Tuesday, November 24, 2020

be ruthless with opponents of modern painting

Cover of Hampton's Magazine (1910)

Stephen Potter
, "Notes on Exhibitionship"
in The Complete Upmanship (New York: New American Library, 1978), p. 202—

Be fairly ruthless, I think, with opponents of "modern" painting. If you are lucky enough to find a man who still says: "I don't know about pictures, but I know what I like," point out to him that because he does not know about pictures he does not know what he likes, and repeat this in a thundering voice. If he whimpers back something about it all being too advanced for him, point out exactly how many years CĂ©zanne died before he was born, and the precise date of the exhibition of the first Modiglianis in London. Exaggerate both these dates and say, "After all, Matisse and your great-grandmother are exact contemporaries." If your man says of some picture, "Yes, but what does it mean?" ask him, and keep on asking him, what his carpet means, or the circular patterns on his rubber shoe-soles. Make him lift up his foot to look at them.

How Form Functions
Other sources

Monday, November 23, 2020

first sexual experience / fancy ball of bobolinks

Donald Barthelme, Paradise (New York: Putnam, 1986)—

"What was your first sexual experience, Simon?" He thinks for a moment. "I was about ten. This teacher asked us all to make little churches for a display, kind of a model of a church. I made one out of cardboard, worked very hard on it, and took it in to her on a Friday morning, and she was pleased with it. It had a red roof, colored with red crayon. Then another guy, Billy something-or-other, brought in one that was made of wood. His was better than mine. So she tossed mine out and used his." "That was your first sexual experience?" "How far back do you want to go?"

Sunday, November 22, 2020

the stuff of my pleasures / flesh of my thoughts

Honoré Daumier (attr.)
Jean-Paul Sartre, The Words (New York: George Braziller, 1964), pp. 93-94—

I’m a dog. I yawn, the tears roll down my cheeks. I feel them. I'm a tree, the wind gets caught in my branches and shakes them vaguely. I'm a fly, I climb up a windowpane, I fall, I start climbing again. Now and then, I feel the caress of time as it goes by. At other times—most often—I feel it standing still. Trembling minutes drop me down, engulf me, and are a long time dying. Wallowing, but still alive, they're swept away. They are replaced by others which are fresher but equally futile. This disgust is called happiness. My mother keeps telling me that I'm the happiest of little boys. How could I not believe it since it's true? I never think about my forlornness. To begin with, there's no word for it. And secondly, I don't see it. I always have people around me. Their presence is the warp and woof of my life, the stuff of my pleasures, the flesh of my thoughts.


Embedded Figures in Art, Architecture and Design 

Other sources

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

standing straddle-legged, balancing as it rattled

from a plant photograph by Karl Blossfeldt
OIL PAINT AND GREASE PAINT: Autobiography of Laura Knight. New York: MacMillan, 1936. p. 173—

Sally Hicks the fish-buyer, Mrs. Porritt's friend, was big, red-faced and as strong as a man. She always drove her cart at a furious pace, standing straddle-legged and balancing it as it rattled and bumped over the cobbles. One night Sally was driving home along the cliff road with the money from the sale of her fish in her pocket. Suddenly two men sprang out of the hedge, one seizing the horse's head and one hanging on the tail of the cart. Sally had the whip in her hand and with it slashed the man off in front, then she dived back at the other with her fishgutting knife, and drove on as fast as she could lick.

When she went to clean her cart in the morning she found four fingers lying inside.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

the notebooks of D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson

Image based on the plant photography of Karl Blossfeldt
D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, quoted in Ruth D'Arcy Thompson, D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, The Scholar-Naturalist (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), p . 175—

You choose some subject or other which takes your fancy, you buy a notebook and label it with the title of your theme; and you keep jotting down therein whatsoever bears upon your subject, as it comes your way, in all your reading, observation and reflection. I have had many such notebooks and some I have soon grown tired of but others have lasted and served me well ... Your subject opens out wonderfully as time goes on, it tempts you into byways, it carries you far afield; if you play the game aright it never comes to an end. It grows in interest continually, for things are interesting only in so far as they relate themselves to other things; only then can you put two and two together, and see them make four or even five, and hear them tell stories about each other. Such is science itself and such is all the knowledge that interests mankind.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Remembering Iowa traders among the Navajo

Life among the Navajo (online access)


penny whistle popular tunes and Scottish airs

Above Image based on the plant photography of Karl Blossfeldt


OIL PAINT AND GREASE PAINT: Autobiography of Laura Knight. New York: MacMillan, 1936. p. 173—

The Beer house might well have been called the “Bear Garden.” We led poor old Mrs. Beer a dance and she loved it. She used to scream at us and we screamed at her—the noise was terrible every morning when she put a wet sponge down Joey Carter-Wood's neck to wake him and make him get up. She was always glad when we came back after an absence, and once she said, “I've felt that miserable all the time you've been away. It's that quiet and I miss the music!” Up till then we had been conscience-stricken about our nightly band.

Joey Carter-Wood played Scotch airs and popular tunes on the penny whistle. He had both good ear and voice. Thompson used paint brushes as drumsticks to play on two empty biscuit-tins, kettledrums to us. Harold [Knight] provided the big drum by beating his fist on the canvas of a big life study left behind by a former lodger, which picture was used in summer to hide the empty fire-grate. I hummed through a tissue-covered comb. We rehearsed our orchestra nearly every night, and generally stopped at two o'clock in the morning out of consideration for Mrs. Beer, who slept in the adjoining room. Apparently we need not have bothered!

There were two [Augustus] “John” drawings in our room left by their owner in lieu of rent. Most of Mrs. Beer's treasures were piled up underneath her bed; they included boxes full of books, which were no good to her, for she could not read. We always laughed to see her on Sunday afternoon, washed and shining, with her hair slicked back tighter than ever, dressed in her best black, sitting in the kitchen with a Bible in her hands; like as not it was upside down she did not know the difference.