Category Archives: Art

Make Art – September 27th

When did it get to be the end of September?

Why do we make calendars in rectangular, regular, regimented designs when in fact it’s all chaos and it’s only by dint of sheer willpower that we can determine what day of the week and date it is?

I love the hubris, but I’m buying into it less by the day.

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Make Art – August 29th

For those of us who will have an “interesting” week ahead and may experience moments of incredible stress.

When those moments come (and they will), you can “Set SCE to AUX” (and that might well be the correct action to take out in the real world) but in your head, think of a scene like this or some other peaceful place you would like to be, perhaps with who you would like to be there with, and take a deep breath, hold it, let it out, and then get back to the crisis (it will still be there, unfortunately).

You will persevere and succeed.

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New York, New York (Pictures Day 23)

In summary: New York City had a life of it’s own in my head. In early August 2016, I visited there for the first time. On the first afternoon we visited Central Park and were there for hours, despite the jet lag. Day One started with a tour of the Intrepid and the Space Shuttle Enterprise, followed by the full two and a half hour cruise around Manhattan – south down the Hudson River into the Upper Harbor, up the East River under the “BMW” bridges, past Midtown and the UN, into the Harlem River, back south into the Hudson River, underneath the George Washington Bridge, past Grant’s Tomb, and finally back into port. To finish Day Two we had a death march to find a cab, went to the Mets game, left early only to miss the best part, and inadvertently stiffed a nice cab driver. Bright & early on Day Three we headed out toward Liberty Island – it’s hard to take a bad picture there, then went to Ellis Island. Bank on Manhattan, we went to World Trade Center Museum, which was emotional & grueling. Day Four started out with a trip to Times Square, after which we headed to the Empire State Building. The views of Manhattan were spectacular! Then we went to Yankee Stadium for a game. We got lucky and saw Alex Rodriguez’s final game & a huge thunderstorm. Day Five was “museum day,” starting with the Guggenheim.


On the lower levels of the Guggenheim as I wound my way down we got into the more “traditional” classic paintings.

Paul Cezanne, “Bibemus” – I absolutely love that one bright blue dot just to the right above center.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, “La femme a la perruche”

Edouard Manet, “Devant la glace” – all these dudes loved painting women, which is great!

Edgar Degas, “Danseuses vertes et jaunes”

Claude Monet, “Le Palais Ducal vu de Saint-Georges Majeur”

Pablo Picasso, “Le homard et le chat” – there were multiple pieces by most of these classical Masters, but this one by Picasso still cracks me up every time I see it. “Lobster and Cat”? Aside from the unique and amazing style, the concept and the expression on the cat’s face are just hilarious.

(Click to enlarge to full size)

No one was really dressed up for their visit, which was absolutely fine! Outside it was in the 90’s with 90+% humidity the whole time we were there.

Who knew that these guys had first names? I thought it was just “Monet,” “Degas,” and “Renoir.” Just like it’s “Elvis,” “Tiger,” and “Pele.” All so unique that they only needed one name.

One last look at the ultimate piece of art at the Guggenheim, the amazing architectural wonder created by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Another place I could have spent all day and then come back for more a hundred times. But, this being my first trip, if it’s Sunday we have a dozen more things to do, so that will have to wait until the next trip. Oooh, what’s that, another museum down there? Why yes, yes it is! Let’s start swimming through the heat and humidity down 5th Avenue!

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New York, New York (Pictures Day 22)

FaceBook, for all of its faults and horrors (of which there are many), does do a good job of reminding you of big events on the anniversary of those dates. This week’s it’s been telling me every day that it was five years ago that we were in New York City for the first time. Which, of course, has triggered all of my recovering Catholic guilt and Calvinistic-style Puritan work ethic about one of the larger hanging chads from this site – the “New York, New York” series of photos and narrative from that trip.

On October 23, 2019 I wrote for “New York, New York (Pictures Day 19)”:

When last we left our plucky heroes…

For those of you who are relatively new to this site, in the “old days” I used to post a lot of long, multi-part posts with pictures from various trips. (Use that “search” box over there to look for “Shanghai,” “Seoul,” or “Kyoto,” or look through everything in the “Travel” category.)

Over two years ago things got very busy in the “life” category and the travel series I was in the middle of (one of my favorites because the trip was so great and I had SO much fun on it) was showing off my first trip to New York City. Part #16 was posted on 18-May-2017, part #17 on 11-Jul-2017, and then part #18 didn’t post until 01-Jan-2018. Part #19…never got posted until today.

Let’s see if we can get back to resuming some of those earlier collections of posts. I enjoyed them.

I got part #20 posted in November 2019, then #21 in December 2019, then… Well, back into the void for another nineteen or twenty months. (It seems there was something going on and tying up my time and attention for the last nineteen months, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.) Anyway, now that I’ve got FaceBook harassing me as well (so to speak) and those posts are triggering all of the memories… As Arlo Guthrie said (more or less), “This time with feeling and four-part harmony!”


In summary: New York City had a life of it’s own in my head. In early August 2016, I visited there for the first time. On the first afternoon we visited Central Park and were there for hours, despite the jet lag. Day One started with a tour of the Intrepid and the Space Shuttle Enterprise, followed by the full two and a half hour cruise around Manhattan – south down the Hudson River into the Upper Harbor, up the East River under the “BMW” bridges, past Midtown and the UN, into the Harlem River, back south into the Hudson River, underneath the George Washington Bridge, past Grant’s Tomb, and finally back into port. To finish Day Two we had a death march to find a cab, went to the Mets game, left early only to miss the best part, and inadvertently stiffed a nice cab driver. Bright & early on Day Three we headed out toward Liberty Island – it’s hard to take a bad picture there, then went to Ellis Island. Bank on Manhattan, we went to World Trade Center Museum, which was emotional & grueling. Day Four started out with a trip to Times Square, after which we headed to the Empire State Building. The views of Manhattan were spectacular! Then we went to Yankee Stadium for a game. We got lucky and saw Alex Rodriguez’s final game & a huge thunderstorm.


