Silence is my best friend.
1.) Read a book, why don’t you? Learning is everyone’s most important occupation on Earth. You claim, you “never have time to read these days.” Now, get to it.
2.) Meditate. Yes, it might make you sleepy.
3.) Write a poem. This is FREE time for you to express yourself in writing. Come ON! You can do IT!
4.) Do Yoga. A good strech is one of the gifts you can give yourself anytime. Think BIG, beatiful, gracious thoughts while you take a deep breath.
5.) Empty your spam folder. Or do some other small de-cluttering task. It might make you feel lighter. You might find that ring you thought you lost, last season, on your whirlwhind trip to New York City. Think about the spam you get. Why you? What did you sign up for? When? Whatever it was is a weak spot for you. Explore and then snore.
6.) Discover what your home has to say about you. Think about it. Are you comfortable? If not, why not? What could you do to make your life better? Decide to do it.
7.) Find shelter IF by any chance, you are homeless, wandering around, wondering what you are doing when you are 64… then it is time you plan your retirement. Unless you LOVE the street and the great outdoors, think… oh, sorry… you must be mentally ill and well… maybe you are one of those smelly people at the public library, wich I LOVE –––by the way––please take care, find a home, I wish you all the best. I haven’t faced full-on homelessness, always knowing in my heart I could go home to Mama IF I really had to.
8.) Make a list of everyone who you will release from duty. Let go of people who are not in sync with your spirit, Choose allies you trust and that are proven by frequent acts of love and generosity.
9.) Plan your next party. Throw a party to thank everyone that LOVES you.
10.) Have a drink. Water is fine. Make yourself a chamomile tea. Sip it. S L O W...
11.) Kiss your spouse. Cuddle. Make love to yourself or someone else. GO FOR IT!
12.) Thank goodness you are alive. Pray, only if it works for you. IF not just a little note to self of thanks is dandy. Yes, pat yourself on the back for being. YOU are an important member of society. We are counting on YOU to stay alive and keep us company. OK?
13.) Plan your escape or return or debut or comeback. Learn to play chess, if you don’t know, already.
14.) IF you don’t have a spouse, get one, otherwise tell the freeloading bum you have in your bed/head to “get the fuck out.” IF you are alone, thank yourself for not inviting a stranger to come home and show you a good time.
15.) Organize your closet.
16.) Make a grocery list and gloat yourself to sleep over the money you save by thiniking ahead.
17.) Wrap presents for Loved Ones, in last year’s home-recycled, wrapping paper. "Waste not want not."
18.) Use glue. Collage is a democratic art form for everyone to explore. Take up knitting. Perhaps, this is the best time to update your blog, better yet IF you don’t have one… you might consider what you would blog about and start one, because it really is fun to have a place to be, a radio-station of your own. Do something useful. This is an opportunity to do some good work. We all have missions we must work on. The only valid missions are those that aim at benefitting all humans. Don’t waste time being greedy or planning how to get more than anyone else. It is not worth the stress.
19.) Lotion yourself. Massage your legs and arms. Feel happy to be ALIVE and take a deep breath.
20.) Listen to the silence. It is packed with messages and gudance from the source. The source, as readers of self-help books will know, is the collective intelligence which is available to every human in equal share ALL THE TIME but you must be relaxed and at ease in order to hear it. So… take this evening as an opportunity to explore the benefits of insomnia. Enjoy and praise your sleeplessness.
21.) Try self-help audio. For example: Dr. Wayne Dyer, Erckhart Tolle, and Deepack Chopra are the three masters of the genre. Give these authors a try, for an after midnight blend of enlightenment with a good dose of humor. (By the way, in order to enhance your and mine web experience, I just clicked the link to these author’s web-sites and they are very interesting looking humans with deep eyes. Check it out.)
22.) Take a deeper breath. Read the list again. Laugh. Think how lucky you are to know Frau Kolb LOVES you and wishes you a deep and restful, restorative sleep, whenever it comes to you, like a MUSE in the night.
23.) Exhale slowly.
What an excellent exhibit! This time we took in Turrell, Part II, in addition to visiting the first part at a lesuirely pace, fully embracing our two-hour time slot.
It was a pleasure to see again. Well worth paying for, IF, you are interested in art, light, and perspection of color.
I might return for a third time. Perhaps THE MUSE might join me, again. Perhaps…
The most precious moment of my day was catching a glimpse of the brilliant head of LACMA, the dashing, Mr. Govan, purely by chance. I attended this exhibit and paid for it, this time, because I wanted to see it with my darling and handsome scientist and super creative husband, the talented and amazing, Hartmuth C. Kolb, sometimes known as Hutch. Hartmuth has had a strong interest in photography, film, and technology since childhood. His teenage family vaccation movies, from northen Italy, where the family summered at their tiny villa, are a visual delight! He made super-eight films and framed every shot right and steady. To relax, he makes holograms at home. We had a blast walking into Turrell’s dazzling rooms of pure color, together. We were bathed in light, bright and white, like the tunnel to heaven.
The significance of art as “religion for atheists,” as the celebrated author, Sarah Thorton, of the bestseller, “Seven Days in the Art World,” is made clear in the temple models of Turrell's famous, Roden Crater.
Pending Muse News:
Last Week, Frau Kolb hit Old San Juan in Puerto Rico.
She visited El Museo de Nuestras Raices Africanas and will produce a full report on her first findings and NEW WORLD art historical discoveries, soon.
Until we meet again I leave you with this excellent piece of advice.
“Are you in the military?” she sniped, with a condemning jerk in the direction of the plastic airline pins I’d affixed to my beloved mustard yellow thrift store safari jacket.
“No,” I stammered. “I am an artist. I put these pins on my jacket, at a birthday party last night, for my dear friend....”
I began to say, defending myself, explaining myself... before she turned away, marched out of the auditorium where she had just finished speaking on the evil that she survived as a Jewish victim of the Nazi during the second world war.
The rest of the small audience was gone. They had listened, taking in the toxic tales of hardcore woe and mind boggling cruelty, before hopping back on Highway 405 or Highway 10 and heading... wherever. The dispersed listeners, people from various ethnic groups, none particularly likely to feel any better about her words and content than I did, all took the quick exit prescribed by the speaker’s abrupt departure.
