Sentient in San Francisco – 23 July 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 23 July 1851 – Peder Severin Kroyer, a Danish painter.

Below – “Summer Evening on Skagan’s Southern Beach with Anna Archer and Marie Kroyer”; “Hip, Hip, Hurrah!”; “Summer Evening at Skagen: The Artist’s Wife and Dog by the Shore”; “Roses”; “Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach”; “Summer Evening at Skagen Beach – The Artist and his Wife.”

American Sages – Part I of II: Robert Christopher Lasch,’’ the author of “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations.”

In the words of one writer, “Robert Christopher Lasch (June 1, 1932 – February 14, 1994) was an American historian, moralist, and social critic who was a history professor at the University of Rochester. Lasch sought to use history as a tool to awaken American society to the pervasiveness with which major institutions, public and private, were eroding the competence and independence of families and communities. He strove to create a historically informed social criticism that could teach Americans how to deal with rampant consumerism, proletarianization, and what he famously labeled the ‘culture of narcissism’.”

Some quotes from the work of Christopher Lasch:

“Our growing dependence on technologies no one seems to understand or control has given rise to feelings of powerlessness and victimization. We find it more and more difficult to achieve a sense of continuity, permanence, or connection with the world around us. Relationships with others are notably fragile; goods are made to be used up and discarded; reality is experienced as an unstable environment of flickering images. Everything conspires to encourage escapist solutions to the psychological problems of dependence, separation, and individuation, and to discourage the moral realism that makes it possible for human beings to come to terms with existential constraints on their power and freedom.”
“The contemporary climate is therapeutic, not religious. People today hunger not for personal salvation, let alone for the restoration of an earlier golden age, but for the feeling, the momentary illusion, of personal well-being, health, and psychic security.”
“The family is a haven in a heartless world.”
“Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success.”
“The attempt to redefine the family as a purely voluntary arrangement grows out of the modern delusion that people can keep all their options open all the time.”
“The left has come to regard common sense – the traditional wisdom and folkways of the community – as an obstacle to progress and enlightenment.”
“Advertising serves not so much to advertise products as to promote consumption as a way of life. It ‘educates’ the masses into an unappeasable appetite not only for goods but for new experiences and personal fulfillment.”
“Conservatives unwittingly side with the social forces that contribute to the destruction of traditional values.”
“Adherents of the new religious right reject the separation of politics and religion, but they bring no spiritual insights to politics.”
“In our society, daily experience teaches the individual to want and need a never-ending supply of new toys and drugs.”
“The hope of a new politics does not lie in formulating a left-wing reply to the right – it lies in rejecting conventional political categories.”
“It is the logic of consumerism that undermines the values of loyalty and permanence and promotes a different set of values that is destructive of family life.”
“Progressive rhetoric has the effect of concealing social crisis and moral breakdown by presenting them as the birth pangs of a new order.”

“We demand too much of life, too little of ourselves.”
Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Lesya Ros

Below – “Morning on the Lake”; “Evening Fields”; “Still life with pears”; “Still life with iris”; “Lilac”; “Summer day.”

A Poem for Today

“Poor Patriarch”
by Susie Patlove

The rooster pushes his head
high among the hens, trying to be
what he feels he must be, here
in the confines of domesticity.
Before the tall legs of my presence,
he bristles and shakes his ruby comb.

‘Little man,” I want to say
“the hens know who they are.’
I want to ease his mistaken burden,
want him to crow with the plain
ecstasy of morning light as it
finds its winter way above the woods.

Poor outnumbered fellow,
how did he come to believe
that on his plumed shoulders
lay the safety of an entire flock?
I run my hand down the rippled
brindle of his back, urge him to relax,
drink in the female pleasures
that surround him, of egg laying,
of settling warm-breasted in the nest
of this brief and feathered time.

Below – Marion Rose: “Hot Shot”

Contemporary Argentinean Art – Guido Mauas

Below – “Ancestral Memory”; “Mara in the Sun”; “Erika”; “An Instant in Thought”; “Lara”; “The trees and the flowers.”

American Sages – Part II of II: James Howard Kunstler, author of “The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscapes” and “The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century,” and “Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation.”

