This Date in Art History: Died 10 May 1849 – Hokusai, a Japanese painter and printmaker.
Below – “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”; “Fireworks in the Cool of Evening at Ryogoku Bridge in Edo”; “Fine Wind, Clear Morning”; “Tiger in the Snow”; “Courtesan asleep”; “Kirifuri waterfall at Kurokami Mountain in Shimotsuke.”
Some quotes from the work of Walker Percy:
“You can get all A’s and still flunk life.”
“Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion.”
“My mother refused to let me fail. So I insisted.”
“What is the nature of the search? you ask. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.”
“I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one, that is, who really wants to listen. When it does at last dawn on a man that you really want to hear about his business, the look that comes over his face is something to see.”
“You live in a deranged age – more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.”
“What needs to be discharged is the intolerable tenderness of the past, the past gone and grieved over and never made sense of. Music ransoms us from the past, declares an amnesty, brackets and sets aside the old puzzles. Sing a new song. Start a new life, get a girl, look into her shadowy eyes, smile.”
“It’s one thing to develop a nostalgia for home while you’re boozing with Yankee writers in Martha’s Vineyard or being chased by the bulls in Pamplona. It’s something else to go home and visit with the folks in Reed’s drugstore on the square and actually listen to them. The reason you can’t go home again is not because the down-home folks are mad at you–they’re not, don’t flatter yourself, they couldn’t care less–but because once you’re in orbit and you return to Reed’s drugstore on the square, you can stand no more than fifteen minutes of the conversation before you head for the woods, head for the liquor store, or head back to Martha’s Vineyard, where at least you can put a tolerable and saving distance between you and home. Home may be where the heart is but it’s no place to spend Wednesday afternoon.”
“Ours is the only civilization in history which has enshrined mediocrity as its national ideal. Others have been corrupt, but leave it to us to invent the most undistinguished of corruptions. No orgies, no blood running in the street, no babies thrown off cliffs. No, we’re sentimental people and we horrify easily. True, our moral fiber is rotten. Our national character stinks to high heaven. But we are kinder than ever. No prostitute ever responded with a quicker spasm of sentiment when our hearts are touched. Nor is there anything new about thievery, lewdness, lying, adultery. What is new is that in our time liars and thieves and whores and adulterers wish also to be congratulated by the great public, if their confession is sufficiently psychological or strikes a sufficiently heartfelt and authentic note of sincerity. Oh, we are sincere. I do not deny it. I don’t know anybody nowadays who is not sincere.”
This Date in Art History: Born 10 May 1893 – Tonita Pena, a Native American artist.
Below – “Dancer”; “Hopi Corn Dance”; “”Pueblo Dance”; “Buffalo dancers”; “Indian women grinding and drying corn”; Untitled.
A Poem for Today
by Raymond Carver
In air heavy
with odor of crocuses,
sensual smell of crocuses,
I watch a lemon sun disappear,
a sea change blue
to olive black.
I watch lightning leap from Asia as
my love stirs and breathes and
part of this world and yet
part of that.
Below – Peter Zelei: “The dreamer is still asleep” (photograph)
Contemporary Chinese Art – Liqing Tan
Below – “Wild pond”; Untitled; “Daydreaming”; “Lost in the wonderland”; “Blue”; “Birdman.”
by Louise Gluck
You die when your spirit dies.
Otherwise, you live.
You may not do a good job of it, but you go on—
something you have no choice about.
When I tell this to my children
they pay no attention.
The old people, they think—
this is what they always do:
talk about things no one can see
to cover up all the brain cells they’re losing.
They wink at each other;
listen to the old one, talking about the spirit
because he can’t remember anymore the word for chair.
It is terrible to be alone.
I don’t mean to live alone—
to ‘be’ alone, where no one hears you.
I remember the word for chair.
I want to say—I’m just not interested anymore.
I wake up thinking
‘you have to prepare.’
Soon the spirit will give up—
all the chairs in the world won’t help you.
I know what they say when I’m out of the room.
Should I be seeing someone, should I be taking
one of the new drugs for depression
I can hear them, in whispers, planning how to divide the cost.
And I want to scream out
‘you’re all of you living in a dream.’
Bad enough, they think, to watch me falling apart.
Bad enough without this lecturing they get these days
as though I had any right to this new information.
Well, they have the same right.
They’re living in a dream, and I’m preparing
to be a ghost. I want to shout out
‘the mist has cleared—‘
It’s like some new life:
you have no stake in the outcome;
you know the outcome.
Think of it: sixty years sitting in chairs. And now the mortal spirit
seeking so openly, so fearlessly—
To raise the veil.
To see what you’re saying goodbye to.
Below – Hilary Rosen: “The River Styx; Hades and The Underworld”