Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year Games (Poem)

New Year Games

With every shuffle of the deck
we play a different hand,

your life, then mine, resolving
on one last roll of the dice.

You go first; pull spades, black
suits reminding me how, inverted,

hearts on short stems have to
pump extra hard. I kiss each cube

before casting the two together,
reluctant to admit I have no ace

in the hole. What a single pip
foretells is my step; it's taken.

A consequence always follows.
I draw Joker. No card's unused.

© Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Muse: Poets on a Theme of Bravery

... [G]ood poetry is all about taking risks. . . .
~ Alice Quinn, Introductory Remarks to "Bravery in Poetry"

On May Day, 2013, the PEN World Voices Festival presented with The Poetry Society of America and The New School an evening of readings and conversation on the theme of bravery in the creation of poetry. The event took place in New York City at The New School.

Following an introduction, seven poets offered their choice of another poet whose work exemplifies what it means to write with "passion, fearlessness, and a flash of inspiration". The entire event, which lasted one hour 14 minutes, may be heard below. Do try to listen to the individual segments (also provided below) as time permits. Each presentation (only three segments are more than 10 minutes long) is well worth your listening time (I particularly appreciated Eileen Miles's introduction to Akilah Oliver, a poet unfamiliar to me until now, and Hilton Als's reading of Brenda Shaughnessy's "I Wish I Had More Sisters").

Here are the recordings for the individual speakers, in order of presentation:

Mary Karr on Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998)

Paul Auster on George Oppen (1908-1984)

Henri Cole on James Merrill (1926-1995)

Eileen Miles on Akilah Oliver (1961-2011)

Hilton Als on Brenda Shaughnessy (Shaughnessy's most recent collection is the acclaimed Our Andromeda, a Copper Canyon Press title published in 2012. Als reviewed the book in The New Yorker; see "Brenda Shaughnessy's Ferocious Mother Poems", July 2, 2012. Here, he describes Shaughnessy as "a poet like no other.")

Recording of Opening Night Reading

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thought for the Day

. . . I say write what you don't know
and find something out. . . .
~T.C. Boyle, Writer

Quoted from T. Coraghessan Boyle, "Apologia" at Page Turner Blog, The New Yorker, October 3, 2013. The essay is an excellent read.

Boyle, author of at least two dozen books, is the author, most recently, of Stories II (Viking, 2013). Read an excerpt.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Short

Today's feature combines text and visuals to define "What Love Looks Like". The video, by Louisa Ma and Chris Parker, with sounds and original music by Lola Kalman, comprises six mini takes on the physics of love.

What Love Looks Like, videos 1-6 from Tangible Graphics on Vimeo.

My thanks to Curator Magazine, where I first found a link to the short.

Friday, December 27, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ At The Space, created by Arts Council England and the BBC, you'll get free and on-demand access to arts performances, behind-the-scenes videos, interactive collections, image galleries, and more. In addition to covering visual and media arts, the comprehensive site encompasses music, theatre, literature and spoken word, film, and dance. Offerings are available for PCs, smartphones, tables, and Internet-connected televisions. Users may search by word or phrase or alphabetically by genre, arts organizations, collections, type of medium, or title of work.  

The Space on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Commissioned by the Nevada Museum of Art, where the installation was on view earlier this year, Bloom "transforms seismic data" from the Hayward Fault into bold color displays reminiscent of the circle paintings of Kenneth Noland and the target paintings of Jasper Johns. Dedicated to Color Field painter Kenneth Noland (1924-2010), the project was conceived by artists Ken Goldberg, Sanjay Krishnan, Fernanda Viegas, and Martin Wattenberg. View the online version (flash required).

Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley, "Making Art Out of Earthquakes", The Atlantic, March 25, 2013

My thanks to Orion Magazine for the link to Bloom.

✦ High-end art purchasers can obtain detailed information about sellers, works, and any claims related to the works by using the services of The Art Compliance Company, a venture launched in October by Marion Maneker and partner K2 Intelligence.

✦ Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara has published a new book Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto (University of Chicago, 2013). Use this interactive map to view some of his images and read Vergara's introduction. A photo of the book's cover is to the right.

✦ Like that of Ron Mueck, the work of sculptor Sam Jinks will leave you in awe of the depth of emotion the artist creates in his life-like if sometimes surreal representations. Made of silicone, fiberglass, resin, calcium carbonate, and human hair, the remarkable sculptures are moving in their seeming vulnerability. In the video that follows, Jinks, who is collected by public art institutions and private museums and individuals worldwide, talks about his artistic vision, process, and materials. 

