American Art – Part I of III: Kay Sage
Died 8 January 1963 – Kay Sage, an American Surrealist artist and poet.
8 January 1956 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Conrad Aiken.
“The Dreamer of Dreams”
The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light.
The trees grow dark: the shadows lean to the east:
And lights wink out through the windows, one by one.
A clamor of frosty sirens mourns at the night.
Pale slate-grey clouds whirl up from the sunken sun.
And the wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams,
The eternal asker of answers, stands in the street,
And lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.
The purple lights leap down the hill before him.
The gorgeous night has begun again.
“I will ask them all, I will ask them all their dreams,
I will hold my light above them and seek their faces.
I will hear them whisper, invisible in their veins . . .”
The eternal asker of answers becomes as the darkness,
Or as a wind blown over a myriad forest,
Or as the numberless voices of long-drawn rains.
We hear him and take him among us, like a wind of music,
Like the ghost of a music we have somewhere heard;
We crowd through the streets in a dazzle of pallid lamplight,
We pour in a sinister wave, ascend a stair,
With laughter and cry, and word upon murmured word;
We flow, we descend, we turn . . . and the eternal dreamer
Moves among us like light, like evening air . . .
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night! We go our ways,
The rain runs over the pavement before our feet,
The cold rain falls, the rain sings.
We walk, we run, we ride. We turn our faces
To what the eternal evening brings.
Our hands are hot and raw with the stones we have laid,
We have built a tower of stone high into the sky,
We have built a city of towers.
Our hands are light, they are singing with emptiness.
Our souls are light; they have shaken a burden of hours . . .
What did we build it for? Was it all a dream? . . .
Ghostly above us in lamplight the towers gleam . . .
And after a while they will fall to dust and rain;
Or else we will tear them down with impatient hands;
And hew rock out of the earth, and build them again.
8 January 1961 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Yvor Winters.
“At the San Francisco Airport”
To my daughter, 1954
This is the terminal: the light
Gives perfect vision, false and hard;
The metal glitters, deep and bright.
Great planes are waiting in the yard—
They are already in the night.
And you are here beside me, small,
Contained and fragile, and intent
On things that I but half recall—
Yet going whither you are bent.
I am the past, and that is all.
But you and I in part are one:
The frightened brain, the nervous will,
The knowledge of what must be done,
The passion to acquire the skill
To face that which you dare not shun.
The rain of matter upon sense
Destroys me momently. The score:
There comes what will come. The expense
Is what one thought, and something more—
One’s being and intelligence.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Polish painter Julita Malinowska: “(Her) paintings belong to those, which once seen – are never forgotten. The open spaces, sometimes cool and bright, at other times heavily saturated with contrasting light, create a landscape in which, like a counterpoint, we come across a figure – sometimes one, perhaps two or more. The synthetic construction of form, clean contours, and strong divisions are elements which at first sight are the defining characteristics of the artist’s style. It is impossible to pass one by and remain indifferent to the subdued harmony flooding these spaces which are not totally defined.”
The Fab Four – Part I of II
8 January 1966 – The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” album reaches number one on the popular music charts and remains there for six weeks.
The Fab Four – Part II of II
8 January 1966 – The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out” single reaches number one on the popular music charts and remains there for three weeks.
Born 8 January 1883 – Pavel Nikolayevich Filonov, a Russian painter, art theorist, and poet.
From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Shirley Bassey
“No wedding bells for me anymore. I’ve been happily married to my profession for years.” – Shirley Bassey, Welsh singer best known for recording the theme songs to three James Bond films, who was born 8 January 1937.
From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Anthony Gourdine
Born 8 January 1940 – Anthony Gourdine, American singer and member of the group Little Anthony and the Imperials.
From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Terry Sylvester
Born 8 January 1945 – Terry Sylvester, English guitarist, singer, and member of The Hollies.
Died 8 January 2013 – Kenojuak Ashevak, a Canadian Inuit artist.
Below – “Oracle”; “A Vision of Animals”; “Owl with Dogs, Fish, and Birds”; “Long Necked Loon”; “Women Speak of Spring”; “Silver Foxes Chase Raven”; “Wolves in Spring.”
