Jacques Barzun passed away over the weekend. He was 104 years old! He must have been doing something right. He most certainly did with his opus book, Dawn to Decadence. It breaks 500 years of the history of Western Civilization into four periods from 1500 to the present age, which is coming to an end (just around the timing of his death, coincidentally). Will the younger generation ever read or understand the importance of his work? He was considered the most scholarly historian and intellectual of our era. Although The Washington Post did a commendable write up, here’s his official obituary, an excerpt is below:
“From Dawn to Decadence,” summing up a lifetime of thinking, offered a rounded, leisurely and conservative tour of Western civilization, with numerous digressions printed in the margins. Barzun guided readers from the religious debates of the Reformation to the contemporary debates on beliefs of any kind.
“Distrust (was) attached to anything that retained a shadow of authoritativeness – old people, old ideas, old conceptions of what a leader or a teacher might do,” he wrote of the late 20th century.
Barzun told the AP in 2003 that he remembered coming to the United States after World War I and finding a country that lived up to its own happy, informal reputation. “It was openhearted, amiable and courteous in manner, ready to try anything new,” he said. “But many of those things have gone to pieces, for understandable reasons.”
With recognition to him and his appreciation of culture and the arts, here’s a lovely piece of book art, from my archives of posts that never got written. This piece was in the Counterbalance exhibition @ March, 2010 at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, which details the creative/ healing process of the patient/ client guided by the combined efforts of clinical experience with the studio art training of their psychologist/ therapist.
Like Barzun’s words, art and literature can be combined for a powerful therapeutic experience, similar to “when you experience something that’s beyond words, and you can deal with it through art, there’s something cathartic about that,” stated by Deborah Farber, the Chair of the Art Therapy Department. Knowledge and creativity can work in tandem to bring understanding and healing to individuals and this often crazy world in which we live….Speaking of a kind of crazy tradition, it’s Halloween, now go dress up and scare someone and hopefully you’ll be rewarded with treats not tricks.
Leap year only comes every four years. Why not spend it wisely? I’ve recently discovered Laura Trevey’s SmART book for artist entrepreneurs. It’s chock full of helpful advice as well as her colorful artwork. Laura is a talented artist, watercolorist and business woman herself and practices what she preaches.
Here are few tidbit takeaways:
• Find a way to differentiate yourself among others offering a similar product or service.
• Create a business plan and right it all down. [We are revising ours right now so I now how much time and work this takes.]
• Create a logo that represents your brand and shows continuity by color and style on everything that represents your business.
• An artist is not paid for their labor but for their vision – quote from James Whistler
• Organize your office/ studio space so that it is most efficient for your time management so the more work you can get done, the more time you’ll have to play. [She shows you tips and visuals on how to achieve this for your office.]
• Start a blog so you can engage with your followers and show your work while increasing your business. [More specifics and technological tips in her book.]
• If you think your work is 80% finished, then you’re done. [I had a hard time with this one because my work tends to be detailed and I always see improvements but I've gotten better at realizing that sometimes a piece can look overdone so better to stop when you're ahead.]
• Don’t worry about giving away your secrets, your readers will respect you for sharing your talents.
On this note, you’ll have to check out Laura’s book with a checklist of exhibitor items, details on online strategies and her wonderful blog, Bright Bold and Beautiful, to get more helpful insights. This is where you can see how successful she has been with social media.
Laura, by the way, was very kind to write a post on Casart coverings a while back. If your want to see more posts with bold color, leap on over to Slipcovers for your Walls, where you can read about Pantone’s color explosion prediction for upcoming fashion.
Did you know that artists are connectors? This is what the Leadership Philadelphia’s current study suggests — artists are creative community connectors and it is their intent to affirm from this study that the arts are an economic engine as part of this process.
I find this concept interesting but the outcome, I think, is obvious. Yes, I believe artists are connectors because they are creative and seek out-of-the-box type of solutions for getting things done. People are naturally drawn to their ideas because they inspire and trigger their thought process and brain activity which sparks energy. Like synapses in neurons firing, once a creative idea gets sparked, artists connect others through their expressive ideas and people are naturally and positively drawn to this type of positive and exciting energy.
This study has its premise based on Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point (great read by the way), in which Gladwell “used this term to describe people who know everyone and get things done. They’re the glue holding the community together, and are often under the radar,” according to Liz Dow, the director of Leadership Philadelphia. “She’s not looking for just any artist.” “We’re looking for someone who pulls a community together,” as this The Philadelphia Inquirer online article describes. “The Mural Arts Program is a perfect example,” Dow said. Click here to learn more about this opportunity for artists, regarding the study and how to submit nominations though July Ist.
