September Offerings – Part XIX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Brian Biedul

In the words of one critic, “Brian Biedul was born in Colorado Springs in 1955 and soon thereafter moved to Europe with his family. He spent the better part of his early youth in Europe where his love of art began. While living in Paris he was enrolled in his first art class under the instruction of Siegfried Hahn. After returning to America he spent time in various cities across the United States including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles where he later settled. In 1984 he graduated with a BFA from Art Center College of Design where soon thereafter taught Saturday figure drawing classes.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of VI: Chubby Checker

19 September 1960 – Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” reaches number one on American popular music charts.

From the American History Archives: “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski

19 September 1995 – The “Washington Post” and the “New York Times” publish the manifesto (“Industrial Society and Its Future”) written by “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski. (For those interested in reading it, here is a link to the manifesto: http://cyber.eserver.org/unabom.txt)

Below – Ted Kaczynski when he was an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley (1968); Kaczynski’s mug shot.
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Here is one critic describing Mexican painter Victor Rodriguez (born 1970): “Victor is considered to be the leader of the new generation of hyperrealist artists working internationally today. He has exhibited extensively internationally, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the Flint Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Museo de Monterrey in Mexico and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey MARCO.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of VI: Gram Parsons

Died 19 September 1973 – Gram Parsons, an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist, who worked in several notable bands, including the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

Here is one critic describing the background and artistry of French painter Catherine Gran (born 1966): “She began her academic studies with courses in History of Art at the Sorbonne University, Paris. She then went on to the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, from where she graduated in 1992. Her paintings are enigmatic, conveying an atmosphere of strangeness and eccentricity through unexpected perspectives and unusual objects combined with the commonplace and the fantastic. She continues to explore her favourite enigmatic themes of the bizarre and the surreal represented by the incongruous relationship between objects, form and figures. Yet at the same time she paints in a scrupulously detailed manner to give a hallucinatory sense of reality.
Her work borders on the surreal and is often concerned with organic and sensual form and also, on occasion, symbolist, characterised by visual expression of emotional experience. The elegant figures, smartly dressed almost theatrical in demeanour, retain their nobility and quirky expressions. They are the cognoscenti basking in their appreciation and love of life and the arts. Gran’s paintings, with their unusual perspectives and ambiguous combinations of shapes, objects, and figures are depicted in a singular painterly style, reinforcing her ability to create disorientating realist imagery which is thought provoking and compelling.”
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“There is no necessary connection between the desire to lead and the ability to lead, and even less the ability to lead somewhere that will be to the advantage of the led.” – Bergen Evans, American lexicographer and professor, who was born 19 September 1904.

Some quotes from the work of Bergen Evans:

“Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.”
“Lying is an indispensable part of making life tolerable.”
“We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.”
“Legislators who are of even average intelligence stand out among their colleagues … A cultured college president has become as much a rarity as a literate newspaper publisher. A financier interested in economics is as exceptional as a labor leader interested in the labor movement. For the most part our leaders are merely following out in front; they [only] marshal us in the way that we are going.”
“Wisdom is meaningless until our own experience has given it meaning.”
“Words are one of our chief means of adjusting to all the situations of life. The better control, the more successful our adjustment is likely to be.”

Below – Bergen Evans and his wife Connie.
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American Art – Part II of VI: Bettye Lane

Born 19 September 1930, Died 19 September 2012 – Bettye Lane, a photographer, photojournalist, and journalist who was known for photographs which documented major events within the feminist, civil rights, and gay rights movements.
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From the Music Archives – Part III of VI: Skeeter Davis

Died 19 September 2004 – Skeeter Davis, an American country music singer best known for her crossover pop music songs of the early 1960s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgcy-V6YIuI

Here is part of the Artist Statement of South African ceramicist Elizabeth Balcomb: “I love the smell of paper clay in the kiln at 200˚C. It reminds me of lemon creams.
This is one small aspect of the picture within the landscape of ceramics within which I find myself. I could say that clay is part of my destiny… it’s tempting to see it that way. I could also say I stumbled upon it. Either way, here I am, with a new universe to explore… a fantastic adventure.”
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From the Television Archives: Adam West

Born 19 September 1928 – Adam West, an American actor best known for his lead role in the “Batman” television series and as the voice of Mayor West on “Family Guy.”
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American Art – Part III of VI: Sandra Fisher

Died 19 September 1995 – Sandra Fisher, an ex-pat figure painter living in London.

