May Offerings – Part XVII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Carolyn Anderson

After working on an Indian reservation in Montana as a member of VISTA, American artist Carolyn Anderson returned to the region, and she now lives and works in Havre, a small community in north central Montana near the Canadian border. Anderson has been the recipient of multiple awards for her paintings, including the C.M. Russell Artists’ Choice Award, several Northwest Rendezbous Awards of Excellence, two C.M. Russell Best of Show Awards, and, most recently, the 2010 Master Award of Excellence for the American Impressionist Society.

From the “Something I’m Glad My Mother Didn’t Read Department”:

“It will all go on as long as women are stupid enough to go on bringing men into the world.” – Dorothy Miller Richardson, English writer and journalist, who was born 17 May 1873.

Died 17 May 1889 – William Roxby Beverley, an English painter.

Below – “Woman Reading in an Interior”; “Scarborough Jetty”; “Old East Groyne, Hastings”; “French Luggers”; “A Sail Maker’s Loft.”

Died 17 May 2004 – Jorgen Nash, a Danish artist.

Below – “Thoughts under the Dryer”; “Samurai”; “Loke.”

“I did not fully understand the dread term ‘terminal illness’ until I saw Heathrow Airport for myself.” – Dennis Potter, English writer and creator of the remarkably intelligent BBC television drama “The Singing Detective,” who was born 17 May 1935.

Some quotes from Dennis Potter:

“The trouble with words is that you never know whose mouths they have been in.”
“To love it too much is to obscure and not see what is there.”
“I think childhood is to everyone a lost land.”
“You have to assert something about yourself in order to be yourself.”
“A bad act done will fester and create in its own way. It’s not only goodness that creates. Bad things create. They have their own yeast.”
“I believe everybody is responsible for what they do themselves.”
“Ideals jump across the hierarchies of the printed word.”
“It is a dangerous thing to have instant access to your emotions.”
“Just letting it out is one of the definitions of bad art.”
“That vision of a common culture is now simply a remote wistfulness.”
“The loss of Eden is personally experienced by every one of us as we leave the wonder and magic and also the pains and terrors of childhood.”
“The strangest thing that human speech and human writing can do is create a metaphor. That is an amazing leap, is it not?”
“The thing about imagination is that by the very act of putting it down, there must be some truth in one’s own imagination.”

American Art – Part II of III: George Hurrell

Died 17 May 1992 – George Hurrell, an American photographer best known for his work that contributed to the glamour image of Hollywood celebrities.

Below – Humphrey Bogart; Errol Flynn; James Cagney; Olivia de Havilland; Jane Russell; Bette Davis; Peter Lorre; Veronica Lake; Self-Portrait, 1930.

From the Movie Archives: Dennis Hopper

“’Easy Rider’ was never a motorcycle movie to me. A lot of it was about politically what was going on in the country.” – Dennis Hopper, American actor, filmmaker, and artist, who was born 17 May 1936.

Dennis Hopper delivered brilliant performances in several movies, including “Easy Rider” and “True Romance” (an underrated gem of a film), but some of his great on-screen moments came in “Apocalypse Now,” including this one:

Here is how Swiss photographer William Dalton describes his artistic genesis: “For many years I traveled the world as a global VP for a fortune 500 fragrance and flavor company. I witnessed first-hand the wonders and beauty of our world. I have attempted to photograph some of the beauty of our world to share with others. Many years ago I came across a wonderful French term, ‘objet trouve.’ Webster’s Dictionary defines the term as, ‘a natural object found by chance and held to have aesthetic value, (e.g. driftwood) especially though the working of natural forces.’ I attempt to create ‘objet trouve’ in my photographs. The wonders I find in nature are photographed in an attempt to create art.”

Below – Seven of William Dalton’s “Wave” photographs.


“It is not so important to be serious as it is to be serious about the important things. The monkey wears an expression of seriousness which would do credit to any college student, but the monkey is serious because he itches.” – Robert Hutchins, American educator, philosopher, Dean of Yale Law School, and Chancellor of the University of Chicago, who died 17 May 1977.

Before anyone reads the quotes below, there is something he or she should know: When he was the Chancellor of the University of Chicago, Robert Hutchins not only eliminated varsity football but also forced undergraduates to complete “The Hutchins Plan,” a program based on Great Books, Socratic dialogue, and comprehensive examinations. The man was clearly a politically incorrect fascist. He is also one of my intellectual heroes.