Sam Jinks from Sullivan + Strumpf on Vimeo.

Jinks's work was included in the exhibition "Personal Structures: Time, Space, Existence", held in Venice June 1 - November 24, 2013. (Watch "Sam Jinks at the 55th Venice Biennale".) He is represented by Sullivan + Strumpf in Sydney, Australia.

Sam Jinks Interview at Australian Edge

Sam Jinks on FaceBook

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In Dallas, Texas, Nasher Sculpture Center is spotlighting Alfredo Jaar's conceptual installation "Music (Everything I know I learned the day my son was born)". The installation is described as a celebration of "newborns and their limitless futures as Dallas citizens, bringing their voices together in a touching, symphonic experience." Visitors hear or will hear recordings of first cries of babies born in Dallas between October 1, 2013, and February 1, 2014; the continually augmented recordings are played at the exact times of the births. Three area hospitals are providing the sounds: Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, and Parkland Health & Hospital Center. Families whose babies' cries are recorded receive a special membership to the museum.

Jaar is a Nasher XChange Artist in  the project "10 Years. 10 Artists. 10 Sites" that is under way, city-wide.

Nasher Sculpture Center on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

✭ In Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection's contemporary series Intersections is featuring John F. Simon, Jr. in "Points, Lines, and Colors in Succession". On view through February 9, 2014, Simon's four-part installation of drawing, software, and computer-generated fabrication is "[i]nspired by the progression of movement in the natural world." Included is the artwork "Moment of Release", an enlargement of one of Simon's daily drawings (image of drawing; see Simon's homepage for image of Simon working on the artwork in his studio). Simon was among the artists who helped create an app for the Biophilia album by Iceland's Bjork.

John F. Simon Jr. at Gering & Lopez Gallery (See the videos.)

The Phillips Collection on FaceBook and Twitter

Experiment Station, Museum Blog (See "John F. Simon Jr. Works the Details".)

✭ The exhibition "Julia Margaret Cameron" continues at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, through January 5, 2014. Featured are selections from three of Cameron's major series: portraits of men "great thro' genius"; women "great thro' love"; and staged groupings such as Cameron's illustrations for Alfred Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King.

The Met on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, continues through February 2, 2014, "Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes", an exhibition of 28 large-format photographic works. According to the museum, this is Shibata's "first solo show in an American museum since 1995" and the first showing of his beautiful color images. Here's a teaser for the show:

Toshio Shibata at Laurence Miller Gallery

Boston Globe Review of Exhibit, "Toshio Shibata Sees Art in the Everyday"

Peabody Essex on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

✭ A site-specific installation by contemporary New York sculptor Lisa Hoke, come on down, is on view through April 13, 2014, at Oklahoma City Museum of Art. A wall frieze, the installation measures 15 feet high and more than 150 feet wide. Created from repurposed, everyday materials, such as recycled paper, product packaging, and plastic cups, that Hoke collects from eBay, local stores, and her own apartment building, among other places, the colorful mural is both visually eye-catching and an ironic comment on mass production.  

In 2015 Hoke will have a solo show at Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York City.  Her work will be in the upcoming group exhibition Object 'Hood at Allegra LaViola Gallery, New York City, beginning in January 2014.

OCMOA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday's Three on Art

Today's post highlights three books that explore spiritual practice and the arts.

Christine Valters Paintner's Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice (Ave Maria Press, 2013), available in print and as an e-book, is a guide to adapting the monastic practice of sacred reading (lectio divina) to a form of sacred seeing (lectio visio). Through the medium of photography, Paintner shows how it is possible to "receive" instead of "take" a picture that will open "the eyes of the heart". 

Eyes of the Heart at Ave Maria Press

Christine Valters Painter's Website

Con Campbell's autobiographical Outreach and the Artist: Sharing the Gospel with the Arts (Zondervan, April 2013) examines evangelism and church outreach with and through the arts.

Outreach and the Artist at Zondervan

Con Campbell's Website

✭ Michael J. Bauer's Arts Ministry: Nurturing the Creative Life of God's People (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013) offers case studies of practicing arts ministries that seek "to live and worship in full color". Bauer looks not only at theory but also provides a guide to establishing your own arts ministry. A peek inside the book is available on the publisher's Website.

Arts Ministry Trailer (Video)

Arts Ministry at Wm B Eerdmans

Michael J. Bauer Bio at Washington National Cathedral

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day Haiku

Cookies and cocoa
Eyes twinkling at dawn's light
The morning's unwrapped


Footprints in the snow
this early Christmas morning
Baby, please come home


If we make it through
December, my only wish
is snowflakes of love


What are you doing
New Year's Eve, up on the house
top, Santa Baby?

