Musings in December: A.S. Byatt
“But if you write a version of Ragnarok in the twenty-first century, it is haunted by the imagining of a different end of things. We are a species of animal which is bringing about the end of the world we were born into. Not out of evil or malice, or not mainly, but because of a lopsided mixture of extraordinary cleverness, extraordinary greed, extraordinary proliferation of our own kind, and a biologically built-in short-sightedness.”
Art for December – Part I of III: Perry Vasquez
Below – “A Horse with No Name” (silk screen)
A Poem for Today
“The Florist Wears Knee-Breeches”
By Wallace Stevens
My flowers are reflected
In your mind
As you are reflected in your glass.
When you look at them,
There is nothing in your mind
Except the reflections
Of my flowers.
But when I look at them
I see only the reflections
In your mind,
And not my flowers.
It is my desire
To bring roses,
And place them before you
In a white dish.
Art for December – Part II of III: Anna Van Fleet
Below – “Asian Unicorn” (gold leaf, oil on canvas board)
Musings in December: Hunter S. Thompson
“This maybe the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”
Art for December – Part III of III: Victoria Hanlon
Below – “Diciembre” (oil on linen)
A Second Poem for Today
“deer & salt block”
By Joshua Marie Wilkinson
One boy is a liar & says there’s a block of salt under his bed to draw deer in from the orchard. One boy says the pantry wall will open if you say an untold anagram of his name. One boy is already dressed when he wakes up for his young father’s wedding. One boy hides a turtle from his brothers in a dresser drawer. One boy is mute & sluggish from the hurricane sirens. One boy took a long time in the bathtub reading the comics. One boy loops a tractor chain to the ceiling fan & tears the whole roof down. One boy speaks through a keyhole to the others about a shortstop’s hex. One boy can’t stand the scent of elevators. One boy gives different spellings for his name each week at school. That same boy stole his teacher’s shoe. Another boy listens to a radio inside his pillowcase. One boy drinks coffee alone in the zookeeper’s shed. The last boy casts a purple stone to the bottom of a pond & follows it down with his church clothes on.
Venezuelan Art – Ellery Gutierrez
In the words of one writer, “(Ellery Gutierrez) has been painting since he was a young child, inspired by the Renaissance artists of Italy whose work he discovered in art history books.
Such was his enthusiasm that he started out as a self-taught artist, experimenting with drawing before moving to Caracas, where he began taking courses in drawing and painting in various artist studios, specializing in still life and oil painting.
His large-scale, realist paintings of tropical fruits reveal his passion for light and color, which he uses in an accomplished and delicate manner to enhance the succulent nature of his chosen subjects.”
Musings in December: Cat Winters
“Surely, though, I must have stolen into the future and landed in an H.G. Wells-style world – a horrific, fantastic society in which people’s faces contained only eyes, millions of healthy young adults and children dropped dead from the flu, boys got transported out of the country to be blown to bits, and the government arrested citizens for speaking the wrong words. Such a place couldn’t be real. And it couldn’t be the United States of America, ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’
But it was. I was on a train in my own country, in a year the devil designed. 1918.”
Paul Virilio is a French cultural theorist and urbanist best known for his writings about technology.
Some quotes from the work of Paul Virilio:
“When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck; when you invent the plane you also invent the plane crash; and when you invent electricity, you invent electrocution…Every technology carries its own negativity, which is invented at the same time as technical progress.”
“There are eyes everywhere. `No blind spot left. What shall we dream of when everything becomes visible? We’ll dream of being blind.”
“The field of vision is comparable, for me, to the terrain of an archaeological dig. To see is to be on guard, to wait for what emerges from the background, without any name, without any particular interest: what was silent will speak, what is closed will open and will take on a voice.”
“Digital messages and images matter less than their instantaneous delivery; the shock effect always wins out over the consideration of the informational content.”
“The contemporary sedentary is someone who feels at home everywhere, thanks to cellphones, and the nomad is someone who does not feel at home anywhere, someone who is excluded, ostracized.”
“Images contaminate us like viruses.”
“All of us are already civilian soldiers, without knowing it…The great stroke of luck for the military class’s terrorism is that no one recognizes it. People don’t recognize the militarized part of their identity, of their consciousness.”
“From the original watchtower through the anchored balloon to the reconnaissance aircraft and remote sensing-satellites, one and the same function has been indefinitely repeated, the eye’s function being the function of a weapon.”
“There are no pessimists; there are only realists and liars.”
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Tim De Rose
In the words of one writer, “Tim De Rose started his creative career as a potter, but has currently devoted himself to painting. As an artist, he has evolved his style as he feels is right. He is influenced by trees and forests around his home in Kingston, Ontario.”
Below – “Huffs Farm, Day Dreamers”; “White Pines, Facing West”; “The Grove Iii”; “White Pines, Day”; “Tall Pines, Dusk, Huntsville”; “Huffs Farm, Fencelines.”
Musings in December: Neil Gaiman
“Shadow was a couple of a hundred yards away from his motel, and he walked there, breathing the cold air, past red and yellow and blue lights advertising every kind of fast food a man could imagine, as long as it was a hamburger.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Meghan O’Rourke”
Grew up on the Jersey Shore in the 1970s.
