Thursday, August 27, 2009

If Mona Lisa Smile and Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a baby...

...it would look something like this chilling American-art-world opinion piece (Thanks dad! I'm still shuddering! So scary. And awesome.)

vs.
(^Only time you'll ever see Obama OR a Dark Knight illustration on this blog. Mark My Words.)

PS *****GIRLY ALERT****** The following two posts made me cry (good cry) so I'm posting them for all the girls out there, who have the same abundant amount of free time I've apparently enjoyed this last week, and who are tired of reverting to Little Women or A Walk to Remember in order to get their feminine cry session over for the month.

Post 1- Jayci, my darling, unique, creativity-infused friend from Palo Verde, became a mom earlier this month! Hers is the most touching, honest, and beautiful post I've ever read on any friend's blog before about motherhood (note to all: it's the play-by-play of the day her son was born.) I really appreciate hearing and thinking about the sacrifices of motherhood from a real-time vantage point, from a real-life colleague and friend. I'm so proud of her and so delighted to see just how sublime and how worth it those sacrifices are, to those who wait and plan for it with their families in the proper, patient, and faithful way. Congrats, Reeder family!

Post 2- The love story of one of the brand-newly-married authors of theapronstage.com, a blog by four Mormon women in various stages of adulthood (one of whom I know from my singles ward out here). The line about cake vs. bread also had me shamelessly in tears in front of the computer... well, that line, and the two beautiful pictures. If you didn't know already, I am a MAJOR sucker for weddings; I cry at pretty much all of them, I save all my friends' wedding announcement photos, I don't really ever get tired of reception/engagement/bridal shower gossip, and if I come across a wedding photo album on facebook, you better believe I click through each and every photo... even when I don't know the couple! (Ok, that one sounded a little pathetic. Like you don't have your own guilty pleasures! :) After reading this post, can you blame me? True love has the ability to lift up anyone who gets around it!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PS

Sooo tired... but must report:

I got a job as a "Museum Teacher" at the National Building Museum! (That interview I told you about a couple weeks ago!) It won't quite cover all my living expenses out here, so I'm now on the hunt for job #2, but one step at a time, peeps! Let's take a moment to celebrate! It keeps my foot beautifully in the museum-world door, and gets me great experience teaching art: I teach kids all about the wonders of the built environment, from bridges to geodesic domes to Roman arches and back... it's really perfect for me, with my family background in architecture and my professional aspirations in art education!

The National Building Museum is a GORGEOUS old 19th-century factory-turned-museum in downtown DC, not too far from GW, with a cavernous, cathedral-like atrium, where I will be conducting my lessons with my kids, like so many mice (See picture at left). The lessons are all really hands on: like in one of them the kids use real--safetyfied-- power tools to build a 12' tall model home! There's a bebe constructing an arch in the lower lefthand corner of this picture to help you visualize. The kid in me is positively wriggling to get started! Thanks for your prayers, those who prayed for me. And, I feel to mention, please let me know if there's anything I can do or pray for, in any of your lives. I've been feeling very far away from my friends and family lately, with school coming on and the realization that, holy cow, I'm here to stay, and I really WILL only see the West and those I love most only a handful of times a year. Hence, you let me know. It makes me feel closer to home (so basically, yes, I'm being selfish in my asking :) K it's past my bedtime. Nighty night.

In case you didn't know...



I love this place. It's my home away from home... in more sense than one. The hope of seeing all of the rooms in it, of being sealed there to someone I love, and being nearer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in there, is why I do what I do. Why I believe what I believe. And basically, why I am who I am. Just in case you didn't know.

I found myself on the phone with a friend at 2 am this week, fighting a pitched battle about religion. I kept thinking, "He's not getting the whole picture! What can I possibly say more to help him understand why I choose to be Mormon (cuz heaven, he, and I all know it ain't easy). And then, the image of this temple came into my head. Along with it, the sweet memory of joy I felt outside another temple in Draper, UT, watching my best friend Jessica emerge, newly married to her dear eternal boyfriend. And that's when I asked my friend if he'd ever been to one of my temples. "No," came the answer. "Just go," was my reply. I am not very suave, like my brilliant returned missionary friends, and my kindly-and-powerfully-spoken leaders. I didn't have the scripture-based facts to prove him wrong in all the little nit-picks he was throwing my way. But when I thought about the temple, I remembered; that place is where God is. I have the Holy Ghost, and he tells me that in ways I can understand, and that this friend of mine will hopefully understand, that That place is where we feel his love, and where we get connected to families and all of humanity forever. That place helps my soul be still and free and happy. I hope he goes there. I hope he can feel the way I feel when I look at it. That place.... is just beautiful. I feel nothing but gratitude towards my Heavenly Father and my Savior when I think about the fact that he placed those buildings here on earth. Life is good, when you have the temple in your sights. That's all I really wanted to say tonight. K bye.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Once in a great while...