Merry Christmas, One and All!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Conveyors of a World of Lumps (Poem)

Conveyors of a World of Lumps

Mechanical angels — their big gold wings
flap with every Ave Maria — monitor clicks
and clatters of tiny beads passing through
many hundreds of fingers, misshapen
conveyors of a world of lumps. A girl,
thirteen, spins into tangles necklaces of pink
polymer daisies and pomegranate seeds.
A pinched-face inspector, factory-punched
medals spilling down his green wool shirt,
sits, stilled. For a woman with a beautiful
velveteen ribbon at her throat, the weight
of the prayers shifts with the schematics
of every snow storm.

 © 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Muse Reads 'Concertina' (Review)

In 1976, twenty-three-year-old Joseph Bathanti began his "walk away from [his] past" in Pittsburgh. That he'd earned a master's degree but "wished to spend [his] days among criminals" left his parents confused and hushed. Bathanti knew nothing of the place he was heading to — North Carolina — or of the place to which he'd been assigned — a prison in Mecklenburg County. For this newly minted VISTA volunteer, any road out of Pittsburgh, to freedom, he was glad to take. That "[his] life was just starting" left Bathanti "near euphoria". Driving south, he could never have guessed that it would take him more than three decades to articulate one of the most important lessons he learned as a "fugitive from [his] former life" up North: that we all, in our way — some by our choices, others by the misfortune of our circumstance — put in some "felon time".

* * * * *

It was not until the fall of 2013 that Joseph Bathanti, currently Poet Laureate of North Carolina, published Concertina (Mercer University Press), a remarkable collection of narrative poems that, in language both colloquial and lyrical, relate his true introduction to life, not only inside prison but also outside the razor wire.

The world that Bathanti enters while "still on the green side of life" is rendered as sharply as the concertina is "ribboned with scalpels / that incise vertically and horizontally at once" so that

[. . .] once snared, the convict, reflexively

thrashing (panicked
as it flinches into him), ravels himself through
a meat grinder. [. . .]

As we trace with him the arc of his VISTA experience, as embodied in the themes of memory, identity, time and place, and love, Bathanti shares with us readers the insiders' view of 

[. . .] The Death House, in a grassy side yard
spilling with pink primrose, [. . .]
[. . .] the gas chamber: an oak chair bolted

to the floor in a glassed confessional. [. . .]
 ("The Wall")

He pulls back the curtain on the "condemned", the men who were "mere likenesses of one another / amnesiacs, ghostly in their whites, // that odd gleam pooled about them— / not wholly there, but evanescent, [. . .] ("The Wall")

He leaves us to imagine the fear rising in the "escapes" as a pack of "chain gang bloodhounds", usually "caged in a skirmish of wire lots— / the same wire than penned the convicts—", were loosed "to run down" their "prey". ("The Dogs at Salisbury")

He does not spare us, the way an unnamed inmate was not spared, the shank that 

[. . .] doubled

as a toothbrush,
the fiberglass

handle sharpened
to a pointed hush

by scraping it
on the concrete

cellblock floor. [. . .]

The conclusion (omitted here) of "Shank" is stunning, the image and the words that follow it indelible.

Nor does Bathanti allow us to turn our eyes from the boy who "stuffed pillows under his prison greens, // duct-taped his arms and legs / with mattress batting, then crabbed // up the fence like a movie creature". The boy "[h]ung in the wire all night" and in the morning, after "the tower man shot him", he could be seen "hemorrhaging red feathers". ("Angel")

At the point that Bathanti adds to that poem the line "One is tempted to whisper angel—", we understand that something profound is at work in the twenty-three-year-old who traded a predictable life in his working class neighborhood in Pittsburgh for time in a prison in the South. The initiate with his college degree whom no one in Charlotte knew, who'd never before heard the word "recidivism", who was living where "[i]t was safe to be poor and dirty and radical, / to declare prisons cruel and unusual punishment, / that the death penalty be abolished" ("Faccia Tosta"), is growing up, beginning to lose the wide-eyed innocence protecting him from "the world that was so utterly strange" ("Freedom Drive") on arrival.