Below – “Kitaj” (Fisher’s husband); “Cosima in a Black Hat”; “Days on the Water”; “Little Venice”; “Maria Singing.”
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(c) Pallant House Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) R.B. Kitaj; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) R.B. Kitaj; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) R.B. Kitaj; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Died 19 September 1927 – Michael Peter Ancher, a Dutch impressionist artist.

Below – “Will He Round the Point”; “A Stroll on the Beach”; “Appraising the Day’s Work”; “Children and Young Girls Picking Flowers in a Field North of Skagen”; “Portrait of My Wife”; “Self-Portrait.”
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From the Music Archives – Part IV of VI: Niccolo Paganini

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“All modern men are descended from wormlike creatures, but it shows more on some people.” – Will Cuppy, American humorist, literary critic, and author of “The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody,” who died 19 September 1949.

Some quotes from the work of Will Cuppy:

“It’s easy to see the faults in people, I know; and it’s harder to see the good. Especially when the good isn’t there.”
“A hermit is simply a person to whom civilization has failed to adjust itself.”
“We all make mistakes, but intelligence enables us to do it on purpose.”
“If an animal does something, we call it instinct. If we do the same thing for the same reason, we call it intelligence.”
“Armadillos make affectionate pets, if you need affection that much.”
“Just when you’re beginning to think pretty well of people, you run across somebody who puts sugar on sliced tomatoes.”
“He had also learned that there is no use murdering people; there are always so many left, and if you tried to murder them all you would never get anything else done.”
“The pre-frontal region of the Peking man resembles that found in some parts of the Middle West.”
“Aristotle was famous for knowing everything. He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.”
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Died 19 September 1967 – Zinaida Serebriakova, a Russian painter.

Below – “Harvest”; “House of Cards”; “Lit by the Sun”; “Self-Portrait Wearing a Scarf”; “Self-Portrait.”
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“Too much good fortune can make you smug and unaware. Happiness should be like an oasis, the greener for the desert that surrounds it.” – Rachel Field, American poet, writer, and author of “Hitty, Her First Hundred Years” (which won the Newbery Award in 1930) and “Time Out of Mind (which won one of the inaugural National Book Awards as the Most Distinguished Novel of 1935), who was born 19 September 1894.

“Something Told The Wild Geese”

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,-‘Snow.’

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,-‘Frost.’

All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

“The Animal Store”

If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more,
I’d hurry as fast as my legs would go
Straight to the animal store.

I wouldn’t say, “How much for this or that?”
“What kind of a dog is he?”
I’d buy as many as rolled an eye,
Or wagged a tail at me!

I’d take the hound with the drooping ears
That sits by himself alone;
Cockers and Cairns and wobbly pups
For to be my very own.

I might buy a parrot all red and green,
And the monkey I saw before,
If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more.

“If Once You Have Slept On An Island”

If once you have slept on an island
You’ll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,
You may bustle about in street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you’ll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go.

You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you’ll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep.
Oh! you won’t know why and you can’t say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island,
You’ll never be quite the same.

Below – Jamie Wyeth: “If Once You Have Slept On An Island”
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From the Music Archives – Part V of VI: Charles-Marie Widor

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A Poem for Today

“After Midnight,”
By Louis Simpson

The dark streets are deserted,
With only a drugstore glowing
Softly, like a sleeping body;

With one white, naked bulb
In the back, that shines
On suicides and abortions.

Who lives in these dark houses?
I am suddenly aware
I might live here myself.