So I'm not one for canvassing my contacts list for donations, but this is a cause I feel strongly about, so I'm putting up a link requesting your help (sacrifice two Diet Cokes, chew 4 fewer packs of gum, hunt for change around your couch please, you'll know what to do!):


The Out of Darkness Walk is a fundraising event for the SLC Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I give my money and ask you to do likewise (any amount is appreciated, and 100% tax deductible- just search for my name or the team name For All The Good Times) to support the cause. I'm giving in honor of my darling friend, the president of the SLC chapter, and the tireless organizer of this event, Miss Ashley Crist, who lost her brother several years ago to suicide. I'm constantly amazed and humbled by the amount of courage it takes to press on in this beautiful life even after suicide overshadows it. Keep going. AFSP helps research, educate, and design prevention initiatives to reduce the loss of life from suicide and help families who've endured it. Thanks everyone!


^Shamelessly stolen from Ashley's Facebook albums... seemed like a fitting image.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"152 insights into my SOUL!" What movie??

If eyes are the window to the soul (though frankly, I don't always accept that statement, cuz I've definitely seen some eyes that just tell me, "this soul is hazel and didn't get enough sleep last night"), then I think a person's bookshelf is a window into their passions.

Now, I am actually a horrible example of this myself; my scanty bookshelf will only tell you I like history (The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff), love (Jane Eyre), and Christianity, particularly Mormonism (The Screwtape Letters, Franny & Zooey, and The Book of Mormon... a better window into my passions would be my overdue book account at the Harold B. Lee Library).

Nevertheless! I present this idea to you because it's occurred to me that, as I have, ahem... borrowed my roommates' books all summer to read during my commute, I am sort of spying on them. Or rather, I'm really getting a feel for their passions and interests. One is interested in health science and human endeavors, and chooses to unwind with great Russian 19th century fiction writers. The other roommate has a wide range of interests stemming mostly from her business and leadership training, but also canvasing historical fiction and loads of religious essays. I've recently been absorbed by her Leading Quietly, which is "An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing" from the masterminds at the Harvard Business School Press. Fairly entertaining despite its stodgy, uptight publishing origins, the following passage from said book gave me some great food for thought this week (I know it's a long quote, but hold out 'til the end, you'll see why):

"[Great leaders] didn't end up leading countries, vast organizations, political movements, and social crusades by accident. Hence, it is no surprise that ego, passions, and drives that were somewhat less than angelic often motivated them. To some, this perspective seems pessimistic, cynical, and disheartening, but this view actually reflects an astonishing convergence of classical wisdom and contemporary science. The Old Testament and ancient Greek tragedy portray men and women as fractured, complicated creatures, pulled in different directions by a multitude of hopes and fears, wants and needs. Compare this picture to the one emerging from the new discipline of cognitive neuroscience. It describes the human mind as a set of semi-independent modules, each of which handles different tasks. Some help us walk upright, others sense danger, others remember, plan, and love. The modules often operate simultaneously and clash with each other. As a result, the human mind is 'a noisy parliament of competing factions.' Our inner lives resemble the disjointed images of modern paintings rather than the harmony of classical sculpture."

!!!!!!!!! It's like they knew I was coming! Hee hee.

"Which modern painting would best represent the fractured mental modules he's talking about?" I wondered.

Franz Kline?

Lehigh V Span. 1959-1960. SF MoMA.

No. Too black and white and understandable-at-a-glance, although very attractive in the galleries (his canvases are HUGE-- as in, dining room window huge-- and almost seem to be spelling something out to you in a language you recognize but can't read).

No... de Kooning?
Woman/Verso: Untitled. 1948. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (woot!).

Naaaah. Too interested in toying with female stereotypes, although I'm sure there are some people who feel that his is a pretty accurate portrayal of the overall look and value of the interiors of women.

And then... it hit me. One of my favorite artists, whom I met (and by met I mean saw a work by and fell in love with) at the Pompidou, summer '07 when I was studying abroad: Nicolas de Stael.


Fugue. 1951.
Here's a side view of the same little painting, which sits over in the Phillips Collection in DC (thanks, unknown Flickr benefactor!):
Get a sense of things fighting to be in harmony in this work? Of "semi-independent modules," like it said in Leading Quietly?

L'Orchestra. 1953. Centre Pompidou.