* * * * *

Time does not temper the truth Bathanti distills and documents on every page more than thirty years after his VISTA assignment ended. As he declares in another profound moment, "So help me God, there is no whole truth." ("Jury Duty")

Yet there is respite from the ugliness and violence, for truth is never one-sided and life is never all-bad. Indeed, the brilliance of Concertina lies in its skillfully ingrained and repeated refrain about the dualities present in all of humanity, whether a "mother, shackled to a sweatshop / Singer in a dim downtown tailor shop" ("Faccia Tosta") or the inmate "too exhausted to life his heavy hands to protect himself" from the blows of his keeper ("Cletis Pratt"). "A guard is not much different than a convict. / One hates the other, loves the other." ("Transfer Day")

The concertina, after all, can be played, too, and it's possible to enjoy, as Bathanti does, the intermezzos — the downtime with Joan, the woman whose hand Bathanti clasped on "[his] first Sabbath out of the penitentiary", who "lived in a boxy mill house on Moonlit Avenue" ("Moonlit Avenue"), with whom he enjoyed "miso soup and Roastaroma mocha, / the verse of Kim Chi-Ha" ("This Mad Heart"). With Joan, the woman who was to become Bathanti's wife, "[e]verything was crucial".

The love that passes for poetry between Bathanti and Joan prevents hardening and cynicism. It makes it possible for Bathanti to draw on poignant moments for sustenance: visits to the women's prison of children "in their perfect innocence and self-possession, / toddling dutifully into the arms of anyone // who reaches for them" ("Women's Prison"); the sight of "project kids" practicing etudes in a church cellar while, upstairs, ex-cons partake of "soup kitchen food" ("ECO"); a reading lesson with an inmate whose "tragic flaw" is "the presence / of an extra 21st chromosome", who, "[w]ith childish wonderment, / [. . .] whizzes through the drills" ("Teaching an Inmate to Read").

What comes clear in Concertina is this: where there is room for love and understanding, there is a place for hope and the possibility of redemption.

* * * * *

Concertina is a terrific collection of personal stories and portraits rendered in verse that is as eloquent as it is unfussy and down-to-earth. It is full of insightful and memorable lines — one of my favorites is,  "Dirt is not permitted / the amnesty of forgetfulness" ("Huntersville Prison") — and its metaphors are brilliant and sobering. The depth of feeling evidenced for the down-and-out is profound. The voice that speaks in the vernacular is pitch-perfect and, even as it fails to insulate us from the suffering it must address, it is capable of moving us deeply. Its owner, more than three decades on, shows us the consequences of choice, which, in his case, leaves him forever to bear witness to what it means to be alive and not.

* * * * *

Joseph Bathanti, profiled in my Monday Muse post of October 15, 2012, continues to do volunteer work with prison inmates. Like his project with veterans and his instruction of creative writing students at Appalachian State University, Bathanti's prison teaching is more than an avocation; as Concertina shows, it is a calling that this wonderful poet cannot and does not ignore.

VISTA = Volunteers in Service to America, Now AmeriCorps VISTA

Concertina is available in paperback from MU Press, online book-sellers, and book stores around the country. A number of poems in the collection have been published elsewhere, and some may be found and read online.

Bathanti has a number of recently published or forthcoming books, including Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, a book of creative nonfiction (MU Press), The Anthology of Black Mountain College Poetry (Jargon Press / Black Mountain College Museum) of which he is a co-editor, The Life of the World To Come, a novel (The University of South Carolina Press), and, in addition to Concertina, This Metal, a reprint of a 1996 collection (Press 53), Sonnets of the Cross, poems (February 2013, Jacar Press), and Anson County, a March 2013 reprint of a poetry collection first published in 1989 (Press 53).

In addition, Bathanti is the subject of Bathanti (Tin Roof Video), a documentary by Kevin Balling, an excerpt from which is available on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thought for the Day

There are great gashes in our world
that we love with so much pain.
~ Muriel Rukeyser

Quoted from "The Meanings of Poetry" in The Life of Poetry, Chapter 1 (Paris Press, 1996)

Muriel Rukeyser, 1913-1980, 20th Century American Poet, Writer, Dramatist

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Short

Today's Saturday Short is the 1944 Hands, a World War II propaganda film produced by the United States Army Signal Corps. Its source is the Prelinger Archives at Internet Archive. The Prelinger Archives offer films in the public domain that are available to all for downloading and reuse.

Friday, December 20, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ The visually arresting narratives of contemporary California painter Marci Washington are the subject of Marci Washington: For Forever I'll Be Here, a new title from Gingko Press (see cover image to left). The images that appear in the monograph, encompassing a collection of paintings (watercolors and gouache on paper) that Washington exhibited at Leeds College of Art in 2011, make up "a world of hidden stories, bloody handwritten letters, ghosts, forest threats, poisoned drinks, haunted manors, barren winters and betrayal", says the publisher. Put them together and you have a deeply dark tale.

