Archive for January, 2010

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

January 31, 2010

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton (31 January 1915 – 10 December 1968) was a 20th century American Catholic writer. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist and student of comparative religion. He wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, as well as scores of essays and reviews. Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, D.T. Suzuki, the Japanese writer on the Zen tradition, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Merton is the subject of several biographies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Merton

.

Advertisements

My imagination can picture no fairer happiness than to continue living for art.

January 30, 2010

Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck; 13 September 1819 – 20 May 1896) was a German musician and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. She exerted her influence over a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital and the tastes of the listening public. Her husband was the composer Robert Schumann. She and her husband encouraged Johannes Brahms, and she was the first pianist to give public performances of some of Brahms’ works, notably the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Schumann

An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s

January 29, 2010

JD Salinger

The last, long stage of J. D. Salinger’s life — the unpublishing of himself — is now over. It began, more or less, when he moved to Cornish, N.H., in 1953, two years after “The Catcher in the Rye” came out. And it ended with his death this week at the age of 91.

J. D. Salinger, Literary Recluse, Dies at 91 (January 29, 2010)

J. D. Salinger Whether he expected such a substantial stretch of privacy when he withdrew from New York is unknown, as is almost everything about his private life in a place that is not nearly so remote from the world as most of his readers supposed. But then remoteness is also a matter of will, as Mr. Salinger succeeded in proving.

Publishing for him was clearly full of a susceptibility that most authors never feel. To send a work out into the world was, to Mr. Salinger, an intrusion. And so he ends up raising, in its purest form, a question that many writers have struggled with: Is it really possible to be a writer without publishing?

Mr. Salinger had it both ways. His work was not merely popular. There was an almost idolatrous quality in the public response to “Catcher” and “Nine Stories,” which appeared the year he moved to Cornish. We do not know whether Mr. Salinger retreated to husband his creativity or simply defend his privacy.

It remains to be seen whether death will now publish Mr. Salinger — whether there is an archive of his later life’s work waiting to be revealed. There was a purity in Mr. Salinger’s separation from the world, whatever its motives, whatever his character. His half-century of solitude and silence was a creative act in itself, requiring extraordinary force of will.

This is the core truth that readers — and writers, too — often struggle with. Beneath the riches of the creative life, and hidden well away from the claims we place upon the writers we care for, there is still the one life, the ordinary life, to be lived. Mr. Salinger chose to live his in a way that only he and his immediate family could observe. It is as telling a silence as the blank spaces between his sentences.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/opinion/29fri4.html

I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.

January 28, 2010

Claes Oldenburg

Dropped Cone,  2001.

Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, the son of a Swedish diplomat. As a child he and his family moved to United States in 1936, first to New York then, later, to Chicago where he graduated from the Latin School of Chicago. He studied at Yale University from 1946 to 1950, then returned to Chicago where he studied under the direction of Paul Wieghardt at the Art Institute of Chicago until 1954.

While further developing his craft, he worked as a reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago. He also opened his own studio and, in 1953, became a naturalized citizen of the United States. His first recorded sales of artworks were at the 57th Street Art Fair in Chicago, where he sold 5 items for a total price of $25. He moved back to New York City in 1956. There he met a number of artists, including Jim Dine, Red Grooms, and Allan Kaprow, whose Happenings incorporated theatrical aspects and provided an alternative to the abstract expressionism that had come to dominate much of the art scene.

The most memorable aspects of Oldenburg’s works are perhaps, the colossal sculptures that he has made. Sculptures, though quite large, often have interactive capabilities. One such interactive early sculpture was a soft sculpture of a tube of lipstick which would deflate unless a participant re-pumped air into it. In 1974, this sculpture, Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks, was redesigned in a sturdier aluminum form, the giant lipstick being placed vertically atop tank treads. Originally installed in Beinecke Plaza at Yale, it now resides in the Morse College courtyard.

Many of Oldenburg’s giant sculptures of mundane objects elicited public ridicule before being embraced as whimsical, insightful, and fun additions to public outdoor art. In the 1960s he became associated with the Pop Art movement and attended many so-called happenings, which were performance art related productions of that time. The name he gave to his own productions was “Ray Gun Theatre”. His first wife -(1960–1970) Pat Muschinski who sewed many of his early soft sculptures, was a constant performer in his happenings. This brash, often humorous approach to art, was at great odds with the prevailing sensibility that, by its nature, art dealt with “profound” expressions or ideas. But Oldenburg’s spirited art found first a niche then a great popularity that endures to this day.

He has collaborated with Dutch/American pop sculptor Coosje van Bruggen since 1976. They were married in 1977.

In 1988, he and van Bruggen collaborated to create the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN that remains a staple of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden as well as a classic image of the city.

In addition to freestanding projects, he occasionally contributes to architectural projects, most notably the former Chiat/Day advertising agency headquarters in the Venice district of Los Angeles, California—the main entrance is a pair of giant black binoculars. The advertising agency DDB is the current tenant.

Another well known construction is the Free Stamp in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. This Free Stamp has a small, yet energetic cult following.

In 2001, Oldenburg and van Bruggen created ‘Dropped Cone’, a large upturned ice cream cone, which can be found on top of a shopping centre in Cologne, Germany.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claes_Oldenburg

An artist is never ahead of his time but most people are far behind theirs.

January 27, 2010

Edgard Varese

E

Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse, whose name was also spelled Edgar Varèse (December 22, 1883 – November 6, 1965), was an innovative French-born composer who spent the greater part of his career in the United States.

