Sentient in San Francisco – 18 November 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 18 November 1787 – Louis Daguerre, a French artist and photographer recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography.

Below – In the words of one writer, “‘Boulevard du Temple,’ taken by
Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known photograph of a person. The image shows a busy street, but because the exposure had to continue for several minutes the moving traffic is not visible. At the lower right, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 18 November 1836 – W. S. Gilbert, an English playwright, poet, librettist, and illustrator.

Some quotes from the work of W. S. Gilbert:

“He did nothing in particular, and did it very well.”
“It isn’t so much what’s on the table that matters, as what’s on the chairs.”
“I’m really very sorry for you all, but it’s an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances.”
“Things are seldom as they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream.”
“No one can have a higher opinion of him than I have; and I think he’s a dirty little beast.”
“Deerstalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns.”
“Oh, don’t the days seem lank and long When all goes right and nothing goes wrong, And isn’t your life extremely flat With nothing whatever to grumble at!”
“Saturday afternoon, although occurring at regular and well-foreseen intervals, always takes this railway by surprise.”
“Life is a joke that’s just begun.”

This Date in Art History: Born 18 November 1882 p Wyndham Lewis, an English painter and critic.

Below – “Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, Froanna”; “La Suerte”; “Panel for the Safe of a Great Millionaire”; “Seated Figure”; “Creation Myth”; “Newfoundland.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 18 November 1939 – Margaret Atwood, an award-winning Canadian novelist, poet, and critic.

“Night Poem”
by Margaret Atwood

There is nothing to be afraid of,
it is only the wind
changing to the east, it is only
your father the thunder
your mother the rain
In this country of water
with its beige moon damp as a mushroom,
its drowned stumps and long birds
that swim, where the moss grows
on all sides of the trees
and your shadow is not your shadow
but your reflection,
your true parents disappear
when the curtain covers your door.
We are the others,
the ones from under the lake
who stand silently beside your bed
with our heads of darkness.
We have come to cover you
with red wool,
with our tears and distant whispers.
You rock in the rain’s arms,
the chilly ark of your sleep,
while we wait, your night
father and mother,
with our cold hands and dead flashlight,
knowing we are only
the wavering shadows thrown
by one candle, in this echo
you will hear twenty years later.

Below – Veronica Olivetto: “bedroom shadows”

Contemporary South Korean Art – Ko Hyung Jun

Below – “Blue Spring vol. 150”; “Blue Spring vol. 159”; “Blue Spring vol. 157”; “Blue Spring vol. 163”; “Blue Spring vol. 164”; “Blue Spring vol. 152.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 18 November 1922 – Marcel Proust, a French novelist, critic, essayist, and author of “In Search of Lost Time.”

Some quotes from the work of Marcel Proust:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
“Do not wait for life. Do not long for it. Be aware, always and at every moment, that the miracle is in the here and now.”
“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”
“If we are to make reality endurable, we must all nourish a fantasy or two.”
“We do not succeed in changing things according to our desire, but gradually our desire changes. The situation that we hoped to change because it was intolerable becomes unimportant. We have not managed to surmount the obstacle, as we were absolutely determined to do, but life has taken us round it, led us past it, and then if we turn round to gaze at the remote past, we can barely catch sight of it, so imperceptible has it become.”
“Under each station of the real, another glimmers.”
“Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.”
“When we have passed a certain age, the soul of the child that we were and the souls of the dead from whom we sprang come and shower upon us their riches and their spells, asking to be allowed to contribute to the new emotions which we feel and in which, erasing their former image, we recast them in an original creation.”
“Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life.”
“Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have retained of them.”
“Love is space and time measured by the heart.”
“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”

Contemporary British Art – Adam Isfendiyar

Below (photographs) – “Crossing Over”; “Chibi”; “Offering”; “The Dance of the Sword”; “Master and The Mountain”; “Let’s Shop!.”


A Poem for Today

“Raking”
by Tania Rochelle

Anna Bell and Lane, eighty,
make small leaf piles in the heat,
each pile a great joint effort,
like fifty years of marriage,
sharing chores a rusty dance.
In my own yard, the stacks
are big as children, who scatter them,
dodge and limbo the poke
of my rake. We’re lucky,
young and straight-boned.
And I feel sorry for the couple,
bent like parentheses
around their brittle little lawn.
I like feeling sorry for them,
the tenderness of it, but only
for a moment: John glides in
like a paper airplane, takes
the children for the weekend,
and I remember,
they’re the lucky ones—
shriveled Anna Bell, loving
her crooked Lane.

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