Art, what is it?

Art and the City

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What’s happened thus far

It’s been a long time since anything has happened inside my head let alone outside.  Where have I been?  Oh, I know.  I became addicted to Netflix and others of that ilk.   I’m deeply attached to all my devices which is probably why I felt “HER” was the film that should win all the awards. 

The following are other passive enjoyments I managed to experience between watching Doc Martin and MI-5 :

                      The Past;  Tim’s Vermeer;

I discovered the contentment of HGTV.  It has all the pleasure of perpetual Resurrections with none of that violent sadistic preamble.

 I learned about the Andalusian Progression which will be played at the      end of these entries or you’ve already heard it at the beginning.  Not sure how I fit it in.

Surely I must have done something active aside from walking the halls of the Metropolitan Museum for exercise during the scorching summer and this polar winter.  My favorite exhibit is the Modern Chinese Art.  Go see it.

And that’s it for today.  Here’s a photo from my roof.  One of many to come from my City/Sky series….which I really haven’t organized yet but now, with this announcement, backed myself against the wall….my only non-procrastination trick.   Until next time;;;;  jm  3/4/2014

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19 Plays
Phillip Glass
Duet/Stoker

                                        CINE  -  ART/NYC  

March 22, 2013

I have actually not seen any movies for two weeks. A singularity for me.   In my last posting I didn’t mention the movie, Stoker, directed by Park Chan-Wook.  I’ve always wanted to see his movies but they sounded too blood soaked.  However, this is an erotic-Noir film.  Just a little blood.   It feels like it’s not exactly existing in real time.  Its stylized manner almost prevents you from getting involved, yet  the Director doesn’t allow you to feel distanced from the action either.   Unease is the Noun.  A noun, if not grammatically correct, is a perfect “noun” for my state of being throughout   The best part is this music by Phillip Glass.   Duet.  A duet played by the two aroused protagonists.  Gripping.  Put on your ear phones.

Keep scrolling down.  Continued…. 

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ART/NYC - CINE

March 22, 2013   …  Continued

                                         ART

This impressionist-like painting of Nazi’s enjoying a sunny afternoon is to be found at Gallery Sand on 277 West Fourth Street/NYC.  While they enjoy their wine and good fellowship they are planning the Final Solution at the Wansee conference in Berlin.

imageThe artist is Vebjorn Sand of Norway and NYC.  The exhibit in his Gallery is  in his series,  Scenes from the Second World War.  The next in the series will open in Fall 2013 focussing on Norwegian resistance.

In the catalogue he states,

"Continuously, movies are made and books are written about the Second World War.  But can you paint that war?  I felt powerless and discouraged by the enormous scale and suffering of that brutal period in history…."


And, below, those who reaped the pleasantries.  Chilling.

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The Nazi in art reminds me of a Hank Pander work.  Pander is a Portland, Oregon artist formerly from Holland.  A few years back when I was in Portland, sipping red wine in a cozy bar, was a large un-cozy painting of a Dutch family rising from their dinner chairs in various states of alarm.  Through their window one could see the Nazi SS emerging from a very black car.  While Pander’s painting is all stop-action and Sand’s almost tranquil, the menace is equally powerful.  The Portland painting no longer hangs on that wall and I have not been able to track it down.  Maybe this upcoming trip will bring me success.

 THE UNIVERSE

I leave you with this delightful New York Times photo of the Universe as it appeared 370,000 years after the Big Bang.  The Big Bang was anywhere between 13.8 billion years ago or 7 days ago.  I always get theology mixed up with cosmology.  

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      And a little touch of Venice once the center of the Universe.  

                           And so it goes until next time.

