American Art – Part I of IV: Kenneth Noland
“Usually I throw away what I don’t get right the first time.” – Kenneth Noland, American painter, who was born 10 April 1924.
“From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.” – From “The Garden of Proserpine,” by Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet, playwright, novelist, critic, and six-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, who died 10 April 1909.
From “Atalanta in Calydon” – I. Chorus: “When the Hounds of Spring”
WHEN the hounds of spring are on winter’s traces,
The mother of months in meadow or plain
Fills the shadows and windy places
With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain;
And the brown bright nightingale amorous
Is half assuaged for Itylus,
For the Thracian ships and the foreign faces.
The tongueless vigil, and all the pain.
Come with bows bent and with emptying of quivers,
Maiden most perfect, lady of light,
With a noise of winds and many rivers,
With a clamour of waters, and with might;
Bind on thy sandals, O thou most fleet,
Over the splendour and speed of thy feet;
For the faint east quickens, the wan west shivers,
Round the feet of the day and the feet of the night.
Where shall we find her, how shall we sing to her,
Fold our hands round her knees, and cling?
O that man’s heart were as fire and could spring to her,
Fire, or the strength of the streams that spring!
For the stars and the winds are unto her
As raiment, as songs of the harp-player;
For the risen stars and the fallen cling to her,
And the southwest-wind and the west-wind sing.
For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remember’d is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the Spring begins.
The full streams feed on flower of rushes,
Ripe grasses trammel a travelling foot,
The faint fresh flame of the young year flushes
From leaf to flower and flower to fruit;
And fruit and leaf are as gold and fire,
And the oat is heard above the lyre,
And the hoofed heel of a satyr crushes
The chestnut-husk at the chestnut-root.
And Pan by noon and Bacchus by night,
Fleeter of foot than the fleet-foot kid,
Follows with a dancing and fills with delight
The Mænad and the Bassarid;
And soft as lips that laugh and hide
The laughing leaves of the trees divide,
And screen from seeing and leave in sight
The god pursuing, the maiden hid.
The ivy falls with the Bacchanal’s hair
Over her eyebrows hiding her eyes;
The wild vine slipping down leaves bare
Her bright breast shortening into sighs;
The wild vine slips with the weight of its leaves,
But the berried ivy catches and cleaves
To the limbs that glitter, the feet that scare
The wolf that follows, the fawn that flies.
American Art – Part II of IV: Ken Min
“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.” – William Hazlitt, English literary critic, essayist, and painter, who was born 10 April 1778.
Some quotes from the work of William Hazlitt:
“Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.”
“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.”
“He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies.”
“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.
“We are never so much disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves.”
“The world loves to be amused by hollow professions, to be deceived by flattering appearances, to live in a state of hallucination; and can forgive everything but the plain, downright, simple, honest truth.”
“Travel’s greatest purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
“The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure much.”
“If I have not read a book before, it is, for all intents and purposes, new to me whether it was printed yesterday or three hundred years “I’m not smart, but I like to observe. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”
“Prejudice is the child of ignorance.”
“Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this gives us no concern. Why, then, should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be?”
“We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.”
Above – A Self-Portrait from about 1802.
Here is part of the Artist Statement of painter Karina Rungenfelde (born 1978): “I’m Ukrainian by nation, but I was born in Riga and received my Fine Arts Master’s degree in painting in the Art Academy in Latvia. I got irresistibly inspired by Ukrainian folklore fairytales and old classical paintings of Russian school.
I have never been in Spain, but I have always admired Spanish art and culture. Some of my works are inspired by several different influential Spanish artists, ranging from the 17th to the 20th century.”
“I’d rather be homesick than home.” – Leo Vroman Dutch-American poet, who was born 10 April 1915.
In Paradise there stands a tree.
Its trunk is gray with streaks of white.
Its leaves are gray but give off light.
It is the forbidden tree
of Knowledge of nuclear energy.
It is so great that everywhere
we must breathe its lethal air,
and its millions of seeds
are our lethal deeds.
We may close our mouth and eyes
to leave this past behind us,
but in or out of Paradise
Fate will find us.
Below – Mark Bryan: “Devil’s Due” (painting of El Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant)
From the Music Archives: Bobbie Smith
Born 10 April 1936 – Bobbie Smith, and American singer and member of The Spinners.
“You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?”- Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese poet, artist, and author of “The Prophet,” who died 10 April 1931.
Some quotes from “The Prophet”:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
“The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.”
“When you part from your friend,
you grieve not.
For that which you love most in him
may be clearer in his absence,
as the mountain to the climber
is clearer from the plain.”