Science versus Ignorance – Part I of II: Galileo Galilei
“It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved.” – Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, heretic, and the “Father of Modern Science,” who died 8 January 1642.
Some quotes from the work of Galileo Galilei:
“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”
“The Bible tells you how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”
“I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.”
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.”
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
“Passion is the genesis of genius.”
“Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book which ever is before our eyes — I mean the universe — but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.”
“There are those who reason well, but they are greatly outnumbered by those who reason badly.”
“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”
“Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new.”
“Measure what can be measured, and make measurable what cannot be measured.”
“The increase of known truths stimulates the investigation, establishment, and growth of the arts.”
Here is the Artist Statement of Irish painter Eleanor McCaughey: “While there is no one overriding theme in my work, common thematic elements include the ambiguity of violence in film, the aggressive nature of globalisation and its effects.
My work is an ongoing investigation into the dialogue between film and painting with a focus primarily on scenes of violence. Intentionally isolating the representational image from its context I use painting as a means to create new environments and narratives.
Recently I have been exploring the possibilities of painting and its structures. Deconstructing form and colour from the canvas, looking at new methods of presentation and reconstruction of the medium and its functions.”
Science versus Ignorance – Part II of II: Stephen Hawking
“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” – Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, writer, Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge, and author of “A Brief History of Time,” who was born 8 January 1942.
Some quotes from the work of Stephen Hawking:
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”
“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?”
“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”
“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. ”
“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”
“(In the Universe it may be that) Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.”
“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. It’s a crazy world out there. Be curious.”
“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.”
“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
“I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
“It is all right to make mistakes; nothing is perfect because with perfection, we would not exist.”
“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”
“Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free.”
“To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.”
“What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn’t prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary.”
“I do not fear death but I am in no hurry to die.”
“We don’t deliberately set out to offend. Unless we feel it’s justified. And in the case of certain well-known religions, it was justified.” – Graham Chapman, English comedian, writer, actor, and member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, who was born 8 January 1941.
“O take heart, my brothers. Even now… with every leader & every resource & every strategy of every nation on Earth arrayed against Her – Even now, O even now, my brothers, Life is in no danger of losing the argument! – For after all … (as will be shown) She has only to change the subject.” – Kenneth Patchen, an American poet and novelist who influenced the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beat Generation, who died 8 January 1972.
“Do the Dead Know what Time It Is?
The old guy put down his beer.
Son, he said,
(and a girl came over to the table where we were:
asked us by Jack Christ to buy her a drink.)
Son, I am going to tell you something
The like of which nobody was ever told.
(and the girl said, I’ve got nothing on tonight;
how about you and me going to your place?)
I am going to tell you the story of my mother’s
Meeting with God.
(and I whispered to the girl: I don’t have a room,
She walked up to where the top of the world is
And He came right up to her and said
So at last you’ve come home.
(but maybe what?
I thought I’d like to stay here and talk to you.)
My mother started to cry and God
Put His arms around her.
Oh, just talk…we’ll find something.)
She said it was like a fog coming over her face
And light was everywhere and a soft voice saying
You can stop crying now.
(what can we talk about that will take all night?
and I said that I didn’t know.)
Spanish Art – Part I of II: Juan Luis Jardi
Here is one writer describing the artistry of Spanish painter Juan Luis Jardi (born 1961): “The landscape of every painting, the ones where figures appear, is unique because of all its peculiarities, carefully picked up. Jardí has no doubts with respect to the settings he picks, whether a snowed landscape, quite pertinent right now, a beach or an urban location. And he does not question either that the onlooker –himself, in the first instance, but also others that do exist or he can imagine– wants to be integrated in the ensemble, but at the same time, he has several ways to do it, and the artist desires to represent it to understand the different options we always have.”
From the American Old West: The Battle of Wolf Mountain
8 January 1877, The Montana Territory – The Battle of Wolf Mountain is fought between troops of the United States Army commanded by General Nelson Miles and a force of Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors led by Two Moons and Crazy Horse. This was the last time that Crazy Horse fought against the United States cavalry, and in May he and his surviving warriors surrendered at Camp Robinson.
