Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Age cannot wither them

February 11, 2019

Today’s Zippy has Griffy and Zippy marveling, once again, that almost all cartoon characters, themselves included, never seem to age. In particular, Nancy and Sluggo are always and forever 8 years old — in Cartoonland, where age cannot wither them (nor custom stale their infinite variety). But in Ivan Albright’s art world, even Nancy, sturdy Nancy, grows old:



Mandolin Orange

February 4, 2019

Alerted by NPR this morning and entertained by the band’s name, I checked out Mandolin Orange and really liked what I found.

(#1) Mandolin Orange recording “Wildfire” 11/2/16 at Paste Studios in NYC

And they’ll be playing at the Fillmore in SF next month:



February 1, 2019

The rooms in the grade school of my childhood — West Lawn Elementary School in West Lawn PA, west of Reading — had high ceilings, and all the rooms had, I believe, reproductions of artworks above the blackboards, where there was plenty of space for them. Uplifting artworks on patriotic, social, or religious themes (yes, religious; every day started with recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the Lord’s Prayer).

One classroom — my third grade, I think — had Jean-François Millet’s The Gleaners:


The significance of the painting, we were told, was that just as these women were gathering food in the field, so we children were extracting useful knowledge — gleaning it — from our lessons at school. (This is a specialized metaphorical sense of the verb glean: ‘[with object] extract (information) from various sources: the information is gleaned from press clippings‘ (NOAD)). I don’t think anyone ever explained to us who those gleaners were or what they were actually doing, so I recall being surprised when, more or less by accident, I came across the details in my World Book Encyclopedia.


Hugo Simberg

January 30, 2019

(There will eventually be reproductions of religious artwork incorporating images of naked boys, genitals and all — the boys represent the disciples of Christ, and the artwork is a giant fresco in a (Lutheran) cathedral. Ok, the images are from Scandinavia, where attitudes about such things tend to be much more relaxed than they are in Anglo-American settings, and the artist almost surely chose prepubescent boys to represent the twelve apostles because he viewed such boys as innocents, free from sin. (In my experience, this is not even remotely an accurate view of the emotional and imaginative world of prepubescent boys, but I think we have to grant the artist a right to his idealizations.) I’ve chosen not to relegate these images to AZBlogX, in the hope that on WordPress they fall under the Fine Art Exemption for genital nudity, while understanding that they would almost surely be unacceptable on Facebook. In any case, if such images distress you, read on about Hugo Simberg’s gloomy artworks and then bail out when I get to The Garland Bearers.)

Thanks to Bernadette Lambotte and Joelle Stepien Bailard on Facebook, I was made aware of the Finnish artist Hugo Simberg and one of his most famous works, the deeply enigmatic The Wounded Angel (1903):



Nolde to de l’Écluse to Busbecq

January 25, 2019

Or: it’s tulips, all the way down.

Posted by Bernadette Lambotte and Joelle Stepien Bailard on Facebook this morning, two intense tulip paintings by Emil Nolde:




Three Kings from 1900

January 5, 2019

The audience for tomorrow’s moment of revelation, in J.C. Leyendecker’s remarkable Saturday Evening Post cover for Christmas 1900:

A portrait of the Magi, the Three Kings (or Wise Men), owing much to Art Nouveau style, and with the artist’s characteristic attention to the physical masculinity of his models.


Nighthawks on New Year’s

January 2, 2019

A memorable New Yorker cover for the New Year: an Owen Smith parody of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (one of a great many such parodies):


Three things: Nighthawks parodies, Owen Smith, and party hats.


Nighthawks in search of an artist

December 29, 2018

Passed on on Facebook, this Bill Whitehead cartoon, with some broad art humor:

Before Edward Hopper discovered the sad diner and immortalized it in Nighthawks.


News for penises: Bourdain’s Bhutan

December 28, 2018

(The title should be warning enough.)

Earlier today, I reported on Anthony Bourdain in Armenia on Parts Unknown, on this blog in “Yet another Switzerland”. Later in the series Bourdain and film director Darren Aronofsky moved on to Bhutan, in S11 E8 (first aired 6/24/18), where they encountered phalluses as a design element, almost everywhere. They also did a lot of eating and drinking, as here:


And, being in a mostly Buddhist country, reflected on their places in the universe. But this is AZBlog, where the News for Penises is a regular feature, so that’s where we’re going. Fire up those phalluses.


Four presents

December 26, 2018

Small but entertaining little gifts for my Christmas, from Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, Opal Armstrong Zwicky, Kim Darnell, and Maggie Ainsworth-Darnell — plus an excellent dim sum lunch at Tai Pan in Palo Alto for all of us, from Paul Armstrong.

Then: an out@in rainbow t-shirt from LinkedIn (where Kim works); a little plush wooly (spelling by the Douglas Cuddle Toy Co.) mammoth; a tote bag with an otter drawing by the artist rubyetc; and a bit of nearly indescribable Japanese kawaii that involves a little self-watering ceramic penguin that grows wild strawberry plants (Fragaria vesca) on its back, as here:

(#1) Chuppon self-watering animals and their plants: the Sea Friends dolphin/clover, penguin/wild strawberry, seal/basil, polar bear/mint