American Art – Part I of III: Bob Clyatt
According to one writer, “Bob Clyatt grew up roaming the countryside of Northern California, ending up studying art at UC Berkeley in the 70s. Absorbing the zeitgeist of that time and place created a desire for fusion in Bob’s work – ancient and contemporary, organic and technological. Using clay as his central medium connects Bob to the
oldest art-making traditions, and he uses a range of vehicles such as assemblage and the introduction of modern materials and gesture to bring about a fusion in the work and give it contemporary voice. Bob spent 8 years in formal study of sculpture, primarily at the Art Students League, and shows his work widely in New York. He lives and has his studio in Rye, NY.”
“You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.
Then they stay dead.” – From “Distressed Haiku,” by Donald Hall, American poet, writer, editor, and literary critic, who was born 20 September 1928.
To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.
“The Man in the Dead Machine”
High on a slope in New Guinea
The Grumman Hellcat
lodges among bright vines
as thick as arms. In 1943,
the clenched hand of a pilot
glided it here
where no one has ever been.
In the cockpit, the helmeted
by dry sinews at neck
and shoulder, and webbing
that straps the pelvic cross
to the cracked
leather of the seat, and the breastbone
to the canvas cover
of the parachute.
According to one historian, “Lladró was born in the mid-1950s as a small family workshop in Almácera, a tiny farming community near the city of Valencia, on Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast. Born into a humble farming family, the brothers Juan, José and Vicente decided to dedicate their free time to making ceramics as a means of improving their prospects for the future. They enrolled in the Valencia School of Arts and Crafts, where Juan and José studied drawing and painting, while the youngest brother, Vicente, took up sculpture.
In order to put their new knowledge into practice, they built a Moorish-style kiln in the patio of their parents’ home. As their experiments became increasingly successful, they began manufacturing and selling their first ceramic flowers on the local market. Meanwhile, they had started to design and produce their own figurines in porcelain.
In 1958 they moved from their small workshop in the family home in Almácera to a factory located in the nearby town of Tavernes Blanques. The 1960s were years of strong growth and development. In fact, the studios in Tavernes were enlarged seven times until in 1969 the foundations were laid for what was to become Porcelain City, the home of Lladró porcelain art today. For over two decades since that time, Lladró has continued to spread throughout the world, fueling growth back home in tiny Tavernes. Today, with a headcount of two thousand people, Lladró markets its creations in over one hundred countries around the world.”
Native American History – Part I of II: A Blatant Swindle
20 September 1737 – Runner Edward Marshall completes his journey in the Walking Purchase forcing the cession of 1.2 million acres (4,860 km²) of Lenape-Delaware tribal land to the Pennsylvania Colony. In the words of one historian, “William Penn’s heirs, John Penn and Thomas Penn, claimed a deed from the 1680s by which the Lenape promised to sell a tract beginning at the junction of the Delaware River and Lehigh River (modern Easton, Pennsylvania) and extending as far west as a man could walk in a day and a half. This document may have been an unsigned, unratified treaty, or even an outright forgery (‘Encyclopædia Britannica’ refers to it as a ‘land swindle.’ The Penns’ agents began selling land in the Lehigh Valley to colonists while the Lenape still inhabited the area.
According to the popular account, Lenape leaders assumed that about 40 miles (60 km) was the longest distance that could be covered under these conditions. Provincial Secretary James Logan, the legend continues, hired the three fastest runners in the colony, Edward Marshall, Solomon Jennings and James Yeates, to run on a prepared trail. They were supervised during the ‘walk’ by the Sheriff of Bucks County, Timothy Smith. The walk occurred on September 19, 1737; only Marshall finished, reaching the modern vicinity of present-day Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, 70 miles (113 km) away. At the end of the walk, Sheriff Smith drew a perpendicular line back toward the northeast, and claimed all the land east of these two lines ending at the Delaware River. This resulted in an area of 1,200,000 acres (4,860 km²), roughly equivalent to the size of Rhode Island, located in the modern counties of: Pike, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton, Lehigh and Bucks.”
Above – The area acquired (shaded); Below – Lenape Chief Lappawinsoe, who protested the arrangement.
Native American History – Part II of II: A Forlorn Hope
Died 20 September 1932 – Wovoka, also known as Jack Wilson, a Northern Paiute visionary and religious leader who founded the Ghost Dance movement. In the words of one historian, “The Ghost Dance
was a new religious movement incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. According to the prophet Jack Wilson (Wovoka)’s teachings, proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with the spirits of the dead and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to native peoples throughout the region.”
American Art – Part II of III: Matt Hansel
A Poem for Today
By Grace Schulman
“The cure for loneliness is solitude.”
Hopper never painted this, but here
on a snaky path his vision lingers:
three white tombs, robots with glassed-in faces
and meters for eyes, grim mouths, flat noses,
lean forward on a platform, like strangers
with identical frowns scanning a blur,
far off, that might be their train.
Gas tanks broken for decades face Parson’s
smithy, planked shut now. Both relics must stay.
The pumps have roots in gas pools, and the smithy
stores memories of hammers forging scythes
to cut spartina grass for dry salt hay.
The tanks have the remove of local clammers
who sink buckets and stand, never in pairs,
but one and one and one, blank-eyed, alone,
more serene than lonely. Today a woman
rakes in the shallows, then bends to receive
last rays in shimmering water, her long shadow
knifing the bay. She slides into her truck
to watch the sky flame over sand flats, a hawk’s
wind arabesque, an island risen, brown
Atlantis, at low tide; she probes the shoreline
and beyond grassy dunes for where the land
might slope off into night. Hers is no common
emptiness, but a vaster silence filled
with terns’ cries, an abundant solitude.
Nearby, the three dry gas pumps, worn
survivors of clam-digging generations,
are luminous, and have an exile’s grandeur
that says: In perfect solitude, there’s fire.
One day I approached the vessels
and wanted to drive on, the road ablaze
with dogwood in full bloom, but the contraptions
outdazzled the road’s white, even outshone
a bleached shirt flapping alone
on a laundry line, arms pointed down.
High noon. Three urns, ironic in their outcast
dignity—as though, like some pine chests,
they might be prized in disuse—cast rays,
spun leaf—covered numbers, clanked, then wheezed
American Art – Part III of III: Dale Chihuly
Born 20 September 1941 – Dan Chihuly, a glass sculptor. In the words of one critic, “His works are considered unique to the field of blown glass.”
Below – “Emerald Green Seaform Set with Yellow Lip Wraps”; “Gilded Ikebana with Ochre Flower and Red Leaf”; “Misty White Seaform”; “Full Wrap Pueblo Cylinder”; “Fire Orange Basket Set”; “Thistle Bloom Macchia with Yellow Lip Wrap”; “Reduced White Basket Set”; “Cobalt Persian Pair with Red Lip Wraps”; “Silvered Venetian with Tansy and Oxblood Flowers”; “Putti with Octopus and Shell on Pink Base.”