Archive for Art

The Garden of Eden…(NRSV)

I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve never understood the creation story in Genesis. Maybe God did create the world in seven days. That’s all fine, but I don’t get the Garden of Eden story.

My problem is that whether it’s literal, mythological, metaphorical or hallucinatory I don’t get the deal about the apple. I’m supposed to believe that God created a garden paradise, then made Adam and placed him in the garden, then fashioned Eve from one of Adam’s ribs to be his companion. So far so good – two perfect, beautiful, naked prototypes in paradise. read more

American Master…

We may all have a case of cabin fever but there is no scarcity of good books, videos, films, and music to keep us occupied while we wait for Covid-19 to be vanquished. On Sunday night M and I watched a beautifully made PBS documentary American Masters:Wyeth, chronicling the life and work of Andrew Wyeth the great American realist painter–who lived most of his life, by choice, in self-isolation. 

While taking an art history class in the 1950s, I became aware of Mr. Wyeth’s work but didn’t understand how to place it in the continuum of American art. Neither did the arts experts; realistic painting seemed old fashioned to them. But, in 1948, Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, purchased what has become Wyeth’s most famous painting, Christina’s World, for $1800 and that act helped change the art world’s perception of what “might” be modern. At the time abstract expressionism (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clifford Still and others) was the big thing in modern art and realism was out of favor and assigned to a place in art history.  read more

No Smell, No Taste…

Granny

My restless brain is in overdrive search now that I have all this time and nowhere to go, so when I heard that one of the symptoms of Covid-19 was the loss of smell and taste, I free associated back to a bar of the same name (No Smell No Taste) in the West African country of Liberia. As Jerry Jeff Walker said about going to jail “I wasn’t there on a research project.” No Smell No Taste was a shanty bar, part wood, part corrugated tin, dirt floor on the road from the airport at Roberts Field to the capital, Monrovia. Big fun. Heineken beer preserved and fortified with formaldehyde (not unlike Trump’s injection of disinfectant) and a favored watering spot for Pan Am crew members. But, that’s another story. read more

Sliding Tiles and Memory…

With the dual contagions of Clovid-19 and Donald Trump in the air, I’ve been looking for an escape from the news cycle. It’s exhausting, but after combing the Netflix, Amazon Video, and Audible libraries while rereading The Plague, The Andromeda Strain, and Love in the Time of Cholera I think the solution is to go back to work. Writing as therapy.

Most writers carry a notebook where they jot down snippets of dialogue or the elements of a scene, so they have material for a story or article, but I was always a lousy notetaker. Back in college, when I was studying for an exam, I had a hard time making sense of my notes. Nothing stood out. I’d look at them and see nothing but “the” or “and” as if they were the important facts in a lecture. I was hopeless. It didn’t take long to learn I’m an oral and visual learner which is why I love the iPhone camera and why I never wanted to miss a class lecture. read more

My Quarantine Project…

In the days before the great pandemic, when life was simpler and we were living normally, M and I stopped to have a glass of something before dinner – often with a small dish of nuts or olives – and talk over the day. We still do but these days are not normal, but it seems especially important now to share small pleasures. It doesn’t surprise me that sales of beer, wine, and spirits have risen 300-500 percent in the last two weeks in the wake of the statewide quarantine. After you’ve binge watched Mrs. Maisel, Chernobyl, Berlin Babylon, and Jack Ryan you need a jolt of something strong. read more