Faces

April 27, 2017

Viewed at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford on the 13th: a compact show “Hope Gangloff Curates Portraiture”. The short description:

New York-based artist Hope Gangloff has been invited to mine the museum’s permanent collection and select key works to hang alongside her own contemporary paintings [from the past decade]. Using the format of artist as curator, this exhibition will create a conversation between past and present, while inviting viewers to experience the Cantor’s rich, historical collection through the eyes of a celebrated artist working today.

Portraits are, first of all, faces: with an expression, a positioning of the body, and a direction of gaze; in a head-and-shoulders view, an upper-body view, or a full-body view; with a hair style, makeup, clothing, and accessories; in a background physical setting; in a historical and cultural setting; often with accompanying creatures or objects; occasionally caught in action rather than in repose. So: a constrained genre, but with a rich range of details that can be varied.

There are further choices: of medium and artistic style. Portraiture in the Gangloff show is static depiction (no film or video or performance art; I took that for granted in the preceding paragraph), and it’s all paintings of one type or another: no drawings or prints, no sculpture or ceramics, no photography. Well, Gangloff is a painter. (As for materials, the non-Gangloff portraits are mostly oil on canvas, but also oil on panel; plus gouache and mixed-technique on masonite.)

The paintings come from the 16th century through last year, from a number of countries (mostly the UK and the US, but also Italy, Flanders, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and the Phillippines), so a number of artistic styles are represented. From a historic point of view, there’s no medieval portraiture, and French, Spanish, and German portraiture is drastically under-represented; and the show is essentially entirely European / North American in its focus. Gangloff has chosen works that are stylistically closest to her own work (and she was also constrained by what’s available in the Cantor collections).

These narrow foci work to her advantage: it’s much easier for the viewer to see similarities and intriguing differences in 27 portraits than it would be if the exhibition were broader in scope. Read the rest of this entry »

The geological vocabulary bluff

April 26, 2017

A recent xkcd, 1829: Geochronology:

Not just the names of dog breeds. Dalmatian and Pomeranian are also place-name adjectives, and geological features are very often named after places.

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Saint Phalle

April 26, 2017

(There will be references to sexual bodies, both male and female, and to mansex. Admittedly, in the context of  art/sculpture and novels, but still… )

Saint Phalle — St. Phallus (with phalle as an alternative to phallus) — would appear to be a reference to, say, Jean Genet as a celebrant of phallic masculinity (though there are other candidates for sainthood in this department), but it is in fact my morning name today, referring to the artist Niki de Saint Phalle. She has been the subject of one previous posting here — from 2/18/15, “Saint Phalle phallic philately”, at first about her condom paintings, then more generally about her as an artist — but now her name has been called to my mind by two recent postings: from 4/24 “A mini-phal” (on mini-phal ‘miniature Phalaenopsis’) and from 4/25 “You can call me Al” (with a note on mini phal ‘miniature phallus’).

To come: more on Genet (and Sartre’s book Saint Genet); on Niki de Saint Phalle and her name; and on de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely as artists, separately and together.

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There’s always room for another penguin or two

April 25, 2017

From the British Library on Facebook:

  (#1)

We never miss a chance to share a penguin image. This one is from A History of the Birds of New Zealand, 1873.

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LiveJournal is 18

April 25, 2017

… or so LJ tells me. They also tell me that on LJ I’m about 6 yrs. 9 mos. old:

My LJ account is AZBlogX, where I post mostly X-rated stuff (not suitable for WordPress, Facebook, or Google+). So not a great amount of activity — a bit under 100 postings a year.

Things are different on my WordPress blog.

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Zwicky takes us to Ballarat 60 years ago

April 25, 2017

Now going through the Australian murder mystery series The Doctor Blake Mysteries; this morning the credits went by on S3 E6 “Women and Children” (first aired 3/20/15), and I was suddenly riveted by

Directed by Karl Zwicky

That would be the Zwicky of my 8/19/16 posting “A filmic Zwicky from Perth”.

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You can call me Al

April 25, 2017

Yesterday, a posting on a mini-phal /mIni fæl/, a miniature Phalaenopsis (orchid). Which moved me to investigate names of the form /mIni Cæl/, for various consonants C: existing names and ones you can invent, using a /Cæl/ that’s an existing word (pal, gal), a clipping (phal for Phalaenopsis, Cal for California), a nickname (Cal for Calvin, Sal for Sally, Salvatore, or Salvador), or an acronym (HAL for hook and line, HAL for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer).

What follows is a mere sampling of such cases, not intended to be exhaustive.

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A mini-phal

April 24, 2017

Another flower present from a friend, to cheer me during these long months of no visible flowers from my workspace (because of construction work on my front patio that started at the beginning of November and won’t be done until we have two weeks of dry weather, omg, after which painting can be done). This is a miniature phalaenopsis orchid (only about 8 inches tall), which requires indirect light (only) and almost no watering, so it can live happily on my worktable:

(#1)

White with a purple lip!

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Memorial song: Fellowship 330b

April 24, 2017

Saturday was the annual BASH (Bay Area Sacred Harp) all-day singing, this year at a Lutheran Church in Alameda (with an assembly hall that has a fine wooden ceiling, making for ringing acoustics). Part of the routine for “conventions” like this is a “memorial lesson”, during which someone lists singers who are sick or in distress and people who have died in the past year who were special in some way to a singer at the convention, and then we sing for them. The song for remembering the dead was 330b in the 1991 Denson Revision of The Sacred Harp, Fellowship, with a very familiar text (“Blest be the tie that binds”), excellent as a memorial song, but with a tune that was completely unfamiliar to me.

I realized too late that I should have added a name to the memorial list, but then used our regular Palo Alto singing yesterday to dedicate a song, and picked Fellowship because I had liked it so much at the BASH singing. As it turned out, another singer in the Palo Alto group picked it to lead, for reasons much like mine (but without the memorial function). So we all got to learn a “new” song (the words are 18th century, the tune mid-20th century).

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Is that a Paschal Peep in your pouch?

April 24, 2017

From Chris Hansen on Facebook, a late entry in this year’s Easter Peepstakes: a model who dreamt he played with yellow Peeps in his Aronik swimwear:

(#1)

About the company, its products, its models, its symbol, and its name

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