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ART/NYC - CINE - VENICE

3/5/13

                                                    ART

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A new lush sensuous indulgent exhibit at the Met.   Monet above.   And much much more.  Oh, to wear those dresses, and then I think, “what would they be like in the summer?”  There is even a room of “men” paintings.  Edwardian Men in black splendor. And, at last, there are gratifying Renoir paintings of women actually clothed.  None of those tiresome ample pinky-peach nudes, thank god.  There are many delicious paintings from Private Collections   I have never been invited to those Private Collection homes.  Being a serious believer in Democracy I think all works of art should be in public places so everyone can see them if they wish, however I give grudging thanks to those who have donated their private property.  Take note of the Tissot’s.

                                                  CINE            image

It was the briefest of retrospectives at the Elinor Bunin Monroe theater.  The one Abbas Kiarostami film I managed to see was "Like Someone in Love”.   His Tokyo story is contained within a slow intense 24 hours.  We observe three interconnected lives in which nothing happens but everything happens.  Actually the fourth “character” is the constant ordinary ambient sounds of city.  Ordinary but unsettling. Though no longer at the EBM try to find it at some other theatre or on Netflix or one of those accessible media sites. 

And then there is the French Film Festival.  If you are old enough, do you remember the early 1960s when the country was being introduced to foreign films?   It was a time when the bouncy Elizabeth Taylor was being replaced by the haunting face of Emmanuelle Riva and others of her ilk. That profound frisson of self importance when you realized you could sit through long-long-long minutes of black and white celluloid, viewing inexplicable scenes of inner conflict….. and rain.   Real suffering, not American suffering but suffering in French.  This was a film, not just a movie.  I walked out of Therese Desqueyroux (1962) the other day, in a time warp.  A remembrance of those heady days when films from abroad made us feel as if we were more interesting. and very different from our neighbors……more like those lives in Europa.  Oh, the pleasures of self deception.  Gets us through the night.

                                          VENICE in APRIL

It’s true.  I cannot stay away.  So many other places to visit and I keep going back to Italia.  What happened to the adventurous me who wanted to hitchhike around the world and see absolutely everything.  ITALY seduced me  I was an innocent victim and now I fear I am complicit.  Draining my old age pension for one more taste, a deeper taste of this broken down ruin of a country.   I have a new camera, an old map and two good friends.  We’re ready to float down the canals and wander the calle.  An amazing time will be had by all.    Follow the Venice adventures beginning after April 5 .

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                          AND NEXT  -  PORTLAND, OREGON

                   SEE YOU PORTLANDIANS IN LATE MARCH                         image

jean

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December 7, 2012

ART-WHAT-IS-IT

FEATURING:  ARCHITECTURE;  ITALY;  TURNER PRIZE;  CINEMA

Click on photos for larger view.

FALLINGWATER
While on a recent exhilarating 4 day trip to Pittsburgh we dashed down to FallingWater.  You know, Frank Lloyd Wright, that genius sadist transforming nature’s stash of stone and wood and re-enforced concrete into a country Cottage.  And it is a wonder to behold.

Located deep in a thick Pennsylvania woods; perched perilously on a rocky hill;  the many levels ingeniously counter-balanced;  an architectural Nirvana.  And as the name suggests, it is built over a waterfall

All through the main house one hears running water, rushing water, falling water and the faint rustling of both leaves and water.  But alas, one cannot see the water.  Even from the more than generous balconies with alarmingly low parapets, the Falling Water falls beneath the balcony.  The view cannot be viewed.

The sound of water is always there as one edges their way through dark rough-stone narrow hallways with low ceilings seemingly constructed for a future race of elf-like avatar tourists.  Of course, the low ceilings’ appeal to FLW is the dramatic effect they give when one walks into a larger light filled space.  (Note:  Entrance to NYC Guggenheim Museum).  The stairways are treacherous with many an opportunity to test my own counter balancing capacity.  

The experience of dark enclosures and sudden light is like being both inside and outside at the same time.

This is a captivating house and indeed, one almost feels a captive.  And maybe I could be seduced.  Oh, how cruel you were, Frank, so cruel to create a house of bewildering beauty and danger and thwarted desire.