This is the Nicolas de Stael piece that originally won him my heart, the one hanging in Paris. Believe me when I tell you, this baby is HUGE. I do love the modern artists who chose to make their creations human-sized. I felt as if I really was having a conversation with this work of art when I stood in front of and a little beneath it. I don't have much gossip for you about Nicolas de Stael the artist, besides the curious habit I've noticed he has of naming his works after musical terms: the Orchestra, Fugue, Composition, etc. His big blocks of colors, often including grey, are personally attractive to me. The paint blocks are never just slopped on like a Pollock, but very thought out and built up from the surface of the canvas. Almost like he was constructing a city, block by block, with the swipes of his trowel. When I took some friends to tour the Phillips about a month ago, I admired the Fugue before I even noticed who it was by, and then we all marveled together at the audacity of the museum for leaving its works so unguarded; you see, the paint patches are so built up that in some areas you could actually reach out and break off a piece of the paint if you so desired. (NOO! Resist!) I guess I'll have to do a little bit more searching to find out what was on his bookshelf. I'll be back with the details later. Needless to say, his compositions are much like Franz Kline's for me; familiar, sexy, and energetic, but not in a frenzied sort of way. More like the energy and power you feel when you stand by a river. Hence, me likey.

Ps. TWO MORE WEEKS OF LIFEGUARDING! Then I get my life back, er I mean I get to start school again, and apply to jobs again, and hopefully remember my college-level vocabulary again... oooh it's getting close! And no, I will NOT recant my assertion that summer is better than fall. It is. I only look forward to the close of the pool, not the close of the season.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Official Apology to Indie Kids/Hipsters

After taking 24 hours to cool off, and realizing with a sheepish inner grin than I myself own pairs of skinny jeans and Chuck Taylors... and also remembering that I occasionally admire my friends' trendy, otherworldly (and overpriced) Polaroid art projects, I'm hereby issuing an apology to those who find themselves drawn to this particular style known as Indie and/or Hispter. Guys, it's not really you I was hating on last post, I swear. It's the America-wide plague of materialism, which you in particular fall prey to (forgive me). And... not to sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist record, but this society-ruining materialism is, in my opinion, brought about by a swarm of suave marketing professionals, aka the bane of my existence. Example: Urban Outfitter's online fall collection slogan is: "Then Again: New Urban Renewal." What the *&%$ does that even MEAN??? I feel dumber for having read it! And I hate knowing that whoever buys things from that collection will have added to the second Beamer fund of whatever marketing guru wrote it. Gah. Ok, step away from the soapbox, Lindsey.

I hereby promise that (500) Days of Summer is not an awful movie-- quite quaint actually, and it realistically depicts the type of relationships my generation likes to have (sadly enough). But I have to wonder, would the two characters have fallen in love if they DIDN'T have a huge load of materialistic props to worship or scorn together? Seriously. They fell in love over an iTunes song issuing forth out of oversized headphones like the kind you see in every Target/AE/AX photo spread. Summer and whatever-his-name-was really hit it off as they go on a date simply walking around mocking the domestic interiors of Ikea for a whole 5 screen minutes. They later discover that they have relationship problems (gasp!) thanks to their differing reactions to a Ringo Starr vinyl record. Finally, they each realized their individual destinies thanks to some shockingly coffee-table-esque books on architecture?? Really??

Sigh. I'm going to go back to reading this week's book, Little Women.

PS this has nothing to do with the rest of the post, but I wrote down the following quote from last week's book, The Robe (AWESOME!), and I really wanted to share it. Marcellus, a Roman Tribune learning slowly about Jesus after taking part in his crucifixion, says the following while contemplating the new underground Christian movement:

"'This faith,' he declared deliberately, 'is not like a deed to a house in which one may live with full right of possession. It is more like a kit of tools with which a man may build a house. The tools will be worth just what he does with them. When he lays them down, they will have no value until he has taken them up again.'"

Beautiful, no?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why I Hate Marketing

Fate is a funny thing. I started three other blog posts during the course of this week, but hadn't the heart or the resolve to post them. And now, due to the delightful, all-knowing march of fate (which I've really got to learn to trust in), I know this will be the one that makes it to the press, er, blog. I've got the writer's fire, and I need to blow off some steam!

It's Tuesday, which means it's my day off/day I schedule interviews/day I say I'm going to recoup sleep but never do/day I celebrate being young, independent, and free in the middle of a beautiful city. This particular Tuesday I had a great interview (fingers crossed!) that reminded me why I am really truly going to blow a fortune on a ridiculous Art History Master's degree- I love beauty, and I want to do what it takes to bring it to the rest of the world's attention (just like my mommy and papi did for me!)

The interview portion of my Tuesday being thus finished around 10 this morning, I set off to accomplish the celebration/young/independent part. I wasn't particularly creative this afternoon, I merely adventured into two of my favorite new foodie finds (delicious falafel at Moby Dick's Kabob and a saintly cupcake at Baked and Wired. MMM overpriced Georgetown calories. The very best.) It was a nice break from the lifeguarding staples of granola and ice cream, and yes, indeed, I do feel more independent and young now.

