👓 Coca-Cola Urns | BEACH

Read Coca-Cola Urns (beachpackagingdesign.com)
Although the Han Dynasty urn on the left was originally fired sometime between 206 BC and 220 AD and the decorative “syrup urn” on the right was fired nearly 2000 years later, in the late 1800s or early 1900s, the two objects seem related, none-the-less.

👓 Maquette | Wikipedia

Read Maquette (Wikipedia)
A maquette (French word for scale model, sometimes referred to by the Italian names plastico or modello) is a scale model or rough draft of an unfinished sculpture. An equivalent term is bozzetto, from the Italian word that means 'sketch'.

🔖 The Art of the Benshi | UCLA Film & Television Archive

Bookmarked The Art of the Benshi (UCLA Film & Television Archive)

March 1, 2019-March 3, 2019 at Billy Wilder Theater

During the silent film era in Japan, which extended into the early 1930s, film screenings were accompanied by live narrators, called benshi. In the industry’s early years, benshi functioned much in the way scientific lecturers did in early American and European cinema, providing simple explanations about the new medium and the moving images on screen. Soon, however, benshi developed into full-fledged performers in their own right, enlivening the cinema experience with expressive word, gesture and music. Each with their own highly refined personal style, they deftly narrated action and dialogue to illuminate—and often to invent—emotions and themes that heightened the audience’s connection to the screen. Loosely related to the style of kabuki theater in which vocal intonation and rhythm carries significant meaning and feeling, benshi evolved in its golden age, between 1926-1931, as an art form unto itself. Well-established benshi such as Tokugawa Musei, Ikukoma Raiyfi, and Nakamura Koenami were treated as stars, reviewed by critics, featured in profiles (in 1909, the first issue of one of Japan’s earliest film journals featured a benshi on its cover) and commanded high salaries from exhibitors. The prominence and significant cultural influence of benshi prompted the government to try to regulate their practice, instituting a licensing system in 1917 and attempts were made to enhance their role as “educators” through training programs overseen by the Ministry of Education. The benshi were not without controversy, however. While some contemporary critics argued that the benshi were essential to differentiating Japanese film culture from the rest of the world’s output, others argued that the benshi, along with other theatrical elements, impeded the artistic and technical evolution of Japanese cinema into a fully modern art form. Benshi did vigorously resist the coming of sound to Japanese cinema and the practice continued, though with increasing rarity, into the sound era. The art, today, is carried on by a small group of specialized performers who have been apprenticed by the preceding generations of benshi, creating a continuous lineage back to the original performers.

The Archive and the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities are pleased to present this major benshi event in Los Angeles which will afford audiences a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience this unique art form in all its rich textures. Pairing rare prints of Japanese classics and new restorations of American masterworks, this weekend-long series features performances by three of Japan’s most renowned contemporary benshi, Kataoka Ichirō, Sakamoto Raikō, and Ōmori Kumiko. Trained by benshi masters of the previous generation, they will each perform their unique art live on stage in Japanese (with English subtitles) to multiple films over the course of the weekend. Every performance and screening will be accompanied by a musical ensemble with traditional Japanese instrumentation, featuring Yuasa Jōichi (conductor, shamisen), Tanbara Kaname (piano), Furuhashi Yuki (violin), Suzuki Makiko (flute), Katada Kisayo (drums).

Special thanks to the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities, The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum at Waseda University and the Top Global University Project, Global Japanese Studies Model Unit, Waseda University (MEXT Grant), National Film Archive of Japan.

I’ve always loved old school screenings of silent films, but I’ve never experienced benshi. This sounds like it could be pretty cool and definitely unique as its own artform.

👓 An Interview with John O’Brien | Dalkey Archive Press

Read An Interview with John O’Brien (dalkeyarchive.com)
The following interview was conducted in-house at two different times, in 2000 and 2004. The purpose of the interview was to provide a very readable documentation of Dalkey Archive Press’s mission and history. It was amended in 2004, and likely will be amended again in the future, to reflect changes in the culture that have an impact on the work we do.

After reading this interview, how could one not want to devote their life to supporting such an institution?

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

subversive  

maybe also the word uncomfortable?

December 19, 2018 at 05:10PM

uncomfortable  

ha!

December 19, 2018 at 05:11PM

There is no sense that this particular novel has its place among-and should be evaluated against-a whole history of other novels.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:14PM

As with all of the arts, literature was once upon a time entirely made possible through patrons. This goes at least as far back as Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. They were able to write because their patrons provided them financial support. And this was of course true of all of the other arts. Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, however, literature and commerce got mixed.  

In some sense, there is a link between these areas of art/writing and funding and what we see in social media influencers who in some sense are trying to create an “art” for which they get paid. Sadly, most are not making art and worse, most of them are being paid even worse.

December 19, 2018 at 05:18PM

While many people say that such and such a book changed their lives, you can be sure that they could not tell you who published the book. The identification is with the book and its author, not the publisher.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:25PM

My models were New Directions Press and Grove Press.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:32PM

Michael Orthofer at the Complete Review  

December 19, 2018 at 05:35PM

Academics will probably bristle at this thought but, at least in relation to literature, all you have to do is look at the courses that are offered featuring the literatures of other countries. Not only don’t they teach these literatures, they don’t read them.  