In the words of one writer, James Howard Kunstler (born October 19, 1948) is an American author, social critic, public speaker, and blogger. He is best known for his books “The Geography of Nowhere” (1994), a history of American suburbia and urban development, “The Long Emergency” (2005), and “Too Much Magic” (2012). In “The Long Emergency,” he argues that when peak oil is reached, oil depletion will result in the end of industrialized society and force Americans to live in smaller-scale, localized, agrarian (or semi-agrarian) communities.”

Some quotes from the work of James Howard Kunstler:

“I like to call it ‘the national automobile slum.’ You can call it suburban sprawl. I think it’s appropriate to call it the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.”
“The twentieth century was about getting around. The twenty-first century will be about staying in a place worth staying in.”
“The living arrangements American now think of as normal are bankrupting us economically, socially, ecologically and spiritually.
“We’re still promoting stupid wasteful behavior in agribusiness – everything from ethanol production for cars to genetically modified crops. In commerce just about everything we do politically is in the service of Wal-Mart and the systems tied to it. In transportation, we could, for instance, have compelled General Motors to produce railroad rolling stock as a condition of their bail-out, but we didn’t do that. Instead, we’re chasing the phantom of electric cars – and, believe me, we are going to be mortally disappointed how that works out.”
“The economy of the 21st century will come to center on agriculture. Life will be intensely and profoundly local in ways that we can’t conceive of today. Economic growth, as we have known it in a cheap energy industrial paradigm, will cease.”
“As the places where Americans dwell become evermore depressing and impossible, Disneyworld is where they escape to worship the nation in the abstract, a cartoon capital of a cartoon republic enshrining the falsehoods, half-truths, and delusions that prop up the squishy thing the national character has become–for instance, that we are a nation of families; that we care about our fellow citizens; that history matters; that there is a place called home.”
“Community is not something you have, like pizza. Nor is it something you can buy. It’s a living organism based on a web of interdependencies- which is to say, a local economy. It expresses itself physically as connectedness, as buildings actively relating to each other, and to whatever public space exists, be it the street, or the courthouse or the village green.”
“Americans threw away their communities in order to save a few dollars on hair dryers and plastic food storage tubs, never stopping to reflect on what they were destroying.”
“The public realm in America has two roles: it is the dwelling place of our civilization and our civic life, and it is the physical manifestation of the common good. When you degrade the public realm, you will automatically degrade the quality of your civic life and the character of all the enactments of your public life and communal life that take place there.”
“I believe we are deluded about alternative energy. The key is, whatever we do, we’re going to have to do on a very modest scale. It’s all about scale. We’re not going to build giant wind farms with Godzilla-sized turbines all over the place. That’s a fantasy.”
“I think the deeper truth is that the Kyoto Protocols will not be followed by anyone really and that, in effect, nothing will be done to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions.”
“I generally avoid over-population arguments. But there’s no question we’re in population overshoot. The catch is we’re not going to do anything about it. There will be no policy. The usual suspects: starvation, war, disease, will drive the population down. There’s little more to say about that really, and it’s certainly an unappetizing discussion, but it’s probably the truth. In any case, we’re in overshoot and we face vast resource scarcities.”
“I urge people not to think in terms of ‘solutions,’ but in terms of intelligent responses to the quandaries and predicaments that we face. And there are intelligent responses that we can bring forth. But when I hear the word ‘solution,’ I always suspect that there’s a hidden agenda there. And the hidden agenda is: ‘Please, can you please tell us how we can keep on living exactly the way we’re living now, without having to really change our behavior very much?’ And that’s sort of what’s going on in this country. And it’s not going to work.”

Contemporary American Art – Karen Lundquist

Below – “Black Hills, Azure Spring”; “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone”; “Leda and the Swan”; “The Marsh at Dawn.”

A Poem for Today

“Back Then”
by Trish Crapo

Out in the yard, my sister and I
tore thread from century plants
to braid into bracelets, ate
chalky green bananas,
threw coconuts onto the sidewalk
to crack their hard, hairy skulls.

The world had begun to happen,
but not time. We would live
forever, sunburnt and pricker-stuck,
our promises written in blood. Not yet

would men or illness distinguish us,
our thoughts cleave us in two.
If she squeezed sour calamondins
into a potion, I drank it. When I jumped
from the fig tree, she jumped.

Below – Saranda Xhemajli: “Young Sisters”

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