Did I mention thatI love popup books? I think I did. Peter, my husband, and I were able to finally see the Paper Engineering exhibit at the National Museum of American Art before it closed. I mentioned it in a recent post. I was fascinated with the history of popups and the terminology. Peter had his Pavlov Dog “tired” expression on the minute that we entered the museum…..(He wasn’t that way with Chuck Close, however.) I don’t think I’ll take him to If You could Read my Pins….
One Red Dot sample popup book for Paper Engineering Exhbit. NMAA, Art is Everywhere
I bought the Marion Bataille book, ABCD, because I thought it was the most contemporary, conversational piece. The hologram cover, just in itself, sparks the imagination. I was a bit disappointed, however, after reviewing several times that for some unexplainable reason the “Q” and the “R” were left out. As it turns out, after viewing this Vimeo video below, the mylar sheet may just have fallen out before it was packaged. Well, at least I know what to do to make one now.
ABCD popup book by Marion Bataille
Q / R page missing in our popup book by Marion Bataille
I’ve got my Papers in Order by The Old Ceremony seems apropos for this post and to Kick Start the Weekend. They were great in concert, by the way!They are a “smart” band out of UNC, Chapel Hill and the only one I know of with a modern American song in Japanese that could be mainstream (to post later).
Katrina is not something that I want to remember but it is worth noting that August 29 and the surreal weeks that followed mark the 5th anniversary of “The Storm” that flooded New Orleans.
For this year’s anniversary, I thought I’d post fitting artwork by the British Street artist Bansky, who’s mural work just happens to be stenciled on the side of building located on the corner of North Rampart and Kerlerec Streets in New Orleans.
Nola Pink by Bansky, 2008
Interesting timing that I just ran across this article regarding Fred Radtke, aka “the Gray Ghost” because he eradicates graffiti and street art in New Orleans by spray painting over them with gray paint, leaving a ghost of the image. I’m glad Bansky’s art is now protected with a Pexiglass covering and duplicates have been produced for further archiving to travel for exhibits.
Getting back to this anniversary, everyone has their story to tell, like where were you during 9/11? Another unforgettable day, as I was here in the DC area dealing with trying to get my children home from their schools. Here’s a synopsis of my Katrina story. I was not blogging at that time, and good thing because you would have noticed a change in my demeanor. You may have even questioned my sanity. I know I did. It was one of the worst things I’ve been through (even more unknowns than cancer) and I wasn’t even there. I was just trying to make sure that family members and friends got out while I was 1,099 miles away with little or no control to do so.
I watched the waters quickly rise while my friend was in her condo right down the street from the Superdome. Strangely, I was able to reach her on a land line after most everything shut down. She did not plan on leaving. People were jumping from the Superdome platform, there was a fire burning nearby and looters right around the corner. I was watching all of this from the safety of my home television sets and computers — different channels all on at once. She finally left with her husband, sick father and three dogs and a cat (I think) just seconds before the police closed the Interstate Connector (off Camp Street). I was relieved but didn’t know this until days later when they finally made their way to Mississippi.
My parents, when they finally decided to leave, were able to make it to Atlanta after enduring bumper-to-bumper traffic and then they ended up in KY after a week or so. I had to track down my father’s oncologist who was out of the country and then find other doctors who he could see at various facilities along the way. ASCO, The American Society of Clinical Oncology was located right around the corner from my home. I paid them an exasperated visit and coincidentally met with the same lovely person who my parents had met earlier that year at a conference. John Cox, of ASCO, later wrote about this experience in their newsletter quoted below and Fran Fritz included this example of what to do with Cancer Care Amid the Storm in her article for MSNBC. I’ll never forget ASCO and Wendy Stokes’ lifesaving help. I’m glad this story also may have been helpful to others.
A few days after Hurricane Katrina hit, a young woman walked down the street from her home in Alexandria, Virginia, and knocked on the door of ASCO’s headquarters. Her elderly father was a cancer patient who had been evacuated from New Orleans to Louisville, Kentucky, because of the hurricane. He needed care–and she needed help. Wendy Stokes, an ASCO staff member, took the young woman by the hand, made some calls, found a source of care for the woman’s father, and connected the two. And while she was at it, she helped another friend of the young woman, a dislocated cancer patient looking for care in Mississippi. From dramatic rescues and heroic sacrifices that all of us have seen to the small kindnesses that go unnoticed, thousands of Americans have stepped forward to do what they call to ease the suffering of neighbors. ASCO became part of this national response.
Meanwhile, I lost all track of time during this period – weeks melded into days and vice versa.
