Sentient in San Francisco – 19 July 2019

This Date in Art HistoryL Born 19 July 1834 – Edgar Degas, a French painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “The Dance Class”; “L’Absinthe”; “A Cotton Office in New Orleans”; “At the Cafe-Concert: The Song of the Dog”; “Dancer with Bouquet of Flowers (Star of Ballet)”;“La Toilette (Woman Combing Her Hair).”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 July 1952 – Jayne Anne Phillips, an American novelist and short story writer.

Some quotes from the work of Jayne Anne Phillips:

“Towns change; they grow or diminish, but hometowns remain as we left them.”
“Literature can teach us how to live before we live, and how to die before we die. I believe that writing is practice for death, and for every (other) transformation human beings encounter.”
“If all stories are fiction, fiction can be true — not in detail or fact, but in some transformed version of feeling. If there is a memory of paradise, paradise can exist, in some other place or country dimensionally reminiscent of our own. The sad stories live there too, but in that country, we know what they mean and why they happened. We make our way back from them, finding the way through a bountiful wilderness we begin to understand. Years are nothing: Story conquers all distance.If death is this brilliant slide, this high, fine music felt as pure vibration, this plunging float in wind and silence, it’s not so bad.”
“As before, there is a great silence, with no end in sight. The writer surrenders, listening.”
“Love is the outlaw’s duty.”
“When the year turns, there are bells on the wind. All the old years fall on the ground in lights.”

This Date in Art HistoryL Born 19 July 1834 – Edgar Degas, a French painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below – “Waiting”; “Woman in the Bath”; “Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts”; “The Singer with the Glove”; “The Amateur”; “Dancers.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 July 2009 – Frank McCourt, an Irish-American writer, author of “Angela’s Ashes,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Frank McCourt:

“He says, You have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor , your shoes might be broken , but your mind is a palace.”
“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”
“Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale.”
“It’s lovely to know that the world can’t interfere with the inside of your head.”
“I don’t believe in happiness anyway… it’s too much of an American pastime, this search for happiness. Just forget happiness and enjoy your misery.”
“A mother’s love is a blessing No matter where you roam. Keep her while you have her, You’ll miss her when she’s gone.”
“I had to get rid of any idea of hell or any idea of the afterlife. That’s what held me, kept me down. So now I just have nothing but contempt for the institution of the church.”
“I asked my dad what afflicted meant and he said ‘Sickness son, and things that don’t fit.’
“After a full belly all is poetry.”
“You never know when you might come home and find Mam sitting by the fire chatting with a woman and a child, strangers. Always a woman and child. Mam finds them wandering the streets and if they ask, Could you spare a few pennies, miss? her heart breaks. She never has money so she invites them home for tea and a bit of fried bread and if it’s a bad night she’ll let them sleep by the fire on a pile of rags in the corner. The bread she gives them always means less for us and if we complain she says there are always people worse off and we can surely spare a little from what we have.”
“The master says it’s a glorious thing to die for the Faith and Dad says it’s a glorious thing to die for Ireland and I wonder if there’s anyone in the world who would like us to live. My brothers are dead and my sister is dead and I wonder if they died for Ireland or for the Faith. Dad says they were too young to die for anything. Mam says it was disease and starvation and him never having a job. Dad says, Och, Angela, puts on his cap, and goes for a long walk.”
“Where did I get the nerve to think I could handle American teenagers? Ignorance. That’s where I got the nerve.”
“The sky is the limit. You never have the same experience twice.
“Happiness is hard to recall. Its just a glow.”
“I learned the significance of my own insignificant life.”

This Date in Art History: Born 19 July 1895 – Xu Beihong, a Chinese painter.

Below – “Galloping Horse”; “Portrait of Ms Jenny”; “Portrait Of Young Lady”; “Dawn”; “Battle”; “Lady in Red.”

This Date in Philosophical History: Born 19 July 1898 – Herbert Marcuse, a German-American philosopher, sociologist, political theorist, and author of “Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud” and “One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society.”

Some quotes from the work of Herbert Marcuse:

“The so-called consumer society and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form. The need for possessing, consuming, handling and constantly renewing the gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people, for using these wares even at the danger of one’s own destruction, has become a ‘biological’ need.”
“The truth of art lies in its power to break the monopoly of established reality to define what is real.”
“The means of communication, the irresistible output of the entertainment and information industry carry with them prescribed attitudes and habits, certain intellectual and emotional reactions which bind the consumers to the producers and, through the latter to the whole social system. The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood…Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior.”
“Art cannot change the world, but it can contribute to changing the consciousness and drives of the men and women who could change the world.”
“Those who devote their lives to earning a living are incapable of living a human existence.”
“The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.”
“Thought that accepts reality as given is no thought at all.”
“Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves. Free choice among a wide variety of goods and services does not signify freedom if these goods and services sustain social controls over a life of toil and fear – that is, if they sustain alienation. And the spontaneous reproduction of superimposed needs by the individual does not establish autonomy; it only testifies to the efficacy of the controls.”
“Not every problem someone has with his girlfriend is necessarily due to the capitalist mode of production.”
“The sickness of the individual is ultimately caused by and sustained by the sickness of his civilization.”

Contemporary Swedish Art – Cat Dogville

Below – “running against the dog”; “running in Africa”; “sunbathing”; “Yellow shoes”; “jail”; “after dinner”; “the couple, Dublin.”

A Poem for Today

by Lyn Lifshin

“The Other Fathers”

would be coming back
from some war, sending
back stuffed birds or
handkerchiefs in navy
blue with Love painted
on it. Some sent telegrams
for birthdays, the pastel
letters like jewels. The
magazines were full of fathers who
were doing what had
to be done, were serving,
were brave. Someone
yelped there’d be confetti
in the streets, maybe
no school. That soon
we’d have bananas. My
father sat in the grey
chair, war after war,
hardly said a word. I
wished he had gone
away with the others
so maybe he would
be coming back to us

Below – Edith Lake Wilkinson: “Old Man In Provincetown”

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