American Art – Part I of VI: James Brooks
Died 9 March 1992 – James Brooks, an American muralist and abstract painter.
“The dead of midnight is the noon of thought.” – Anna Laetitia Barbauld, English poet, essayist, literary critic, editor, and children’s author, who died 9 March 1825.
Barbauld’s poetry was influential in the development of British Romanticism.
“To a Dog”
Dear faithful object of my tender care,
Whom but my partial eyes none fancy fair;
May I unblamed display thy social mirth,
Thy modest virtues, and domestic worth:
Thou silent, humble flatterer, yet sincere,
More swayed by love than interest or fear;
Solely to please thy most ambitious view,
As lovers fond, and more than lovers true.
Who can resist those dumb beseeching eyes,
Where genuine eloquence persuasive lies?
Those eyes, where language fails, display thy heart
Beyond the pomp of phrase and pride of art.
Thou safe companion, and almost a friend,
Whose kind attachment but with life shall end,—
Blest were mankind if many a prouder name
Could boast thy grateful truth and spotless fame!
In the words of one writer, “Arturo Souto Feijoo (born 1902) was an important Spanish painter who studied in Seville and Madrid and then traveled to Paris in the 1920s. Prior to his exile from Spain following the Spanish Civil War, Souto exhibited throughout Europe. While living in Havana, Mexico, and the United States during the 1940s until his death in 1964, Souto continued to exhibit and developed a reputation as one of the outstanding Spanish painters of the twentieth century.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of IV: Johann Pachelbel
Died 9 March 1706 – Johann Pachelbel, a German organist and composer.
American Art – Part II of VI: David Smith
“To me, apples are fruit—to Cezanne they were mountains!” – David Smith, American abstract expressionist sculptor and painter, who was born 9 March 1906.
From the Music Archives – Part II of IV: John Cale
“The only reason we wore sunglasses onstage was because we couldn’t stand the sight of the audience.” – John Cale, Welsh musician, composer, singer-songwriter, record producer, and a founding member of the band Velvet Underground, who was born 9 March 1942.
Born 9 March 1945 – Robin Trower, a British guitarist, vocalist, and member of the group Procul Harum.
American Art – Part III of VI: Robert Mapplethorpe
“I went into photography because it seemed like the perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today’s existence.” – Robert Mapplethorpe, American photographer, who died 9 March 1989.
Despite the controversy surrounding some of his work, Robert Mapplethorpe was an accomplished photographer.
Below – “Patti Smith”; “Andy Warhol”; “Orchids”; “Gardenia”; “Lisa Lyon”; “Self-Portrait.”
From the Music Archives – Part IV of IV: Ornette Coleman
“I’m interested in music, not in my image. If someone plays something fantastic, that I could never have thought of, it makes me happy to know it exists.” – Ornette Coleman, American saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, composer, major innovator in the free jazz movement of the 1960s, and recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album “Sound Grammar,” who was born 9 March 1930.
“Turnaround,” from “Sound Grammar”:
“Any work of architecture that does not express serenity is a mistake.” – Luis Barragan, Mexican architect, who was born 9 March 1902.
Some quotes from Luis Barragan:
“I don’t divide architecture, landscape and gardening; to me they are one.”
“I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.”
“Architecture is an art when one consciously or unconsciously creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere and when this environment produces well being.”
“A garden must combine the poetic and he mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.
“Beauty is the oracle that speaks to us all.”
‘It is essential to an architect to know how to see: I mean to see in such a way that the vision is not overpowered by rational analysis.”
‘Life deprived of beauty is not worthy of being called human.”
“My house is my refuge, an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience.”
Above – Luis Barragan.
Below – The Campbell Divertimento House; the San Cristobal Stables; the garden of the Eduardo Prieto Lopez House; a section of Barragan’s house and studio.
From the Television Archives – Part I of II: Edward R. Murrow
9 March 1954 – In an inspiring act of moral courage, Edward R. Murrow delivers a half-hour “See It Now” special on CBS called “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy.”
From the Television Archives – Part II of II: George Burns
“I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.” – George Burns, American actor, comic, and straight man for Gracie Allen on the Burns and Allen comedy team, who died 3 March 1996.
