Sunday, March 1, 2015

St. David's Day

In honor of the Welsh side of my ancestry

St. David, the patron satin of Wales;

Cardiff Bay is a pivotal setting for the adventures of Doctor Who and Torchwood – here’s how to walk in Peter Capldi, David Tennant and Matt Smith's foot steps

There's even a Google Doodle:

Thursday, February 26, 2015


We could use a Daumier today

February 26, 1808. Honoré Daumier (February 26, 1808 - February 10, 1879) was a French printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century. In this image: "The Pleader", one of Daumier's most famous court scenes, lent anonymously to the Pennsylvania Museum of art and show for the first time in this country in the comprehensive exhibition of the artist's work at the Philadelphia Museum.

 A lithograph of Daumier's Gargantua (1831) . A litho of the greedy king, his ministers and the nouveau riche of 19th century France devouring everything in sight.

Sound familiar?

Long before Iranian cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh was sentenced to 25 lashings for drawing a parliament member in a soccer jersey, of the Saudi blogger who is currently under a death sentence of 1000 lashes,  19th-century caricaturist HonorĂ© Daumier and his colleagues at the weekly Paris journal La Caricature endured prison sentences, fines, and litigation for their scathing portraits of king Louis-Philippe I of France, who came to power after the Revolution of 1830.

Back in 2012, the Cantor Arts Center presented a selection of Daumier’s cartoons attacking Louis-Philippe, the then king of France. The show’s most provocative prints represent the king as la poire, a bulbous pear. But the artists mercilessly lampooned everything about the July Monarchy, as Louis-Philippe’s reign was known—its ministers, their censorship of the press, their role in the inequalities of French society.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seductive fashions from Edo-era Japan

Forget the red carpet - the most gorgeous fashions on view are part of the new exhibit at the Asian Art Museum.

Courtesan in her boudoir, approx. 1818–1825, by Utagawa Toyokuni (Japanese, 1769–1825). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.

 Courtesan promenading under cherry blossoms, approx. 1815–1819, by Katsushika Hokuun (Japanese, active approx. 1800–1844). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.

 Outer robe with wisteria and stylized waves, 1750–1850. Japan; Edo period (1615-1868). Silk satin, silk, and couched gold thread embroidery, shaped resist–dyed. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.

A drunken beauty beneath cherry blossoms, from the series Contest of Modern Beauties of the Pleasure Quarters, by Torii Kyonaga (Japanese, 1752–1815). Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper. Courtesy of Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, Gift of the Grabhorn Ukiyo-e Collection, 2005.100.67.a. Image © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

100th Anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Palace After Dark: Film & Light Installation at the Palace of Fine Arts. 100th Anniversary of the Panama-Pacific Int’l Exposition (PPIE). February 20, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the World’s Fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco—its recovery from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire and its world trade potential.

Flags were ordered flown at half mast by mayor James Rolph in San Francisco on Sunday, December 5, 1915, the day after the Panama Pacific International Exposition closed. The 635-acre site for the exposition had been leased from a variety of owners and immediate restitution of the land was necessary.

But one building was saved - the Palace of Fine Arts, still a SF destination for weddings, lovers of the vistas and those who admire the swans. 

Throughout 2015, the PPIE100, a citywide consortium of cultural, civic, and historical organizations, will conduct centennial programs to commemorate the PPIE’s historical significance and to reflect on its legacy.

The background and history:

View all PPIE 2015 Events – tons of them are free.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Celebrate the Lunar New Year, Bay Area Style

Courtesan in her boudoir, approx. 1818–1825, by Utagawa Toyokuni (Japanese, 1769–1825). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.

Celebrate the Asian Art Museum’s new exhibition “Seduction: Japan’s Floating World” at a provocative opening party, featuring tunes by DJ Proof and performance art by sex educator Midori. “Seduction” explores the hedonistic Edo period in Japan, taking visitors inside the walled pleasure city of Yoshiwara (present-day Tokyo). Opens Friday. 7-11 p.m. Thursday. Through May 10. $20. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.

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