ITALY

The feral neutered cats of ROME are once again threatened by the authorities.  I’m only distantly familiar with the cats living in the ruins by Torre Argentina where the Trastevere tram ends.  This is where Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C.  My friend Vincent tells me that Authorities are periodically going after the cats but the cats always win.

In ASSISI a Giotto Frescoe was recently uncovered in the St. Nicholas Chapel deep under the St. Francis Assisi Basilica.  Chief Restorer, Sergio Fusetti, claims to see Giotto’s initials, G.B. I can’t detect it on the photo with my naked eye.  Maybe you can.  Or perhaps I should return to Assisi to see for myself. 

TURNER PRIZE

This year the Turner Prize went to Video Artist, Elizabeth Price.  A first for this art medium.  A thrill for all us amateur technological strugglers, hoping to make our IMovie creations finally into something worth looking at.  

CINEMA

And now a segue to tell you about the 172 minute Diary-Documentary film I saw the other night at the Romanian Film Festival.  (Film Society)  A first film of Mihai Barbu.  It was created with still photos, video interviews, music and voice over.  And in spite of the length I was transfixed throughout,  traveling with him on his motorcycle from Romania to Mongolia, returning through all the “Stans”, then Istanbul to home again; short intense connections with  people, repairing the motorcycle; bad roads, unforgiving heat and frigid cold.  A movie that moved and moved and moved.  The first travel type movie that actually talks about experiencing acute loneliness interspersed between encountering vast vistas as if on another planet.  If you’ve ever traveled away from home to a foreign place for any period of time you will immediately bond with Mihai.  He won first prize at the 2012 Transylvania Film Festival in MILAN.   

AND now you can view my latest,  ArtWhatIsIt,  video.   Just scroll on down below.  

Only 1 minute and 40 seconds long.



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This short short video is the opening salvo exploring that perplexing mystery question, What is Art.

 If you would like to add your statement(s) please do.  Or perhaps you want to be a Voice-Over.  The voice-Overs in this video are Shawnim, Hope, Marion and Joan.

Thank you, ladies

Be in touch.

jmensing1@gmail.com

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10 Plays
Jean Mensing
pastiche

Here is a little medley  _  a little experiment.

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PERIGRINARI

      June 30, 2012

SEGUITE 6

        

This is Anish Kapoor's controversial twisty tower created and constructed for the Oympics in London this year.  

                       

And this is "OCCUPY’S" reaction to the Tower AND to the audacity of Kapoor purchasing  a great big house near the olympic site and then leaving it empty when there are so many homeless wandering the streets of London.

What a quandary for me.  I love Anish Kapoor's work AND I love OCCUPY.  What is the ethical way to feel about this?  We beleaguered humans are always staggered by contradiction and paradox.  (You are all free to Occupy this last sentence.  Use however you desire).

ITALY

                                        


See that little orange structure?  That is Santa Maria Antiqua.  A sixth century church at the foot of the Palantine Hill “in restauro” since 1900.  Vincent said it has been open off and on for special viewing for special people.  He will visit it as soon as enough has been restored.  More photos follow.  Those of you who have traveled Italy will get a thrill of excitement just seeing those restorers partially hidden by scaffolding in almost any ruin you visit.  You can almost hear those scratchy little brush strokes.  It’s part of the Italian experience where ruins are not “dead” objects but always in the process of “being again.”

                    


                   


                    


                                                         

                      

                                        

                                                  1900 discovery


          Dear Reader,  I know you are all booking your tickets for Roma right now.  

              Vincent’s blog site     sightsofrome.blogspot.com

ART

I did get to see the Lucien Freud drawings the last day they were shown in the Aquavella Gallery.  Crowded.  He was a Londoner.  He died not too long ago.  I wonder what he would have thought of Kapoor's Tower.  I always believe, if I could ever have listened to him talk he would sound like Christopher Hitchens.  Also recently dead.  Here is a photo of a drawing from the Lucien Freud book (BIG BOOK) for sale at the Gallery.  I was forbidden to take a photo of the original works on the walls but OK for the book.

