American Art – Part I of IV: Christina Empedocles
“Many will call me an adventurer – and that I am, only one of a different sort: one of those who risks his skin to prove his platitudes.” – Che Guevara, Argentine revolutionary and author of “The Motorcycle Diaries,” who died on 9 October 1967.
Some quotes from the work of Che Guevara:
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.”
“Let the world change you and you can change the world.”
“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.”
“There is no other definition of socialism valid for us than that of the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.”
“And then many things became very clear… we learned perfectly that the life of a single human being is worth millions of times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.”
“I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.”
Here is one critic describing the artistry of British painter Steven Lawler: “Steven Lawler is interested in light and its dramatic effect on the human form – particularly the drama it can bring to a face. His objective is to produce paintings that encompass traditional ideas of beauty, mystery and transcendence through stillness, thought and enquiry. He is especially interested in 17th century Italian, Dutch and Spanish painting and cites Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Zurbaran and Vermeer as particular influences on his work as are the American 20th century abstract painters Mark Rothko and Ad Reinhardt. Steven generally works on either ultra smooth canvas or fine Belgian linen using only lightfast, handmade oil paints that are guaranteed resistant to fading over time. The craft of painting is very important to Lawler and he is especially interested in following the traditions of the old masters whenever possible. He is currently devoting a good deal of time to research and experimentation and has recently begun work on a series of wood panel paintings.”
From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Ludwig van Beethoven
Chinese Art – Part I of II: Cui MingFei
Hre is one critic describing the background of Chinese painter Cui MingFei (born 1982): “’Cui MingFei’s usual theme is women’s figures, city girls in particular, and almost all young, just like the artist himself. They are of the ‘one child’ generation in China, and now turn out to be the most dynamic demographic group in contemporary Chinese society. They grew up in ‘sugar cans,’ as judged by their parents (meanings they’ve never been through the many nationwide disasters – both social and natural), and more importantly, they grew up during the most critical time in changing China’s long history. They have a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm in their young hearts. They embrace the fast-paced social changes. They are open to all new ideas, trends, and fashion. They consider themselves better and knowing more about everything than the older generation. They also show their confidence and assertiveness excessively – much more than they really have. And I see all these in MingFei Cui’s work.”
“If people would know how little brain is ruling the world, they would die of fear.” – Ivo Andric, Bosnian novelist, short story writer, author of “The Bridge on the Drina,” and recipient of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country,” who was born 9 October 1892.
Some quotes from the work of Ivo Andric:
“Between the fear that something would happen and the hope that still it wouldn’t, there is much more space than one thinks. On that narrow, hard, bare and dark space a lot of us spend their lives.”
“What doesn’t hurt – is not life; what doesn’t pass – is not happiness.”
“Forgetfulness heals everything and song is the most beautiful manner of forgetting, for in song man feels only what he loves.”
“To be a man is to have been born without knowing it or wanting it, to be thrown into the ocean of existence, to be obliged to swim, to exist; to have an identity; to resist the pressure and shocks from the outside and the unforeseen and unforeseeable acts – one’s own and those of others – which so often exceed one’s capacities. And what is more, to endure one’s own thoughts about all this: in a word, to be human.”
“Lands of great discoveries are also lands of great injustices.”
“Of everything that man erects and builds in his urge for living nothing is in my eyes better and more valuable than bridges. They are more important than houses, more sacred than shrines. Belonging to everyone and being equal to everyone, useful, always built with a sense, on the spot where most human needs are crossing, they are more durable than other buildings and they do not serve for anything secret or bad.”
Chinese Art – Part II of II: Li Xiaogang
From the Music Archives – Part II of III: John Prine
9 October 1980 – The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to Polish writer, translator, and poet Czeslaw Milosz, who, in the words of the Nobel Committee, “with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts.”
Some quotes from the work of Czeslaw Milosz:
“You see how I try
To reach with words
What matters most
And how I fail.”
“In a room where
people unanimously maintain
a conspiracy of silence,
one word of truth
sounds like a pistol shot.”
“The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person…”
“I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.”
“I have defined poetry as a ‘passionate pursuit of the Real.”
“All of us yearn for the highest wisdom, but we have to rely on ourselves in the end.”
“It is sweet to think I was a companion in an expedition that never ends.”