Spanish Art – Part II of II: Juan Moreno Aguado
In the words of one writer, “Spanish painter Juan Moreno Aguado (born 1954) graduated from the College of Fine Arts at the University of Complutense in Madrid.”
The King – Part I of IV: Birthday
“Rhythm is something you either have or don’t have, but when you have it, you have it all over.” – Elvis Presley, American singer, musician, actor, and “the King of Rock and Roll,” who was born 8 January 1935.
The King – Part II of IV: The First Hit, Side A
8 January 1956 – Elvis Presley’s single “Don’t Be Cruel” reaches number one on the popular music charts and remains there for a record eleven weeks.
The King – Part III of IV: The First Hit, Side B
8 January 1956 – Elvis Presley’s single “Hound Dog” reaches number one on the popular music charts and remains there for a record eleven weeks.
The King – Part IV of IV: Tribute
A Poem for Today
“Live Blindly and Upon the Hour,”
By Trumbull Stickney
Live blindly and upon the hour. The Lord,
Who was the Future, died full long ago.
Knowledge which is the Past is folly. Go,
Poor, child, and be not to thyself abhorred.
Around thine earth sun-winged winds do blow
And planets roll; a meteor draws his sword;
The rainbow breaks his seven-coloured chord
And the long strips of river-silver flow:
Awake! Give thyself to the lovely hours.
Drinking their lips, catch thou the dream in flight
About their fragile hairs’ aerial gold.
Thou art divine, thou livest,—as of old
Apollo springing naked to the light,
And all his island shivered into flowers.
Below – “Apollo and Daphne,” by John William Waterhouse.
American Art – Part II of III: Natalia Fabia
In the words of one writer, “Natalia Fabia is of Polish descent and was raised in Southern California where she graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Inspired by light, color, punk rock music, hot chicks and sparkles, Fabia is fascinated with ‘hookers,’ which fuels her paintings of sultry women.
Her work has been featured in numerous gallery exhibitions including Thinkspace Gallery, M Modern and The Shooting Gallery. She has been featured in ‘Angeleno,’ ‘Juxtapoz,’ and ‘New York Arts’ magazine as well as appearances on ‘Miami Ink,’ ‘Fox 11 News’ and ‘Indie 103.1.’”
Below – “Brooklyn Rainbows”; “Electric Marshmallows For Real Eyes”; “Cherokee Geisha”; “Noelle The Hooker Clown”; “Rest Interrupted”; “Pizza Party”; “Jungle Hooker”; “Safari Girl Pile”; “Kleptomaniac’s Parlor”; “Cocktail Face”: “Patty Cake.”
A Second Poem for Today
“You Can’t Have It All,”
By Barbara Ras
But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.
A Third Poem for Today
“I Have News for You,”
By Tony Hoagland
There are people who do not see a broken playground swing
as a symbol of ruined childhood
and there are people who don’t interpret the behavior
of a fly in a motel room as a mocking representation of their thought process.
There are people who don’t walk past an empty swimming pool
and think about past pleasures unrecoverable
and then stand there blocking the sidewalk for other pedestrians.
I have read about a town somewhere in California where human beings
do not send their sinuous feeder roots
deep into the potting soil of others’ emotional lives
as if they were greedy six-year-olds
sucking the last half-inch of milkshake up through a noisy straw;
and other persons in the Midwest who can kiss without
debating the imperialist baggage of heterosexuality.
Do you see that creamy, lemon-yellow moon?
There are some people, unlike me and you,
who do not yearn after fame or love or quantities of money as
unattainable as that moon;
thus, they do not later
have to waste more time
defaming the object of their former ardor.
Or consequently run and crucify themselves
in some solitary midnight Starbucks Golgotha.
I have news for you—
there are people who get up in the morning and cross a room
American Art – Part III of III: Brian Keeler
In the words of one critic, “In 31 years of editing art magazines, I can’t think of many other artists whose artwork is as varied, accomplished, or expressive as the pictures Keeler has created during his long career. He is an exceptionally talented, intelligent, and dedicated artist, and it has been a great privilege to share his work with readers of these publications. Above all, he is an intelligent, passionate artist who deals with aspects of the visual world that can be analyzed and explained, as well as those that are purely emotional.”