Archive for Art

The Way of the Dodo?

Here’s what’s happening in the world – natural and unnatural. 

  • Planet earth is losing flora and fauna species at an alarming rate. Extinction is a phenomenon that occurs naturally, but the main cause of the current extinctions is the destruction of natural habitats by human activities, such as cutting down forests and converting land into fields for farming.
  • Scientists estimate we are currently losing species 1,000-10,000 times faster than normal attrition, which means that literally tens of species are vanishing from the face of the Earth every day. (worldanimalfoundation.com)
  • Across Africa, the U.N. estimates that 23.6 million people are facing food shortages due to the worst locust infestation in 70 years followed by torrential rains. (WSJ, Jan 31, 2020)
  • Australia is, after a month of wildfires that burned 12.35 million acres and killed as many as one billion animals, experiencing unprecedented rains and floods – 15.4” in 4 days. (AP)
  • Worldwide, 65.6 million individuals have been forcibly displaced because of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations, per the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR 2017).
  • Arctic and Antarctic ice caps are melting at an astonishing rate. On June 13, 2019 Greenland lost more than two billion tons of ice in one day. (nationalgeographic.com)
  • In Brazil, between 15 and 17 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been lost, and if the amount of cleared forest land reaches 25 percent, there won’t be enough trees cycling moisture through the rainforest. (vox.com)

Why? Well, it’s complicated…but at its root it’s because we, as humans, haven’t been good stewards of each other’s welfare or the planet’s. It’s clear now; we have hard evidence that if we are to survive – if the planet is to survive – we need to make an urgent course correction. Instead, America has gone tribal, ignoring the evidence and doubling down on fossil fuels, extractive industries, unsustainable agribusiness, military industrial power, and isolationism. read more

Why We Needed Donald Trump…

When confronting difficult or unusual situations we are often advised to “think outside the box.” Jasper Johns, the iconic American painter, was thinking outside the box when he broke with tradition and painted these versions of the American flag.

Johns shook up the art world by challenging it to think differently. He was a disrupter. Sometimes art imitates life and sometimes, it seems, life imitates art. Like Jasper Johns, Donald Trump is a disrupter, the Disrupter in Chief, and the ways he has disrupted our government challenges us to think differently about it. My friends may disagree with me, but as contrarian as it sounds, Mr. Trump may be just what we needed to wake us up. From his descent on the escalator at Trump Tower and his remarks about Mexican rapists he has challenged us, begged us, to say “no more.” His presence alone is a provocation. read more

We Need the Newseum…

The University of Montana’s School of Journalism, established in 1914, is one of the oldest accredited journalism programs in America. My mother was one of its first female graduates in 1928, and though she never worked as a journalist she inspired me to be a writer and would be proud to know her granddaughter is a mid-career writer, editor, and freelance journalist.  

It’s not surprising then that we, as a family, are staunch supporters of the First Amendment and its important role in maintaining a free and open society. Unfortunately, our current president, thin-skinned and notably ignorant of the country’s founding principles and documents, views the press as “the enemy of the people.” read more

Laugh it Off…

I feel like the fabled frog in the fabled pot of hot water. I know it’s getting warm and there’s a danger my frogish ass will get cooked if I don’t get out of the pot… but where’s my lifeline?

Here’s my problem: The heat of impeachment is rising. Congressional committees are working through the night. Both parties are stewing in their juices. Temperatures are climbing, voices more strident. Articles of Impeachment have been drafted, and pundits are frothing at the mouth, and just this morning, Rudolph Giuliani returned to the White House to report on his latest escapades in Ukraine, and they’re all driving me crazy.  read more

Movies, Marriage, and Metaphor…

Every year around Thanksgiving M and I anticipate the release of new films hoping for an Oscar nomination. This year is no exception. In the last two weeks we’ve seen three – Scorsese’s The Irishman with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.

I was prepared for gory violence in the first two, but nothing prepared me for the pain and emotional violence of Marriage Story. I knew it would a roller coaster. I had seen Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale (2005) nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar and Francis Ha, his 2012 film starring his muse Greta Gerwig. Still, the characters in Marriage Story broke my heart because they and their story were so mainstream and tragic in their normalcy. read more