I was speechless, a flood of tears crashed from my eyes onto my face. My eyeballs released my body’s liquid reserves. I wailed. “NO!” I would not get up. I was, “Not going to leave.” My mind went into full Rosa Parks mode. I was crushed. Damaged. Empathy: overload. The Second World War, its infamous horror has always set me on edge and destroyed my ability to move on without taking time to process the horror. As a child, a curious pre-teen, I took in many books and diaries, the documentaries, and collected histories... portrayed in library books, videos, etc... I invested myself in reading about the outrages against the Jewish people, whereas I avoided learning about the horrors endured by the kidnapped and sold slaves of West and Central Africa.
Why? Why did I decide to avoid learning about the holocaust suffered by a portion of my ancestors, because I am the product of colonialism. I am as much a part of the historically victimized group as I am of their oppressors. I know my family history and I know I am as black as I am blond and that my physical appearance may not indicate this truth to the uniformed but that it is what it is. I accept it.
Yet, at the Museum of Tolerance, my eyes remained glued to the empty chair where the survivor had sat, talking for an hour about the unspeakable. I was lamed, incapable of getting up and getting on with the business of life, which is my expertise. I’m a person focused on loving LIFE, now; never postponing the pleasure in simple pleasure of being present. Yet, today, I couldn’t just get up and walk away from the horror that the, “nice little Jewish woman,” had laid out for her audience’s anti-lunch.
No! not I!” I cried. My face felt like a rubber mask of Edward Munch’s “The Scream.” I was in bits. My soul was mush under the crushing sole of a survivor’s horrendous story. I would not, could not, move. Feeling drained, abused, and defiant; I was stuck to the folding chair provided, starring at the the vacated, looming, vociferously empty chair. The vacated chair was speaking volumes, in a strange code of objects, energized by symbolic power. I could hear every unspoken word. The chair, a perforated metal object, kept talking to me. Tears tracks and smeared make-up, I was a woman in public distress.
The entire time she was speaking, behind her head the names of activist heroes, glowed, on a luminescent wall: above her head it said, “Martin Luther.”
Anyone that knows even a little about the protestant reformer knows that he was a virulent anti-semite. I believe the wall was referring to “Martin Luther King, Jr.” Yet, the high irony that this Jewish woman was sitting beneath the name of “Martin Luther,” at the Museum of Tolerance, and he was famously intolerant of the Jewish people living among German Christians, the empty chair was now under the name, “Martin Luther.” I stared at the name and thought that the she was to be gone, soon... an old woman, lucid for now, yet slated for the unavoidable death that waits us all. Yet, fortunate that she had narrowly missed death in a gas chamber as a young girl.
“I was a real blond, back then,” she said, still shocked that this fact alone, coupled with her (callously) self-reported high status of her professional parents, among the Star-of-David wearing members of her despised ethnic group, did not immunize her from institutional abuse. She was one of the five, among hundreds, of local Jewish girls chosen to attend high-school in her community. An only child, she had received the lion’s share of her parent’s caring. Summers were spent as summers ought to be spent by pretty teenage girls: swimming and carefree, oblivious to the war, barely noticing the streams of near starving Jews, that came asking for a little food, so they could continue... searching for an escape route, living.
Time stopped. The empty chair was a throbbing void. It screamed of all the people for whom she was speaking that hadn’t been so fortunate.
It was then that I was, suddenly, rescued from my conviction to stay put, to remain planted in one spot until some new thoughts, good ideas sprouted again, and then I might again move with the ease that is my signature. (I guess I was not meant to spend eternity starring at an empty chair, tears inking down my face.) A man, appeared, popping out of near-by conference room, full of ernest well-groomed people. He was well-formed mildly muscular with very smooth skin. He wore a neck tie and a shirt with a comforting blue grid pattern. He was conservatively attired man with long Jesus hair and dark round luminous eyes filled with pity and understanding. He had the professionally honed look of obvious caring. Without pomp, he saved me. He plopped down into the foreboding, mind numbing, cosmically portentous, empty chair the holocaust survivor had abandoned.
Suddenly, I was not alone, again. My friend, a Muse, was witness to my outburst. More than a little surprised by my utter breakdown, the snot flowing from my nose, the crust forming on my tear streaked face, she got up and went to the bathroom, leaving me in the company of the sudden companion, (I’m sure) feeling very surprised that I was hyper sensitive response to this story we have all heard before, surely. “You have read or watched documentaries about this before, No?” She asked me, her voice characteristically gentle, her face slightly distorted by concern.
His thick beard was decorated with a few stripes of gray, reddish brown skin, he looked like kindness personified to me. The mustache came with a little bottle of water, which I later realized was bottled by Nestle, a company that has attempted to privatize ALL the WATER on the planet, and some tissues. Hah! Hah! Hah! The irony!
He said that he “understood,” how I felt. He said, that “it happens, sometimes,” that people can’t just “get up and go,” after one of their speakers has delivered their payload.
It was horrible. The stories she told, most of you have heard stories like hers before and worse stories. Yet she proclaimed herself, “lucky,” to be alive. She had grandchildren, and a great grandchild. She had enjoyed a long marriage with a man she loved. She looked perfectly put together. She was trim and petite. She had intelligent, low-key, tasteful hair, even her bag had a little metal tag/label that said “Relic,” on it. She was perfect. An educated woman, successful, competent, in flat nurse’s shoes. She was lucid speaker, convincing in her telling of a story I can barely write about. She has lived in Los Angeles for decades. She shared these personal facts and more without prompting.
The details of her outfit fascinated me. I took notes. I made a sketch. She wore a dark purple sweater, with a very smooth and clean black top underneath, dark slacks. She spoke about the “shiny boots,” of one famous Nazi doctors at the concentration camp, she spoke about the starvation diet, the constantly burning oven, the crematorium, the gas chambers, the angle of death descending... She spoke about the unspeakable with smooth efficiency. Her speech was well rehearsed. She was a practiced public speaker. She even ended her presentation with a poem on postponing morning, until now, an old woman with time on her hands... She knew that she had me, mouth open, vulnerable, on the hook. She reeled me in and then struck me on the head with the mallet of her personal truth. That she managed this feat, without qualms, and without hesitation is clear to me. She did it all without thinking, an experienced deliverer of deadly blows.
