Sentient in San Francisco – 21 February 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 21 February 1909 – Hans Erni, a Swiss painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “Der Astronom”; “Drei Pferde”; “Rising Stallion”; “Familie No. 1”; “Zwei Pferde”; “Maler und Model.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 21 February 1962 – David Foster Wallace, an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and author of “Infinite Jest.”

Some quotes from the work of David Foster Wallace:

“Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.”
“I do things like get in a taxi and say, ‘The library, and step on it.’”
“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”
“No wonder we cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from the horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home.”
“You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness … has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me.”
“If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.”
“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
“True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care—with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world.”


This Date in Art History: Born 21 February 1909 – Hans Erni, a Swiss painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below (lithographs) – Untitled; Untitled (Three Young Females); “Bacchanal in Moisson”; Untitled; Untitled.


A Poem for Today

“Yellowjackets”
by Karen J. Weyant

When my father held his Bic lighter
to the nests in back of the garage,
the gray paper pulp sparked

then blackened. Ashes fell,
coating crawling ivy and clover.
A few yellowjackets fled,

one or two swirled, flying
into the sweaty face of my father,
but most too stunned,

their usual side-to-side swag
of a dance, flailing in the smoke.
When one landed on my arm, I stiffened.

His wings settled into a still gauze,
body coiled in yellow bands,
the same shade as buttercups we held

to our skin, cupping sunlight near our chins.
Every step, careful, quivering, as if neither
of us knew who was supposed to sting.


Contemporary Egyptian Art – Shereen Elbarodi

Below – “story of body”; “meeting”; “portrait with old ancient”; “easy maps”; “Aerial View.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 21 February 1907 – Wystan Hugh Auden, an English-American poet.

“If I Could Tell You”
by W. H. Auden

Time will say nothing but I told you so
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reason why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.


Contemporary American Art – Ethan Stuart

Below – “Everyday”; “The florist”; “Walking the Dog”; “WoodWorker”; “Big Imagery”; “Grandpa was a smoker.”


A Poem for Today

“Father and Daughter”
by Amanda Strand

The wedding ring I took off myself,
his wife wasn’t up to it.
I brought the nurse into the room
in case he jumped or anything.
“Can we turn his head?
He looks so uncomfortable.”
She looked straight at me,
patiently waiting for it to sink in.

The snow fell.
His truck in the barn,
his boots by the door,
flagpoles empty.
It took a long time for the taxi to come.
“Where to?” he said.
“My father just died,” I said.
As if it were a destination.

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