A selection of images from Washington's series For Forever I'll Be Here, Dark Mirror, and At Night may be viewed at the artist's Website; images also may be viewed at Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco. Washington has a solo show this month at Rena Bransten Gallery, where her work will appear from December 19 through February 15, 2014.

Marci Washington: Selected Works, 2005-Present (Leeds College of Art)

✦ It's not to late to enter a drawing in the "inspired by Matisse" competition sponsored by Indianapolis Museum of Art. Prizes, drawn from a list of products in the "Matisse Life in Color" collection in the museum's store, are awarded. An online submission form is available. Submit by December 31! (See related item in exhibition roundup below.)

✦ New to me are the wonderful paintings of Paula Overbay, a featured artist this past September and October at Art & Science Collaborations. (Read the Q&A.) Take some time to look at the terrific work on Overbay's Website. (My thanks to my friend Deborah Barlow for posting a link to Overbay on FaceBook.)

✦ The lost art of blackboard drawing is the subject of Blackboard Sketching by Frederik Whitney (1858-1949). View the 1909 book at The Public Domain.

✦ My latest Artist Watch feature at Escape Into Life spotlights the paintings of Allison Long Hardy. 

✦ Texas-based photographer Noel Kerns haunts the night world in search of the abandoned. Using a technique he calls "light painting", Kerns restores to life the details we'd otherwise miss as we pass by what's been left to its own decay. Kerns has collected his images in Nightwatch: Painting with Light (Carpet Bombing Culture/Gingko Press, 2013), showing us decommissioned military bases, shells of gas stations, derelict motels whose beds have long been vacant, and eerie industrial complexes. Don't miss the selection of images available at Kerns's Website. I'm especially taken with Kerns's Ghost Towns and a group in Road Trip. Every image has a story to tell.

Noel Kerns on FaceBook and Flickr

✦ Science meets art in extraordinary images by Swiss artist and photographer Fabian Oefner, whose TED Talk was posted in October. (I shared it earlier in other media.) I've watched this talk several times and continue to be thrilled by the visualizations Oefner creates, among them the interaction of crystals with soundwaves. In the video, Oefner demonstrates live how he achieves some of his images.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ National Geographic, Washington, D.C., is presenting "Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment" through March 9, 2014. The extraordinary photographers represented in the show are Lynsey Addario, Kitra Cahana, Jodi Cobb, Diane Cook, Carolyn Drake, Lynn Johnson, Beverly Joubert, Erika Larsen, Stephanie Sinclair, Maggie Steber, and Amy Toensing. It's worth your time to visit each of the individual Websites.

A book, Women of Vision, featuring the photographers' personal reflections, as well as their images, accompanies the exhibition.

Here's a quick video introduction:

Whitney Richardson, "Women on the Front Lines and Behind the Lens", LENS Blog, The New York Times, October 10, 2010

Anna Russell, "'Women of Vision': National Geographic's Female Photographers", The Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2013

Matisse masterworks from the Cone Collection at Baltimore Museum of Art are on view through January 12, 2014, at Indianapolis Museum of Art. The exhibition, "Matisse: Life in Color", presents more than 100 works — paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture  — that reveal the great painter's stylistic and thematic development and range of subjects, including landscapes, still lifes, interiors, and nudes. The show includes Matisse's marvelous artist book Jazz (1947).

IMA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Spencer  Museum of Art at the University of Kansas continues through January 5, 2014, "Rockne Krebs: Drawings for Sculpture You Can Walk Through". The innovative, Kansas City-born Krebs (1938-2011) created transitory works in which he manipulated natural light and laser using mirrors, prisms, and electronic controls; many of his works were large in scale and site-specific, such as The Green Hypotenuse (1983), which incorporated a seven-mile-long laser beam, and The Miami Line, a light installation over the Miami River. The exhibition presents a group of works, including original concept drawings and a Plexiglas sculpture, donated to the museum in 2010, as well as photographic documentation and other supporting materials.

Be sure to visit the Rockne Krebs Website.

Rockne Krebs Obituary, The Washington Post

Oral History Interview with Rockne Krebs, 1990, Archives of American Art

Spencer Museum on FaceBook 

Notable Exhibits Abroad

✭ London's Tate Modern continues through March 9, 2014, "The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee — Making Visible". On view are paintings, drawings, and watercolors from collections around the world that have been arranged as Klee himself showed them; they span three decades: Klee's emergence in Munich in the 1910s, Klee's years of teaching at the Bauhaus in the 1920s, and Klee's final paintings in Bern following the outbreak of World War II. Tickets are required for entry.