We certainly could use an Anthony Bourdain of literature to help peel back the curtain on other countries and cultures.

December 19, 2018 at 05:38PM

I think only the philistine mind thinks that art needs a social or moral justification.  

Quote of the year.

December 19, 2018 at 05:46PM

A prerequisite for war, as well as bigotry, is that one sees a people or a country as a stereotype, as something sub-human or non-human; this is why politicians spend so much time trying to create stereotypical images for those countries they want to go to war with.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:48PM

Small publishers are oftentimes awful at getting their books out to people, even though of course the marketplace determines many of the limitations.  

December 19, 2018 at 05:51PM

👓 Robert Rauschenberg, Erased de Kooning Drawing, 1953 | SFMOMA

Read Robert Rauschenberg, Erased de Kooning Drawing, 1953 (SFMOMA)
From 1951 to 1953, Robert Rauschenberg made a number of artworks that explore the limits and very definition of art. These works recall and effectively extend the notion of the artist as creator of ideas, a concept first broached by Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) with his iconic readymades of the early twentieth century. With Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), Rauschenberg set out to discover whether an artwork could be produced entirely through erasure—an act focused on the removal of marks rather than their accumulation.

I love the idea here of making art by removing things. It’s somewhat akin to removing stone in a block of marble to create a sculpture, but at the same time this is also different. I’m also reminded of the idea of a photo negative or the concept of publishing negative results in science to give us a fuller picture of an area. Translating this idea from art into broader life could be quite interesting.

Hat tip: graffiti story, body art

Liked a post by AlonealastalovedalongtheAlonealastalovedalongthe (Toot Café)
All the hand painted signs I find disused in sheds and basements make me sad. I don't think the ability to print signs with computers and digital fonts actually made the world a better place. Definitely didn't make it more beautiful. Logos like the coca cola logo are static, dead imitations of beautiful handwritten scripts shoved in everyone's faces as a reminder of what once was a living, human pursuit rewarded by society.

👓 graffiti story, body part  | Mastodon

Read graffiti story, body part  by Kate Kate (Mastodon)

In our town there’s a big wall. Recently a silver penis showed up there, at startling scale. Someone stood there and sprayed it into life, with anatomical detail.

Two weeks later and it’s been covered with a dense drizzle of more silver lines. Not roller painted, so not the council. A concerned citizen went to the hardware store and bought a matching can and scribbled it out, standing in the same spot.

What’s that word for making art by erasing art?

#smallstories

📺 Elsku Stelpur (Dear Girls) | YouTube

Watched Elsku Stelpur (Dear Girls) from YouTube
"Elsku Stelpur" or "Dear Girls" was the winning performance by Hagaskóli in Skrekkur 2015, an annual Icelandic talent show between high schools in Reykjavík. The performance consists of contemporary dancing and feminist slam poetry in Icelandic, which I've subtitled in English so that more people can understand its powerful message, please enjoy.

A powerful piece. Possibly even more powerful watching it in a language that isn’t English.

👓 Goodbye PMCA | ColoradoBoulevard.net

Read Goodbye PMCA by Toti O'Brien (ColoradoBoulevard.net)
Chances are by the time you read this article, Pasadena Museum of California Arts (PMCA) has closed its doors for good (last day is scheduled for Sunday, October 7th, 2018)

👓 Virginia Museum Does What Pasadena Museum Won’t: Gives Back Nazi-Looted Artwork to Heir of Owner | Pasadena Now

Read Virginia Museum Does What Pasadena Museum Won’t: Gives Back Nazi-Looted Artwork to Heir of Owner (pasadenanow.com)
In contrast to the decades-long court battle fought by a Pasadena museum with the heir of an art dealer to keep a pair of $24 million, 400-year-old paintings which had been seized by a Nazi leader during World War II, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art Board voted last week to return a valuable painting it had acquired under similar circumstances. The masterpieces in both cases had been taken in forced sales from Amsterdam art dealer Jacques Goudstikker in 1940 by Hermann Göring, Hitler’s henchman who created the Gestapo, the feared Nazi secret police.
Glenn Zucman's Business Cards

Over the weekend, I attended WordCamp Los Angeles and ran into my friend and fellow educator Glenn Zucman. Though I suspect we both know where to find each other (online via our many websites), we traded business cards and chatted about business cards and art for a bit.

Because Glenn is such a creative genius, I wanted to take a moment to share his brilliant business card idea which I loved. Since he does some painting in his work, he’s using variously colored paint chips (choose your favorite color, natch) as business cards over which he’s using a stamp and ink to add on his contact details. What a great mixed-media idea using “found art” for an artists’ business cards.

What I loved even more is that he not only found some nice sized paint chips, which are about twice the size of a typical business card, but he found chips for a paint brand which he actually likes and endorses.

Glenn Zucman business card front
Glenn Zucman business card verso

🎧 Analysis, Parapraxis, Elvis, Season 3 Episode 10 | Revisionist History

Listened to Analysis, Parapraxis, Elvis, Season 3 Episode 10 by Malcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

"The one song The King couldn’t sing."

Elvis Presley returned from his years in the army to record one of his biggest hits, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” But he could never quite get the lyrics right. Why? Revisionist History puts the King of Rock and Roll on the couch.

I expected Gladwell to circle back around to the opening song about beating the dog, but he left us hanging…