My brother and his fiancée set up camp in Baton Rouge and he was the first to return. He doesn’t talk about this or what he saw to this day. His house was flooded to the second floor, being a few blocks from the 17th Street Canal (so strange I can say that and everyone knows where that is now). We watched a video of a cat being rescued from a boat from the top floor of his house — how we knew it was flooded. There were many miracles. Thank goodness for Troy Gilbert, the Gulf Sails blogger, giving us daily reports from the location he never left — a block away from my parents’ house and his sister lived on my brother’s street in Lakeview. Thank goodness for Google Earth! Mostly, thank goodness for the support of friends and my immediate and extended family. The apparent loss of one’s hometown is an insanely difficult thing to deal with, even if you have a love / hate relationship with your birthplace.
There were so many strange occurrences during that time that I don’t like to repeat or even remember them all and these included scenes of others’ trials which were much more serious than those of my kin and friends. I have saved all of the emails and kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings to deal with all of the memories. I relate this process of healing to that of what those with PTSD must encounter. I finally closed the chapter on this life’s book @ January of this year, when I along with so many others in New Orleans finally felt like the city had gotten back on its feet. We survived. We were stronger and we even won the Super Bowl! (Don’t ask me anything about football but I became a fan.) Then the BP Oil Spill….
My sentiments follow those of Chris Rose; although knowing he had a mini nervous breakdown after Katrina, I try to remain more positive. He is one of my favorite New Orleans writers. His book One Dead in the Attic is so truthful in its telling — pure written art. He is correct in that at the 5th Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we (all those who have connection to New Orleans) would have been fine and even elated to say we were — had it not been for this oil disaster — a preventable human error. Yet, New Orleans has risen above the sea level of despair, yet again. It doesn’t stop our partying — our celebration of moving forward — our expression of love for life.
Another author, Dan Baum, who’s book I read called Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death and the Life in New Orleans, portrays real characters that reads like fiction. His descriptions of their lives before and right after Katrina show the spirit of New Orleans. His final paragraph in the article that he recently wrote for the Washington Post puts it succinctly:
Five years after Katrina, living in the Big Easy is not for the weak of spirit. It’s a triumph that the place continues at all; that it’s still the singular city it was borders on the miraculous. As we mark Katrina’s anniversary next weekend, it will surely be a time of mourning and for taking stock of the challenges ahead. But since this is New Orleans, we’re talking about, it’s a time for celebration, too. As a wise old man of the Lower Night Ward once told me, “We’re capable here of holding more than one thought in our heads.”
It’s time now to move onward, only reflecting back on the past to be aware, remembering the positive, good deeds of people helping each other and therein, making the future (and New Orleans) better. For all the TV and media coverage this week, let’s focus on the positive progress and not get stuck in the static past.
Here’s an appropriate song by Vince Vance that helps to define this New Orleans’ spirit while remembering heritage.
I recently saw notice for and exhibition called, Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop and Turn, about pop-up books at The National Museum of American History. I’ve always enjoyed pop-up books, so I hope I can see this. The exhibit contains book from the Smithsonian Institutions’ Library’s
Here’s the NMAH’s quite fascinating video on the subject and how involved a pop-up project may be. I have an even greater appreciation of a pop-up book after watching this. It’s truly a work of art and a paper engineering and folding feat.
If you’d like to try a more simple book construction, check out the Altered Book Basics, as a project from a children’s librarian and mom on Nature Books Art.
Example of an Altered Book from Nature Books Art
While I’m mentioning exhibitions, here few more I’d like to see:
1) ColorForms examines how artists use color within multi aspect of media. Hirshhorn – Jan 2, 2011.
I really love the National Gallery. It’s my favorite museum by design and acquisition and that it is so accessible. I used to work there and that probably has something to do with my continued affection for the NGA.
When I first worked at the NGA, I was an intern in the Public Relations Office — the administrative side — before I worked later on the exhibition side. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn the behind the scenes tactics of what it takes to operate a famous and large-scale public art museum. Fortunately, I was able to do this with a Tonya Grant from my university. Normally this was used for mostly government and public affairs internships but I was the first one (at the time) to be awarded this with regard to the art /museum realm. When I was there, we were periodically asked to do research at CASVA, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, situated in the East tower wing, taking up several floors among administrative offices. This was fun and intimidating to do. So many scholars were surrounding us. However, I was happy to see that this “hidden” gem and its several scholars were recently profiled in the Washington Post. As Blake Gopnick states in his article, “They work in the shadows to find new insights into art — so that the rest of us don’t have to.” Actually, I would love to, but it would be a luxury at this point with so little time….I’m kind of envious. What a dream job it would be to study art. Art history is still my first academic love; although, I equally enjoy creating art as well, but to be able to delve into historical periods, artistic movements and particular artists of interest and within your profession…. Artists, as well as art historians are part of CASVA.
Many lectures take place at the NGA which showcase their work. I used to attend regularly. Having kids, kinda changed that but now that my husband and I are empty nesters and our boys are nearly both in college, they might appreciate attending. Something to put on the summer calendar; although, the CASVA lectures by this point will have finished. Others remain and are ongoing, regarding current and permanent exhibitions. I would have liked to have attended, The Body of Perfection, the Perfection of the Body and Representation and Imitation.