A fully illustrated catalogue (available in hard- and paperback; see cover above right) is available and talks and others gallery events are being offered. Visit the Tate blogs for informative exhibition-related posts.

Here's a brief introduction to the exhibition:

Tate on FaceBook, Twitter,  YouTube, and iTunes

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Raising Voices in a Song for the Homeless

Raise your voice and help make this year's holidays memorable for everyone. As you enjoy this "Goodnight Moon Project" music video from The Stone Foxes, please consider how you can best contribute to ending homelessness in your city or town in America. 

A "Goodnight Moon Project" promotion is available here.

Eric R. Danton, "Stone Foxes Combat Homelessness in 'Goodnight Moon' Video", SpeakEasy, (Blog of The Wall Street Journal), December 18, 2013

The Stone Foxes on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Restoring a Kiefer Painting

The excellent video below is a behind-the-scenes look at the restoration, conservation, and preservation of a complex, monumental painting in three parts by Anselm Kiefer. As the documentary illustrates, the process of examining a work of art and identifying solutions to restore it to its original state is complex, made more so in the case of this particular painting, whose materials include barbed wire, sand, and dried flowers, because decay is both presumed and expected as a natural part of Kiefer's creative mark-making. Decisions about what is acceptable as decay of the varied and vulnerable materials and what is not are close calls.

The collectors Henrik and Victoria De Heus-Zomer purchased Kiefer's 1998 painting, titled Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen, ist die Nacht mit Domen erhellt, in 2011 and subsequently loaned it in perpetuity to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Their cooperation, close consultation, and collaboration with the museum to restore the artwork ensured that the extraordinary painting will continue to be seen for many years to come.

The museum showed the painting and selections from its collection of Kiefer's work in 2012. (See "German Art from Kiefer to Henning".)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Dark Discomfort (Poem)

The Dark Discomfort

Winter is walking
on my favorite beach.

I take up residence
on the dock, knees

tight to chest, survey
the sky the sun

means to leave
post-Thanksgiving gray.

Shore birds disappear
behind a cloud cover

of heavy fleece, quiet
somehow a primal fear

of the dark discomfort.
Not even the pelicans

and herons go shopping
for the last piece

of life the wind deserted
on cold, murky waves.

I wonder at nature's promise
of warmer, longer days,

make peace with time
spent watching the light

as a channel of stars —
Lynx, Orion, Cassiopeia —

lights my way home,
hopeful this holiday season.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This is a found poem, inspired by Kathryn Neel's post "How to Become a Better Writer: Artist Date on the Dock", featured at TweetSpeakPoetry on December 6.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Muse Reads 'Poetry at Work'

Poetry is part of every aspect of our work experience,
from our first job to our last one. . . Poetry is in work,
it is work, and it has been there all along.

In his newly published book of nonfiction, Poetry At Work*, Glynn Young relates how he first discovered poetry at work. He was at one of his regular weekly meetings, seated at the conference table, when he became aware of "a submerged conversation" that revealed certain elements of poetry: sounds, for example, and rhythms and imagery. As he continued to tune in, he writes, he also came to realize that "poetry shows up not only in a weekly meeting but in . . . the presentations we make, the spaces in which we work, and the successes and failures and challenges of work." 

That flash of insight — and the recognition that the key to finding poetry on the job is, simply, "to look for it" — left Young "stunned." In that moment, he writes, he grasped that poetry offered him a way to uncover the limitations, strengths, values, and truths of his organization — to better understand what it was and what it could become — and, in the process, to deepen his awareness of himself and his colleagues. That made his discovery transformative, life-changing, altering his perception of the inherent value of work — any work, all work. "When we work," Young writes generously, "we express and create poetry."

The first in a planned Masters of Fine Living series from T. S. Poetry PressPoetry At Work is not a how-to guide and it is not prescriptive. Nor is it academic, although it is clear that Young has taken time to read and research what others have written about poetry's value to business and includes brief profiles of well-known poets (William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, Wallace Stevens, among them) who made their living in medicine, insurance, or other industries. 

The book, a cogent volume that can be read easily in a single sitting, is at once both personal and universally applicable. And therein lies its value. Young addresses the entire work experience, from interviewing to retiring, and, through a judicious selection of work-related anecdotes, opens a conversation in which we can all share, because we can recognize in his stories our own.

