21 September 2012

now we are six

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.

a a milne

and yes... it looks like this blog will be six forever and ever;
i can't function like this.

May the Autumnal Equinox bring Blessings to Your Days.

the tags below are meaningless.
the above images are glass by louis comfort tiffany,
 and a print by hiroshi yoshida.

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07 September 2012

all messages: :all messengers: :same message


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

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30 August 2012

The Music of Change

Easily, it is argued, dress is an artform reflecting its time as much as do painting, sculpture, and craft. With what are we left when the final romances of Japonisme go to smoke and the circumstances of the world take all the rest with it?

As we have seen, the blocks of color and the asymmetry have been retained, but the outlines are gone, though still perhaps implied. simplicity remains, and one can often still intuit nature's influence, but without question, there has been a change.

What we do know is that cubism is not only a natural when it comes to artistic evolution, but also inevitable in the face of the disintegration of the world as many had known it. We were no longer naive. We were motorized, our visions changed.


Who am I?
Where am I from?
I’m Antonin Artaud
And since I speak
As I know
In a moment
You’ll see my present body
Shatter to pieces
And gather itself
In a thousand notorious
A fresh body
In which you’ll never
Be able
To forget me.

Antonin Artaud

Things were taken apart and reassembled in ways that were unimaginally new. Along with the other artists, poets followed suit and shattered meaning, then reflected it in a mirror put it back anew. Inspired both by wars and by technological advances, they forced their readers to find the meaningful bits amidst the chaos.


I put my cap in the cage
And went out with the bird on my head
One no longer salutes
The officer said
One no longer salutes
Replied the bird
Oh good
Pardon me I thought that one saluted
The officer said
You are fully excused we all make mistakes
Said the bird

Jacques Prévert

"Things fall apart," said Yeats, revealling the mind-set ofthe pre-post-war generations; "The ceremony of innocence is drowned." Music fractured into jazz. Costume fractured into patched work and spiralled. Componant parts redefined the whole.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries
of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats

Do I, as a number of us have discussed recently, embrace the paintings of this era as I do those of just earlier times? Nope. But fashion, rugs, and other material forms of creativity, recalling Kabuki geometrics, I must admit that I'm crazy for.

The simplicity and the lines learned from the Japanese are still here, only syncopated, a little be-bop in the mix. I can do nothing but shake my head and tap my toes.

translations from here

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21 August 2012

no beauty's ever free I

maybe some people get it at a younger age, but i'm turning sixty-five next month, and this somehow seems the appropriate age to realize some things. i suppose one might call it 'the duality of things,' or not. but the realization, of course, brings delight and melancholy in equal parts.

we have looked at the development of plakatstil, with its german outgrowth of hand-written posters, and that style as an outgrowth of both japanese calligraphy, and a long tradition of hand-lettering in german posters. here we begin to see how that style jumped the ocean and was perfectly suited for the new industry of railway posters. (and we've also looked at the changing needs of travel.)

some wonderful artists emerged at this moment in time. see extensive, full-color coverage in zega & gruber's "travel by train." sam hyde harris's posters are so amazing (see next post as well) that i have a very difficult time keeping it in my head that they were created over 80 years ago! they are so fresh, and beautiful to me; harris just jumped into the middle of my favorites list right next to maurice logan.

numerous other emerging artists included are maynard dixon, winold reiss, and w h bull, whom we have looked at before, and louis treviso, for example, whom we have not, and numerous others are featured in luxurious color; wish i could find online images on all of them. but in studying their work it becomes obvious from whence come their roots.

the romance of the railroads is born in these posters, created to ensure wanderlust, a greener grass on the other side of the railroad tracks. for unparalleled beautiful vistas, for the opportunities of self-reinvention, try a train.

so where's the dark side?, you are wondering. you mentioned melancholy? indeed i did. i've mentioned it before. the baton of art and design is handed on, the baton raised comes down again, always, generation after generation. martin lermann-steglitz, like so many of his contemporaries, was lost to the camps, lost permanently, finally declared dead in 1962.

there's nothing one can learn that finds one only delighted, there is no inside without an outside, no yin sans yang. i felt for many years that happiness required the vanquishing of the dark side and now i know that place has never existed. krishna, vishnu and shiva braided inevitably together, inseparable. there's no way to love the world fully without an open heart, which bars nothing.

in the next post, we'll hold these wonderful rail posters up to the light. what do you think we will see?

read more background:


