Pandemic gifts

[some corrections from an earlier versiom]

From Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky on Sunday, some delightful small gifts for this difficult time: two face masks — a piece of op art turned into a mask, and a fanciful Emperor Penguin [Elizabeth insists it’s an Emperor, but I was convinced it was a King] with a crown — and a very large, very political tea towel.

Face masks. From the site of “Sean Christopher Ward, Artist”, on a page introduced by the modest but enthusiastic:

I made a collection of face masks with my artwork on it!

Almost all the masks are his own artworks, though a few are from artist friends. So it is with Learning to Fly by Rick Schmidt:

(#1)

Elsewhere on Ward’s site are thematic collections of his artworks. From the “Expanded Perception” collection, his work Nostalgia:

(#2)

From Ward’s description of the collection:

“Expanded Perception” was began this year, specifically for Art Basel, to gain a deeper understanding within multi-planed works of art and the effects of psychedelic color combinations would have on the subject. Each of these works are multiple layers, with some having as many as ten, or others having as few as four. Within each layer, a meticulous amount of paint is added to the resin coats and through the usage of a size 0 or 00 brush, it is very carefully added to the wood panel or resin to keep the shape that was created from diverging out of its boundaries within my own imagination.  Much like all my works, these works are part of the “op art” movement that allows movement within a static piece, so the overall visual appearance is more kinetic in nature.

Then the very charming penguin mask [from the Threadless mask collection]:

(#3)

Tea towel. A generous 18″ x 26″ in a very sturdy fabric, from the forthrightly named Radical Tea Towel site:

(#4)

This tea towel celebrates Arthur Miller, one of the leading US playwrights of the 20th century, with notable works including All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible. He based this latter play on the 17th-century witchcraft trials in Salem, a series of persecutions that he considered an echo of the McCarthyism (named after Senator Joe McCarthy) of his own day, when investigations of alleged subversive activities were widespread…

1956… subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, a government organisation which looked into the activities of individuals and organisations suspected of Communist ties. In his appearance before the committee, Miller refused to “name names” and as a consequence was fined, imprisoned and blacklisted.

With respect to the tea towel’s message, Elizabeth might have had in mind my current uncomfortable situation: while I view the research and writing of daily pieces on this blog as a full-time occupation (which builds on six decades of preparation and experience), as soon as people discover I am not being paid for this work, they dismiss it as merely as an old man’s hobby, of no significance in the wider world: if it doesn’t turn a profit, it is of no value.

Well, Arthur Miller was on my side, but then he’s been dead for 15 years.

2 Responses to “Pandemic gifts”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    [Elizabeth insists it’s an Emperor, but I was convinced it was a King

    It should be easy to tell, if one has the requisite background information: Is that a royal crown or an imperial one?

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