American Art – Part I of IV: Edward Steichen
“When that shutter clicks, anything else that can be done afterward is not worth consideration.” – Edward Steichen, American photographer, painter, and art gallery and museum curator, who died 25 March 1973.
In the words of one historian, “After World War II, Steichen was Director of the Department of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art until 1962. While at MoMA, he curated and assembled the exhibit ‘The Family of Man,’ which was seen by nine million people.”
Below – “Gloria Swanson”; “The Pond – Moonlight” (1904); Greta Garbo; “Experiment in Three-Color Photography” (1906); “Loretta Young”; “Lillian Gish”; “Isadora Duncan in the Parthenon, Athens” (1921).
Russian Art – Part I of II: Tatyana Markovtsev
Even though she began painting just a few years ago, Russian minimalist artist Tatyana Markovtsev is already quite accomplished. In the words of one critic, “She is able to express powerful and complex human feelings just via a few elegant lines, capturing a wide variety of human emotions with amazing simplicity and clarity.”
“We have not been scuffling in this waste-howling wildness for the right to be stupid.” – Toni Cade Bambara, African-American writer, documentary film-maker, social activist, professor, and author of “Gorilla, My Love,” who was born 25 March 1939.
Some quotes from Toni Cade Bambara:
“When you dream, you dialogue with aspects of yourself that normally are not with you in the daytime and you discover that you know a great deal more than you thought you did.”
“I’ll be damned if I want most folks out there to do unto me what they do unto themselves.”
“And what is religion, you might ask. It’s a technology of living.”
“I’ve never been convinced that experience is linear, circular, or even random. It just is. I try to put it in some kind of order to extract meaning from it, to bring meaning to it.”
“Revolution begins with the self, in the self.”
Russian Art – Part II of II: Serge Sologub
From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Aretha Franklin
“I’m a big woman. I need big hair.” – Aretha Franklin, American singer and the “Queen of Soul,” who was born 25 March 1942.
French painter Jacques Damville (born 1960) attended the National School of Fine Arts in Paris.
From the Music Archives – Part II of II: Cream
25 March 1967 – The group Cream makes its American debut. In the words of one historian, “Cream first visited the United States in March 1967 to play nine dates at the RKO Theater in New York. There was little impact, as impresario Murray the K placed them at the bottom of a six-act bill that performed five times per date, eventually reducing Cream to one song per concert.”
According to one writer, “Artist and conservator Gyula Kalko received his art training at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Academy of Applied Arts in Budapest, Hungary. He studied drawing and painting under Professor Jeno Barcsay, the world-renown author of the authoritative book, Anatomy for the Artist. At the Academy of Applied Arts he studied graphic arts and conservation and received diplomas from both disciplines in 1970 and 1973 respectively.”
Gyula Kalko lives and works in Toronto.
From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Coxey’s Army
25 March 1894 – Jacob Coxey sets off from Massillon, Ohio for Washington, D.C. on a protest march with a group of unemployed workers known as Coxey’s Army. In keeping with their progressive ideology, Coxey and his supporters wanted the government to help create jobs during what was the worst economic depression in United States history to that time.
My favorite reference to Coxey’s Army:
“After the Industrial Revolution, All Things Happen At Once,”
By Robert Bly
Now we enter a strange world,
where the Hessian Christmas
Still goes on, and Washington has not
reached the other shore;
The Whiskey Boys
Are gathering again on the meadows
And the Republic is still sailing
on the open sea.
I saw a black angel in Washington dancing
On a barge, saying, Let us now divide
kennel dogs and hunting dogs;
Henry Cabot Lodge, in New York,
Talking of sugar cane in Cuba; Ford,
In Detroit, drinking mother’s milk;
Henry Cabot Lodge, saying,
“Remember the Maine!”
Ford, saying, “History is bunk!”
And Wilson saying,
“What is good for General Motors … ”
Who is it, singing?
Don’t you hear singing?
It is the dead of Cripple Creek;
Coxey’s army like turkeys
are singing from the tops of trees!
And the Whiskey Boys are drunk
Spanish Art – Part I of II: Jorge Gallego Garcia:
From the Movie Archives: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
“I absolutely adore working in the realms of fantasy.” – Richard Timothy Smith, better known under his stage name Richard O’Brien, New Zealand writer, actor, television presenter, and theater performer, who was born 25 March 1942.
Richard O’Brien wrote “The Rocky Horror Show,” co-wrote the screenplay for “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and appeared in the film as the character Riff Raff.
“It’s just a jump to the left . . .”
