May Offerings – Part XX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: C. M. Cooper

C. M. Cooper refers to herself as a “contemporary traditionalist.” According to one critic, “Her impressionistic paintings blend classic aesthetics with the modern figure, and Cooper’s delicate color sensitivity and wonderful sense of light create images that are filled with emotion.”
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“I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.” – John Stuart Mill, British philosopher, political economist, and civil servant, who was born 20 May 1806.

A note: On 20 May 1867 (Mill’s sixty-first birthday) the British parliament rejected John Stuart Mill’s bill advocating women’s suffrage.

Some quotes from John Stuart Mill:

“In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.”
“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.”
“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.”
“Stupidity is much the same all the world over”
“Christian morality (so called) has all the characters of a reaction; it is, in great part, a protest against Paganism. Its ideal is negative rather than positive; passive rather than action; innocence rather than Nobleness; Abstinence from Evil, rather than energetic Pursuit of Good: in its precepts (as has been well said) ‘thou shalt not’ predominates unduly over ‘thou shalt.’”
“Whatever crushes individuality is despotism.”
“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
“The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
“The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner.”
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Born 20 May 1899 – Aleksandr Deyneka, a Russian painter. In the words of one critic, Deyneka was a “painter, graphic artist and sculptor, regarded as one of the most important Russian modernist figurative painters of the first half of the 20th century.”

Below – “Collective Farm Worker on a Bicycle” (the epitome of Soviet Realism); “Seaside”; “Pioneer”; “Donbass”; “Three Women.”
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“Cell phones are not a sign of power, they’re a sign of subservience.” – Doug Pappas, American lawyer, baseball statistician, and unpatriotic Luddite, who died 20 May 2004.

Below – Move along, people. There’s nothing to see here.
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Born 20 May 1883 – Paul Arntzenius, a Dutch painter, graphic artist, and etcher.
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Died 20 May 1971 – Waldo Williams, a Welsh poet.

“What is it to be human?”

What is staying alive? To possess
A great hall inside of a cell.
What is it to know? The same root
Underneath the branches.

What is it to believe? Being a carer
Until relief takes over.
And to forgive? On fours through thorns
To keep company to an old enemy.

What is it to sing? To receive breath
From the genius of creation.
What’s work but humming a song
From wood and wheat.

What are state affairs? A craft
That’s still only crawling?
And armaments? Thrust a knife
In a baby’s fist.

Being a nation? What can it be? A gift
In the swell of the heart.
And to love a country? Keeping house
In a cloud of witnesses.

What’s the world to the all powerful?
A circle spinning.
And to the children of the earth?
A cradle rocking.
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From the Music Archives: The Beatles

20 May 1967 – The BBC bans The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” (for drug references).

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20 May 1609 – Shakespeare’s sonnets are first published in London by Thomas Thorpe, perhaps without authorization.

“Sonnet I”

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’st flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

British Art – Part I of II: Thomas Edwin Mostyn

Inn the words of one writer, “British painter Thomas Edwin Mostyn (1864-1930) was born in Liverpool. Raised in Manchester, he studied at the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. Tom Mostyns work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1891 as well as being shown extensively abroad. Mostyn lived in London and later in Torquay, where he died on 22nd August 1930. Mostyn is generally known for his scenes depiciting a bold Romantisicm based on Victorian garden scenes.”
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“Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” – Honore de Balzac, French novelist and playwright, who was born 20 May 1799.

Some quotes from Honore de Balzac:

“It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”
“When women love us, they forgive us everything, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us credit for nothing, not even our virtues.”
“Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.”
“Equality may perhaps be a right, but no power on earth can ever turn it into a fact.”
“The fact is that love is of two kinds, one which commands, and one which obeys. The two are quite distinct, and the passion to which the one gives rise is not the passion of the other.”
“Love is the poetry of the senses.”
“Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.”
“The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin.”
“Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.”
“Love or hatred must constantly increase between two persons who are always together; every moment fresh reasons are found for loving or hating better.”
“First love is a kind of vaccination which saves a man from catching the complaint the second time.”
“It is easier to be a lover than a husband for the simple reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than to say pretty things from time to time.”
“I do not regard a broker as a member of the human race.”
“The habits of life form the soul, and the soul forms the countenance.”

British Art – Part II of II: Alain Choisnet

Here is how British sculptor Alain Choisnet (born 1962) describes his artistic career: “I was born in Britain at the foot of the magnificent castle of Ferns, but it was in a Paris suburb that I grew up. Philosophical studies gave me a solid understanding of the human being. This knowledge helped me tremendously to assert myself as an artist. It is enough to seize a gesture, an emotion, then to set them while preserving the sincerity of moment and the fluidity of the movement.”
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From the American History Archives: Approaching the Pinnacle of Fashion

20 May 1873 – Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss receive a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

Above – Davis (left) and Strauss.
Below – Perfection in trouser form.
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American Art – Part II of III: Carl Mydans

“One is not really a photographer until preoccupation with learning has been outgrown and the camera in his hands is an extension of himself. There is where creativity begins.” – Carl Mydans, American photographer, who was born 20 May 1907.

During the course of his long career, Carl Mydans worked for both the Farm Security Administration (recording the Depression-era plight of rural workers) and “Life” magazine (chronicling the events of World War II and the conflict in Korea).

Below – Senator John F. Kennedy campaigns with his wife in Boston, 1958; General Douglas McArthur wades ashore in Luzon, Philippines, 9 January 1945; On the road from Manville to Bound Brook, New Jersey, 1936; The bombing of Chongqing, China by Japanese aircraft, 1941; An exhausted Marine catching a nap while sitting on a cart full of ammunition, Korea, 1951.
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A Poem for Today

“R & R,”
By Brian Turner

The curve of her hip where I’d lay my head,
that’s what I’m thinking of now, her fingers
gone slow through my hair on a blue day
ten thousand miles off in the future somewhere,
where the beer is so cold it sweats in your hand,
cool as her kissing you with crushed ice,
her tongue wet with blackberry and melon.

That’s what I’m thinking of now.
Because I’m all out of adrenaline,
all out of smoking incendiaries.

Somewhere deep in the landscape of the brain,
under the skull’s blue curving dome—
that’s where I am now, swaying
in a hammock by the water’s edge
as soldiers laugh and play volleyball
just down the beach, while others tan
and talk with the nurses who bring pills
to help them sleep. And if this is crazy,
then let this be my sanatorium,
let the doctors walk among us here
marking their charts as they will.

I have a lover with hair that falls
like autumn leaves on my skin.
Water that rolls in smooth and cool
as anesthesia. Birds that carry
all my bullets into the barrel of the sun.
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American Art – Part III of III: Jeremy Mann

In the words of one writer, “Jeremy Mann holds a Cum Laude BFA from Ohio University and an MFA with valedictorian honor from Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In his creative practice, Mann aims to imbue his city, San Francisco, with drama, mood, and personality. He paints his immediate surroundings with intimate, dynamic expression. A number of his compositions are inspired by wet pavement that reflects street lamps and neon signs and glitters in the rain.”
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