Wandering in Woodacre – 27 January 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1842 – Arkhip Kuindzhi, a Russian painter of Greek descent.

Below – “Moonlit Night on the Dnieper”; “The Birch Grove”; “Elbrus”; “Moonspots in the Forest, Winter”; “Red Sunset on the Dneiper”; “Dneiper in the Morning.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 27 January 2010 – J. D. Salinger, an American novelist, short story writer, and author of “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Some quotes from the work of J. D. Salinger:

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”
“I have so much I want to tell you, and nowhere to begin.”
“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
“I’ll read my books and I’ll drink coffee and I’ll listen to music, and I’ll bolt the door.”

This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1850 – John Collier, an English painter.

Below – “Lady Godiva”; “Angela Mcinnes”; “Circe”; “Queen Guinevre’s Maying”; “The Death of Cleopatra”; “In the Forest of Arden.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 27 January 1924 – Harvey Shapiro, an American poet.

“Key West”
by Harvey Shapiro

At the corner of Simonton and Amelia
there is a small junkyard that is
as beautiful to me as the deep
blue sea stretching from here to Cuba.
It has an arching tree over it
and its shards of old cars, tractors,
boating gear shine in the tropic sun
but with an American splendor
like rolling waves of grain. How odd
to have been taught to respond to
junk by my culture, and with
a patriotic fervor, so that the colors
red, white, and blue blaze through the rust.

This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1885 – Seison Maeda, a Japanese painter.

Below – “Thousand Cranes”; “Red and White Plum Blossoms”; “Peony”; “Off Manazuru”; “Tiger Valley: Three Wise Men”; “Warm Spring.”

This Date in Intellectual History: Died 27 January 2010 – Howard Zinn, an award-winning American historian, playwright, philosopher, social and political activist, and author of “A People’s History of the United States.”

Some quotes from the work of Howard Zinn:

“To be hopeful in bad times is based on the fact that human history is not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
“If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, not as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one’s country, one’s fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.”
“But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is… to tell the truth.”
“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions–poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed–which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.”
“Democracy depends on citizens being informed, and since our media, especially television (which is the most important source of news for most Americans) reports mostly what the people in power do, and repeats what the people in power say, the public is badly informed, and it means we cannot really say we have a functioning democracy.”
“What most of us must be involved in–whether we teach or write, make films, write films, direct films, play music, act, whatever we do–has to not only make people feel good and inspired and at one with other people around them, but also has to educate a new generation to do this very modest thing: change the world.”
“The Constitution. . . illustrates the complexity of the American system: that it serves the interests of a wealthy elite, but also does enough for small property owners, for middle-income mechanics and farmers, to build a broad base of support. The slightly prosperous people who make up this base of support are buffers against the blacks, the Indians, the very poor whites. They enable the elite to keep control with a minimum of coercion, a maximum of law–all made palatable by the fanfare of patriotism and unity.”
“We all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.”

Contemporary American Art – Hazel Miller: Part I of II.

Below – “Woman with Cat”; “Swan Dream”; “Olga in Rainbows”; “Anthurium”; “Great Bliss Queen”; “Luncheon in the Grass.”

Contemporary American Art – Hazel Miller: Part II of II.

Below – “The Weeping Woman”; “Look Alive”; “Summer Promenade”; “Benevolence of the Orchid”; “I Can Honestly Say”; “Gone are the grapes.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 27 January 2009 – John Updike, an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, literary critic, author of the four-part “Rabbit” series, two-time recipient of the National Book Award, and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of John Updike:

“It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.”
“I like old men. They can be wonderful bastards because they have nothing to lose. The only people who can be themselves are babies and old bastards.”
“The world … is full of people who never knew what hit ’em, their lives are over before they wake up.”
“Our lives fade behind us before we die.”
“Mozart’s music gives us permission to live.”
“A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people’s patience.”
“A photograph offers us a glimpse into the abyss of time.”
“Existence itself does not feel horrible; it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Natalia Baykalova

Below – “Mix me with flowers”; “Gracious message”; “Magically”; “Poetics for a woman”; “Air”; “The new world”; “Pheromones.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 27 January 2009 – John Updike, an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, literary critic, author of the four-part “Rabbit” series, two-time recipient of the National Book Award, and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part II of II.

by John Updike

The days are short,
The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees of lace.

The sky is low.
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.

Below – Yuanyuan Liu: “Winter Landscape”

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