Sunday, December 31, 2017

Rules for enjoying the holidays


My new rules for Christmas

Shelby's recipe box

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It will soon be Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, please, have some standards!

10. One final tip: Wear sweatpants/loose fitting clothing. If you are leaving the party and you can walk without help from a construction forklift, "you haven't been paying attention, people!" Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Art news for December 31, 2017

Goodby to 2017

Die happily and look forward to taking up a new and better form. Like the sun, only when you set in the west, can you rise in the east. Rumi

Saturday, December 30, 2017

How to chase away the winter blues

Darling blog post about hedgehogs from the British Library - I love that site. All things artistic and on their manuscripts  blog, all things beautiful and medieval.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Creativity Explored Birthday Sale...

CE turns 35 in 2018 & we're celebrating w/ a FLASH SALE! All Holiday Art Shop work in the gallery is 35% off (ends 12/30, not valid online). Pick up your favorite ceramic work, like these lovely cupcakes by . Be sure to check our holiday hours before dropping by!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Born on this day in 1734. George Romney

Emma Hamilton as Circe.

George Romney born on this day in 1734. An English portrait painter and the most fashionable artist of his day, making his sitters, no matter how homey, look romantic and beautifully glowing. Emma Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson, was his particular muse but his portraits of children are the very epitome of romantic innocence. (images from Wikipedia) 

Where have the artists gone?

Panel discussion at the Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum and Silicon Valley Community Foundation host an engaging panel discussion on how artists and arts organizations are reacting to the changing landscape of the arts and culture sector. Panel Discussion with Moy Eng, Joanne Lee, Connie Martinez, Dr. Robert Mintz, and Brion Nuda Rosch.

SF is now a tech city, not one that welcomes artists of any kind. If I were younger, I would leave too.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas and blessings on all on this day

Don Simone Carmaldolese, The Nativity, Early Italian Renaissance

Nativity Scene from the Codex Aureus Pultoviensis, 1080. 

Joseph minds the baby while Mary reads in bed.
15th century, in the Fitzwilliam.

Nativity, with angels in lower panel singing "Salvator mundi," Book of Hours, Oxford, MS. Canon. Liturg. 43, fol. 211r; France, 1470-1480

The Astonishing Sforza Hours. Add MS 34294

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Coming to Bethlehem to be taxed

It's that day: coming Bethlehem to be taxed. Mary & Joseph arrive at a busy moment when there wil be no room at the inn. By Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1566.

Snowball fight in Bruegel's version of Bethlehem which sure looks a lot like 16th century Amsterdam. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Born on this day in 1960: Jean Basquiat

In this image: Basquiat: Boom For Real. Installation view Barbican Art Gallery 21 September 2017 - 28 January 2018 © Tristan Fewings / Getty Images Artwork: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982 Courtesy Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.

From Masaccio to Basquiat is a leap from beauty into a nightmare world, from skill and a vision of transcendence to a world inhabited by savages and violence. Born December 22, 1960. Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 - August 12, 1988) was an American artist whose work commanded astronomical prices during his lifetime but whose reputation has rapidly deflated in the years since his death from a heroin overdose. 

Basquiat first achieved fame as part of SAMO, an informal graffiti duo who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s where the hip hop, punk, and street art movements had coalesced. By the 1980s, he was exhibiting his paintings in galleries and museums internationally. The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of his art in 1992. 

Hilton Kramer goes beyond the hype for a critical look at the fashionable art buying world that worshiped Basquiat and a realistic look at his talent (or lack of): "smart but otherwise invincibly ignorant, who used his youth, his looks, his skin color and his abundant sex appeal to win an overnight fame that proved to be his undoing. Yet for a few vertiginous years before he died of a drug overdose in 1988, big-time art dealers were vying for his work, critics were singing his praises and collectors, almost as ignorant about art as Basquiat himself, were outbidding each other to acquire his daubs and scribbles.

The fundamental thing to be understood about his amazing, short-lived career is that Basquiat never showed the slightest evidence of being the kind of serious talent he was touted to be by the sponsors who stood to profit from his success. Having begun his career as a teenage graffiti artist, in his work he never rose above that lowly artistic station even when his paintings were fetching enormous prices. Indeed, even by the wretched standards of graffiti art, which in the 1980s acquired a cult status in certain New York art circles, Basquiat's efforts were distinguished only by the fact that he had learned how to apply its alphabet of primitive signs and symbols to a prepared canvas rather than to the defacement of public buildings."