For reasons I do not know, she took an instant dislike to me. It happens, sometimes. Some people find me repulsive, too this or too that... I’m sure this happens, to everyone. It usually doesn’t bother me, because as a matter of policy I only go where I am welcome and made to feel comfortable. I have no desire to be the uninvited guest.
She, I could tell... was not a person capable of any patience for my constantly playful being. She would never understand my point of view, my Caribbean perspective on life, would always be foreign to her. It is likely that she defines herself as NOT, whatever she decided I was. She had zero tolerance for whoever it was she thought I was... a person “in the military.” Hah!
We, humans, traditionally have farmed animals to eat them. (Vegans are exempt. Yet, I’ve noticed a tendency in animal rights activists to forget that many animals, like us, eat meat. There is also a tendency to forget that cows, pigs, and chickens would not exist in the volumes that they do, without farmers. Moreover, eating synthetic meats and industrially processed soy-cheese from a lab cannot be healthy.) In animal farming, families of animals are raised and then separated. Trucks used in transporting them to slaughter.
The trucking and transportation of Jewish people from their villages, to camps located mostly in Poland… this outrage was only one of many insults, the mounting injustice, which equated people with animals, in order to strip them of human value and social value. The gradual erosion of privileges, the subtle and consistent message that the Jewish people were not as human as “pure-blood,” Germans, the “most civilized,” nation in the world. Many felt that the Germans, had a grand plan yet the idea ... the Germans... the world’s biggest consumers of pig products... were actually gassing and cremating millions of humans, as a part of their all-out-war strategy... well, that no one could believe it. It wasn’t until our speaker was in a camp, stripped of her clothes and personal belongings, head shaved, and wearing a number... then she believed it.
Cultivating the so called, “bliss that is ignorance,” I’ve avoided, most of my life, the cold embrace of history’s worst moments. For example, I purposely dance around, so called, “African American History,” because the stories of kidnapping, killings, beatings, whippings, and lynchings make me sick. The fact that countless beings were kidnapped from the African continent and taken like stock animals to serve as unpaid workers in “New World,” plantations is a historical given. Yet, there are few respectful monuments to this truth. The African diaspora isn’t organized around promoting and improving understanding for its contributions and abyssmal exploitation during and after slavery’s institutional sway.
Fortunately, that man, the one with the Jesus hair, came and said a kind few words to me, gave me water (which I did not drink because I am boycotting the Nestle corporation’s water and other, cheaply produced and fundamentally debased chemical laden simulacra of wholesome, products) and reminded me of the Museum’s security might take umbrage with the idea of my remaining fixed in this auditorium chair beyond the Museum’s rigid hours of operation. He warned me. I asked him to sit and allow me to make a sketch of him. I made it clear, that IF, I really decided to stay... well, I wasn’t moving until it happened naturally.
After making a boxy sketch of the patient man, I giggled. The laughter got me up and out of the chair in a blink. I was back on my feet. I refused, however, now that it was time to exit, to go down the ramp... (why do all museums have swirling ramps, at their hearts, these days? Is it architectural homage to The Guggenheim Museum in New York City, or yet another message that we, crowds of humans, are to be easily herded?) I did not want to be like a sheep or pig sliding down the belt to the butcher’s block.
Historically, we have all taken turns being victims and victors, captors and captives. We come from the loins of killers and captains, queens and chambermaids. We all like to think that our suffering as special, unique, “Our People,” more abused or less abusive or more fearsome, than others... Yet, we ALL come from one source and we are all equally capable of cruelty and kindness. The nobility of Europe, have been the target of bloody uprising and public de-capitation, let’s not forget. We can all suffer and relive endless horror as long as we see it fit to take a dip in the fetid pool of communal blame.
Undeniably, there are humans that want to recreate their own feelings of worthlessness in others. They feel fundamentally less-than, thus IF they can reach out and touch you, leaving a stain behind, that stain is their version of immortality. It is their way toward living forever. By creating living records of the destruction, the emotional bruises and physical scars, numbers branded on the flesh of living beings, these people may cause more harm than good, more suffering than celebration. Is it better to forget, leaving behind the past, and investing in the present? Embracing healing and mental health? I don’t know... Yet, I guess, we all have a purpose in this world. I learned a lot, from this woman’s public revelations. I was reminded that social alertness is required. Activism is a must, writing truth, and staying sane, lucid, and vigilant: these are my responsibilities.
In short, we must all take responsibility for our lives and pay attention to the writing on the wall. We must remain alert to injustice and cruelty. We must avoid buying propaganda wholesale and sliding down the many ramps to the abyss. Or risk... brutal awakening.
Today’s plan: meet THE MUSE for lunch. Embrace inspiration.
Process the joy. Follow up on the initial dive into "the ocean of air,” the sea of light which Turrell slices into edible portions of delight, left me full of ideas, ready to digest the delicious experience of the eternal which is always NEW. Stay connected to the joy of discovery in the visual arts by introducing children and others interested to the joys of museum going.
Thank you, once again, to all that make the Talkinggrid, possible. Without the indefatigable social support of our donating friends and loyal readers, this website could not become a reliable source of alternative ART and MUSE NEWS!
Dear Talkinggrid Readers,
Prepare yourself to see the impossible, to see that LIFE folds in upon itself and unexpected is miraculously present in a painting, we thought we all knew, a “Tronie” (a theatrical portrait of a typecast person in exotic dress, costume, or other status symbol representing the luxury flowing into the Netherlands at a time when colonialism was thriving and the Dutch were strident cultural leaders) of a man with a Feathered Beret (c. 1635) by Rembrandt van Rijn.
Unless you live in the Netherlands, where the paintings are expected to return, soon, after a two-year round of international exhibitions, you will have to fly to New York, New York, wait on line, or purchase a membership in order to verify this surprising find. A painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, on view at the Frick, has a marvelous secret to reveal, today!
The secret was always there. Yet it only makes sense now. It was painted hundreds of years ago. Yet, it was not relevant, until now.
