Sentient in San Francisco – 20 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 20 April 1840 – Odilon Redon, a French symbolist painter and printmaker: Part I of II.

Below – “Flower Clouds”; “Ophelia”; “Chariot of Apollo”; “Portrait of Violette Heymann”; “Pandora”; “The Cyclops.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 April 1982 – Archibald MacLeish, an American poet, playwright, recipient of the National Book Award, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Seafarer”
by Archibald MacLeish

And learn O voyager to walk
The roll of earth, the pitch and fall
That swings across these trees those stars:
That swings the sunlight up the wall.

And learn upon these narrow beds
To sleep in spite of sea, in spite
Of sound the rushing planet makes:
And learn to sleep against this ground.


This Date in Art History: Born 20 April 1840 – Odilon Redon, a French symbolist painter and printmaker: Part II of II.

Below – “The Buddha”; “Evocation”; “Coquille”; “Apparition.”

A Poem for Today

“Sledding in Wichita”
by Casey Pycior

As cars pass, laboring through the slush,
a boy, bundled against the stiff wind
in his snow suit, gloves, and scarf,
leans on his upright toboggan,
waiting his turn atop
the snow-packed overpass—
the highest point in town.
First one car exits, and then another,
each creeping down the icy ramp.
The brown grass pokes through
the two grooves carved in the short hill.
As the second car fishtails to a stop at the bottom,
brake lights glowing on the dirty snow,
the boy’s turn comes.
His trip to the bottom is swift—
only a second or two—
and he bails out just before the curb.
It’s not much, but it’s sledding in Wichita.

Below – Joan Applebaum: “The Old Toboggan”

Contemporary Italian Art – Jean-Humbert Savoldelli

Below – “Roundabout”; “Striped Landscape”; “Hanging Mists”; “The Red Line”; “Just Perfect.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 April 1960 – Steve Erickson, an award-winning American author and critic.

Some quotes from the work of Steve Erickson:

“A dream is only a memory of the future.”
“‘If I had it to do all over again . . . I wouldn’t change a thing.’. . . the final expression of narcissism, the last gesture of self-congratulation.”
“It wouldn’t have occurred to me that while this old white man, which is to say me, was voting for Hillary Clinton, white women were choosing an overt misogynist [Donald Trump] over the first woman president. Someone will have to explain that one to me someday.”
“In LA, you think you’re making something up, but it’s making you up.”
“I think for the foreseeable future we have to disabuse ourselves of any ideas of unifying, or coming together, or all getting along. I don’t think we’re going to reconcile the America that elected the first African American president with the America that just elected a president avidly endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan – I’m not sure I even want to reconcile the two.”
“I was raised a right-wing Republican and was about eighteen when I had to admit to myself that in regards to the great domestic crucible of the day, civil rights and racial justice, conservatives were on the wrong side historically and morally, and that it took too much intellectual and psychological jujitsu to pretend otherwise. I didn’t want to pretend anymore; I wanted to be on the right side.”
“It became inescapable that as conservatives were wrong about people of color, they were also wrong about women. They were wrong about gay people. The only individual freedoms they seemed to get exercised about were the freedom to make a profit and the freedom to own a gun.”
“I have members of my immediate family, and my wife’s immediate family, who voted for Donald Trump, and now there’s this gulf that I have no interest in bridging however much I love those people. It’s almost like the Civil War.”

Contemporary British Art – Andrew Salgado

Below – “The Astrology Lesson”; “Contemporary Pleasure Island Time Wasters”; “Nights in White Satin”; “When I Grow Up.”

A Poem for Today

“Koi Pond, Oakland Museum”
By Susan Kolodny

Our shadows bring them from the shadows:
a yolk-yellow one with a navy pattern
like a Japanese woodblock print of fish scales.
A fat 18-karat one splashed with gaudy purple
and a patch of gray. One with a gold head,
a body skim-milk-white, trailing ventral fins
like half-folded fans of lace.
A poppy-red, faintly disheveled one,
and one, compact, all indigo in faint green water.
They wear comical whiskers and gather beneath us
as we lean on the cement railing
in indecisive late-December light,
and because we do not feed them, they pass,
then they loop and circle back. Loop and circle. Loop.
“Look,” you say, “beneath them.” Beneath them,
like a subplot or a motive, is a school
of uniformly dark ones, smaller, unadorned,
perhaps another species, living in the shadow
of the gold, purple, yellow, indigo, and white,
seeking the mired roots and dusky grasses,
unliveried, the quieter beneath the quiet.

Below – Koi Pond, Oakland Museum

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