For some critics, Basquiat's swift rise to fame and equally swift and tragic death by drug overdose epitomizes and personifies the overly commercial, hyped up international art scene of the mid 1980s, a cultural phenomenon that for many observers was symptomatic of the largely artificial bubble economy of the era.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

On this day in 1401. Masaccio, early Italian Renaissance Painter

San Giovenale Triptych (1422)
December 21, 1401. Masaccio (Italian: December 21, 1401 - summer 1428), born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at imitating nature, recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense of three-dimensionality. Masaccio died at twenty-six and little is known about the exact circumstances of his death (although it was probably the plague).

The Tribute Money

Masaccio profoundly influenced the art of painting in the Renaissance. According to Vasari, all "most celebrated" Florentine "sculptors and painters" studied his frescoes extensively in order to "learn the precepts and rules for painting well." He transformed the direction of Italian painting, moving it away from the idealizations of Gothic art, and, for the first time, presenting it as part of a more profound, natural, and humanist world. Moreover, Masaccio influenced a great many artists both while he was alive and posthumously. His influence is particularly notable in the works of Florentine minor masters, such as Andrea di GiustoGiovanni dal Ponte, and others who attempted to replicate his glowing, lifelike forms.

First great painter of the Italian Renaissance:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Contemporary Jewish Museum hosts Community Day on December 25

San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum hosts Community Day on Monday, Dec. 25, where visitors are invited to explore the museum’s galleries and exhibitions, free of cost.

The museum’s current shows deliver a holiday helping of color, whimsy and intrigue, as in "Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid," an exhibition that commissioned 16 artists to respond to and reimagine selections from a rich history of Jewish storytelling. 

Also on view is “Kutiman: offgrid offline,” a contemporary assemblage of sound clips found on the Internet that, combined, create a musical composition played from computer monitors to fill the airy, angular architecture of the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Yud Gallery.

Additional free, family-friendly activities include opportunities for art making as well as performances from Alison Faith Levy and her Big Time Tot Rock Band set for 12:30 and 2 p.m.

Community Day: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 25. Free.

Through Jan. 28. $12-$14; free 18 and under. Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F. (415) 655-7800.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Remedios Varo, surrealist painter and anarchist

December 16, 1908. Remedios Varo Uranga (16 December 1908 - 8 October 1963) was a Spanish-Mexican para-surrealist painter and anarchist. Born in Girona, Spain in 1908, she studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid. She is known as one of the world famous para-surrealist artists of the 20th Century. During the Spanish Civil War she fled to Paris where she was greatly influenced by the surrealist movement. 

Renaissance art inspired harmony, tonal nuances, unity, and narrative structure in Varo’s paintings. The allegorical nature of much of Varo's work especially recalls the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, and some critics, such as Dean Swinford, have described her art as "postmodern allegory," much in the tradition of Irrealism.

Varo was greatly influenced by her first and second husbands, Gerardo Lizarraga and Benjamin Peret. Her first husband was a well-respected painter and her second husband was a surrealist poet.

Varo was also influenced by styles as diverse as those of Francisco GoyaEl GrecoPicasso, and Braque. While André Breton was a formative influence in her understanding of Surrealism, some of her paintings bear an uncanny resemblance to the Surrealist creations of the modern Greek-born Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico.

While there is little overt influence of Mexican art on her work, Varo and the other surrealists were captivated by the seemingly porous borders between the marvelous and the real in Mexico.

The Lovers.

Christmas Medieval Style

Christmas was an important time throughout medieval Europe, and many traditions developed during this period, some of which are still popular. Here are seven things you might see during Christmas in the Middle Ages, which range from cribs in Italy to trolls in Iceland.

Medievalists. Net here

The Official history of Santa Claus here

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Paul Cadmus, Born on this day in 1904

December 17, 1904. Paul Cadmus (December 17, 1904 - December 12, 1999) was an American artist. He is best known for his egg tempera paintings of gritty social interactions in urban settings. He also produced many highly finished drawings of single nude male figures. His paintings combine elements of eroticism and social critique in a style often called magic realism. In this image: The Fleet's In!, 1934 (cropped view). He also produced many highly finished drawings of single nude male figures. His paintings combine elements of eroticism and social critique in a style often called magic realism.