And what a great team it was:
Here is the Artist Statement of Japanese painter Shinji Nakabori (born 1956): “Twenty years ago or so I faced the torment of missing the direction of painting, hopelessly at an impasse with no way out.
It was at that time of despair when I encountered Maitreya bodhisattva at Koryuji Temple in Kyoto. Standing in front of the statue emitting gentle lights with dignity beyond time and space, I received ‘something’ that I could not find appropriate words for.
Since then, it has been all I hope my painting will communicate ‘something’ that directly reaches you.
I am and will be on the way to looking for that ‘something.’”
From the American History Archives: Barbie
9 March 1959 – Mattel introduces Barbie to America.
Below – Three famous Barbie dolls: The first Barbie doll was available as either a blonde or a brunette; for some reason, the name of Oreo Barbie, introduced in 1997, proved to be controversial; Caribou Barbie.
American Art – Part IV of VI: Evan Wilson
Here is how Peter Baldaia, Chief Curator, Huntsville Museum of Art, describes the artistry of American painter Evan Wilson (born 1953): “The accomplished paintings of Evan Wilson imbue everyday reality with a heightened sense of elegance and grace. His varied subjects–including engaging portraits, dazzling floral still lifes, genteel interiors, and vibrant genre scenes–transcribe the world into something slightly rarified, a realm in which beauty reigns supreme. For nearly twenty-five years, Wilson has worked as a professional artist in the venerable realist tradition, evolving a painting style that fuses the keen observational clarity of John Singleton Copley with the dash and spirit of John Singer Sargent. His best works capture the present as they acknowledge the past, and underscore the enduring power of realism in skilled and dedicated hands.”
“Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.” – Charles Bukowski, German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer, who died 9 March 1994.
Adam Kirsch of ‘The New Yorker’ wrote, “the secret of Bukowski’s appeal (is that) he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.”
“A Radio With Guts”
it was on the 2nd floor on Coronado Street
I used to get drunk
and throw the radio through the window
while it was playing, and, of course,
it would break the glass in the window
and the radio would sit there on the roof
and I’d tell my woman,
“Ah, what a marvelous radio!”
the next morning I’d take the window
off the hinges
and carry it down the street
to the glass man
who would put in another pane.
I kept throwing that radio through the window
each time I got drunk
and it would sit there on the roof
a magic radio
a radio with guts,
and each morning I’d take the window
back to the glass man.
I don’t remember how it ended exactly
though I do remember
we finally moved out.
there was a woman downstairs who worked in
the garden in her bathing suit,
she really dug with that trowel
and she put her behind up in the air
and I used to sit in the window
and watch the sun shine all over that thing
while the music played.
American Art – Part V of VI: Thomas Cole
During the years 1833-1836, American artist Thomas Cole produced a five-part series of paintings called “The Course of Empire” that depicts the growth and fall of an imaginary city. It is notable in part for reflecting popular American sentiments of the times, when many saw pastoralism as the ideal phase of human civilization, fearing that empire would lead to gluttony and inevitable decay.
A direct source of literary inspiration for The Course of Empire paintings is Lord Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” (1812–18), particularly these lines from Canto IV:
“There is the moral of all human tales;
‘Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
First Freedom, and then Glory — when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption, — barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page . . .”
Below – “The Course of Empire – The Savage State”; “The Course of Empire – The Arcadian or Pastoral State”; “The Course of Empire – The Consummation of Empire”; “The Course of Empire – Destruction”; “The Course of Empire – Desolation.”
A Poem for Today
By Billy Collins
Smokey the Bear heads
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
and a box of wooden matches.
His ranger’s hat is cocked
at a disturbing angle.
His brown fur gleams
under the high sun
as his paws, the size
of catcher’s mitts,
crackle into the distance.
He is sick of dispensing
warnings to the careless,
the half-wit camper,
the dumbbell hiker.
American Art – Part VI of VI: Bryan Larsen
Here is part of the Artist Statement of American romantic realist painter Bryan Larsen (born 1975): “My goal is to portray the heroic and romantic in human nature and human achievement in a realistic style and a modern setting. I place particular emphasis on composition, technique, realistic detail, proper craftsmanship and consistency of style.”