“You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link. This is but half the truth. You are also as strong as your strongest link. To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of ocean by the frailty of its foam. To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the seasons for their inconstancy.”
“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Guatemalan painter Erwin Guillermo (born 1951): “He is actually one of the best representatives of Guatemalan Art. His style: expressionist, figurative, and symbolic glows in themes such as, traditions, politics, festivities, popular icons, social contradictions; like anguish, despair, and love. Colorful works where fruits, animals, the exuberance of the Guatemalan Tropics, and a particularly stylized sensuality of the human figure, mesh to transmit emotions and establish a dialogue between spectator and the artist.”
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux, American travel writer, novelist, and author of “The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia” ” and “The Mosquito Coast,” who was born 10 April 1941.
Some quotes from the work of Paul Theroux:
“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown.”
“Luxury is the enemy of observation, a costly indulgence that induces such a good feeling that you notice nothing. Luxury spoils and infantilizes you and prevents you from knowing the world. That is its purpose, the reason why luxury cruises and great hotels are full of fatheads who, when they express an opinion, seem as though they are from another planet. It was also my experience that one of the worst aspects of travelling with wealthy people, apart from the fact that the rich never listen, is that they constantly groused about the high cost of living – indeed, the rich usually complained of being poor.”
“Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.”
“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.”
“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back.”
“I think most serious and omnivorous readers are alike- intense in their dedication to the word, quiet-minded, but relieved and eagerly talkative when they meet other readers and kindred spirits.”
“Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation– experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way.”
“Reading alters the appearance of a book. Once it has been read, it never looks the same again, and people leave their individual imprint on a book they have read. Once of the pleasures of reading is seeing this alteration on the pages, and the way, by reading it, you have made the book yours.”
“Travel is flight and pursuit in equal parts.”
“I cannot make my days longer, so I strive to make them better.”
“The measure of civilized behavior is compassion.”
“A society without jaywalkers might indicate a society without artists.”
“‘Connection’ is the triumphal cry these days. Connection has made people arrogant, impatient, hasty, and presumptuous. …I don’t doubt that instant communication has been good for business, even for the publishing business, but it has done nothing for literature, and might even have harmed it. In many ways connection has been disastrous. We have confused information (of which there is too much) with ideas (of which there are too few). I found out much more about the world and myself by being unconnected.”
“The wish to disappear sends many travelers away. If you are thoroughly sick of being kept waiting at home or at work, travel is perfect: let other people wait for a change. Travel is a sort of revenge for having been put on hold, or having to leave messages on answering machines, not knowing your party’s extension, being kept waiting all your working life – the homebound writer’s irritants. But also being kept waiting is the human condition.”
“All travel is circular. I had been jerked through Asia, making a parabola on one of the planet’s hemispheres. After all, the grand tour is just the inspired man’s way of heading home. ”
“You define a good flight by negatives: you didn’t get hijacked, you didn’t crash, you didn’t throw up, you weren’t late, you weren’t nauseated by the food. So you are grateful.”
“Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Maine, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it.”
“I always found myself in the company of Australians, who were like a reminder that I’d touched bottom.”
“In countries where all the crooked politicians wear pin-striped suits, the best people are bare-assed.”
“The trains [in a country] contain the essential paraphernalia of the culture: Thai trains have the shower jar with the glazed dragon on its side, Ceylonese ones the car reserved for Buddhist monks, Indian ones a vegetarian kitchen and six classes, Iranian ones prayer mats, Malaysian ones a noodle stall, Vietnamese ones bulletproof glass on the locomotive, and on every carriage of a Russian train there is a samovar. The railway bazaar with its gadgets and passengers represented the society so completely that to board it was to be challenged by the national character. At times it was like a leisurely seminar, but I also felt on some occasions that it was like being jailed and then assaulted by the monstrously typical. ”
“Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don’t know and trusting them with your life.”
“Delay and dirt are the realities of the most rewarding travel.”
Died 10 April 2009 – Deborah Digges, an American poet and teacher.
So this is the day the fat boy learns to take the jokes
by donning funny hats, my Amaryllis,
my buffoon of a flower,
your four white bullhorn blossoms like the sirens
in a stadium through which the dictator announces he’s in love.
Then he sends out across the land a proclamation—
there must be music, there must be stays of execution
for the already dying.
That’s how your pulpy sex undoes me and your seven
leaves, unsheathed. How you diminish
my winter windows, and beyond them, the Atlantic.
How you turn my greed ridiculous.