                         

You all were probably thinking it would be one of the portraits but I was particularly enamored in this intricate drawing with all the little painstaking lines.


              


And this is a young man I overheard tell his mom why his drawings were much better than Freud’s.

Also I went to the Met.  Not for the Art but for the exercise as it was too hot to walk outside.  I had figured out a route that might be unimpeded on the second floor.  I promised I would not let myself be stopped by any painted blob along the way.  Unfortunately that is hard to do.  The optic nerves forced the body to halt and merge with Corot.

           

            I was particularly taken by the light on the bonnets.  That’s what stopped me.     

           

                                       Light on bonnets.  Closer view.

CINE

Yes, it’s movie time again.  And these are four movies about Love.  The ebbing and flowing of love.

The first two are magical.

MOONRISE PARADISE

                                                 

A Wes Anderson movie.  Where young love prevails.  Everyone in it is someone you want to be friends with or have a beer with.

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED

                            

Directed by Colin Trevarrow  who should be making movies all the time.  Mark Duplass is in it.  Wherein finding grown up love may be more complicated than young love.  Duplass always interesting.  Quirky roles.

TO ROME WITH LOVE             BY  


A big mess of a movie with all sorts of love going on.  However the major love here is where Woody Allen always aims his arrows of true passion.  To a city.  I’m not sure what he turned Rome into.  It is so clean and sunwashed, absent of crowds and cars and noise and vendors.  As happy as I was to see Rome again it could have been filmed on a back lot if there are any back lots left in the world.  However, I will always be faithful to Woody in spite of his difficulty being faithful.

NOUS NE VIEILLIRONS PAS ENSEMBLE 

This translates into, “We Won’t Grow Old Together”.  It reads so much more seductively  in the French, doesn’t it?  A 1972 New Wave movie that has recently been retrieved from wherever old French films are stored.

                                            

A movie that reminds us why we loved those French films arriving on our shores long ago. They still shake up our viewing sensibilities.  This is what movies and acting can be.  Long takes on faces.  You never want the camera to leave the face.  A lot of conversation.  No patronizing.  No sentimentality.  And always an underlying erotic frisson.  

CODA:

Another movie with Mark Duplass, MY SISTER’S SISTER.  It was almost like a French movie except for the sentimental ending.  Why, I ask, Why?

Memento Mori:  Nora Ephron, what will we all do without you anymore ?

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PERIGRINARI

 

                                                 venice

June 5, 2012

Seguite 5

ITALY

And here it is.  The other day I felt myself transit into the third travel mode.  It is two months since we returned from Italy.  This is the third part of a trip.  Memory.  What it is that one remembers.  Actually,  what continues to haunt the traveler after the return home.  The images in your mind come unbidden at any time and fill you with longing.  This phase will never end until the next journey is planned.

However, in the meantime, there is a Spaghetti Western Film Festival at the Film Forum.

And…

another earthquake so soon after the first one.  All those little Northern towns I haven’t had a chance to visit yet.

                                

I read where the Travel agents are saying it is now safe to visit these regions again but what are the deep-in-the-earth seismic gods saying?  However, where is one really safe,  as just last night a bicycle delivery man running against the light almost ran me down.  But that is another story.


MUSIC

Recently opened on Canary Wharf is AEOLUS, a metal structure that captures the sounds of the winds and plays it out to the world.  Having a fondness for sound structures of all kinds I located other “instruments” through Mr. Google.  You can too.  Check out and listen to the Singing Ringing Tree (England), Sea Organ (Croatia), High Tide Organ (Blackpool) and the Wave Organ (San Francisco).  I’ll be in San Francisco area next week so maybe I can track down Wave Organ.