Some quotes from Robert Hutchins:

“A liberal education… frees a man from the prison-house of his class, race, time, place, background, family and even his nation.”
“Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, and teach them to think straight, if possible.”
“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.”
“This is a do-it-yourself test for paranoia: you know you’ve got it when you can’t think of anything that’s your fault.”
“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”
“When I feel like exercising I just lie down until the feeling goes away.”
“A world community can exist only with world communication, which means something more than extensive short-wave facilities scattered about the globe. It means common understanding, a common tradition, common ideas, and common ideals.”
“Education is a kind of continuing dialogue, and a dialogue assumes different points of view.”
“The college graduate is presented with a sheepskin to cover his intellectual nakedness.”
“The three major administrative problems on a campus are sex for the students, athletics for the alumni, and parking for the faculty.”
“There is only one justification for universities, as distinguished from trade schools. They must be centers of criticism.”
“To solve a problem it is necessary to think. It is necessary to think even to decide what facts to collect.”
“We can put television in its proper light by supposing that Gutenberg’s great invention had been directed at printing only comic books.”

“I had to develop my own style. I began to dig out places of my own . . . I loved to paint villages, and I’m glad, because they’re pretty much gone now. They’ve all changed, fallen down, or been destroyed.” – Alfred Joseph Casson, Canadian painter, who was born 17 May 1898.

Below – “White Pine”; “Country Store, McMichael”; “Birches in the Winter”; “Rain, Mist, and Sun”; “Summer Hillside, Kamaniskeg”; “Sunset, Algonquin Park”; “Hillside Village”; “Old House, Haliburton”; “Village at Sundown”; “Pike Lake.”


A Poem for Today

“County Fair,”
By Mary Karr

On the mudroad of plodding American bodies,
my son wove like an antelope from stall
to stall and want to want. I no’ed it all: the wind-up
killer robot and winged alien; knives
hierarchical in a glass case; the blow-up vinyl wolf
bobbing from a pilgrim’s staff.
Lured as I was by the bar-b-que’s black smoke,
I got in line. A hog carcass,
blistered pink on a spit, made its agonized slow roll,
a metaphor, I thought, for anyone
ahead of me—the pasty-faced and broad. I half-longed
for the titanium blade I’d just seen
curved like a falcon’s claw. Some truth wanted cutting
in my neighbors’ impermanent flesh.
Or so my poisoned soul announced, as if scorn
for the body politic
weren’t some outward form of inner scorn,
as if I were fit judge.
Lucky my son found the bumper cars. Once I’d hoped
only to stand tall enough
to drive my own. Now when the master switch got thrown
and sparks skittered overhead
in a lightning web, I felt like Frankenstein or some
newly powered monster.
Plus the floor was glossy as ice. Even rammed head-on,
the rubber bumper bounced you off unhurt
and into other folks who didn’t mind the jolt, whose faces
all broke smiles, in fact,
till the perfect figure-eight I’d started out to execute
became itself an interruption. One face
after another wheeled shining at me from the dark,
each bearing the weight of a whole self.
What pure vessels we are, I thought, once our skulls
shut up their nasty talk.
We drove home past corn at full tassel, colossal silos,
a windmill sentinel. Summer was starting.
My son’s body slumped like a grain sack against mine.
My chest was all thunder.
On the purple sky in rear view, fireworks unpacked—silver
chrysanthemum, another in fuchsia,
then plum. Each staccato boom shook the night. My son
jerked in his sleep. I prayed hard to keep
the frail peace we hurtled through, to want no more
than what we had. The road
rushed under us. Our lush planet heaved toward day.
Inside my hand’s flesh,
anybody’s skeleton gripped the wheel.

Below – Persis Clayton Weirs: “Country Fair”


American Art – Part III of III: Walasse Ting

Died 17 May 2010 – Walasse Ting, a Chinese-American visual artist and poet.

Below (left to right) – “I Love You”; “I See You”; “Look at Me Twice”; “Two Ladies with Flowers”; “I Love Chrysanthemums”; “Three Geishas with Horse (Blue)”; “Cat in the Garden”; “Three Women, Birds, and Fruit”; “My New Girlfriend”; “Beautiful Lady, Red Hair.”

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