Now it’s as if I could believe in having children after forty,
or, walking these icy streets, greet sullen strangers
like a host of former selves, so ask them in, of course,
and listen like one forgiven to their crimes.
Dance with us and all our secrets,
dance with us until our lies,
like death squads sent to an empty house, put down,
finally, their weapons, peruse the family
portraits, admire genuinely the bride.
Stay with me in this my exile
or my returning, as if to love the tyrant one more time.
O my lily, my executioner, a little stooped, here,
listing, you are the future bending
to kiss the present like a sleeping child.
Here is part of the Artist Statement of Brazilian painter Claudio Dantas: “There is debate about what is the meaning of art. Since the twentieth century we deal with the questions about the meaning of the Art and try to establish it as and if we could mold it… I also hope to contribute my small part to this eternal discussion.”
10 April 1912 – RMS Titanic sets sail from Southampton, England on her maiden and only voyage.
“It is a curious thing that every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.” – Evelyn Waugh, English novelist, biographer, travel writer, and author of “Brideshead Revisited” and “The Loved One,” who died 10 April 1966.
Some quotes from the work of Evelyn Waugh:
“Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.”
“I should like to bury something precious in every place where I’ve been happy and then, when I’m old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.”
“Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.”
“If you asked me now who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name. For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be.”
“Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols; vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving-stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us.”
“The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. With anyone over fifty you can be fairly confident what’s been taught and what’s been left out. But these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn’t know existed.”
“I felt that I was leaving part of myself behind, and that wherever I went afterwards I should feel the lack of it, and search for it hopelessly, as ghosts are said to do, frequenting the spots where they buried material treasures without which they cannot pay their way to the nether world.”
“O God, make me good, but not yet.”
“For in that city [New York] there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.”
“We cherish our friends not for their ability to amuse us, but for ours to amuse them.”
“My theme is memory, that winged host that soared about me one grey morning of war-time. These memories, which are my life—for we possess nothing certainly except the past—were always with me. Like the pigeons of St. Mark’s, they were everywhere, under my feet, singly, in pairs, in little honey-voiced congregations, nodding, strutting, winking, rolling the tender feathers of their necks, perching sometimes, if I stood still, on my shoulder or pecking a broken biscuit from between my lips; until, suddenly, the noon gun boomed and in a moment, with a flutter and sweep of wings, the pavement was bare and the whole sky above dark with a tumult of fowl. Thus it was that morning.”
“Change is the only evidence of life.”
“That was the change in her from ten years ago; that, indeed, was her reward, this haunting, magical sadness which spoke straight to the heart and struck silence; it was the completion of her beauty.”
“Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint. In her spacious and quiet streets men walked and spoke as they had done in Newman’s day; her autumnal mists, her grey springtime, and the rare glory of her summer days – such as that day – when the chestnut was in flower and the bells rang out high and clear over her gables and cupolas, exhaled the soft airs of centuries of youth. It was this cloistral hush which gave our laughter its resonance, and carried it still, joyously, over the intervening clamour.”
“I did not know it was possible to be so miserable and live but I am told that this is a common experience.”
“To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.”
Born 10 April 1867 – George William Russell, an Irish author, poet, and painter.
From the Movie Archives: Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr is, of course, a justifiably famous musician, vocalist, and songwriter, but many people don’t know that he is also an equally talented actor – and not just when performing in the company of his fellow Beatles in “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” Want proof?
10 April 1981 – “Caveman,” an underrated cinematic masterpiece starring Ringo Starr, premieres throughout the United States.
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: The ASPCA
10 April 1866 – The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals forms in New York City. This non-profit organization’s mission is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
British Art – Part I of II: Ben Nicholson
“’Painting’ and ‘religious experience’ are the same thing. It is a question of the perpetual motion of a right idea.” – Ben Nicholson, British painter, who was born 10 April 1894.
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: The Last Automat
10 April 1991 – The last automat (coin operated cafeteria) closes at 3rd Avenue and 42nd Street in New York City.
British Art – Part II of II: Richard Brazier
10 April 1925 – “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is first published in New York City, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Some quotes from “The Great Gatsby”:
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
“Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.”
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
“So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”
“I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others–young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”
“No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
“And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes–a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Jane Whiting Chrzanoska
Painter Jane Whiting Chrzanoska (born 1948) has studied and worked in Paris and Peru. She currently lives and works in Mays Landing, New Jersey, where she is the owner and operator of the Mill Street Art Center.
A Poem for Today
By Erika Meitner
The poem in which we drive an hour to the beach and Uncle Dave doesn’t get out
of his lawn chair once.
The poem in which we left the yellow plastic shovel behind and everyone is bereft.