Spanish Art – Part II of II: Antonio Guzman Capel
“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” – Flannery O’Connor, American writer, essayist, author of “Wise Blood,” “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and “The Violent Bear It Away,” and the recipient of the 1972 National Book Award for Fiction (for “Complete Stories”), who was born 25 March 1925.
Some quotes from the work of Flannery O’Connor:
“Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.”
“Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.”
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.”
“Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.”
“I write to discover what I know.”
“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it”
“People without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them.”
“To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”
“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.”
“Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.”
“Total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me.”
“There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence.”
“I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”
“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place… Nothing outside you can give you any place… In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.”
“To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”
“At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.”
“I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else’s. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there’s no truth.”
“Conviction without experience makes for harshness.”
“Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.”
“I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.”
Here is one writer describing the background of Chinese painter Xi Pan: “Xi Pan, born in Wenzhou, China, began her first art studies in 1989 at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou. One year later she transferred to the Moscow Academy of fine Arts where she earned a Master’s Degree in fine Art. Since then she has lived in Europe and the United States working as a professional artist. She is currently living in Hangzhou.”
From the American History Archives – Part II of II: “Howl”
25 March 1955 – Officers of the United States Customs Department confiscate 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s book “Howl,” which had been printed in England. Officials alleged that the book was obscene.
In the words of one historian, “City Lights, a publishing company and bookstore in San Francisco owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, proceeded to publish the book in the fall of 1956. The publication led to Ferlinghetti’s arrest on obscenity charges. Ferlinghetti was bailed out by the American Civil Liberties Union, which led the legal defense. Nine literary experts testified at the trial that the poem was not obscene, and Ferlinghetti was found not guilty.”
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls,
incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi’s, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,
a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills off Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall . . .
American Art – Part II of IV: Tim Gaydos
Here is the Artist Statement of painter Tim Gaydos: “I paint directly from life. For landscapes, this requires working in sometime arduous circumstances often requiring me to walk long distances carrying all my gear. I feel the emotional impact and energy of a place is best captured when one is experiencing it with all one’s senses.
For me, the composition of a painting is its most important technical aspect. The stronger the composition, the greater the impact.
In recent years, I have been moving more and more toward abstracting the landscape by eliminating detail, simplifying shapes, and exaggerating colors with the intent of creating stronger composition. In the studio, I study the paintings and often adjust the compositions. I will then go back to the actual scene and continue to work. This process may go on for some time.”
“Love is a cliff,
A clear, cold curve of stone, mottled by stars,
Smirched by the morning, carved by the dark sea
Till stars and dawn and waves can slash no more,
Till the rock’s heart is found and shaped again.” – James Wright, one of my favorite American poets, who died 25 March 11980.
“Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
American Art – Part III of IV: John Rizzotto
In the words of one critic, “John Rizzotto is a contemporary American realist painter working in the still-life tradition. His carefully composed arrangements of natural and everyday objects recall the Spanish and Northern European masters, while keeping a contemporary sensibility.
Always painting from life, Rizzotto’s primary concerns are capturing light and form, and exploring the endless possibilities of composition.”
A Poem for Today
“Women’s Prison Every Week,”
By Jill McDonough
Lockers, metal detectors, steel doors, C.O.
to C.O., different forms, desks—mouth open, turn—so
slow I use the time to practice patience,
grace, tenderness for glassed-in guards. The rules
recited as if they were the same rules every week:
I can wear earrings. I cannot wear earrings. I can wear
my hair up. I cannot wear my hair up. I dressed
by rote: cords in blue or brown, grey turtleneck, black
clogs. The prisoners, all in grey sweatshirts, blue jeans,
joked I looked like them, fit in. I didn’t think about it,
until I dreamed of being shuffled in and locked
in there, hustled through the heavy doors.
In the dream the guards just shook their heads, smirked
when I spelled out my name, shook the freezing bars.
Instead of nightly escorts out, I’d stay in there
forever. Who would know? So I went to Goodwill,
spent ten bucks on pink angora, walked back down those halls
a movie star. When I stood at the front of the class
there rose a sharp collective sigh. The one
who said she never heard of pandering
until the arraignment said OK, I’m going
to tell her. Then she told me: freedom is wasted
on women like me. They hate the dark cotton, jeans
they have to wear, each one a shadow of the other their
whole sentence. You could wear red! she accused.
Their favorite dresses, silk slips, wool socks all long gone,
bagged up for sisters, moms—maybe Goodwill,
maybe I flicked past them looking for this cotton candy pink
angora cardigan, pearl buttons. They can’t stop staring, so
I take it off and pass it around, let each woman hold it
in her arms, appraise the wool between her fingers,
a familiar gesture, second nature, from another world.
American Art – Part IV of IV: David Jon Kassan