Starting the Year & Ending it With Hope

HOPE sculpture in Manhattan by Robert Indiana

At the start of 2021, I shared art from a visit to the MOMA in “Sorbet for the Soul Series,” and I’m ending the year with a similar feeling of contemplation. Hon, here are three masterpieces that invited me to stop and study, think and feel, and to hope.

This is the last of the “Sorbet for the Soul Series,” at least for now. I hope to get back to the MOMA, the MET or any other place where creativity, inspiration and peace of mind resides. Shout out to Lyn Sirota who shared a September 13, 2019 program on TED Radio Hour NPR called “How Art Changes Us.”

Marc Chagall, The Lovers, Oil on canvas.

Gustav Klimt, Hope II, Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas.

Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Clarinet on a Mantelpiece, Oil, sand, and paper on canvas.

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, Part 2

At the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit New York on Pier 36, when you exit the rooms with videos, you come across the quote, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” This quote, and the fact that Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime, spoke to me and my writing journey. Thank you, Vincent, I am brave!

I recently Tweeted a comment from a friend. Upon hearing how hard it is to break into Kidlit, she said, “A lot of people get famous after they die.” Ummm…WHAT?! First of all, I don’t write Kidlit to become famous and, secondly, WHAT?! Was that meant as encouragement? Was she volunteering to be my “manuscript historian” and, once I depart this Earth, make sure my stories and characters see the light of day and laps of children?

Back to Vincent. Turn the corner from his quote and you see mannequins adorned in interpretive fashion. I disagree with Jason Farago, whose review “Submerged in van Gogh: Would Absinthe Make the Art Grow Fonder? in The New York Times said that the mannequins were wearing “shockingly tacky van Gogh-inspired clothing. (Where might these dresses festooned with wheat and sunflowers be appropriate? The Miss Provence pageant? Is there a Saint-Rémy drag night I don’t know about?)” Funny, but as a former student of fashion history, I enjoy seeing how designers create clothes, even if they’re made from unwearable material. A fashion exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art comes to mind; dresses made of blue and white Chinoiserie were extraordinary.

One more thing to try before you leave the exhibit is a booth where you can “hear” color. I didn’t know Van Gogh experienced chromesthesia, a condition where sound evokes different colors.

Hon, still thinking about the “better off dead” comment? Me, too. And still shaking my head.

Sorbet for the Soul, Hope

HOPE sculpture in Manhattan by Robert Indiana

This is the last of the “Sorbet for the Soul Series,” at least for now. I hope to get back to the MOMA, the MET or any other place where creativity, inspiration and peace of mind resides. Shout out to Lyn Sirota who shared a September 13, 2019 program on TED Radio Hour NPR called “How Art Changes Us.”

Marc Chagall, The Lovers, Oil on canvas.

Gustav Klimt, Hope II, Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas.

Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Clarinet on a Mantelpiece, Oil, sand, and paper on canvas.

Sorbet for the Soul, Modern Art

Big Blue Man statue by French artist Xavier Veilhan.

One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done was volunteer to teach Art Appreciation in my children’s elementary school. Before I entered kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, I thoroughly researched artists. I learned so much about Modern Art, and came to appreciate work I hadn’t understood before. The students and I discussed artists, examined paintings and sculptures, and worked on related projects. Fun? Being called “The Art Lady.” Fantastic? Getting a call from a mom who said that when her family visited a Chicago museum, her son remembered learning about Rene Magritte from an Art Appreciation class.

Stanley Whitney, Fly the Wild, Oil on linen canvas

Helen Frankenthaler, Western Dream, Oil on canvas

Piet Mondrian, Composition, Oil on canvas

Sorbet for the Soul, Henri Matisse

Taking in The Swimming Pool by Matisse, MOMA.

Henri Matisse is one of my favorite artists. His paintings and cut-outs, along with French Impressionism, were among the first pieces which stirred my emotions. I love how he played with two and three dimensions, placed his own artwork in scenes, and used lines and shapes to create movement. And the colors! His vivid colors create backgrounds that both emphasize the main subject and give my eyes and mind a place to rest while taking in the whole scene. You can view his work at the MOMA and the MET. Want to know more about his cut-outs? Click here.

Henri Matisse, Nasturtiums with the Painting “Dance”, Oil on canvas

Henri Matisse, Lilacs, Oil on canvas

Henri Matisse, The Cut-Outs, paper and gouache

Sorbet for the Soul, French Impressionism

Me and Morgan after visiting the MOMA.