Here is how one critic describes the work of Columbian painter Alex Stevenson Diaz: “(Diaz) is an artist with a fondness for humanity, and he communicates it through the expressive poses of his figures that embody the inner struggle of man with himself and his desire for freedom, despite the prisons and bonds of existence.”
American Art – Part II of IV: Maggie Siner
In the words of one writer, “Maggie Siner’s is a quiet voice in the contemporary art world yet her paintings are held dear for their enduring qualities: the perfect sense of the fleeting moment, exquisite clarity of light, bold gestural brushwork, delicately balanced structure, fine craftsmanship, and the captured moment of absolute recognition. Her subject matter ranges from the intimate (a handful of cherries), to the monumental (earth and sky), to whimsical combinations of objects, always evoking surprise and beauty.”
9 October 1997 – The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to Dario Fo, an Italian actor-playwright, comedian, singer, theater director, stage designer, songwriter, and political campaigner, who, in the words of the Nobel Committee, “emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.”
Some quotes from the work of Dario Fo:
“Know how to live the time that is given you.”
“Our homeland is the whole world. Our law is liberty. We have but one thought, revolution in our hearts.”
“Even before Europe was united in an economic level or was conceived at the level of economic interests and trade, it was culture that united all the countries of Europe. The arts, literature, music are the connecting link of Europe.”
“It is extremely dangerous to talk about limits or borders. It is vital, instead, that we remain completely open, that we are always involved, and that we aim to contribute personally in social events.”
“Comedy makes the subversion of the existing state of affairs possible.”
Every artistic expression is either influenced by or adds something to politics.”
“It is hard for power to enjoy or incorporate humor and satire in its system of control.
“With comedy I can search for the profound.”
“Real socialism is inside man. It wasn’t born with Marx. It was in the communes of Italy in the Middle Ages. You can’t say it is finished.”
“All forms of power – even based on the consensus of the democratic system – react when they are being attacked, or when those who exercise power become a target.”
“In a way, the American side descended to Saddam’s level, which happens often in these types of circumstances. That is why the people in Iraq do not accept the current state of affairs.”
“We thought the church had withdrawn from interfering in Italian politics… but instead there is a terrible resurgence. These are ugly signs for freedom of expression.”
Born 9 October 1940 – Simeon Solomon, an English Pre-Raphaelite painter.
Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Spanish painter Jordi Diaz Alama: “(He) may describe himself as a traditional painter but there’s nothing remotely traditional with his work. Morality, mortality and sexuality are all recurring themes in his work. His style reminds the viewer of the work of Renaissance masters of long ago with their realism and casual approach to nudity.”
“In our country are evangelists and zealots of many different political, economic, and religious persuasions whose fanatical conviction is that all thought is divinely classified into two kinds – that which is their own and that which is false and dangerous.” – Robert H. Jackson, United States Attorney General (1940-1941), chief prosecutor for the United States at the Nuremberg Trials (1945-1946), Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1941-1954), and author of “That Man: An Insider’s Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” who died 9 October 1954.
Some quotes from the work of Robert H. Jackson:
“Civil government cannot let any group ride roughshod over others simply because their consciences tell them to do so.”
“Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. . . . Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.
It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.”
“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
“The price of freedom of religion or of speech or of the press is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish.”
“It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.”
“That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.”
“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. Ones right to life liberty and property to free speech a free press freedom of worship and assembly and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote. They depend on the outcome of no elections.”
“Of course, the idea that a state, any more than a corporation, commits crimes, is a fiction. Crimes always are committed only by persons. While it is quite proper to employ the fiction of responsibility of a state or corporation for the purpose of imposing a collective liability, it is quite intolerable to let such a legalism become the basis of personal immunity.”
In the words of one writer, Portuguese painter Rogerio Silva (born 1962) “is represented in Portuguese Galleries in Lisbon and Porto city. He has participated in International fairs of art – Arco, Madrid, Tokyo Art Expo, and Yokohama Fair in Japan. His work is represented in private and Institutional collections.”
