Sentient in San Francisco – 27 January 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1805 – Samuel Palmer, an English painter and etcher: Part I of II.

Below – “The Bellman”; “The Bright Cloud”; “A Cornfield by Moonlight with the Evening Star”; “A Church with a Boat and Sheep”; “Classical River Scene”; “The Gleaning Field.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 27 January 2010 – J. D. Salinger, an American novelist, short story writer, and author of “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Some quotes from the work of J. D. Salinger:

“The world is full of actors pretending to be human.”
“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”
“I’ll read my books and I’ll drink coffee and I’ll listen to music, and I’ll bolt the door.”


This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1805 – Samuel Palmer, an English painter and etcher: Part II of II.

Below – “The Golden Valley”; “The Harvest Moon”; “In a Shoreham Garden”; “Pear Tree in a Walled Garden”; “The Prospect”; “A Shepherd and His Flock under the Moon and Stars.”

Remembering a Composer on the Date of His Death: Died 27 January 1901 – Giuseppe Verdi, an Italian opera composer.

This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1850 – John Collier, an English painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Angela McInnes”; “Clytemnestra”; “Lady Godiva”; “Circe”; “Fire”; “Artemis.”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 29 January 2009 – John Updike, an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, literary critic, two-time recipient of the National Book Award, and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of John Updike:

“Existence itself does not feel horrible; it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.”
“It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.”
“Perfectionism is the enemy of creation, as extreme self- solitude is the enemy of well- being.”
“Looking foolish does the spirit good. The need not to look foolish is one of youth’s many burdens; as we get older we are exempted from more and more.”
“The artist brings something into the world that didn’t exist before, and he does it without destroying something else.”


This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1850 – John Collier, an English painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Meditation”; “The Priestess off Bacchus”; “Maenads”; ‘Queen Guinevere’s Maying”; “Priestess of Delphi”; “Spring.”

Remembering an Important Performer on the Date of His Death: Died 27 January 2014 – Pete Seeger, an American folk singer, song writer, guitarist, and social activist.

This Date in Art History: Died 27 January 1965 – Abraham Walkowitz, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Head of a Woman”; “The City”; Untitled floral still life; “Times Square”; “Nude with Pink Towel”; “Isadora Duncan.”

Remembering an Important Thinker on the Date of His Death: Died 27 January 2010 – Howard Zinn, an American historian, playwright, social activist, and author of “A People’s History of the United States.”

Some quotes from the work of Howard Zinn:

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
“To be hopeful in bad times is based on the fact that human history is not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
“If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, not as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one’s country, one’s fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.”
“But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is… to tell the truth.”
“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions–poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed–which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.”
“Historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.”
“Democracy depends on citizens being informed, and since our media, especially television (which is the most important source of news for most Americans) reports mostly what the people in power do, and repeats what the people in power say, the public is badly informed, and it means we cannot really say we have a functioning democracy.”
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

This Date in Art History: Died 27 January 1965 – Abraham Walkowitz, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Rocky Cove”; “Dock Scene”; “Barns”; “Figures on a Balcony”; “Portrait of a Woman in a Green Blouse”; “Bathers.”


Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 27 January1924 – Harvey Shapiro, an American poet.

“Nights”
by Harvey Shapiro

Drunk and weeping. It’s another night
at the live-in opera, and I figure
it’s going to turn out badly for me.
The dead next door accept their salutations,
their salted notes, the drawn-out wailing.
It’s we the living who must run for cover,
meaning me. Mortality’s the ABC of it,
and after that comes lechery and lying.
And, oh, how to piece together a life
from this scandal and confusion, as if
the gods were inhabiting us or cohabiting
with us, just for the music’s sake.

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