American Art – Part I of IV: Derek Buckner
A Poem for Today
By Ezra Pound
Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham
Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ’gainst the winter’s balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Johannes Brahms
Musings in Autumn: Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
“This mountain of release is such that the
ascent’s most painful at the start, below;
the more you rise, the milder it will be.
And when the slope feels gentle to the point that
climbing up sheer rock is effortless
as though you were gliding downstream in a boat,
then you will have arrived where this path ends” – “The Divine Comedy”
Some quotes from the work of Anthony Burgess:
“When a man cannot chose, he ceases to be a man.”
“To be left alone is the most precious thing one can ask of the modern world.”
“The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.”
“I see what is right and approve, but I do what is wrong.”
“If you expect the worst from a person you can never be disappointed.”
“Language exists less to record the actual than to liberate the imagination.”
“The possession of a book becomes a substitute for reading it.”
“It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil.”
A Poem for Today
“Too lazy to be ambitious,”
By Ryokan (1758-1831)
Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
American Art – Part II of IV: Barry X Ball
Musings in Autumn: Rumi (1207-1273)
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make any sense.” – From “The Essential Rumi”
“The greatest of all the accomplishments of 20th century science has been the discovery of human ignorance.” – Lewis Thomas, American physician, essayist, etymologist, poet, educator, policy advisor, researcher, and author of “The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher” (winner of National Book Awards in two categories – Arts and Letters and The Sciences) and “The Medusa and The Snail” (winner of the National Book Award in Science), who was born 25 November 1913.
Some quotes from the work of Lewis Thomas:
“Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.”
“The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.”
“Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment… They do everything but watch television.”
“I am a member of a fragile species, still new to the earth, the youngest creatures of any scale, here only a few moments as evolutionary time is measured, a juvenile species, a child of a species. We are only tentatively set in place, error prone, at risk of fumbling, in real danger at the moment of leaving behind only a thin layer of our fossils, radioactive at that.”
“We are, perhaps uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take the idea of dying, unable to sit still.”
“If we had better hearing, and could discern the descants of sea birds, the rhythmic tympani of schools of mollusks, or even the distant harmonics of midges hanging over meadows in the sun, the combined sound might lift us off our feet.”
“The future is too interesting and dangerous to be entrusted to any predictable, reliable agency. We need all the fallibility we can get. Most of all, we need to preserve the absolute unpredictability and total improbability of our connected minds.”
“My mitochondria comprise a very large proportion of me. I cannot do the calculation, but I suppose there is almost as much of them in sheer dry bulk as there is the rest of me. Looked at in this way, I could be taken for a very large, motile colony of respiring bacteria, operating a complex system of nuclei, microtubules, and neurons for the pleasure and sustenance of their families, and running, at the moment, a typewriter.”
“It is not a simple life to be a single cell, although I have no right to say so, having been a single cell so long ago myself that I have no memory at all of that stage in my life.”
“Have you noticed how often it happens that a really good idea — the kind of idea that looks, as it approaches, like the explanation for everything about everything — tends to hover near at hand when you are thinking hard about something quite different? There you are, halfway into a taxi, thinking about the condition of the cartilage in the right knee joint, and suddenly, with a whirring sound, in flies a new notion looking for a place to light. You’d better be sure you have a few bare spots, denuded of anything like thought, ready for its perching, or it will fly away into the dark.”
“The oldest, easiest to swallow idea was that the earth was man’s personal property, a combination of garden, zoo, bank vault, and energy source, placed at our disposal to be consumed, ornamented, or pulled apart as we wished.”
Musings in Autumn: Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)
A Poem for Today
By Ellen Compton
From the American History Archives: Powder River Battle
25 November 1876 – In the words of one historian, “U.S. troops under the leadership of Colonel Ranald Mackenzie destroy the village of Cheyenne living with Chief Dull Knife on the headwaters of the Powder River. The attack was in retaliation against some of the Indians who had participated in the massacre of Custer and his men at Little Bighorn.”