                                        

                                                 aeolus

CINE

Snowwhite and the Huntsman is an almost great movie.  

                                 

It does go on and on and on and I didn’t mind as I had nothing else to do that afternoon.  lt has the primal scary quality that permeates the stories of the brother’s Grimm.  Charlize Theron as the Villain is actually fairer than SnowWhite and literally acts her bloody heart out.  Chris Hemsworth, the male sex object, is fun to watch.  I don’t know him as I haven’t been following all the bombastic comic book movies but maybe I’ll be lured into The Avengers after all.  The Director, Rupert Sanders, apparently hasn’t made many movies.  This movie looks like it cost billions and billions of dollars so he must be famous for something.  Visually, the movie really looked like the Dark Ages of early medieval times.  Then I realized the only way I “knew” what those times looked like was from years of movie watching.  Always humbling to arouse that old epistemological quandary , How do we Know what we Know?"  


ICELAND

Information from friend Jennifer pointed me in the direction of a well known to everyone-but-me Icelandic music group, Sigur Ros.  Have been listening to bits and pieces of their music the frugal way, on ITunes.  If I didn’t know they were from Iceland I would guess they were from Iceland.  They might be considered the second generation of those Sound Structures I wrote about above.   Interesting.  Try them out.

 

And here they are.

ART

I am on the mend from my “accident” but still haven’t gotten to the galleries.  Maybe by the next Perigrinari issue.  In lieu of any museum/gallery happenings I treat you to a photo I took late Sunday afternoon from my window after a nano-quick rain fall.

                               

And don’t forget to watch the Transit of Venus later this afternoon…wearing protective googles, of course.

ciao

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Perigrinari

Seguite 4

EARTHQUAKE IN ITALY

A most unreported event    

In the Emelia Romagna.   A 6.1 earthquake toppling old towers and cumbling Renaissance structures into rubble.  I contacted my Rome friend, Vincent, asking him what the Italian papers are reporting.  He said the worst damage stretched from Bologna to Modena.  Was felt in Venice and Florence.   If anyone has any first hand information please let me know.  

Just to get all the worrisome news from Italy over with, I read that the Giotto frescoes on the walls of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua are threatened by the possible construction of a near-by Big Big Big tall building.  This will allegedly disturb the water level causing increased dampness in the chapel.  This is fatal for frescoes.  When we were there a few years ago they only let 50 people in the chapel at a time, for 20 minutes only, so the breathing viewers would not create too much humidity.  

                                 Breathing in Scrovegni Chapel

           Frescoe and section of cloud fresco with face of the Devil

          Giotto

CINE

Went to the Noel Coward festival to see “Bitter-Sweet”, a rare 1933 print, only to end up with a Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy bastardized version.  To say it was the worst movie I ever saw is a high compliment.

ART TALK


Since being knocked down by a car a few weeks ago I’ve been a bit housebound so I will just mention a few Art viewing desires.  First and foremost is the Vuillard exhibit at the Jewish Museum.  I am such a pushover for his lush tactile earthy tones.  It will be there until September 23 so maybe I’ll make it.  Then there is the sexy Picasso and Francoise Gilot show at the Madison Avenue Gagosian.   OK,  just one more place.  The Green Naftale gallery has a Rachel Harrison solo show.  Her "fusions of found objects" always take a few minutes to get into.  At least for me it does but it’s worth it.  You too can be inspired.  Toss together an Art piece if you’re the type of person who has a box of objets.  It works for her.

                               

           Vuillard                                                                Picasso

                              

                                                Harrison

AFTER THOUGHTS

If I were the vengeful sort I might want to see the Car That Knocked Me Down to end up like this.


But I’m just playing around with IPhoto’s possibilities.  

In truth, when one’s body becomes suddenly compromised,  all the little philosophies and aphorisms stored up to steel yourself against the unexpected assaultive moments are blown away like dandelion fluff.

CIAO