You must go, now, because the work in question is on loan and will only be in New York City until January 19, 2014. It is well worth it to do so because the work that has received so much attention yet held its secret, before the public eye for over a century of potential for discovery. By heading to the museum today YOU might be ONE of the lucky ones that sees what is invisible until now, a startling discovery will share the secret of Rembrandt’s clairvoyant genius, because YOU read: www.talkinggrid.com.
The fact that the painting is famous and has received countless visits and exists in reproductions: books, postcards, calendars, and posters; yet it has kept its mystery until last week when investigative art person, Frau Kolb tripped into it. She may be the first person to notice this astounding POP cultural reference in a work made centuries ago. (This startling find, by the way, is a glaring case of people seeing what they want to see and ignoring what they don’t consider relevant in art and life.)
At the Frick, The Metropolitan, The Museum of Modern ART, The Philadelphia Museum of ART and LACMA other world-class museums Frau Kolb observes: among the milling crowds that throw a glance here, there, and move to the next; turning ART into pig’s swill, one masterpiece after another, is regarded and dismissed before a “Mona Lisa Salad,” is consumed lovelessly in the cafeteria, without seeing the secrets that are on display it becomes abundantly clear the vast majority of people DO NOT use their senses to accurately take in information. Frau kolb suspects that most people are rarely ever present enough in their own lives to really enjoy looking at the art or facts before them; being in a rush is the norm, even at the museum, which is designed to invite a certain amount of reflection, thought… (and the two-hour timed tickets don’t help). Any day of any week one can witness the thousands filing by painting(s), which command a life-time of reverent study, checking off “the experience,” on a dead list of Important Art, with little more than a nod in the direction of potentially LIFE altering art work.
It is reported by art scholar, James Elkins, that visitors spend, “an average of fifteen seconds," before even the greatest works of art in world-class museums. This fact alone may explain why this lowly blog is where YOU deeply interested and focused art thinkers, regular readers of this, “alternative ART news blog,” have the privilege of sharing in the bounty of ART history’s never-ending splendor and learning the great secret to be seen in a painting by everyone’s favorite, or at least the most famous, of the Dutch Masters.
OK, now, let’s stay focused and reveal this strange and inexplicable discovery. First, however, the steps that led to that discovery. Without going too far into it. My first art-history professor, the one that had the singular honor of being the provider of the standard introductory class, which ALL Columbia University students must take in order to graduate, was a Prof. Benjamin Binstock, an innovative Rembrandt scholar, author, and passionate art-mind. His energetic understanding, enthusiasm, and verve inspired me to take art history rather than studio art as my main focus in my college studies. He also sparked an interest in Old Masters in general, Rembrandt in particular, while informing incoming students that, “Cindy Sherman is the greatest living artist.” Professor Binstock was informed and engaging, a catalyst to learning.
Next step in putting two and a mystery number together was taken twenty years later and across the country, in “ever-sunny,” Los Angeles California investing time at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles during the retrospective exhibition of Llynn Foulke’s work. If I hadn’t visited the Foulkes exhibition at the Hammer Museum at least three times, putting in hours on top of a lifetime of careful looking with several of the contemporary master’s assemblages and paintings I wouldn’t have had my eye sharpened and my critical thinking-skills-propeller cap ON when I saw explosive yet inexplicable time-warp truth in a painting from the magical seventeenth century.
There are more, quirky and curious steps involved in the tango of learning and coming to see NEW in Old and that the connections between the two are deeper than any warm hole or cosmic wormhole, both being The Source. Really…
At the Frick I made a sketch of the Rembrandt in order to confirm that what I thought I was seeing was really there. AND then I asked the artsy looking man standing next to me if he saw it. He was astounded. He confirmed my findings.
I went and bought the exhibition catalogue. Delighted.
Here is the sketch:
Here is the painting:
“Tronie” of a Man with a Feathered Beret (c. 1635)
Now, you be the judge, but be sure to click the link to my earlier writings on Foulkes work IF you really want to get, to OWN this queer and yet delicious observation, with me.
The Man wearing a grand sombrero with feathers in the foreground hides a "truth of our time," in the background. The real gift we give ourselves when we make a practice of LOOKING again. Looking with love at what we think we know, questioning and rethinking, what we have seen before.
23 TIPS on How and Why to Fly, NOW!
Flying in from Los Angeles to New York or back and forth is a routine familiar to many bi-costal commuters. Yet not everyone finds pleasure in constant travel. The many restrictions and the potential for loss is high when one is going away from home. Security, Terrorism and Other Hazards plague the transition between “Arrival and Departure.” Yet, travel is intensely important. We cannot avoid it. Without travel, we are stuck in ONE place. Furthermore, we cannot maintain our far-flung friendships and many attachments without getting on a plane, occasionally. Getting out to see old friends and perhaps family is a way of maintaining one’s status, relationships, and memories. Creating NEW impressions of places known before is vital to feeling ALIVE.
Perhaps, we loss a part of ourselves if we do not get on a plane a GO see a museum exhibit in another city just because it relates to some arcane topic we studied in college. Without planes, it seems, we cannot unlock our full human potential! Of course, some people like Emily Dickinson (who famously wrote moving poetry from the self imposed prison, in an attic, without the benefit of actual trips or internet connection, managed to travel through books and in her imagination quite effectively). Poets… unlike most people can (time) travel (yet… this is another topic). Unless YOU have the gift of reading (and writing) between the lines… don’t try it in public. OK?
The obvious key is to successful airplane travel is packing BRIGHT. Take a little of what makes you happy, comfortable, and content at home. It is right to fine-tune what one must have in order to function. In this way, we are all different as snowflakes. What you have in your bag will not work for me. Yet, Talkinggrid’s 23 Must Have Travel Items are a simple yet tried and true method for staying On-Top of getting around.
Before the trip:
1.Get ready to Practice Politeness. This is an opportunity to appreciate the little things people do for your safety. Searching your bags, for example, is an important function for TSA agents to perform. IF they neglect to check some bags, some times, we’d think we were not getting our money’s worth. So… we appreciate the people that do this (mostly boring) job.