Varèse’s music features an emphasis on timbre and rhythm. He was the inventor of the term “organized sound”, a phrase meaning that certain timbres and rhythms can be grouped together, sublimating into a whole new definition of music. Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, he has been recognised as an influence by several major composers of the late 20th century. His use of new instruments and electronic resources led to his being known as the “Father of Electronic Music” while Henry Miller described him as “The stratospheric Colossus of Sound”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgard_Var%C3%A8se

Art is an adventure that never seems to end.

January 26, 2010

Jason, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.

January 25, 2010

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born in Dublin, the son of a civil servant. His education was irregular, due to his dislike of any organized training. After working in an estate agent’s office for a while he moved to London as a young man (1876), where he established himself as a leading music and theatre critic in the eighties and nineties and became a prominent member of the Fabian Society, for which he composed many pamphlets. He began his literary career as a novelist; as a fervent advocate of the new theatre of Ibsen (The Quintessence of Ibsenism, 1891) he decided to write plays in order to illustrate his criticism of the English stage. His earliest dramas were called appropriately Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant (1898). Among these, Widower’s Houses and Mrs. Warren’s Profession savagely attack social hypocrisy, while in plays such as Arms and the Man and The Man of Destiny the criticism is less fierce. Shaw’s radical rationalism, his utter disregard of conventions, his keen dialectic interest and verbal wit often turn the stage into a forum of ideas, and nowhere more openly than in the famous discourses on the Life Force, «Don Juan in Hell», the third act of the dramatization of woman’s love chase of man, Man and Superman (1903).

In the plays of his later period discussion sometimes drowns the drama, in Back to Methuselah (1921), although in the same period he worked on his masterpiece Saint Joan (1923), in which he rewrites the well-known story of the French maiden and extends it from the Middle Ages to the present.

Other important plays by Shaw are Caesar and Cleopatra (1901), a historical play filled with allusions to modern times, and Androcles and the Lion (1912), in which he exercised a kind of retrospective history and from modern movements drew deductions for the Christian era. In Major Barbara (1905), one of Shaw’s most successful «discussion» plays, the audience’s attention is held by the power of the witty argumentation that man can achieve aesthetic salvation only through political activity, not as an individual. The Doctor’s Dilemma (1906), facetiously classified as a tragedy by Shaw, is really a comedy the humour of which is directed at the medical profession. Candida (1898), with social attitudes toward sex relations as objects of his satire, and Pygmalion (1912), a witty study of phonetics as well as a clever treatment of middle-class morality and class distinction, proved some of Shaw’s greatest successes on the stage. It is a combination of the dramatic, the comic, and the social corrective that gives Shaw’s comedies their special flavour.

Shaw’s complete works appeared in thirty-six volumes between 1930 and 1950, the year of his death.

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

George Bernard Shaw died on November 2, 1950.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1925/shaw-bio.html

Treat a work of art like a prince. Let it speak to you first.

January 24, 2010

Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher known for his atheistic pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the fundamental question of whether reason alone can unlock answers about the world.

Schopenhauer’s most influential work, The World as Will and Representation, emphasized the role of man’s basic motivation, which Schopenhauer called will. His analysis of will led him to the conclusion that emotional, physical, and sexual desires can never be fulfilled. Consequently, he favored a lifestyle of negating human desires, similar to the teachings of ancient Greek Stoic philosophers, Buddhism, and Vedanta.

Schopenhauer’s metaphysical analysis of will, his views on human motivation and desire, and his aphoristic writing style influenced many well-known thinkers including Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, Carl Gustav Jung, and Jorge Luis Borges.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Schopenhauer

He who controls others may be powerful but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.

January 23, 2010

 

Philosopher Lao Tzu

The specific date of birth of Lao Tzu is unknown. Legends vary, but scholars place his birth between 600 and 300 B.C.E. Lao Tzu is attributed with the writing of the “Tao-Te Ching,” (tao—meaning the way of all life, te—meaning the fit use of life by men, and ching—meaning text or classic). Lao Tzu was not his real name, but an honorific given the sage, meaning “Old Master.”

Lao Tzu’s wise counsel attracted followers, but he refused to set his ideas down in writing. He believed that written words might solidify into formal dogma. Lao Tzu wanted his philosophy to remain a natural way to live life with goodness, serenity and respect. Lao Tzu laid down no rigid code of behavior. He believed a person’s conduct should be governed by instinct and conscience.

Lao Tzu believed that human life, like everything else in the universe, is constantly influenced by outside forces. He believed “simplicity” to be the key to truth and freedom. Lao Tzu encouraged his followers to observe, and seek to understand the laws of nature; to develop intuition and build up personal power; and to use that power to lead life with love, and without force.

Legend says that in the end Lao Tzu, saddened by the evil of men, set off into the desert on a water buffalo leaving civilization behind. When he arrived at the final gate at the great wall protecting the kingdom, the gatekeeper persuaded him to record the principles of his philosophy for posterity. The result was the eighty-one sayings of the “Tao-Te Ching.” This ancient Chinese text is the world’s most translated classic next to the Bible.

http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/96jun/laotzu.html

Anyone who says you can’t see a thought simply doesn’t know art.

January 21, 2010

Wynetka Ann Reynolds

W. Ann Reynolds (1938 – ) is a zoologist and university administrator who has served as provost of the Ohio State University (1979-1982), chancellor of the California State University (CSU) system (1982-1990), chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY) (1990-1997), and president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (1997-2003). She is the only person to have headed two (CSU and CUNY) of the three largest systems of higher education in the United States.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Ann_Reynolds