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no beauty's ever free II

INDIANS! (as they were obviously ubiquitously known then). indians were such a draw to these new american tourists that not only were they featured in so many of the railway posters, but locomotives, no, whole trains were named 'chief,' and destinations such as 'indian days,' and 'indian-detour tours,' were created by santa fe, canadian pacific, southern pacific, great northern, and other railroads to draw the sight-see-ers on.

the artwork, you may agree, is often stunning; railway posters seem to have the ability to maintain mystery and romance wherever they occur. indians were what? an unknown culture? or the tokens of one? 'wild' animals in zoo-parks? simple-minded crafters of pots and baskets? it's hard to know.

at the same time as they were being used as lures to well-to-do gentlemen and their wives and children, they focused another attention on their very existence:

The first European Americans to encounter the western interior tribes were generally fur traders and trappers. There were also Jesuit missionaries active in the Northern Tier. As United States expansion reached into the American West, settler and miner migrants came into increasing conflict with the Great Basin, Great Plains, and other Western tribes. These were complex nomadic cultures based on horse culture and seasonal bison hunting. They carried out strong resistance to United States incursions in the decades after the American Civil War, in a series of Indian Wars, which were frequent up until the 1890s, but continued into the 20th century.

The transcontinental railroad brought more non-Natives into tribal land in the west. Over time, the U.S. forced a series of treaties and land cessions by the tribes, and established reservations for them in many western states. U.S. agents encouraged Native Americans to adopt European-style farming and similar pursuits, but European-American agricultural technology of the time was inadequate for often dry reservation lands. In 1924, Native Americans who were not already U.S. citizens were granted citizenship by Congress.

In 1906, 300 Ute under the leadership of Red Cap left the White River Reservation in Colorado headed for South Dakota. The Ute were upset about the allotment of their reservation and increase of non-Indian settlers. In South Dakota, they hoped to form an alliance with the Lakota and with the Crow to stop the allotment program. The army stopped the group and detained them as prisoners of war at Fort Meade, South Dakota. The army was unconcerned that courts had ruled that Indians could not be detained or imprisoned without a trial. Nor was the army concerned that no actual state of war existed at the time. The army viewed the Ute as potential enemy combatants and felt that it had the right to hold them in prison indefinitely.

While the army often ignored due process of law when dealing with Indians, there are cases in which the army did attempt to see due process carried out. In 1915, a Mexican sheepherder was murdered in Colorado and popular opinion assumed that he had been killed by an Indian. The court of public opinion blamed Tsenegar, a Ute Indian, for the death. Subsequently a posse of 26 cowboys crossed into Utah and surrounded the Ute camp of Old Polk. Their supposed goal was to capture Tsenegar who was rumored to be in Old Polk's group. The cowboys, who were drunk at the time, began firing into the camp with no warning. The Indians had no idea who these men were nor why they were shooting at them. The Indian response was to fire back to distract the cowboys and then to slip away. When the smoked cleared, there were dead on both sides and the Ute had vanished.

In 1913 there was a rebellion among the Navajo which came to be known as the Beautiful Mountain Uprising. The uprising started when the Indian agent learned that Hatot'cli-yazzie, the son of Ba-Joshii, had three wives in spite of the agent's edict against plural marriages. Fed by information from the Indian agent, local newspapers painted a picture of the entire Navajo nation in revolt with a horrible massacre impending. To avert this massacre and save the non-Indians, according to the newspaper accounts, military action was needed. In response, the army sent in the cavalry with 261 men and officers to put down the Navajo "hostiles" who were under the leadership of Ba-Joshii. The Navajo force numbered only twelve men.

source: native american roots more background: "indians"

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30 July 2012

the best novel beginning ever

It seems increasingly likely that I really will undertake the expe- dition that has been preoccupying my imagination now for some days. An expedition, I should say, which I will undertake alone, in the comfort of Mr. Farraday’s Ford; an expedition which, as I foresee it, will take me through much of the finest countryside of England to the West Country, and may keep me away from Darlington Hall for as much as five or six days.

The idea of such a journey came about, I should point out, from a most kind suggestion put to me by Mr. Farraday himself one after- noon almost a fortnight ago, when I had been dusting the portraits in the library. In fact, as I recall, I was up on the step- ladder dusting the portrait of Viscount Wetherby when my employer had entered carrying a few volumes which he presumably wished returned to the shelves.