Day Five was museum day for us. A quick cab ride down 5th Avenue alongside Central Park brought us to the Guggenheim.

The iconic shape was there, but frankly it seemed smaller than I expected. If I should have learned anything it to not judge a book by its cover.

It’s a magical place, and not just because it seems so much bigger on the inside.

This time we rode the elevator to the top and I walked my way down. Next time I’ll try it the other way.

Levels 4 and 5 had an exhibit called “But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and Africa.” With today’s headlines it seems to continue to be relevant. The piece shown above is called “Flying Carpets” by Nadia Kaabi-Linke. I found it simple but so fascinating. As the air currents in the room moved the pieces about gently the views through the bars were extremely complex and rhythmic.

In addition, the shadows on the walls had their own patterns and rhythms. The piece was inspired by the illegal street vendors from Africa and Asia who sell their wares in Il Ponte del Sepolcro in Venice. They must be prepared to gather up their wares and flee at a moment’s notice, seeking safety in both a literal, physical sense, but also in a more metaphorical sense.

“Study for a Monument” by Abbas Akhavan is built from bronze casts of plants in Mesopotamia, symbolically burnt, charred, and fragmented by war in the region for thousands of years. The placement of the casts on the linen sheets on the floor reference the way bodies are displayed in makeshift funerals after disasters or military or terrorist attacks.

From Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige this 2015 work is called “Latent Images, Diary of a Photographer, 177 Days of Performances.” It looks at the use of archiving and documentation for historical narratives, in this case concerning the Lebanese Civil Wars from 1997 to 2006.

Each book contains rolls of undeveloped film. While we don’t see the visual content contained on the rolls, each book has extensive detailed notes describing each photo contained but hidden.

This piece from Kader Attia, “Untitled (Ghardaia),” is a scale model of the Algerian city, sculped in couscous. The portraits are of architects Le Corbusier and Fernand Pouillon, who used the Mozabite architecture native to Ghardaia without ever acknowledging the source of their inspiration. Also present is a copy of a UNESCO certificate designating Ghardaia a World Heritage Site.

Given my art background at UC Irvine, I loved all of these for their unique characteristics. Next, on the lower levels, the more traditional collection of paintings.

 

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Make Art – July 03rd

Sounds. Convert them to graphics, then fiddle with the display. Suddenly they look like Mandelbrot fractal diagrams.

Sounds can be the most annoying in the world or a way to transform a mood, a day, a week. Music will do it. (This link in particular will reduce me to a joyous puddle every single time.) A voice mail with good news. (You got that job? You’re going to be a grandparent?) A raucous mockingbird going off. (Like the one across the street from us.)

One of my college art teachers said that I was fixated on bright colors at the expense of subtlety. 40+ years later, nothing much has changed.

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My Own Micro “Urban Light”

An art exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art which I’ve always wanted to see but haven’t ever yet motivated my butt to do so is Chris Burden’s “Urban Light”. While out walking this last Saturday I noticed my own micro version.

I had walked from Here to There on a Quest. It was along some busy, wide streets and I had strangers ignoring my attempts to help them. On the way back from There to Here I saw this side street running parallel to the Big Wide Boulevard and decided to take it just for the variety.

The first two street lights on either side of the street were these wonderful, ornate, cast iron (probably?) street lights that are probably 100 years old. It’s not a LACMA exhibit by a favorite performance artist – but it will do for now.

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Random Old Photos – June 24th

I’ve probably seen more garish things in an office – probably. Maybe?

This wasn’t hung in a gallery or someone’s home – it was in a reasonably small office. And trust me, it was freakin’ HUGE. I’m guessing 3+ feet tall, probably four, four and a half feet wide? And heavy as crap, the frame probably weighed 30+ pounds.

Is the painting valuable? Famous? Maybe, but if I had to guess I would bet it was a cheap knockoff or something mass produced and bought online for $79.99. It would have fit in with everything else…

The things you find when you go diving blindly into the old photos files…

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Panorama Playtime – March 27th

If you follow the instructions, move your iPhone in a slow, steady pace, keep it in the vertical plane, better yet use a tripod, then you’ll get a nice, wide, perfect panorama.

If you don’t give a crap about the rules…

(Click to enlarge to full size!)

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Art – March 08th

I’ve come up with nothing to share tonight, at least at first. No great thoughts, not deep insights, no rants against the stupidity and horrors we see around us. At least, none that I feel comfortable sharing right at the moment. So just when I was about to drop back ten and punt, I remembered that at this point the proper course is to create. To make art. (Which almost certainly will be crap, but art exists for its own sake, so let’s see what happens. Sometimes we need crap.)

So take some random photo – use Photoshop or another program as a blender, a high explosive, or a paintbrush – MAKE ART.

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Art – February 19th

Given what I started with and what I ended up with, I’m reminded of Bare Naked Ladies’ “Tonight Is The Night I Fell Asleep At The Wheel.”

I like the effect – maybe one of these times I should keep track of which filters and effects and settings I used so that I can more or less replicate it at some point in the future instead of just stumbling blind from scratch every time.

Maybe.

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