The poem in which I can’t stop talking about how you walked deep into Lake Erie
and the water was still only up to your knees when you turned into a speck
past the rock jetty.
The poem in which everyone listens to celebrity gossip in the car on the way back.
The poem in which I pontificate on how ugly the fiancée of that Jonas brother is,
and how they’re too young to get married, and how my grandmother’s old
neighbor would have said, “Ugly? She can’t help that she’s ugly. It’s that she’s
so stupid,” and I would have yelled at her for assuming that all former hair-
dressers are dim.
The poem in which I turn into my grandmother’s old neighbor.
The poem in which I remember very clearly how they both stored tissues in their
The poem in which I think about how this would horrify your mother—the
pendulous breasts, the moist tissues, the dipping into the cleavage to retrieve
The poem in which your mother tries not to wince when I order whatever I want
from the menu despite her coupon for two medium 1-topping pizzas.
The poem in which I try to find a deeper meaning for why I notice the woman
ahead of us in line at Johnny’s Liquor Store who buys a pack of menthols and
asks the guy behind the counter if he knows her good-for-nothing brother. She
has hair that looks like cats got at a skein of yarn, and a tattoo above her ankle
that’s dark and unspecified. It’s far enough above her ankle that it’s nearly mid-
calf—like her ankle and calf are two different countries and the tattoo got lost
in the borderlands on the way to its actual destination.
The poem in which I am territory that is under dispute and no one will occupy it
because of fear and uncertainty.
The poem in which I reach the conclusion that this feeling is inspired by your
mother and the way she hums out-of-season carols while doing kitchen tasks,
though it’s not really about the humming but rather the time she asked me to
light the Hanukkah candles in the attic because it would be better if they were
out of the way for the Christmas party.
The poem in which you and I are in line waiting to buy a mixed six-pack of Great
Lakes and I am staring at a stranger’s tattoo and thinking about the fact that I
am not Anne Frank while the baby is in the car with your mother.
The poem in which I go into Walmart and buy the baby an olive-green cap that
looks suspiciously like Fidel Castro’s.
The poem in which I could eradicate the fact that I ever went into Walmart and
bought anything so the baby can one day start a revolution.
The poem in which we see a couple on the highway median in a stalled-out Buick
and don’t stop to help.
The poem in which the highway median looks like the spit of land between two
enemy trenches and I feel a deep longing for my childhood.
The poem in which I remember, for no apparent reason, the tornado instructions
taped to the sides of all the filing cabinets in one office I worked in that was on
the top floor of a mostly abandoned mall in Overland Park, Kansas. All that
was left: decorative fountains, floor tiles, mirrored ceilings, Nearly Famous
Pizza, the carcass of Sears.
The poem in which we leave Northeastern Ohio, The poem in which we return to
The poem in which it is night and we are lost in Northeastern Ohio and we keep
passing Amish buggies adorned with reflective tape.
The poem in which the moon is a vehicle for content, and is far less than a perfect
reflector of anything.
The poem in which we are all in some kind of limbo.
American Art – Part IV of IV: Nigel Van Wieck
English-born painter Nigel Van Wieck has been living and working in New York since 1979. In the words of one critic,
“The fact that the artist is actually English is not apparent, in the least not in his works. They recall too much the works of American Realist artists, with whom he came in contact with after moving to America. At first it was the American Realist paintings of the late 19th century that impressed Van Wieck, such as those of Thomas Eakins or Winslow Homer. But even stronger was his fascination with the work of Edward Hopper, whose art he thought was exemplary and in whom he perceived a kindred spirit. The comparison between the oeuvre of Hopper and Van Wieck has understandably often been drawn. In fact there are numerous parallels between Hopper’s often isolated and introverted figures who are caught in an urban tristesse and the equally singular figures in Van Wieck’s work. Moreover, the artists are united in their frequent depiction of empty places, in their clear compositional structure and in a fascination with sharp light and shadow effects. But Van Wieck’s pictures seem more optimistic, his protagonists are, in spite of their isolation, less melancholy than Hopper’s protagonists. Characteristically, the figures in his works do not seem to be so inextricably caught up in their situation as in Hopper’s, but are merely caught at a specific moment in time. Thus, the central objective of his art is not to dissect American society, but to create subtle snapshots of the ‘American way of Life,’ whose sense of distance and lack of movement make them seem all the more penetrating. What is exciting about the pictures is the indefiniteness of the narrative context, the puzzle as to what came before and after each painted moment. This lack of articulation in the holding up of time gives the works a cinematographic quality and makes their nearness to cinema more than clear.”