Below – Cheyenne leaders Little Wolf, left, and Dull Knife, called Morning Star by his own people. Both were in the village on the Red Fork of Powder River when troops attacked in November 1876. The photo was taken in Washington, D.C. in 1873; Colonel Ranald MacKenzie, who led about 700 cavalry and 400 Indian scouts in an all-night march to attack the Cheyenne on the Red Fork; Dull Knife Battlefield, Red Fork, Wyoming.
Here is the Artist Statement of painter Adriana Mufarrege: “I was born in Córdoba, Argentina, on July 16th 1962.
My father’s parents were Lebanese, born in Bishmezzine. My mother’s family arrived to Santa Fe plains from Switzerland about 1850. I spent my childhood and adolescence in Santa Fe. Since 1980 I live in Córdoba.
I started painting in 1981 under the guide of artist Marcos Milewski. Then I entered the School of Arts at Córdoba National University. In 1987 I got my degree as Superior Professor in Art Education.”
A Poem for Today
By Issa (1763-1828)
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Antonio Vivaldi
“If people destroy something replaceable made by mankind, they are called vandals; if they destroy something irreplaceable made by God, they are called developers.” – Joseph Wood Krutch, American writer, critic, naturalist, and author of “The Desert Year” (known informally as “The Cactus Walden”), who was born 25 November 1893.
In the words of one literary historian, “One of the last interviews with Krutch before his death was conducted by Edward Abbey and appears in Abbey’s 1988 book “One Life at a Time, Please.”
Some quotes from the work of Joseph Wood Krutch:
“It is not ignorance but knowledge which is the mother of wonder.”
“The world of poetry, mythology, and religion represents the world as a man would like to have it, while science represents the world as he gradually comes to discover it.”
“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”
“Both the cockroach and the bird could get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us most.”
“Technology made large populations possible; large populations now make technology indispensable.”
“Cats seem to go along on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.”
“Security depends not so much upon how much you have, as upon how much you can do without.”
“As machines get to be more and more like men, men will come to be more like machines. ”
“For a real glimpse into an almost vanished world, one should look at a scorpion, who so obviously has no business lingering into the twentieth century. He is not shaped like a spider and he has too many legs to be an insect. Plainly, he is a discontinued model – still running but very difficult, one imagines, to get spare parts for.”
“The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit.”
Musings in November: Lucy Maud Montgomery
“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” – “Anne of Green Gables”
Below – Jim Wodark: “Ocean Shadows”
American Art – Part III of IV: Francis Cunningham
Here is how one critic describes the career of painter Francis Cunningham (born 1931): “Cunningham grew up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard College in 1953. After two years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, he attended the Art Students League of New York, where he studied painting with Edwin Dickinson and drawing and anatomy with Robert Beverly Hale. Cunningham has had one-man shows in Washington, Chicago and New York, where he exhibited at the Waverly, Salpeter and Hirschl and Adler galleries. He has had one-man shows in Stockholm and Copenhagen and has participated in group exhibitions extensively in the U.S. He taught for eighteen years at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and for three years at the Art Students League. In 1980 he co-founded the New Brooklyn School of Life Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, Inc. with the sculptor Barney Hodes. In 1983 they co-founded the New York Academy of Art.”
Musings in Autumn: Wu Men (1183-1260)
“Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.” – From “The Enlightened Heart”
In the words of one historian, “William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) was an Impressionist painter and important art teacher who established the Chase School, which would later become Parsons New School for Design. After stints at both the Academy of Design in New York and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Chase traveled to Venice for additional study. After returning to the United States, he became close friends with Winslow Homer, numbered Georgia O’Keeffe among his many pupils, and influenced California art at the turn of the century through interactions with Arthur Frank Mathews, Xavier Martinez, and Percy Gray. “
Below – “End of the Season Sun”; “Girl in a Japanese Costume”; “Mrs. Chase in Prospect Park”; “Good Friends”; “Studio Interior”; “Landscape: Shinnecock, Long Island”; “A City Park”; “At the Seaside”; “Self-Portrait.”