9 October 1877 – The American Humane Association (AHA) is founded in Cleveland. In the words of one historian, “(The) American American Humane Association (AHA) is an organization dedicated to the welfare of animals and children. It was previously called the International Humane Association, before changing its name in 1878. In 1940 it became the sole monitoring body for the humane treatment of animals on the sets of Hollywood films and other broadcast productions. AHA is best known for its trademarked certification ‘No Animals Were Harmed,’ which appears at the end of film or television credits. It has also run the Red Star Animal Emergency Services since 1916. In 2000 AHA formed the Farm Animal Services program, an animal welfare label system for food products.”
From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Johann Sebastian Bach
American Art – Part III of IV: Katy Schneider
A Poem for Today
“Telephone Booth (number 905 ½),”
By Pedro Pietri
woke up this morning
picked up the telephone
dialed the number of
my equal opportunity employer
to inform him I will not
be into work today
Are you feeling sick?
the boss asked me
No Sir I replied:
I am feeling too good
to report to work today,
if I feel sick tomorrow
I will come in early
Born 9 October 1874 – Nicholas Roerich, a Russian painter, writer, world traveler, archaeologist, theosophist, and enlightenment figure.
Below – “Guests from Overseas”; “Compassion”; “Himalayas”; “Kangchenjunga”; “Monhegan, Maine”; “Saint Pantaleon the Healer”; “Krishna (Spring in Kulu)”; “Mother of the World”; “Elders in Bearskins”; “Glory to the Hero”; “Lotus”; “Tibet, Gelukpa Monastery”; “Ladakh, Sunset”; “To Kailas, Lahul”; “Kuan-Yin”; “Karakirghizes”; “Castle in Ladakh”; “Path to Kailas.” “Song of the Waterfall”; “Song of the Morning”; “Everest.”
I am posting another painting by Nicholas Roerich for all my former Asian Studies students, especially those who accompanied me on treks in Tibet, Ladakh, Sikkim, and Nepal. The title of this work is “Remember,” and I’m sure that anyone who has been in the Himalayas – or any other remarkable place that calls to his or her heart – will understand its significance.
By Don Paterson
Our business is with fruit and leaf and bloom;
though they speak with more than just the season’s tongue—
the colours that they blaze from the dark loam
all have something of the jealous tang
of the dead about them. What do we know of their part
in this, those secret brothers of the harrow,
invigorators of the soil—oiling the dirt
so liberally with their essence, their black marrow?
But here’s the question. Are the flower and fruit
held out to us in love, or merely thrust
up at us, their masters, like a fist?
American Art – Part IV of IV: Willard Worden
Here is one writer describing the background and artistry of Willard Worden, especially as that artistry is expressed in the current exhibition at San Francisco’s de Young Museum – “Portals of the Past: The Photographs of Willard Worden”:
“A fascinating though largely forgotten figure in the Bay Area’s rich photographic history, Willard Worden (American, 1868–1946) took up photography while serving in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars and later opened his first gallery near the Presidio in Cow Hollow. Within a few years, his stock list contained hundreds of views of his newly adopted city and its environs as well as sites as far away as Yosemite National Park.
This exhibition presents a survey of Worden’s photographs from the first two decades of the 20th century, including views of San Francisco’s coastline, Golden Gate Park, and Chinatown. A recurring subject for the photographer was the surviving entryway to a Nob Hill mansion destroyed in the earthquake of 1906 and relocated to Golden Gate Park in 1909. Called the Portals of the Past, the ruin served as both a monument to the city’s recent tragedy and a symbol of its perseverance.
Worden was at the height of his career at the time of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the 1915 world’s fair held in San Francisco. As one of the exposition’s official photographers, he captured its spectacular architectural and sculptural creations by day and night.”
Below – “Storm on Ocean Beach” (1904); “An Awe-Inspiring View of the Burning City from a Hastily Improvised Campsite West of Van Ness Avenue and Fort Mason, in the District Now Known as the Marina” (1906); “Market Street, San Francisco” (1906); “Poppies and Lupines” (1915); “The Arch of the Rising Sun at Night” (1915); “Japanese Tea Garden” (1915); “Midnight in Chinatown” (1903); “Seal Rocks” (1915); “View of San Francisco Bay” (1900); Untitled (Half-Dome, Yosemite – 1910); “The Portals of the Past, Ruins of the Towne Residence, California Street” (1906); “The Portals of the Past, Golden Gate Park” (1910).