On seeing my person, he took the opportunity to inform me that he had just that moment finalized plans to return to the United States for a period of five weeks between August and September. Having made this announcement, my employer put his volumes down on a table, seated himself on the chaise-longue, and stretched out his legs. It was then, gazing up at me, that he said:‘You realize, Stevens, I don't expect you to be locked up here in this house all the time I'm away. Why don't you take the car and drive off somewhere for a few days? You look like you could make good use of a break.’

Coming out of the blue as it did, I did not quite know how to reply to such a suggestion. I recall thanking him for his conside- ration, but quite probably I said nothing very definite, for my employer went on: ‘I'm serious, Stevens. I really think you should take a break. I'll foot the bill for the gas. You fellows, you're always locked up in these big houses helping out, how do you ever get to see around this beautiful
country of yours?’

This was not the first time my employer had raised such a question; indeed, it seems to be something which genuinely troubles him. On this occasion, in fact, a reply of sorts did occur to me as I stood up there on the ladder; a reply to the effect that those of our profession, although we did not see a great deal of the country in the sense of touring the countryside and visiting picturesque sites, did actually ‘see’ more of England than most, placed as we were in houses where the greatest ladies and gentlemen of the land gathered.

Of course, I could not have expressed this view to Mr. Farraday without embarking upon what might have seemed a presumptuous speech. l thus contented myself by saying simply ‘It has been my privilege to see the best of England over the years, sir, within these very walls.’

Mr. Farraday did not seem to understand this statement, for he merely went on: ‘I mean it, Stevens. It's wrong that a man can't get to see around his own country. Take my advice. get out of the house for a few days.’

As you might expect, I did not take Mr. Farraday‘s suggestion at all seriously that afternoon, regarding it as just another instance of an American gentleman's unfamiliarity with what was and what was not commonly done in England.

The fact that my attitude to this same suggestion underwent a change over the following days — indeed, that the notion of a trip to the West Country took an ever-
increasing hold on my thoughts — is no doubt substantially attri- butable to — and why should l hide it? — the arrival of Miss Kenton's letter, her first in almost seven years if one discounts the Christmas cards.

from The Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro

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20 July 2012

boys will be boys

whether one looks at fighters or lovers, men engaged in the dramatic arts or simply men engaged in just about anything, one can clearly see that the image a man must show to the public depends largely on where he's from. this is the idea explored by jeffrey yang, of harvard.*

though the image of "he-man," in the west, seems ubiquitous, "Our findings suggest that Western men have a distorted view of what they ideally should look like, whereas men in Taiwan don't seem to have this problem," says Harrison Pope Jr., a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"Disorders of body image, including a pathological preoccupation with muscularity, are growing increasingly common among Western males, notes Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, a Harvard senior. "By contrast, such male body-image problems appear to be rare in Asian societies."

A few years ago, [Pope] and several colleagues gave a computerized test to male college students in the United States, France, and Austria. The students could adjust images of male bodies through 10 layers of muscle and 10 levels of fat. Asked to build bodies they thought would attract women, the males consistently layered on a lot more muscle than females preferred when they looked at the images. The Leonardo DiCaprio types were judged more appealing than the Sylvester Stallones.

The tests revealed that Taiwanese men show less dissatisfaction with their bodies than Westerners. They did not add as much muscle to build an idealized body. And they added a scant five pounds to make a body they thought would be a woman's ideal.

To reach their ideal, more and more Western men are resorting to anabolic steroids. The Taiwanese men Yang talked with had heard of the drugs but did not know anyone who actually used them.

What accounts for the difference in body images and drug use between East and West? Yang, Pope, and Gray propose a combination of three possible answers in their report, which appears in the February issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Chinese culture places less emphasis on muscle as a measure of masculinity. Also, Asian men are less exposed to the unending images of pecs, abs, biceps, and triceps common in Western media. Finally, Taiwanese men retain a tighter grip on the traditional roles of household and corporate masters than men in the United States and other Western countries.

Western societies have equated muscles with masculinity from Greek and Roman statuary to modern television and print ads. There has been no such emphasis in Asia.

Although a macho tradition exists in China, Yang notes, "a cerebral male tradition is dominant. In this tradition, masculinity is composed both of wen, having core meanings centering around literacy and cultural attainment, and wu, having core meanings of martial, military, force, and power. Wen is more highly regarded."

Yang, Gray, and Pope also call attention to other research showing that Asian cultures are being invaded by Western patterns of body dissatisfaction among women.

Two studies have shown that normal-weight women in Hong Kong and Polynesia want to be thinner. Another investigation in Fiji found striking increases in body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls in Fiji after television became widely available.

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