Then I went to go see (500) Days of Summer (See trailer Here), the only movie that really appealed to me at the moment- I'm a girl, I love summer, and I love Love. Case closed.

It was the first time I have ever gone to see a movie in a movie theater all by myself. Well, not really by myself, if you count the one bearded indie boy sitting behind me, and the two hipster college freshman girls a few rows ahead. Nevertheless, congrats, me. Such bravery.

I emerged from the theater, still alone, and less than enthusiastic about what I'd just seen. In fact, I came out with the determination to sit down at this very computer and transcribe a fiery explanation of Why I Hate Marketing. That's right, folks. Although I hate to break the hearts of my beloved indie friends, after seeing this movie I must solemnly declare:

The whole indie/hipster identity that's blatantly advertised in this movie is completely made up by well-dressed marketing MBA's, who are pulling their shiny BMW's into their suburban mansion garages and laughing their heads off at you right this very hour!

"How did they do it, and say what now?" you ask. By successfully hawking the following trendy, pseudo-vintage items at you in multiple sleek marketing methods such as online advertising, the elusive word-of-mouth, and most prominently of all, product placement. Off the top of my head, here are eleven hipster products that were marketed prominently in (500) Days of Summer, as the Beamer-owners cunningly try to convince the young and the restless trendsetters that they need to purchase for their "uniqueness:"

-chalkboard paint
-big headphones blaring little known bands
-long retro cardigans (and this product placement really is just ludicrous- the movie is set in LA, people! NO ONE with a metabolism keeps cardigans on in LA in the summer for more than a minute!)
-girls with bangs
-vinyl records
-Ikea
-Wii
-karaoke
-Vodka/Whiskey (my compatriots are now convinced that they are too good for beer now- leave that to lesser, poorer mortals, like the kind that like Nascar... ew.)
-shoulder bags
-Green Architecture (does anyone besides my Dad even know truly what that means??)
-damask wallpaper, a la the store Anthropologie 2 years ago

I'm just thankful i didn't see an iPod... oh wait, you get a full 15-second shot of Joseph Gordon-Leavitt's computer screen with iTunes opened on it. Scratch that. BOOOOO marketing! You're responsible for turning the American populace into ambivalent androids!

The movie review I had trusted told me this about the movie: "It's about a boy who falls in love with a girl named Summer, and is then enchanted with the very idea of summer itself." Being a huge summer (the season) fan, I went to this movie hoping/listening intently for an eloquent, postmodern soliloquy on why this time of year-- this glorious season that allows you to run around as naked as possible and down ice cream to your hearts content-- is the best. I didn't hear any such speech. Ever. The boy was in love with a female Summer, and later turned to autumn, the downer season after that comes after summer, for comfort. LAME!

Oh, and one last item to be subjected to my current rash bout of scorn: Irony. Not the subtle irony of the two stars' quick back and forth banter. The irony that I watched a movie whose the plot revolves around a greeting card company employee, a former architect, and the inevitable indie plot twist- Gasp! that the people who don't believe in love find it, and the people who do get shafted but end up smiling to themselves as they start afresh.

Those who know me well will know why I find those three things ironic.

Now, onto art, since I know I've been very selfishly autobiographical of late. The film's setting in LA reminded me of this sculpture in the Hirshhorn:

Larry Bell. Untitled. Glass, bismuth, chromium, gold, and rhodium on gold-plated brass. 1964.

Larry Bell was one of the first artists to help transplant the contemporary art scene from New York to LA (where it is still finishing migrating today, although it has received numerous renewed threats from such international counterparts as Berlin and London). Long rejected last century as a city of culture because, well, let's face it, LA is home to such un-museum-worthy items as Jack Nicholson, the Lakers, and 1970's bungalows, nevertheless, around 1970 the good old California city made the art world turn traitor to its own elitist mentality by producing very sleek, very surface-y, and veeeery seductive works of art such as the above Larry Bell piece. "You think you can do modernism, New York?" LA taunted. "Is this all you got??" (See the Richard Serra below) And it was true. Why would anyone hang around New York to discuss works like this:

Richard Serra. 2-2-1: To Dickie And Tina, 1969. Steel. 1986.

when they could go to the beach, get a tan, and see something that--dare I say it-- managed to come off as wonderfully elitist still, but also managed to pull off a slight return to beauty!? Notice Untitled's lovely colored surface, which at once reflects the viewer and reveals a veiled look at its inside. Oh, beauty! We missed you! Only in LA, where the beautiful people get beautifuller (thanks to plastic surgeons) and the normal people get trendier, thanks to Hollister and Max Factor, would we see you return to the art world. How ironic.