Friday, May 22, 2009

thanks for the reminder Google! Mary Cassatt was born on this day

Mary Cassatt (May 22, 1844 - June 14, 1926)

Mary Cassatt / Portrait of the Artist / 1878 / Gouache on wove paper laid down to buff-colored wood-pulp paper/ 23 5/8 x 16 13/16 in. source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Known for her perceptive depictions of women and children, Mary Cassatt was one of the few American artists active in the nineteenth-century French avant-garde. Born to a prominent Pittsburgh family, she traveled extensively through Europe with her parents and siblings while a child. Between 1860 and 1864 she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. At the age of twenty-two Cassatt went abroad, studying old master paintings in European museums. In Paris, she studied with prominent academic painters and independently at the Louvre. Returning to the United States for a short period, Cassatt went back to Europe in 1871, spending her time painting and copying the old masters in museums in Italy, Spain, and Belgium.

In 1874 she settled permanently in Paris. Although she had several works accepted for exhibition by the tradition-bound French Salon, her artistic aims aligned her with the avant-garde painters of the time. In 1877, Edgar Degas invited her to join the progressive group of artists popularly known as the impressionists; she particularly admired the work of Degas, as well as that of Manet and Courbet. A close working relationship developed between Cassatt and Degas. From similar upper-class backgrounds, the two painters enjoyed a friendship based on common artistic sensibilities and interests in bold compositional structure, the asymmetry and high vantage point of Japanese prints, and contemporary subject matter.

During her long residence in France, Cassatt sent paintings back to exhibitions in the United States. Thus, hers were among the first impressionist works seen in this country. In advising wealthy American patrons on what to acquire, she also played a crucial role in the formation of some of the most important collections of impressionist art in this country." source: National Gallery of Art

Portrait of Mary Cassatt in Grasse, 1914 image source


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

post for a windy day

Small Song

The reeds give
way to the

wind and give
the wind away.

-A. R. Ammons

Without warning

As a whirlwind
swoops on an oak
Love shakes my heart


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

little Eiffel

Today marks the Eiffel Tower's 120th birthday! The Paris monument was inaugurated on May 19, 1889. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (December 15, 1832 - December 27, 1923) was a French structural engineer and architect. He designed the Eiffel Tower (built 1887-1889) for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France, and the armature for the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor.

This animated film is adorable. A Present for the Eiffel Tower is a group animation film by Leslie Chan, Bora Moon, Jessie Lam, and Johannes Uy. Please click on the YouTube link to watch:
Link to A Present for the Eiffel Tower

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Odilon Redon - Noirs

Odilon Redon (1840-1916) 19th Century French Symbolist Artist
biography of Odilon Redon

Excerpt from Dark Dreamer by Danielle O'Steen: "In the 1870s, Redon concentrated on charcoal drawing, and his works in that medium are known as the noirs, not only because of their predominant black tone but also their dark mood. He had suffered from epilepsy as a youth, and his family, ashamed of the affliction, sent him away at an early age to live with an uncle. That separation haunted Redon, and was embodied in his noirs. He referred to the drawings as mes ombres ("my shadows," or "my ghosts") because of their highly personal nature and otherworldly subjects."

Odilon Redon, Eye-Balloon, 1878, charcoal and chalk on colored paper, 16 5/8 x 13 1/8 in., source: The Museum of Modern Art.

Odilon Redon, Vision: Berenice's Teeth, c. 1885, charcoal on paper, 51.2 x 36.6 cm. source for image and quote: The Enchanted Stone: The Graphic Worlds of Odilon Redon, by Ted Gott, published by the National Gallery of Victoria, 1990.

Drawing based on Edgar Allan Poe's "tale of a madman who becomes obsessed with the perfection of his cousin Berenice's teeth: 'Would to God that I had never beheld them, or that, having done so, I had died!' In a fit of violence he kills her by ripping the teeth out of her head with his bare hands... The drawing does not so much illustrate Poe's tale as comment on the very pleasure of reading his chilling words: 'The teeth! the teeth! - they were here, and there, and everywhere, and visible and palpably before me!'"

Odilon Redon, Death: My irony outstrips all others!, 1889, lithograph on chine appliqué, 26.1 x 19.6 cm. source: The Enchanted Stone: The Graphic Worlds of Odilon Redon, by Ted Gott, published by the National Gallery of Victoria, 1990.

Odilon Redon, Head of a Martyr, c. 1875-80, charcoal on paper, 37 x 36 cm. source: The Enchanted Stone: The Graphic Worlds of Odilon Redon, by Ted Gott, published by the National Gallery of Victoria, 1990.

Odilon Redon, Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, c. 1880-85, charcoal on paper, 21.2 x 18.5 com. source: The Enchanted Stone: The Graphic Worlds of Odilon Redon, by Ted Gott, published by the National Gallery of Victoria, 1990.

Odilon Redon, The Marsh Flower (No. 2 of Hommage a Goya), 1885, lithograph on chine appliqué, 10 3/4 x 8 1/16 in. source: The Graphic Works of Odilon Redon, Dover Publications, 2005.

Below is a short film, Odilon Redon or The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity, directed by Canadian avant garde filmmaker, Guy Maddin (1995). Maddin was commissioned by the BBC to create a short film inspired by any work of art. Maddin choose Odilon Redon's drawing, To Edgar Poe: The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity. Redon's drawing was part of a series of illustrations he created for Charles Baudelaire’s French translations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. (Keep in mind the above examples of Redon's work while you are watching the film.)

Click here to listen to Mary Jo Bang's poem, The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity

Friday, May 15, 2009

Echo in Space space space

Echo And The Bunnymen will launch a copy of their classic album "Ocean Rain" into space. The English post-punk group is teaming up with NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra for the launch. The 1984 album is also Kopra's favourite record which he will carry with him when he blasts off to the International Space Station.

Echo & The Bunnymen Seven Seas 1984

Happy Friday!!! friday!!! friday!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Depeche Mode - 30 freakin' years

Friday, May 8, 2009


Happy Friday!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy Friday (and May Day)!

Deerhunter - Never Stops

The Stone Roses - Elizabeth My Dear

Maypole dancing

Tess of the D'Urbervilles dance scene (2008)