talent for the off-beat and experimental, and a playful engagement with the conceptual and the surreal.

Kurtis Hough on FaceBook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Etsy

My thanks to The Creators Project, where I first learned of Hough's work.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recounting Seasons (Poem)

Recounting Seasons

You recall how winter
colored your love, left it

overly delicate, like a flower
skimmed of all fragrance.

You hear in the long last notes
of the nightingale's song

how to harbor what's left
of joy, how spring clutches

the green shoot of life and holds
on and on through summer, prepares

for no end that is sure in coming,
the fall ever endlessly repeating.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem first appeared in Every Day Poems, published by T.S. Poetry Press and filling in-boxes everywhere five days a week.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Muse: Espada Talks About Poetry

. . . for hope we don't need certainty, only POSSIBILITY.
~  Howard Zinn

Brooklyn-born activist, historian, author, playwright, and professor Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States (first published in 1980, it sold several million copies and continues to be used), had an extraordinary life. A shipyard worker and Air Force bombardier during World War II, he earned a doctorate in history and subsequently was appointed head of the history department at Spelman College. After the college fired him, Zinn taught political science at Boston University until he retired. Highly political aware, he both observed and participated in the radical politics of the 1960s, most notably in the founding activities of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and in the civil rights movement in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. In addition to a Lannan Foundation award for nonfiction, Zinn received the Eugene V. Debs award for writing and political activism.

On the occasion of Zinn's death in 2010, poet, essayist, and translator Martin Espada, who describes Zinn as "a very dear friend of mine" and the most decent, most generous human being I have ever known", wrote a poem to honor Zinn. It became one of two. The first, Espada said, "didn't quite say what I wanted it to say. I had to wait almost three years to find the words I wanted to say, words of farewell, words of thanks." It is that second poem that Espada reads during his interview with Bill Moyers broadcast earlier this year (see second video below). It's a wonderful reading of a wonderful poem whose intimate and concrete details speak to who Zinn was.

The poem "Castles for the Laborers and Ball Games on the Radio" appeared in the special "Living Our Values" issue of The Progressive in January of this year.

Espada, also a political activist who appeared in the Zinn documentary The People Speak, is the author of at least 18 collections of poems, translations, and essays. His most recent book of poems is The Trouble Ball (W.W. Norton, 2011; paperback, 2012). A professor in the English department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Espada is the recipient of numerous awards. His is an important and inspiring voice. A sampling of his poems is here (others may be found online, along with readings on YouTube), and excerpts from his 2007 talk with Moyers are here. In a podcast with Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive, Espada talks about The Trouble Ball.

The 2013 Moyers interview with Espada is excellent. Espada eloquently talks about the place of poetry and the poetic tradition, as well as poetry's relationship to politics in the world today.

. . . there are times when poets have to go to places that cannot
be explained away as a matter of evidence and logic. 
That we have to be able to reach out and put our hands on 
the intangible, to feel it to see it.

. . . [With poetry,] we are breaking through the boundaries
of what we accept as a given every single day.
And we see something else as possible.
~ Martin Espada

Of Note

"Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train" (Video) The book of the same name can be found on Amazon, along with many other of Zinn's works.

The People Speak (Documentary)

Howard Zinn on FaceBook