japonisme: 12/21/08 - 12/28/08

27 December 2008

true beauty

when chester a arthur moved into the white house, he called in some of the most important designers of the moment to decorate. it was 1882; he called tiffany.

louis comfort tiffany and artist associates of his, including candace wheeler, designed windows, screens, fabrics and more, none of which lasted long enough for a color photo (teddy roosevelt wanted something more colonial revival).

fortunately (for several reasons), some of his interior design collaborations have lasted, and in fact some are now finally being restored.

when new york city's 7th armory was constructed on park between 66th and 67th. "It was constructed from 1877 to 1881 for the prestigious Seventh Regiment. The Seventh Regiment had a glorious history. It was the first militia to respond to President Lincoln’s call for volunteers in 1861, and the name National Guard originated with this regiment.

"After completing the Drill Hall and the three-floor Administration Building along Park Avenue, the Regiment hired the most prominent design firms in New York to create the luxurious interiors. One of the most well-known firms, Associated Artists, included Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White and Candace Wheeler.

"The Aesthetic Movement, popularized in the US by the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, emphasized the ‘aesthetic” or artistic in the applied arts and reached its culmination in the design of interior decoration. The design is characterized by visual complexity and profusion of surface ornament, embracing many different historical styles, including Japanese, Moorish and other exotic motifs. The regimental rooms, most notably the Veterans Room and the Library, are among the most stunning spaces anywhere in New York City." 1

and it was fortunate for us, in a manner no one could have predicted:
"Ten years ago I stumbled on my first reference to the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. I was studying American architecture at Yale University and preparing a paper on armory buildings in New York City. Tiffany, I found, had decorated the Veterans' Room and Library for one of these.

"The following semester, I presented a seminar report on Tiffany as the leading American exponent of Art Nouveau and, just for fun, I purchased a Favrile glass bowl make by Tiffany as a demon- stration of his work. It cost four dollars and I thought it was expensive. Today it is worth a great deal more. [1,000 times more] When I brought it home my wife asked, 'How long do we have to keep it?'"

Robert Koch, 1964 •
Louis C. Tiffany: Rebel in Glass.

in 1957, mr koch went on to complete his dissertation on tiffany, and then in 1958, to curate, with thomas s tibbs, the tiffany exhibition at the museum of contemporary crafts.

tiffany said, “Styles are merely the copying of what others have done, perhaps done better than we. God has given us our talents, not to copy the talents of others, but rather to use our brains and our imaginations in order to obtain the revelation of True Beauty.”

t's true: his work was stylistic enough that we can easily see when he left his "aesthetic phase" and entered his "art nouveau phase." but every artist believes this of their work, and must. it's how our collective unconscious moves through time.

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25 December 2008

scarlett ribbons

I never got along with my
father - when I was 3 I wished
they would break up so I could
go off with my mom.

The same mom who was so
jealous of his adoration of
the infant me that she cut
it off at the source.

He hauled off and slugged me
often. “Don’t you talk to your
mother that way!”
She hit me too. With a shoe.

But stuck in my head
like a treasure in the attic
are memories of
my father and music.

He played the piano.
He played “Fur Elise.”
When I was very little
he played “The Airplane Song.”

I was the plane. spinning
through the living room,
arms outstretched as wings.
Sometimes I just sat

At his feet, as they worked
the pedals. It was cozy
hiding under the keyboard,
listening to him play.

There was one song he sang
every year about this time. “Scarlett Ribbons,” the Burl Ives
version. He sang it anywhere.

In his dark car driving
home from work, with
me in the back seat,
singing along.

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24 December 2008


Love, love, love.
Love, love, love.
Love, love, love.

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It's easy.

Nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It's easy

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

Nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love (all together, now!)
All you need is love. (everybody!)
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need (love is all you need).

Oh yeah!
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah.
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah.

C John Lennon 1967

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22 December 2008

Am I to gang ba-are-foot?

JAPANESE CHILDREN are accustomed to lots or toys. They have their games and nursery rhymes galore. Their "Mother Goose" is centuries older than ours; in fact, it is said that Japanese mothers used to recite its jingles long before Columbus discovered America. (new york times 1908)

どんぐり ころころ どんぶりこ!
おいけに はまって さあ たいへん!
どじょうが でてきて "こんにちは!"
"ぼっちゃん, いっしょに あそびましょ!"

Acorn bowl is small and round thing rolling!
Now you go out into the most!
Loach have been in the "Hello!"
"Son, ASOBIMASHO together!"

も~もたろさん, ももたろさん
おこしに つけた きびだんご
ひとつ わたしに くださいな

あ~げましょう, あげましょう
これから ぼくと おにたいじ
ついて~ くるなら あげましょう

- MOTARO also said, she MOMOTARO
One is to me, please

Fetus in the future and I
If you happen to come about --

あめ あめ ふれ ふれ かあさんが~
蛇の目(じぁのめ) で お迎え (おむかえ) うれしいな ~
ピッチ ピッチ! チャップ チャップ! ラン ラン ラン!

Bandy bandy candy from a candy KAASAN
Bull's-eye (ANOME time) to pick up (meeting) is pleased to
Pitch Pitch! Chap chap! Run Run Run!

むすんで ひらいて
手をうって むすんで

また ひらいて 手をうって

むすんで ひらいて
手をうって むすんで

また ひらいて 手をうって

むすんで ひらいて
手をうって むすんで
MUSUN to come flying in
MUSUN hand in the fire

The thick hands that come flying
On their hands

MUSUN to come flying in
MUSUN hand in the fire

The thick hands that come flying
I get to the bottom

MUSUN to come flying in
MUSUN hand in the fire

forgive me forgive me
the translations are google's
they're senseless indeed --
please help if you can!
but no more senseless
than the english ones
with meanings lost in their births.

but for you, dear reader, they're gifts
i hope you enjoy them.
the whole book, a volland, of course,
is here. much more on the japanese rhymes are here.

drawings were in children's books: the rhymes belong to each culture alone, but the earliest japonisme -- greenaway, caldecott, and crane were far earlier than richardson, but the tradition is clear.

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21 December 2008

the light returns!


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