The garage man returns
And puts the change in my hand,
Counting the singles carefully.
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American Art – Part IV of VI: Cassandra Gordon-Harris

Artist Statement: “My work always has been a personal exploration of human emotions. I do not paint portraits of women; I paint the concept of a woman. Using the female figure as a vehicle, I attempt to capture an emotional moment in time, for women are the architects of our civilization.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“A Certain Kind of Eden,”
By Kay Ryan

It seems like you could, but
you can’t go back and pull
the roots and runners and replant.
It’s all too deep for that.
You’ve overprized intention,
have mistaken any bent you’re given
for control. You thought you chose
the bean and chose the soil.
You even thought you abandoned
one or two gardens. But those things
keep growing where we put them—
if we put them at all.
A certain kind of Eden holds us thrall.
Even the one vine that tendrils out alone
in time turns on its own impulse,
twisting back down its upward course
a strong and then a stronger rope,
the greenest saddest strongest
kind of hope.
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Polish artist Paulina Wilk (born 1980) graduated from the Faculty of Arts University in Lublin with a degree in graphic design.
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A Third Poem for Today

“Walking the Marshland,”
By Stephen Dunn

It was no place for the faithless,
so I felt a little odd
walking the marshland with my daughters,

Canada geese all around and the blue
herons just standing there;
safe, and the abundance of swans.

The girls liked saying the words,
gosling,
egret, whooping crane, and they liked

when I agreed. The casinos were a few miles
to the east.
I liked saying craps and croupier

and sometimes I wanted to be lost
in those bright
windowless ruins. It was April,

the gnats and black flies
weren’t out yet.
The mosquitoes hadn’t risen

from their stagnant pools to trouble
paradise and to give us
the great right to complain.

I loved these girls. The world
beyond Brigantine
awaited their beauty and beauty

is what others want to own.
I’d keep that
to myself. The obvious

was so sufficient just then.
Sandpiper. Red-wing
Blackbird. “Yes,” I said.

But already we were near the end.
Praise refuge,
I thought. Praise whatever you can.
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American Art – Part V of VI: Martha Holmes

Died 19 September 2006 – Martha Holmes, a photographer and photojournalist.

Below – Jackson Pollock; Natalie Wood; Salvador Dali and his wife Gala; Brother and Sister on the Phone, Talking to Santa Claus; Un-American Activities Hearings, 1947.
JACKSON POLLOCK

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Hojoki,”
By Kenneth Rexroth

A thing unknown for years, 

Rain falls heavily in June, 

On the ripe cherries, and on 

The half cut hay. 

Above the glittering 

Grey water of the inlet, 

In the driving, light filled mist, 

A blue heron 

Catches mice in the green 

And copper and citron swathes. 

I walk on the rainy hills. 

It is enough.

In order to give readers a fuller appreciation of the mood that Rexroth has created in his poem, I have placed below the opening lines of the original “Hojoki,” translated as “The Ten Foot Square Hut.” Written in 1212 by Japanese Buddhist monk Kamo no Chomei, it captures the essence of “mujo” -the transience of things.

“The current of the flowing river does not cease, and yet the water is not the same water as before. The foam that floats on stagnant pools, now vanishing, now forming, never stays the same for long. So, too, it is with the people and dwellings of the world.”
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From the Music Archives – Part VI of VI: Johann Sebastian Bach

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Wind, Water, Stone,”
By Octavio Paz

For Roger Caillois

Water hollows stone,
wind scatters water,
stone stops the wind.
Water, wind, stone.

Wind carves stone,
stone’s a cup of water,
water escapes and is wind.
Stone, wind, water.

Wind sings in its whirling,
water murmurs going by,
unmoving stone keeps still.
Wind, water, stone.

Each is another and no other:
crossing and vanishing
through their empty names:
water, stone, wind.
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American Art – Part VI of VI: Darrell Hill

“Born 1941 in Hillsborough, Illinois and raised in California, he received formal art instruction at the College of the Sequoias, Fresno State University and Brooks Institute, School of Fine Art in Santa Barbara.”
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John Keats

Dear Readers:

I am about to begin an extended visit with my youngest son in San Francisco, and so I will not be making my daily postings for about two weeks. However, with his tech-savvy assistance, I will occasionally post photographs of lovely things that I encounter in the course of my California sojourn. I wish everyone a happy Autumn, and I conclude today’s posts with a work that is not only one of the finest tributes to the loveliest of seasons but which is also one of the greatest poems in the English language.

“To Autumn”
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 3.
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
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