2. Be prepared to eliminate doubt about your identity. Thus, taking seriously the oracle at Delphi’s recommendation of “know thy self.” If you do not have valid identification you are not going anywhere conventional, quickly. Thus, those of us who can verify that we are who we claim to be are SOMEBODY, at the airport where it counts.
3. Another perk of travel is that it gives you the opportunity to “expand your portfolio of experience.” You are fascinating. You write. Read. Paint. Dance. Sing. Yet performing all these marvelous skills in previously unknown cities can be hugely life-enhancing since whenever you arrive in a new city you have the advantage of being vulnerable and confused and thus interesting to predators and admires, alike. Bravo! Make the MOST of IT!
Remember: Aerial Views are special. We don’t get to see all the little houses and think about how small we really are unless we are UP here in the air LOOKING DOWN and seeing that what cost millions to the individual is but a spec on the patchwork quilt that is a nation.
4. Most importantly, Get a Grip! Every time you leave HOME on a major trip you are embarking on more than a mere journey from here to there. YOU are making decisions about what matters to YOU. What is important enough to get YOU and only YOU out of bed? WHAT must YOU pack that I wouldn’t pack? Tell me, pretty please.
5. Make time for enjoying the trip. Don’t forget that it can be fun to explore the airport. Past security there are shops, restaurants, and plenty of opportunities for relaxation, including those inviting coin operated massaging chairs.
6. BAGS INSIDE BAGS! Packing everything in a tot or overnight bag and THEN put it in your luggage… Hah! It makes you so… more prepared for shopping or mini-trips within your over-arching or BIG trip; try taking an extra tot with a fanny-pack full of makeup; that WORKS. YOU get by better by having much more than one bag with you, always.
On the Plane:
7. The Carry On, itself must be pretty.
You don’t want your bag looking like anyone else’s.
(Mine is a lavender floral print by Anna Sui for Tumi with a load of interior pockets, including a lined pouch for jewelry. It works for me.)
8. The Airport Pic-Nic. Who can stand to eat what passes for food in most cases? Not I. Thus, I bring my own home-cooked fresh meals, on board. You may think this is a bit much. Yet, I find it more economical and healthy to cook, contain, travel items. transport, and enjoy the food I know is made fresh and to my specifications than to hope and eat whatever I can get. That is why Whole Foods offers thermal bags. Buy a few, use them regularly, and make your life better.
9. The Eye Mask. Give yourself some time to relax. Check out. Snooze.
10. Wash your hands with extra care; bring along a quality Nail Brush. Nothing beats having very clean hands, fingernails, and being well groomed. Taking a moment to massage your hands, think about life, and reflect how lucky we are to have running water… is priceless.
11. Don’t forget to Moisturize and hydrate. Drink plenty of water before, after, and during your flight. It will keep all systems running smoothly and the exercise of walking down the isle of a long air-plane in flight, several times will do you better than just sitting there.
12. Noise cancelling headsets, Bose Speakers, for example, (or at least ear-plugs) can mean the difference between enjoying some rest and quiet time or… NOT. Noise cancelling headsets work well to erase the voices of the two aging hookers that have seats behind you… or that monstrously energetic child’s wailing… providing the cushion of silence… your soundscape matters to you, for some of us, SILENCE is everything.
13. Analogue Journal(s). This is a solid block of time when you will not be interrupted. You can write. You can write your little bleeding heart OUT. You can write poems to the clouds! You can write a staggering list of Forgotten Lovers you wish you’d had! You can write what kinds of parties you intend to have for your loved ones in the coming years. Get to all the self-indulgent ego-boasting writing, you always want(ed) to do, now!
In your Carry On:
14. Pack Gloves. In all weathers, gloves are a gift to the self. They protect your hands and light-weight ones keep your hands soft and germs off the finger tips. Thicker ones keep sensitive hands warm. Gloves, leather or knit, are small yet high impact Sports gloves, for example ensure that you will be prepared to use the gym at the hotel. Snow gloves make fights with packed balls of icy moister, FUN!
15. A Selection of Hats. Always carry a knit hat or two, they are tiny and make a huge difference in how comfy you are in ultra air-conditioned plane rides from here to there. Also wear a proper hat, something fashionable to go with your jacket and slacks, which you take off in order to go through security. Just the act of taking off your hat, makes you LOOK civilized. Civilized is better in the world of air travel, deal with it.
16. Cashmere Scarves! Life without the lightweight warmth of cashmere wool may not be worth living. I know. It was difficult before I discovered the major plusses inherent in the plushness, this soft and fine stuff provides. Two or three, good scarves fit anywhere and define YOU, dashing. I prefer deep colors: tomato red, eggplant, and coffee scarves make me feel cozy and approachable. Also remember: big plush, thicker, scarves can serve as blankets and improvised extra baggage. The ladies in South Africa wear big ones, with which they wrap their babies around their bodies, while getting from here to there. LOVE!
17. Silk Blouses and Cotton Tank Tops: Light weight, breathable, silk is a traveling girl’s best friend. Pack five blouses in your carry on they take up NO SPACE and you are consistently well dressed! Wear them on their own or under wool sweaters to keep warm. (Cotton, shelf bra, tank-tops, with a little elastic, are wonderful underneath. Or… in the tropics… may stand alone as an eye-catching top, in a pinch.
18. Under Garments: YOU must have seven days of fresh underwear with you NO MATTER where or how long you go for, IF traveling on a plane. You never know when you get stuck somewhere and this is the one area of your carry-on reality you can and will control. Unparalleled comfort comes from finding you have clean knickers, a feeling of instant power from a quick change into fresh underwear, no matter where –––precisely––– your earthly travels take you. Fresh underwear will make YOU feel worthy of respect; away from home.
19. The Neck Pillow: protect your strangely vulnerable, fragile, yet vital, part of your body, THE NECK, is protected and ensconced from jiggle in transit. IF you don’t have ONE then I suggest you buy one at the airport.
Once you arrive you will need:
20. Bath Salts and Oils. As soon as you arrive you will want to take a long soak. You need this to unwind, relax, and disinfect yourself from all the bugs and germs that are a part of sharing air with many strangers from all over the planet. In the morning: you will want to have a WAKE UP or orange, grapefruit, lime-citrus soak to get you going, again. In the evening: lavender, chamomile, or red-wine anti-oxidant soak will do YOU fine.
