Sentient in San Francisco – 21 November 2018

This Date in Art History: Born 21 November 1898 – Rene Magritte, a Belgian painter.

Below – “Empire of Light”; “The Lovers II”; “Time Transfixed”; “The Mysteries of the Horizon”; “Golconda”; “Man in a Bowler Hat.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 21 November 1694 – Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet), a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher.

Some quotes from the work of Voltaire:

“The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.”
“If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.”
“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”
“It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”
“Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”
“The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.’Beware of the words ‘internal security,’ for they are the eternal cry of the oppressor.”
“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
“Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.”
“Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.”

This Date in Art History: Died 21 November 2010 – Margaret Taylor-Burroughs, an American painter and printmaker.

Below – “Black Venus”; “Slum Child”; “Cotton Pickers in Texas”; “Oakwood Cemetery”; “Peace”; Untitled.

Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Birth: Born 21 November 1902 – Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Polish-American novelist, short story writer, recipient of the National Book Award, and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Isaac Bashevis Singer:

“Two important things are to have a genuine interest in people and to be kind to them. Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything.”
“In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.”
“As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.”
“It is a general rule that when the grain of truth cannot be found, men will swallow great helpings of falsehood.”
“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.”
“I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens.”
“Literature is the memory of humanity.”
“There are 500 reasons I write for children…. Children read books, not reviews. They don’t give a hoot about the critics…. They don’t read to free themselves of guilt, to quench their thirst for rebellion, or to get rid of alienation. They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff…. They don’t expect their beloved writer to redeem humanity. Young as they are, they know that it is not in his power. Only the adults have such childish illusions.”

Contemporary French Art – Fabienne Monestier

Below – “Loire valley like in opera”; “Yellow abstract landscape #1”; “After the Storm”; “Education”; “Peaceful moonlight”; “Mediterranee.”

A Poem for Today

“Lighter Than Air”
by Ruth Stone

The fat girl next door would give us a nickel
to walk to the old man’s store
and get her an ice-cream cone,
vanilla, of course, the only flavor then.
On Powotan Avenue, Aunt Harriet and I would take
turns licking it all the way back.
It was hot that summer and we longed
to go to Virginia Beach and put our toes in the tide.
It rained every day and the James River swelled
up to our doorsteps.
Aunt Harriet and I wore tight rubber bathing caps
and long saggy bathing suits. How skinny we were.
She was nine and I was six. The lightning flashed
and we hid in the closet; the thunder crashed.
We had straight, bobbed hair and bangs.
Once a dirigible moved above the tops of the trees,
with little ladders dangling down, and we waved.

Contemporary British Art – Alan Fears

Below – “Early Birds”; “Kimono Blues”; “Room to Maneuver”; “The Great Escape”; “The Last Resort”; “My New Shirt.”

A Poem for Today

“Good News”
by Steve Langan

We say the trees are a canopy in mid July,
as if that’s a special description of home.

Walking down the hill to see a friend,
I have good news and bad news for him.

We say canopy made out of stars as our
special way to describe the universe to ourselves.

So which one will my friend choose today?

Canopy of trees gives way to the sky;
I’m walking now thinking all the way which
one will he choose good or bad which one?

I guess I can just say instead I love the way
you fixed up the place and these colors.

At a certain age a man can begin to say
things like that to his friends.

Below – Joanne Morrison: “Canopy of Trees”

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