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Archive for the ‘A Picture is Worth…’ Category

thiebaud_cakesA commercial display of baked goods is an art form built on the strategic use of separation.

Example: We step from the mean streets of our little town or big city into a store scented with vanilla, cinnamon and coffee, pull a tiny paper ticket from a stingy red dispenser and read the number that tells us… nothing, really, except that we must be patient. We are. We take our place among the many suitors craning to see the confectionery vision laid before us. Glittering gustatorial gems are staged in Busby Berkeley arrangements on gold foil laminated cardboard platters and white paper doilies.

When we finally reach the front of the line we bend down to peer through the glass encasement—the border fence, the high wall between us and our object of desire. Trays and rows of frosted, sprinkled, drizzled, confettied, and powdered morsels tease our eye and our pallet. (more…)

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n516515620_8993I took this photograph with my cell phone a couple of months ago, at a local Staten Island diner. It is not an unusual scene in a diner. The monster cookies. I was enamored of their inflated forms piled high on a metal pedestal. Who eats these cookies? Does anyone? Does anyone eat the lemon meringue pies with the fake egg white swirl that’s higher than Elvis’ hair? I’ve never seen a person eat a slice from one of those pies. Do the same cookies and pies stay in their respective spots, uneaten, forever? Are they immortal props that complete the “authentic” diner experience? Maybe they were bought 25 years ago when the diner first opened and have stuck around ever since — dusted occasionally — along with the framed first fiver over the cashier’s counter. (more…)

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jjustillPresident Obama brings out the best in everybody! (Well, almost everybody.) This is especially evident in the creative community. It’s no secret that visual artists have been particularly captivated by Obama’s message and visage. But they are not alone. It seems that writers, poets, composers and musicians have been inspired as well.

I was happy to hear “Praise Song for Day” read by poet Elizabeth Alexander during the inaugural ceremony yesterday. It wasn’t the strongest poem I’ve ever heard but she did take up the limitations of language itself — a worthy topic for any self-respecting poet. It certainly was stronger and more well-crafted than Maya Angelou’s poem for President Bill Clinton. (more…)

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Fall of the Rebel Angels (detail)I just finished Michael Frayn’s Headlong, a novel given to me by a friend. She and I saw “Top Girls” on Broadway last year, and we were both intrigued by Dulle Griet, one of the characters in the play, and the namesake of one of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s more bizarre paintings.

Headlong is an art history “who done it”; in this case the mystery is whether or not a supposed sixth painting in Bruegel’s series of seasonal paintings (of which only five are extant), might be languishing unrecognized in the country estate of an unsuspecting, down-at-the-heels landowner who’s looking to cash in on items he’s stolen from his dying mother. A college professor who’s just arrived with his scholarly wife and their baby to spend “a month in the country” thinks he recognizes the painting as the missing Bruegel, but keeps the thought to himself so as not to tip off the landowner. Instead, he plots to spirit the painting away and into the hands of a grateful art world, who will presumably heap laurels upon him. But first he must prove to his wife that the painting is indeed what he believes it to be. (more…)

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Photograph by Shasti O'Leary SudantNot since Marie Antoinette uttered, “Let them eat cake!” (not!) have cake and politics been so closely related. Zilly Rosen, a cake maker and artist living in Buffalo, New York created a 1,240-pixel, er, cupcake portrait of Barack Obama to express her excitement and gratitude for the presidential election process. Interviewed by Cupcakes Take the Cake bloggers, Zilly explained the source of her genius idea:

“I knew I wanted to do something to be part of this moment in history. I wanted to send up my creative energy to the “ether” in the days preceding the election. I’m a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, and they always have a bake sale on Election Day for the people voting at their polls. I first thought about making this installation for their bake sale, but then realized I couldn’t have an image of Barack within 100 feet of the polling place!” (more…)

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Photo by Robin Locke Monda

Pat Buchanan’s recurring role on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” has got to be some kind of border violation. And I mean that in the best possible way! It’s great to watch Buchanan trying to apply nuance to his irrational, nativist positions in the face of thinking, intelligent people from both the left and the right. The “Morning Joe” show is proof that, (1) not all Republicans are nut jobs, and (2) not all Democrats shoot themselves in the foot.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” models Democrats and Republicans communicating with intelligence, humor and a willingness to listen. Think what could be accomplished in a truly cooperative congressional environment! We could disarm the big mouths of the radical right while repairing America’s foundation and its vision for the future. (more…)

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They say that there is no bad publicity in the art world, and well here we go round the mulberry bush yet again with Bill Henson’s latest at Roslyn Oxley9 in Sydney. The truncated sound bytes we are hearing across the media waves say much less than there is to say and take us nowhere; Its art, tis not, tis, etc echoing the characters of another artist by the name of Henson, with Miss Piggy landing a good purse wallop through the moral majority and the shock jock media while Kermits’ and other Muppets mount a strident arm waving and lame high pitched art for arts sake, defense.

Now I have not followed the career of Bill Henson closely but I believe those who have the power to dispense titles or deal in superlatives have added him to the list of Australia’s greatest artists. But in my humble opinion Henson is just an artist who over the years has achieved a technical competence and a recognizable subject oeuvre that has given him an audience, some good opportunities and a fairly regular paycheck. (more…)

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