21. The Travel Library: in airports, and trips, perhaps even more than at home, we have the opportunity to read real books, with pages, made of paper. (Think of all the delightful paperbacks, begging to be read. Paper books, one can sink into, a literary bath of words for the brain to soak in!)
Take TIME with those slow and softly turning paper pages, for they will be gone soon... unless---of course---virulent nostalgia grips the polis and… If you don’t mind hauling around a selection of reading material, YOU are an exceptional being, in my book. (It is amazing, by the way, how many very thin books worthy of re-reading exist. Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style,” and Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” are two book I recommend everybody read again and again) pretty please.
22. Writing and Drawing Materials. In a very positive way it totally pleases me to paint in public. Funnily, I’m good at concentrating with a crowd around. Maybe because I’m the last of five children. You may find that making a rough sketch of a memory or the flight attendant gives you a buzz unlike anyother.
23. A Laptop! Of course, you were planning on brining iyour portable computer along. This is your chance to work on the Great American Novel or write your next blog entry. NOW, get to it and enjoy your trip! Bon voyage!
There YOU GO!
Active Head at:
Dearest Talkinggrid Readers,
Travel, to the nation’s capital is a monumental experience. It is very impressive, to say the least. This was our children’s first visit. It mirrored a pilgrimage I made to the capital with my family as a child. Both times, we saw so much. The nation’s rich history and power are amply displayed and unequivocally palpable in this vital core of the American Nation’s judiciary and administrative branches. It is awe inspiring, the wealth, and might, expressed in thunderous scale in buildings designed to remind visitors just how venerable the nation is and will always be… Timeless beauty assaults the eye with its unwavering reminder that Justice, and Order are the goal of all our political systems. The LAW and its righteous advocates, seem to reach out and demand correct behavior, moral rectitude from the insignificant masses, among which we scampered.
Today, we share with you the highlights of the utmost pleasure that is visiting The Smithsonian Gallery of Art and the National Portrait Gallery, there we had the privilege of viewing the newly unveiled "The Four Justices,” by artist Nelson Shanks. The children admired the painting spending time taking inthe implications that it is only recently that women have attained the degree of respect required in posts of significant power.
The idealized portrait of George Washington got the children’s full attention:
Afterward the children had a moment of deep chat, consultation, and meditation with the portrait of Abraham Lincoln.
Machines and quirky inventions of another age also were found to be extremely intriguing.
I got a kick out of Chuck Close’s painting of former President Bill Clinton.
Yet, for me of the political portraits, Alice Neel’s intimate and intense, fierce portraits of Civil Rights activisits which worked to make needed changes during her lifetime were especially touching.
Recently, we had the pleasure of a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art which never fails to impress. The museum’s collection, particularly of French impressionists, Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary visual artists is first class. The staff is in all departments friendly and helpful. The press support is excellent. Each visit, provides opportunity upon opportunity for learning and delight. Here is a video by artist/art critic Ron Schira of Frau Kolb and Mr. Brian Goings, deep into what Schira called, “Active Looking,” of Paul Cezanne’s “Woods and the Mill Stone,” one year ago at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This time was particularly special because the two youngest members of the Talkinggrid Creative Circle, the Llittle Kolbs, came along and experienced the fabulous collection of visual art masterpieces, ranging from the glorious Edouard Manet (1832-1883), “Le Bon Bock, / “The GOOD Beer,”one of my favorite paintings, because the pleasure the character takes in his beer is timeless, eternal to the sumptuous bath of geometry, landscape painting, and elegant figure study, “The Bathers,” by Paul Cezanne, and Andy Warhol’s iconic “Brillo Boxes."
The children were vociferously critical of Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” the famous urinal signed R. Mutt and sent in as a game-changing lark to the Society of Indepdent Artist’s first exhibition in April 1917. “That’s not ART!” They shouted in unison. I had a good laugh. Then they took another look and noticed that the urinal was signed… hum… perhaps…. the children got to thinking. This moment before the replica of Duchamp ready-made, was a great moment in our family history.
The experience of sharing with one’s children the jewels of contemporary culture, the thought-provoking objects of Dadaist Man Ray (1890 - 1976), whose work becomes more and more mysterious as time renders the “ordinary objects,” of his day into rare and evocative treasures to behold with some awe. Another highlight of the collection are the tender intimate paintings of Mary Cassatt (1844 - 1926) . Seeing the mother and child caress, a moment of pure love and caring, my children were delighted. In the same vein, my daughter's drawings of dancers have a sudden depth, which I attribute to her recent experience of Edgar Degas’ Ballerinas.)
We also saw spent a long lingering moment with Mommy going on and on about the the abstract expressionist masters, Barnet Newman, Clifford Styll, and Robert Motherwell.
A young Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973) gave my son a stern talking to.
Piet Mondrain was there to reasure us:
Dear Talkinggrid Friends,
Thank you LACMA! The James Turrell (b. May, 6th 1943) exhibition is a singular experience. It is eye opening, to the most extreme degree, to engage in a visual dialogue with silent and pure color. LIGHT, which reframes and re-invigorates the interest in perception, is here the subject. Thereby, altering the expectation of "meaning,” to arrive as a gift from the outside. Instead, the gift is within, in the dazzling ability to perceive, to deduce, to share in Turrell’s focus on light as a truth to be embraced, cherished in a darkened chamber, for as long one can bare its enduring brilliance.
The invitation to reflect on seeing, and on its effect on knowing, is extended to the audience of the art inclined to admission into circle(s) of enlightenment, described and delineated by the artist’s scientific study and methodical exploration of light’s value. One must dart and dive into darkness, blackened rooms which beckon the viewer into sacred–––contemplative–––corners of neon, “Emergency Exits,” unreal Portals to raw Potential, and tangible understanding(s). Holograms gleam and blink inviting us to reach into two-dimensional space and pull out a jade triangle, or a square piece of blue opiate glass or the ellipse of the moon, a—shimmering—circle, cut deep in the projected phenomenon of fabricated and condescend time. One must think of Kazimir Malevich (23 February 1879—15 May 1935), the great pioneer of abstract art that broke the barrier into the world of Objective Art, replacing the Russian icon with the glow of pure form. Wandering from glowing pink room to dark wine sea of burnished light installed and projected via discrete sources and enticing one to walk into walls, blind…walls which become infinite halls, winding down the bunny-hole of masterful aesthetic manipulation.