As the inauguration nears, my mind is cluttered and my heart feels heavy. This on top of a global pandemic. One of the things that’s cleared away dread of more bad news, even for a few hours, is art. If I study a painting, I can imagine myself in it. Or I might focus on brushstrokes, color, composition, historical context, and meaning. Recent visits to the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art were much needed respites. Art is sorbet for my soul.

Hon, what helps you?

Claude Monet, Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, 1899, Oil on canvas

Georges-Pierre Seurat, Peasant Woman Seated in the Grass, 1883, Oil on canvas

Paul Signac, Setting Sun, Sardine Fishing, Adagio, 1891

Camp: Notes on Fashion Part 2

Ashish, 2017

Hon, here are more of my favorites from the collection of bizarre and humorous clothes on exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” (running through September 8).

And accessories…

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Camp: Notes on Fashion Part 1

Touring “Camp” with two of my daughters.

Driving on the NJ Turnpike recently, I saw two kinds of cars: those filled with so much stuff, you couldn’t see inside (college-bound) and those weighted down by roof cargo carriers and bikes (beach-bound). This is the time of year when camp is over, kids are home, and what to do with the days is (hopefully) open-ended. Need a fun activity for fashionable tweens and teens? If you haven’t seen it, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit: “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” which runs through September 8, is filled with interesting, bizarre, humorous, and gender-bending outfits and accessories. While you’re at The Met, another great exhibit is “Play it Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll.”

Here are some of my favorites from the costume exhibit:

 

Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll, Part 2

After a period of playing live with multiple guitars strapped on simultaneously, Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick began collaborating with Hamer Guitars in 1981 to combine all of his needs into one outlandish instrument. This guitar, Nielson’s first of its kind, was built by laminating together the bodies of five Hamer Specials.

Prince was king when I was in college, and he was electrifying in concerts. I’m standing with “Love Symbol,” the electric guitar made for him in 1993 when, after becoming embroiled in a contract dispute with his label, he changed his name to a symbol and called himself the-artist-formerly-known-as-Prince. “Prince used variations and copies of this instrument in live performances, including at the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This guitar was Prince’s primary instrument throughout his career. Despite his reputation for playing extravagant master-built guitars, Prince allegedly bought this instrument from a Minneapolis-area gas station for about thirty dollars in the early 1970’s because the guitar’s leopard-patterned pick guard matched his strap and stage outfit. When Prince was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, he performed a masterful version of The Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ on this guitar.”

 

This left-handed ‘violin’ bass was built for Paul McCartney “on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebration concert in 2012. The instrument’s Union Jack design pays tribute to not only the queen but also the legacy. of the 1960’s British Invasion, a transatlantic movement in which British musicians influenced by American pop brought their own music to the Unites States. McCartney used this bass to perform the concert’s closing number, The Beatles’ ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” joined onstage by the celebration’s other performers.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll” is on display until October 1, 2019

Related Post: Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll, Part 1

Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll, Part 1

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s newest exhibit, which is on display until October 1, 2019, “Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll” is a thrill! You get up close and personal with instruments that were–ahem–instrumental in making some of the greatest music of our time. The history! The hysteria! (That refers to me screaming-until-I-was-hoarse at countless concerts.) I be-bopped my way through the exhibit (embarrassing Hubby, of course), and marveled that I was in the presence of the cumulative creativity, talent, hard work, and genius of some of the greatest musicians in the world. The only drawback to the exhibit? I wish it ended with a concert!

Five and a half years in the making,“Play It Loud” aims to provoke reverent gasps from anyone who cares about rock history, and it succeeds around every bend. It’s impossible to wander around the exhibit, which runs through October 1st before heading to the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, without encountering an instrument responsible for one or another of monumental piece of recorded history.  Encountering those instruments, many behind glass, can be a humbling experience, and the wear and tear on some of them is also testament to how visceral rock was.      David Browne for RollingStone

 

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Appalachian Dulcimer, Autoharp, and Mandolin.

Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones used this Appalachian Dulcimer on “Lady Jane” and “I am Waiting” from the 1966 album Aftermath. Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian used this autoharp in hits such as “Do You Believe in Magic” and “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice.” R.E.M.’s Peter Buck used this mandolin to write and record the hook in “Losing My Religion” (1991) and plays it in the music video for the song.

Cool!

Related Post: Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll, Part 2