Always making margaritas in the kitchen,
always laughing and doing their hair up pretty,
sharing lipstick and shoes and new juice diets;
always splitting the bills to the last penny,
stealing each other’s clothes,
loving one another then turning and complaining
as soon as they walked out the door. Each one with her doe eyes,
each one younger than the last,
each older the next year, one year
further from their girlhoods of swimming
at Sandy Hook, doing jackknives off the diving board
after school, all of them
being loved by one boy and then another,
all driving further from the local fair, further from Atlantic City.
They used to smoke in their cars,
rolling the windows down and letting their red nails
hang out, little stop lights:
Stop now, before the green
comes to cover your long brown bodies.
Musings in December: Allen Ginsberg
“Everybody’s serious but me.”
Canadian Art – Part II of II: Michael Foers
In the words of one writer, “Michael Foers paints the Canadian landscapes and the natural beauty surrounding him with a bold and experimental use of colour. He draws inspiration for these scenes from his experiences in a remote logging community in northern Ontario.”
Below – “Muskoka Sunrise”; “Hidden Lake”; untitled; untitled; “Madawaska River”; untitled.
Musings in December: Will Cuppy
“A few alligators are naturally of the vicious type and inclined to resent it when you prod them with a stick. You can find out which ones these are by prodding them.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Elizabeth Powell
Republic, your cool hands
On my schoolgirl shoulders.
Not sure what allegiances meant
Until the vows were held by heart,
By memory, by rote, by benign betrothal.
Republic, you were mine, I knew
Because of Mother’s religious pamphlets:
‘Lindsay for Mayor.’
‘McGovern for President.’
‘How to Register Voters.’
I didn’t ever want to go to school
On Saturdays. The baby-sitter said
If Nixon won, I’d have to go. Me,
Your most cherished child bride.
I wanted a white communion dress
Like the ones the Catholic girls wore.
Republic, you know I wanted to play
Cards with Mother. Mother smoking
Marlboros, watching Watergate all week.
Citizen Mother all consumed at that confessional.
I liked the name Betsy Ross.
I liked the idea of sewing flags.
I liked the tattered textbook about the colonies.
So tender, so tender. My Republic,
I am pledged by my childish troth
So strangely to you.
Musings in December: Mark Twain
“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”
American Art – Eywind Earle: Part I
In the words of one writer, “Born in New York in 1916, Eyvind Earle began his prolific career at the age of ten when his father, Ferdinand Earle, gave him a challenging choice: read 50 pages of a book or paint a picture every day. Earle choose both. From the time of his first one-man showing in France when he was 14, Earle’s fame had grown steadily. At the age of 21, Earle bicycled across country from Hollywood to New York, paying his way by painting 42 watercolors. In 1937, he opened at the Charles Morgan Galleries, his first of many one-man shows in New York. Two years later at his third consecutive showing at the gallery, the response to his work was so positive that the exhibition sold out and the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased one of his paintings for their permanent collection. His earliest work was strictly realistic, but after having studied the work of a variety of masters such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, Rockwell, Kent and Georgia O’Keefe, Earle by the age of 21, came into his own unique style. His oeuvre is characterized by a simplicity, directness and surety of handling.”
Below – “Winter Oak”; “Two Wild Horses”; “Summer’s Twilight”; “The Rock”; “Purple Coastline”; “Seacliffs & Pine Branch.”
Musings in December: Tom Regan
“Because we have viewed other animals through the myopic lens of our self-importance, we have misperceived who and what they are. Because we have repeated our ignorance, one to the other, we have mistaken it for knowledge.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Rebecca Foust
letter to my transgender daughter
I made soup tonight, with cabbage, chard
and thyme picked outside our back door.
For this moment the room is warm and light,
and I can presume you safe somewhere.
I know the night lives inside you. I know grave,
sad errors were made, dividing you, and hiding
you from you inside. I know a girl like you
was knifed last week, another set aflame.
I know I lack the words, or all the words I say
are wrong. I know I’ll call and you won’t answer,
and still I’ll call. I want to tell you
you were loved with all I had, recklessly,
and with abandon, loved the way the cabbage
in my garden near-inverts itself, splayed
to catch each last ray of sun. And how
the feeling furling-in only makes the heart
more dense and green. Tonight it seems like
something one could bear.
Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora,
and after all those years of silence, our old music
fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here,
at this instant and for this instant only
—perhaps three bars—what I recall
equals all I feel, and I remember all the words.
American Art – Eywind Earle: Part II
In the words of one writer, “After about 15 years creating animated art, Earle returned to painting full time in 1966 and kept working until the end of his life. In addition to his watercolors, oils, sculptures, drawings and scratchboards, in 1974 he began making limited edition serigraphs. Eyvind Earle had a totally original perception of landscape. He successfully synthesizes seemingly incongruent aspects into a singularly distinctive style: a style, which is at once mysterious, primitive, disciplined, moody and nostalgic. He captures the grandeur of simplicity of the American countryside, and represents these glimpses of the American scene with a direct lyric ardor. His landscapes are remarkable for their suggestion of distances, landmasses and weather moods. “For 70 years,” Earle wrote in 1996, ‘I’ve painted paintings, and I’m constantly and everlastingly overwhelmed at the stupendous infinity of Nature. Wherever I turn and look, there I see creation. Art is creating…Art is the search for truth.’
Eyvind Earle passed away on July 20, 2000 at the age of 84.”
Below – “Ocean Mist”; “My Soul”; “Indian Lands”; “Live Oak Country”; “Fire Magic”; “A Sounding of Surf”; “Black Silken Hair.”