In addition to those anecdotes, some humorous and others heart-warming, I especially like Young's characterizations of particular aspects of work as poetry; to wit:

✦ "Interviews, like poetry, are ultimately about ideas, even though they are ostensibly about people. Behind the people in an interview are ideas about careers, employment, the future, and organizational goals and objectives. Behind a poem is experience, personal and group history, philosophy, how one understands the world, and even hope for a different or changed future." (p. 27)

✦ ". . . The utilitarian cubicle . . . might be compared to the minimalist, spare structure of the haiku. . . A conference room, by comparison, is a kind of villanelle, where certain things (or lines) get endlessly repeated." (p. 32)

✦ "A commute of a mile is a short ode: Joyce Kilmer talking about a  tree. . . Our commute of seventeen miles . . . was . . . like driving Homer's Odyssey twice a day. . . ." (p. 37)

✦ "Like formal poetry, organization charts followed rules, patterns and accepted practice. . . Today [, however,] most companies model the organization of their personnel after the network, a different kind of poetry altogether. . . [more like] free verse. . . ." (pp. 61, 62)

✦ "Crises are the poetry of surprise, upset, and human frailty." (p. 80)

These quotes are evidence of Young's accessible, imaginative approach to his subject, an approach that makes his book an insightful, enlightening, and satisfying read.

Also noteworthy in Poetry At Work is Young's inclusion of "Poetic Exercises", the purpose of which is to get readers to re-cast their thinking about a particular workplace event, issue, or concern to understand it more clearly. "A poem requires you to look at a subject or a theme from a very different angle," Young states, adding that what we can read, hear, see, or write about in the form of a poem can help us "clarify, organize and inspire" the work we all do.

* Available in paper and as an e-book (Kindle).

Glynn Young, who blogs daily at Faith, Fiction, Friends, is the author of two novels, Dancing Priest and A Light Shining (Dunrobin Publishing). The leader of a Fortune 500 company's social media team, Young also is an award-winning corporate speechwriter.

Note: Please consider joining in the celebration of national Poetry At Work Day, scheduled for January 14, 2014. A list of poetry-related volumes for employees at all organizational levels, including Poetry At Work, is available at the link.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thought for the Day

If there is darkness in one's own heart,
what is the use of light on the outside?
~  Allama Iqbal

Quoted from Allama Iqbal's "Filling Our Void"

Allama Iqbal, 1877-1938, Muslim Poet-Philosopher

Allama Iqbal Poetry (In Urdu, Roman Urdu, and English Translations)

International Iqbal Society (Persian Psalms are found here; also see below.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Remembering Newtown (Poem)

Remembering Newtown

The pilot whales strand themselves
while a choir sings mass for Mandela.

Tomorrow we'll be stringing lights
in mango trees, shrugging off mourning,

and a Santa in every mall in America
will sit for a picture with a crying child.

The ornaments went up long before
we'd finished picking the meat off

turkey bones and put away our horns
of plenty. There is never enough

time to separate needing from wanting.
Already, ice has ruined Florida's oranges.

Up north we hear reports of small arms
fire cutting short a dream to play in snow.

© Maureen E. Doallas

Saturday Short

Today's short is the trailer for the film Far From Vietnam (Icarus Films, 1967; restoration release, 2013), a collaboration involving Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Chris Marker (film editor), and Alain Resnai—an extraordinary group of filmmakers. The restoration premiered and had a run at The Film Society of Lincoln Center before going into nationwide release earlier this year.

Friday, December 13, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ I first learned about award-winning glass artist Cassandria Blackmore through the wonderful Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While I am most drawn to Blackmore's superb abstract work, I encourage you to take at look, as well, at her fine figurative reverse paintings (the back of the glass is painted, fired, and then shattered). Blackmore, who lives and works in both San Francisco and Seattle, exhibits nationally and around the world.

Zahid Sardar, "Abstract Painter Who Shatters Her Images", San Francisco Chronicle, June 2010

Cassandria Blackmore on FaceBook

FLATT aims to be an online hub for information about arts philanthropy and development and a social platform for commentary on the arts. National Arts Club is the magazine's partner.

FLATT Prize on Tumblr

Art Monthly podcasts are available free at iTunes.