California, home to the great film industry, and all things flashy and intoxicating, in their projected glamour is fertile ground for art, which takes light, seriously. Making it the STAR, rather than a tool of production. Turrell’s slicing and dicing of building(s) to create architecture in which viewing is the ONLY purpose, totally shifts the scale of typical visual art experience, which was traditionally, until Modernism, was limited to "the framed window," of the painted surfaces (Yet… come to think of it, the red-wall mural paintings of Pompeii were… unframed, precedents… to the spectacle of the lighted Zimmer, living room feel, of Turrell’s LACMA installations remind one of other key moments in art history. The Impressionists, for example, showed off, a corner of their discoveries of light’s properties, and of color’s possibilities, when they incorporated tube paint into an outdoor light focused plein air technique of painting which used points, tiny chunks, dots, and/or strokes, of industrially produced, for the first time in history (!), color as a means of creating shifting, living, vibrant painted surfaces depicting slices of live in early 20th century France.
The interest in light is palpable in all successful works of visual art. The understanding of color, a function of light, is essential in most visual art practice. This Turrell exhibit provides a means of relating anew to the art of the Renaissance and its particular interest in light. The works of Carravagio and his followers, for example, dealt with the darkness abounding, shadowy figures of vagrant types he collected on streets, and cast in the role of saints and sinners in his highly emotional works. Masters such as Rembrant van Rijn, (July 15, 1606-October 4th 1669, whose famous Chiaroscuro, was the signature understanding of light as a substance, precious, and essential in the construction of worldly value with dirt, crushed stones, and pigment. Similarly, Giovani Bellini, (c.1430 - 26 November 1516) also painted the features of light, in his painting of St. Francis, in (The Frick collection), soaking in the almighty sunlight, Bellini deftly recorded the brilliance of man’s expanding architectural prowess, thereby making a powerful record of light’s potential to speak volumes and thus influence everything from mood and radical changes perspective or epiphany.
Turrell has enjoyed a long career and a stunning success as an architect of landscapes, which seek to “Bring down the sky,” not by altering it but by changing the context in which it is seen. The artist’s crowning work, is the Roden Crater, in Arizona, pulls the sky from its far-away place and makes it a managble square of pleasure. The retrospectives at LACMA, brings home the visual feast of the majestic desert light, which defines, the American West.
What a triumph for Los Angeles and the Art World that this retrospective of local-home-grown art, many of the early works created in Santa Monica California. This exhibition reveals that the actual subject of ALL visual art is, LIGHT, as is elegantly and effectively exhibited in the Eli Broad Center for Contemporary Art in the Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum Compound. Right NOW!
LIGHT, as topic, as material, as the means by which we perceive and are perceived is treated with all the respect and majesty it deserves by temple building, monumental cavern digging, genius architect of transformative viewing spaces, Turrell.
*** Special thanks to Ms. Crane for her fresh and lively take on the Turrell Exhibiton. We don’t call YOU, “The MUSE,” for no thing. YOU ROCK!
Los Angeles California,
A Day at LACMA:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum, welcomes the curious and caters the visually sensitive. The museum is a sprawling playground for the visually inclined, an informed and tasteful display of art treasures and traveling exhibitions of world-class loot, ranging from the pre-historic to the contemporary. The Muse and Frau Kolb, two buds in the same pea of shimmering prettiness, dive in among the crowds of curious seekers. So many young families, individuals, children, workers, couples, and retires seek refuge, from the storm of cheap mass-produced objects and ideas, which prevail. There is an ongoing Parade of Shadows reflected on the cave-wall-cinema described in Plato’s, Republic yet unfolding NOW in glamourous and gritty City of Los Angeles.
Thanks to the unwavering support and generous assitance of the wonderful staff at LACMA we seemed to float up to the third floor start of the Japanese Art Pavilion, of the silent slopping halls, and then allowed gravity tug us through the well planned and executed art exhibition. It was a pleasure, to relax into the dim lighting and allow the domestic feel of the pavillion to take effect. We must return again, soon.
Starting with neolithic pots, and spanning a the vast ocean of shifting perspectives which feed the vital and unique works of art on display.
Outside in the sculpture garden, the breeze defined a short stroll past a lovely
Alexander Calder (was an American sculptor best known as the originator of the mobile, a type of kinetic sculpture the delicately balanced or suspended components of which move in response to motor power …Wikipedia)
Inside the Japanese Pavilion we stopped to rest before screens and scrolls, not electronic, but masterfully painted scenes of battle and sudden enlightenment, interposed and inviting refection on the fact that the human story is cyclical. There is time for meditation and there is time for battle. We can only thrive in acceptance of what is. We contemplate change together and move forward as ONE thriving organism toward the fountains of eternity.
On this very focused and contemplative visit, our time limited by the usual constrains, we did not even look in the direction of Chris Burden’s monumental, Urban Light, 2008, the quintessential Los Angeles colonnade of street lamps, a nod to the past while remaining focused on its immediate FLASH and present of Southern California as Mecca for all that is NOW hot and trendy, being without a doubt, one of the world’s premier cities. Usually, the Muse and I get lost in this piece and it was really INTENSE when Skip Snow did his, performance art, “Intervention/Exchange,” before the museum during the gala opening of the James Turrell exhibition.
NOT wanting to devote any time to western art, for a change, we rushed to visit this
Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Wikipedia
The Henri- Matisse breathtaking painting, demands to be shared with a dear friend, LIKE a Quality lunch. We stopped and gawked at the false intimacy of casual elegance, shoe dangling OFF the foot of the model, the artist's daughter, in just such a provocative, negligent, almost defiant manner, the face---crunched/distored---a mask, un-civilized yet pivoting around hidden meanings, always at the edge of casual experience. The intimate, hasty, light pencil lines and a barely there, carefree effect of the brush work which dangle in barely-there veils of everything held dear, valued, cherished. The very essence of what it is the hot boundary between what is public and private; "Tea," by Matisse is delicious for the eyeballs to sip. Ah!
