japonisme: 9/7/08 - 9/14/08

12 September 2008

falling into spring

since i started paying attention, i've realized that museums and galleries repeat shows, and this fall at least two museums will do just that -- to the world's benefit.

in japan, at the new otani art museum, the show inspired by hokusai and hiroshige's '36 views' series, henri riviere's '36 views of the eiffel tower.'

i know this was seen in japan in 1996, but surely before that too, and in 2006 too.

dis- played with the riviere works, are other artists of the time, including works by georges auriol.

i found these images so evocative of so many other artists: zecchin, gauld, rhead, mathews....

that the shows should be coming now, as we in the northern hemisphere stride rapidly toward autumn, must be for the benefit of the southern hemisphere, where spring now looms. sadly, the 'california muse' exhibition of the work of arthur and lucia mathews closed at its last venue last week. now it goes back to the oakland museum where it will be packed away for the cold, damp winter.

david gauld and the other 'glasgow boys' are displayed at the kelvingrove gallery & museum. under the theme of 'impressionism & scotland,' the restored space will continue to promote the brilliant scottish artists.

and the other re- peating exhibition, last held in 1999, is at the hirschl & adler gallery in new york.

louis rhead and other american illustrators, contemporaries of his, travelled similar grounds; 'our women are all so lovely and cultured, and they like long flowered dresses.' or, to be said in another way, they all, costume-wise, anyway, were inspired by their newly discovered kimono.

and to bring this full circle, again,
henri riviere.

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11 September 2008


Gather 'round me, everybody
Gather 'round me while I preach some
Feel a sermon comin' on me
The topic will be sin
and that's what I'm ag'in'
Settle back and just sit tight

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy
up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark

Man, they said
we better
the positive
the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, don't mess with Mister In-Between

please click arrow to listen....via

i found this yesterday and it made me so happy

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09 September 2008

i am the laziest girl in the world


I am lazy, the laziest
girl in the world. I sleep during
the day when I want to, 'til
my face is creased and swollen,
'til my lips are dry and hot. I
eat as I please: cookies and milk
after lunch,
butter and sour cream
on my baked potato, foods that
slothful people eat, that turn
yellow and opaque beneath the skin.

Sometimes come
dinnertime Sunday
I am still in my nightgown,
the one
with the lace trim listing because
I have not mended it. Many days
I do not exercise, only
consider it, then rub my curdy
belly and lie down. Even
my poems are lazy. I use
syllabics instead of iambs,
prefer slant to the gong
of full rhyme,
write briefly while others go
for pages. And yesterday,
for example,
I did not work at all!

I got in my car and I drove
to factory outlet stores, purchased
stockings and panties and socks
with my father's money.

To think, in childhood I missed only
one day of school per year. I went
to ballet class four days a week
at four-forty-five and on
Saturdays, beginning always
with plie, ending with curtsy.

To think, I knew only industry,
the industry of my race
and of immigrants, the radio
tuned always to the station
that said, Line up your summer
job months in advance. Work hard
and do not shame your family,
who worked hard to give you
what you have.

There is no sin but sloth. Burn
to a wick and keep moving.

I avoided sleep for years,
up at night replaying
evening news stories about
nearby jailbreaks, fat people
who ate fried chicken and woke up
dead. In sleep I am looking
for poems in the shape of open
V's of birds flying in formation,
or open arms saying, I forgive you, all.

Elizabeth Alexander

From Body of Life by Elizabeth Alexander, published by Tia Chucha Press. Copyright © 1996 by Elizabeth Alexander.

all of this by way of saying that i need to start exercising again, and i've run into a wall before i've even begun. i've exercised a lot, intermittently, in the past: running, working out at a gym, lots of walking, even working out with exerciseTV. right now i am simply not motivated at all.

except for the fact that my mother started developing alzheimer's when she was not much older than i am now, and already you'll never know when i'll just forget how to use something, like my answering machine, that i've used a million times before, and plus they say that really the only thing that slows or even stops it is exercise, and it works really well. 1

can you help? please share with me any ideas, suggestions, thoughts, whatever you have that can help me get moving again, and i thank you from my heart. and my brain cells.

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08 September 2008

by any other name

william merritt chase called them 'japanese umbrellas'; his tenth-street studio was known to always have some around.

kent seavey, of the heritage society of pacific grove, calls them that too. 1

in fact, pretty much everyone called them that, and most of them painted them too.

(the grandma of them all may be friseke's garden umbrella.)

everyone, that is, but the japanese.

in japan, the umbrellas were only minimally decorated. if at all. (except maybe in versions by westerners.)

they might be colored, but they were otherwise plain.

friseke painted them several more times, often, like this one, painted in giverny.

"Careful examination of the choices the artist Frederick Frieseke made when depicting women as subjects reveals information about the artist, these women and attitudes toward women during the early 20th century. Consider the women in Frieseke's painting as both subjects and symbols.

Why do you think Frederick Frieseke chose this setting for his painting? The work depicts his wife, Sarah O'Bryan, and a companion enjoying a bit of leisure time in the Frieseke's garden. Frieseke often painted his wife set within the confines of her lush garden or intimate bedroom. In these feminine spaces, Frieseke was able to concentrate on the decorative qualities of nature, as well as the human figure.

How did the artist convey a feminine feeling, beyond setting his female figures in a garden? Frieseke's repetition of rounded forms, such as the chair backs and umbrella, echoes the soft forms of the female figures. Additionally, the repeated use of patterns in the Asian designs on the umbrella and the background flowers, the female subject and the natural setting suggest Frieseke was aware of 19th-century Japanese prints, which bear many of the same characteristics and were very popular among French and American art collectors at the time." 2

and he clearly wasn't the only one. consider this beauty from jean's blog. i loved this piece so went off on research, and found a very interesting thing.

miller's was first, and is much better. i think jean found his best.

there are others, but i think i'll leave it at that. for now. in recreating a bit of this wondrous new east they instead created an illusion.

they may have been created in the east, but they were make for the west alone.

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