Born in New York, Cadmus studied at the National Academy of Design before enrolling at the Art Students League. He traveled through Europe with his lover before returning to the US in 1933. 
As an openly gay man during an intolerant era, Cadmus ran into a lot of controversies because of his art but as the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity. In 1934, at the age of 29, he painted The Fleet's In! while working for the Public Works of Art Project of the WPA. This painting, which featured carousing sailors and women, included a stereotypical homosexual solicitation and erotic exaggeration of clinging pants seats and bulging crotches. It was the subject of a public outcry led by Admiral Hugh Rodman, who protested to Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson, saying, "It represents a most disgraceful, sordid, disreputable, drunken brawl.” 
The publicity helped to launch his career, and he stated at the time, "I had no intention of offending the Navy. Sailors are no worse than anybody else. In my picture I merely commented on them – I didn't criticize.” The painting, which after Roosevelt's death hung over a mantel at the Alibi Club in Washington for more than half a century, was kept from public view until 1981.
In 1938, his painting Pocahantas Saving the Life of John Smith, a mural painted for the Parcel Post Building in Richmond, Virginia, had to be retouched when some observers noticed a fox pelt suggestively hanging between the legs of an Indian depicted in the painting. Cadmus used his then lover, Jared French, as the model for John Smith in the mural.
In 1940, two paintings, Sailors and Floozies (1938) and Seeing the New Year In, were removed from public view because the Navy "didn't like it" and there was "too much smell about it.”  
The paintings were being exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition and were removed, while a third, Venus and Adonis, remained. 
In 1965, Cadmus met and began a relationship with Jon Anderson, a former cabaret star, in Nantucket that lasted until Cadmus' death in 1999.  From the beginning of their 35-year relationship, the then 27-year-old Anderson was Cadmus' model and muse in many of his works. Cadmus was also close friends with many illustrious artists, authors, and dancers including: Christopher IsherwoodW. H. AudenGeorge BalanchineGeorge Platt LynesGeorge TookerLincoln Kirstein(his brother-in-law), and E. M. Forster,  who was said to have read his novel Maurice aloud while Cadmus painted his portrait. 
In 1999, he died at his home in Weston, Connecticut, due to advanced age, just five days shy of his 95th birthday. 
Note: interestingly enough, it was difficult to find decent images of Cadmus' work to post. The image on the Met site is the size of a postage stamp with instructions that it can't be enlarged or downloaded because of copyright restrictions. I image that may be true of more of Cadmus' works.  
Images and information from Wikipedia 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Tree of Modern Art

Selecting certain features, simplifying them, exaggerating them, and using them to provide a deep insight, at a glance, into the subject as a whole: such is the art of the caricaturist, one that Miguel Covarrubias elevated to another level in the early- to mid-20th century. Those skills, combined with his knowledge as an art historian, also served him well when he drew "The Tree of Modern Art." This aesthetically pleasing diagram first appeared in Vanity Fair in May of 1933, a time when many readers of such magazines would have felt a great curiosity about how, exactly, all these new paintings and sculptures and such — many of which didn't seem to look much like the paintings and sculptures they knew at all — related to one another.

"Because it stops in 1940, the tree fails to account for abstract expressionism and other post–World War II movements," writes Vox's Phil Edwards, in a piece that includes a version of the Covarrubias' 1940 "Tree of Modern Art" revision with clickable examples of relevant artwork.

You can also find the "Tree of Modern Art" at the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, a holding that illustrates, as it were, just how wide a swath of information design the term "map" can encompass. "The date is estimated based on the verso of the paper being a blue lined base map of the National Park Service dated 12/28/39," says the collection's site. "This drawing was found in the papers of B. Ashburton Tripp (also a mapmaker in the collection) and we assume that Covarrubias and Tripp were friends (verified by Tripp's descendants) and that the blue line base map was something Tripp was working on in his landscape architecture business."

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy Violin Day

Happy ! Pictured here: "Divine Inspiration of Music," Nicolas Regnier, Holland, circa 1640

These Artists Show Why Our Most Creative Years Often Come after 60

Today, there is an increasingly diverse range of living artists who are receiving recognition for their late work. One such example is the nonagenarian artist Elisabeth Wild, who emigrated from Europe to Argentina in the late 1930s, where she studied painting at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes and then earned her living by designing textiles.

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