Ms. Crane and Frau Kolb have enjoyed about one year of blissful frienship defined by gracious interaction, each time delving deeper into personal Her-Stories while having FUN, all over Los Angeles. Because MUSE, Ms. Crane, and Frau Kolb experience deep affinity, having in common a LOVE of good healthy food, elegant dining, with long lingering conversations, the discussion of things related to money and precious materials, investing, in paper, bonds, cinema, books, history, and urban ART adventure. These two dynamic and determined women make a good pair in their quest for mental tickles, aesthetic kicks, international travel high-jinx and more FUN to come, always returning to the virtues of moral instruction from longstanding and traditional sources. WHO KNOWS where the TWO NEW MUSES will end up next...
Back to LACMA, it is an Urban Art Explorer’s smorgasbord. A FEAST for HUNGRY MINDS, shunning mere entertainment which taxes the mind and provides less than the expected expansion of the soul's infrastructure. The laughter which springs from generous well of ample gratitude for the gift of NOW is not passive but, provides a gentle challenge, an invitation to rise to the role of our ancestors, the past glorious, the present geniuses. The traditional mission of any museum is to establish places where “the lower orders,” might retreat for inspiration. The class that seeks to preserve the museum, and keep them readily available to families and others that require a grounding sense that there was LIFE, there will be LIFE, and the good (and bad) times; we have are worth securing, preserving. The message that some objects, people, places are sacred whereas others are common, or NOT, is all pervasive and it is one that we embrace when seeking our completion via experience of preserved fragments of a past once as tumultuous as today’s riotous unfolding of possibility and JOY.
For a delicious breakfast, by the way, we met up at met up at "Quality."
I dove into my Scottish Eggs Benedict and drip American coffee.
Ms. Crane, our most delightful and inspiring Muse, picked up the tab. How generous! (I was delighted.)
Los Angeles California,
19 th of October 2013
Has a work of art ever completely hooked you in? I first came into contact with Devin Troy Strother’s pointy breasted construction paper goddesses at the LA fair of Contemporary Art, in 2010. Then I encountered the work again at the Scope, was it Scope… anyway during Art Basel 2011. Now, the work is on exhibit at a Richard Heller Gallery in Bergamot Station, in Santa Monica, California. The work is bold, potentially controversial, and full of raw energy. It makes you FEEL. It pokes you in the EYE!
When did I start looking seriously at art? It may have begun as a child in the Museums of New York. The Met, Moma, and other blue-chip institutions were among the playgrounds that I enjoyed as a child. The majesty of visual art history fueled further years of study at Columbia University, where I earned a BA in the subject of Art history. Recently, my attention has turned to contemporary art, and I've traveled to art fairs, galleries in NYC, Phillidelphia, and art fairs in Miami to gain an understanding of what is NOW in ART.
After circling around the work for a couple years and watching the gallery invest more in the representation of the strongly emerging artist, I did more research and I've become convinced that buying the ART is a good idea, a sound investment, in a whimsical confrontation with truth. Look at this LINKhttp://www.devintroystrother.com/w/index.php?/pieces/dts/ and see how fabulously creative this artist is, how explosive and colorful his edgy cut-outs, which are so un-Matisse, so vigourous and and immature. Yet, exciting! I dance around the work of art, the artist's oeuvre and I am in awe, mouth hanging---slightly---open, taking IT in.
Transfixed by the speculative draw of the two dimensional black painted aluminum sculpture on a pedestal of white painted wood, depicting three boneless, pointy breasted, bubblegum pink nippled sex goddesses with hair nimbuses in the tradition of 1970’s popular Afro(s) with rudimentary circles of blue and white serving for sightless eyes, yet horror fixed cheerful from---presummably--- vodka eyes. Whatever power or magnetism the work is in its rambunctious hilarity, its crude and primitive, yet sophisticatedly marketed and expertly presented, art of offensively clever quality, poking a hole in the embraceable fantasy that sometimes a JOKE is the only way to shake off the past and get on with the business being here now. This is timeless ART of the moment, evoking even the crude forms of pre-historic female figurines, so rich in meaning and ritual power, yet it is art embodying the a segment of the grand struggles which distinguish the present.
"When SHIT gets real in Africa," by Devin Troy Stother's," 2013 at Richard Heller Gallery
These thrilling construction paper battles confront the viewer with the inevitability of blah, blah, blah, blah blah... Have you ever heard of Tulip-O-Mania? Is this it? Is this the grandest and most extravagant bubble, ever built, or is this a poignant statement on folly?
The work, in question is a small monument to ignorance peppered with more than a dash of wit, evident market intelligence, and empowered by apparent disregard for the historical wound inflicted on the audience for such HORROR, such HORROR, by work which impresses us with narrative of racial and gender stereotyping, sexual oppression of women as a tradition worthy of large scale pomp and celebration yet is comical, cute, and somewhat edgy in a trendy simulacrum of lasting value based the culture of exploitation of women, female form equated with sums, prices, dollars or pesos exchanged between collectors and the collected, the prize and the hunter, the dealer in flesh: stand ins-/cut/outs that is which NOT all market razzle-dazzle, perhaps... even the symbolic standings for women deserve more respect than a cut-out can ever confer or are we ALL slaves in a market of HOT FLESH, beings stripped down to the status of objects available for trade and exchange like the dancing-girls for hire as or out-and-out crack snorting pill-popping prostitution on the level of Sodom and Gomorra’s famous biblical party-town atmosphere of degradation and orgiastic disregard for moral or human dignity. Perhaps...
The monumental effort involved in the creation, showcasing, dealing, and distributing of “original,” art is evidence of large scale collaborations between, “artist(s),” and art-dealers. The work is showered with attention by savvy art sales professionals. All that said, I that I am deeply impressed by Devin Troy Strother's ART WORK.
Ms. Maria Rose and Frau Kolb, Gallery Hopping at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.
Not to be forgotten:
The connection of this work to another significant contemporary artist: Kara Walker, another that effectively addressed issues of race in art that nods to the past yet is of today.(For more recent writing by Frau Kolb click here.)
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Everybody requires more Talkinggrid updates and personal FRAU NEWS!