Coincidentally, I had a discussion recently at a dinner party about my behind the scenes experience at the NGA and I recommended the childrens book, The Nine-Ton Cat, by Peggy Thomson as a pretty accurate and basic perspective of all the things we don’t notice when just going there to view the art.
Since I did my incredibly long post on the basic how to’s of Internet Networking and how Social Media can benefit your business, I’ll just do add a transitional link to another interesting article. This one discusses: the computer age technology (“Big Design”); how, “the digital revolution has expanded the universe of design;” and art vs. design in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Businesswoman. Fitting since my business group is all women.
Also, since I’m working overtime this week on a backlog of commissions due to the snow lag, here’s another link to a very interesting blog/ book by James Gurney, the author of Dinotopia, regarding Imaginative Realism and How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist. This describes his creative process. I just added his very informative blog Gurney Journey, btw to my Blogroll. I’m very inspired by his work because I am as I call it a “visual artist” — I draw what I see. I use photo references all the time. Trust me, you do not want me as your Pictionary partner.
Giving the imaginary and monsters some credibility, how could I not post this? Now, I’m going to be looking over my shoulder when I ride the Metro.
I’m trying to get more exercise but won’t be biking long distance. Therein this book, Bicycle Diaries, by David Byrne of Talking Heads fame attracted my attention. Little did I know he was such a bicycling fan or that he had toured many cities this way. Very inspirational, if not vicariously. I’ll have to get it because it describes his appreciation for architecture and bike-friendliness through all the various towns he visited. Just like walking as opposed to driving, you get a different perspective this way.
To kick start the weekend, rather than post another David Byrne or Talking Heads song, which I love, let’s go with the B52′s Roam — so 80′s, so off the wall B52′s but fun:
I just finished reading a fascinating book that I couldn’t put down, Nine Lives by Dan Baum. It was my choice and I hosted my book group last week to discuss it. The book reads like fiction but it is real life. For a writer who is not a native New Orleanian and who was on assignment after Hurricane Katrina (or “The Storm” as natives say), he really captured what it is like to be from and to live in New Orleans. His profile of nine people: several who lived in the Ninth Ward, the wife of a famous Mardi Gras Indian, a prominent lawyer, to a transvestite in transition, a cop and the city coroner demonstrated the interconnectivity and eccentricity of a multi-cultural city. Some of his true life characters have serendipitous connections with others as the book progresses from the earlier days of the last big storm, Hurricane Betsy in 1965 (this is telling — my birth year) to Katrina and immediately after. The last entry is in 2007 after The Storm and ends truthfully, with no closure with the characters still finding their way to reconcile how The Storm has forever changed their lives. I have many dog-eared pages for descriptive and profound passages to remember and mentions of people I know. Weird. “Big Mike” from Hermes being one and my Sewanee classmate’s father who gave the attorney character, Billy Grace, his first job. This may be worth a second read because there are a lot of subtle details and because he flips from one character to the next it is a bit difficult to keep it all straight. If you’re not from New Orleans, it’s very insightful. If you are, it confirms what you know and gives insight to worlds of separation that come together during Katrina.
The front cover, Telemachus, by Frank Relle is captivating and visually gets to the heart of the book. There is something both sad and beautiful in ruin. At once you can see the grand past and history remaining, stalwart and strong and withstanding the elements and the same time there is disrepair and brokenness. We met Frank Relle and his artist/girlfriend Rebecca Rebouche at the Home and Garden Tradeshow in which casart coverings participated last March. His work is really wonderful. There is a Magritte sensibility of other worldliness about his photos. I ran across this video with them discussing New Orleans, in which they mention the individualistic spirit and Art being everywhere: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IgMumRE5hE.
Other fun places we went while there was a second foray to the St. James Cheese Company. The food is great and it is very different than other gourmet food shop/eateries. It doesn’t try too hard and doesn’t apologize when the item you most want is no longer available; even though, it is still on the chalkboard menu but is out of supply due to the popularity that day.
While eating there, I had my sister take this photo because it reminded me of uptown — old cars and palm trees. For an iPhone, which I’m thinking of getting, I wasn’t all that impressed with the quality while looking at it on the gadget but it looks fine here. This could be my Aunt Katherine’s car.
I can’t mention food enough and New Orleans is where to find it. On my final night, we had a wonderful meal at Bacco’s where Cliquot was served with every course.
Regarding Images used: I do not claim ownership of any of the images posted on this blog (unless stated otherwise). I try my utmost best to give credit from original sources. If you have ownership rights of a photo and wish for me to remove it, please don’t hesitate to contact me.