Art Monthly on FaceBook

Phaidon's new release Wild Art, by David Carrier and Joachim Pissarro, makes its objective the "visual exploration of everything and anything outside the exclusive and rarefied spectrum of the 'Art World'." In other words, it's the kind of art many people ignore. The brief video below will give you an idea of the book's 350 artworks, which include examples of such "subversive creativity" as food paintings and sculptures, such as artist Jason Mecier's portrait of Keven Bacon, in bacon; pavement art inspired by Classical painting styles, piercings and other body art, and Nele Azevedo's Minimum Monument of tiny ice-carved figures.

Read more about the book.

Phaidon on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ A relatively new title you might want to add to your holiday-giving lists: Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed (Chronicle Books, 2013), by Laura Heyenga (Editor), artist Brian Dettmer (Preface), and design critic Alyson Kuhn (Introduction). Produced with an exposed spine, the book features work by more than two dozen artists, some well-known and celebrated, including Dettmer, Noriko Ambe, Lisa Kokin, Guy Laramee, Alex Queral, and Kylie Stillman. Of particular interest is the information about how the artists make their work. 

Loren Talbot's feature at The Week, "Carving Art Out of Literature", offers an inside look.

✦ The multidisciplinary artist-driven project Operation Paydirt is dedicated to "advancing a solution to the devastating problem of lead- or Pb-contaminated soil that puts thousands of children at risk for severe learning disabilities and behavioral problems." In addition to raising awareness about lead-contamination issues, the project seeks to create a model for safely remediating lead-contaminated properties in cities throughout the United States. As part of this important project, artists are drawing "Fundred Dollar Bills"—original interpretations of one-hundred-dollar bills that eventually will be collected and delivered by armored truck to Washington, D.C., for presentation to Congress. The value of the art currency, it is hoped, will be translated into support of remediation of severely lead-contaminated properties in New Orleans and other municipalities. The goal is to collect millions of such "bills". The project is ongoing through the 2013-2014 school year and artists (and also the public) are encouraged to participate. Start here.

The Fundred Dollar Bill Project on FaceBook

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Up for one more week at Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, The George Washington University, is "Decenter NY/DC: An Exhibition on the Centenary of the 1913 Armory Show", one goal of which is to examine how digital technologies (and, in particularly, the proliferation of digital images) are changing perceptions of the world. Among the 27 emerging and internationally recognized artists with work in the exhibition are Cory Arcangel, Gabriel Orozco, Lisa Ruyter, Travess Smalley, and Sara VanDerBeek. (Complete Artist List) The New York portion of the exhibition took place from February 17 to April 7, 2013.

Digital Exhibition (Interactive) 

Exhibition Poster

1913 Armory Show

✭ In Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection's "Pakistani Voices: In Conversation with The Migration Series" continues through the end of the month. Using Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Series to promote storytelling through art, the exhibition presents the work of 29 emerging Pakistani artists and 20 middle and high school students who engaged with art educators and museum professionals to create "visual narratives about identity, personal struggle, and Pakistani history." The museum partnered with the U.S. Department of State to conduct in Pakistan in April 2013 a series of workshops about art and social change. 

The Phillips Collection on FaceBook and Twitter

Experiment Station, Museum Blog

Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, is presenting through March 9, 2014, "Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise". Organized with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the exhibition offers an in-depth look at the pottery, textiles, metalwork, jewelry, and bookbinding of Newcomb Pottery Enterprise and its role in using art to better women's lives and the business and cultural communities of New Orleans. 

A 360-page color catalogue accompanies the exhibition (see image, above to right).

The exhibition is slated to travel to Georgia Museum of Art, Athens (June 2014), Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas (September 2014), Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada (January 2015), and Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee (July 2016). Additional exhibition openings are available.

Newcomb Pottery Website (This site presents Newcomb Pottery's history and artists, as well as resource links, including Newcomb Pottery at Louisiana State Museum.)

Chris Waddington, "Newcomb Pottery Show in New Orleans Opens Vistas on Local History, Women", The Times-Picayune, September 30, 2013

Newcomb Art Gallery on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Eight Nashville-area artists are featured in "Abstractometry" at Conte Community Arts Gallery, Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Running  through February 2, 2014, the exhibition presents the work of Alex Blau, Patrick DeGuira, Warren Greene, Ron Lambert, James Perrin, Christopher Roberson, Terry Thacker, and Amelia Winger-Bearskin, all of whom use geometry or other sign-systems "to signify the role of technology, architecture, language, and design" in our lives.

The Frist on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Notable Exhibitions Abroad

✭ The Musee d'Orsay in Paris, Francis, has mounted an exhibition "Masculine/Masculine" (a video is available at the link). The show, on view through January 2, 2014, is a look at the history of the male nude from 1800 to the present.

Musee d'Orsay on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube