Monday, October 24, 2011

Specifically for Milan, but you can enjoy, too.

1. Because her style reminds me of you- girly but sassy (See also: her King of Anything video). Do you own a good leather jacket? I feel like you should
2. Because you're an art historian and I can't remember if you appreciate dance or not but MY little art historian heart loves her dancing
3. Just Because

Happy (ha.) Monday, everyone!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gmail baby love

Came home late last night to this picture in my inbox:

Nothing like best friends and best friends' beautiful babies to make a good day even better. I can't wait to spoil this baby in person!!!!!!!!!!! December? Yes. So help me...

PS Olivia's cuddled up in a silky bamboo fiber blankie that for some reason makes Jess think of me. I love that. I didn't even buy it for her, although I wish I had! The weather's turned cold now which makes me renew my obsessive love for all things blankie. This might be the winter I finally buy myself a snuggie and turn into one of those crazy people who talk about their awesome snuggies all the time. Guys, I tried one on once, it was AMAZING. Oh my gosh this winter is gonna be so good. Now, the only question is: go classic snuggie or panda variety:

? giving twenty-somethings a huge variety of retarded crap to blow their student loans on and wear to the Wall Street protest, since 2011.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sculpture and I are having a moment

Tony Cragg. Outspan. 2008.
Maybe it's because this French impressionist class is so theory-heavy that I feel like stabbing right through every Manet painting I look at just to make the discussion about subjectivity STOP, or maybe it's because my conservation class is very biased towards objects; either way, I am really having a good time thinking about sculpture lately. Theorizing, ruminating, and thoroughly being captivated by the awe-striking qualities of art in three dimensions. Come with me, let's go there together.

GREAT example of how painting draws you into an illusory space.
Andrew Wyeth. Wind From the Sea. 1947.
One of my favorite paintings in the National Gallery.
Normally, I'm all about paint and photography. Two-dimensional art intrigues, puzzles, and delights me with its inherent theatricality. The creation of 2D art will always, to some degree, involve the artist thinking critically about how he or she is going to TRICK you into believing you're looking beyond the surface of the work and into some imaginary depth (well, actually, that statement could be contested when it comes to abstract expressionist and minimalist paintings*, but we'll just stick with my stereotype for the moment).

In short, 2D art involves illusion. 3D art, aka sculpture and installation art, involves... movement.

Henry Moore. Reclining Figure: Internal and External forms
(Working model)
. Bronze. Cast 1952-53.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
What a change that makes! What a different experience, looking at sculpture! Instead of using your eyes, you must use your eyes AND your legs. Instead of a painstakingly-wrought single viewpoint (as in a painting), you have 360 viewpoints! The sculptor has to consider all of them in the creative process. He or she gets down and dirty-- and often quite clever-- when manipulating his or her materials. Their works of art must slide from one vantage point on over into the next seamlessly. In its finished form, sculpture has the potential to be a, well, for lack of a better word, a sensual experience. Yea, I said it. Sculpture possesses so much more force in a gallery, and it's because it takes up your space. Or rather, you take up ITS space. While you may glide past paintings, you must maneuver around sculptures (or suffer the wrath of the security guards...). I had a brief love affair with an ever-arresting Henry Moore bronze this weekend at the Hirshhorn (See above). I literally couldn't keep my hands off it, but I was saved at the last moment (before I actually touched it, don't worry, I'm an obedient museum patron), I was lured away by the siren call of a blinding Dan Flavin light installation.

Like a moth to one of those moth-zappers... I just can't help myself. ^Dan Flavin, untitled (to Helga and Carlo with respect and affection), 1974. Flourescent lights. It's glorious! You can't tell from this picture, but this installation artwork stretches about 40 feet across the length of a gallery in the Hirshhorn. Wish I had people in this picture so you could get a sense of its fabulous dimensions. The light squares come up to about my hip, just think of it that way. I just love Dan Flavin. I love that he uses clean lines, the simplicity of light fixtures, to reinvent a gallery. The light sweeps over you and the museum itself, so that you can't ever quite assertively say, "THIS is where a Dan Flavin light sculpture comes to a halt." You just can't fence it in like that.

Picture I took on my cell phone from one end of the gallery looking towards the other end of the gallery this weekend at After Hours. C'est magnifique, non?

Ever since reading over The Agony and the Ecstasy this summer (a fictionalized 1960s biographical novel of Michelangelo, which cut me to the core- how DARE the author actually put words in The Immortal's mouth, pretend to know what he was thinking when he created The David??), I have renewed my love for Renaissance sculpture. Maybe that's where this all started. I re-Googled all my favorites: Michelangelo's highlights, Claus Sluter's priestly sculptures around the tomb of Philip the Bold, Bernini's Rape of Proserpina, etc. Mandatory illustrations of said masterpieces:

Two of the Sluter Mourners - Only about 18 inches high,  they ring the tomb of Philip the Bold in Dijon. Their deep-cut folds and touching expressions of angst have intrigued art historians and visitors for centuries. Look, 3D views of each sculpture found HERE, enjoy!
Rape of Proserpina. Really this viewpoint is all you need to see.
Fingers indenting into a thigh... BUT IT'S ALL MARBLE!!!!!!!!!! GAAH!!! MY LITTLE BRAIN'S GOING TO EXPLODE!
Tony Cragg. Elbow. 2008.

Ahem. Despite the wonders of Renaissance-era naturalistic sculpture, I still find myself equally enthralled by modern and contemporary sculpture. It absolutely astonishes me. In an era where innumerable images arrive onto my laptop as fast as I can click, the presence of contemporary sculpture, the way that it accosts and silences you, its simultaneous monumentality and serenity, makes for an invaluable and irreplaceable artistic experience in my life of looking. Its use of plastics, glass, iron, found materials and electricity... I find a little bit of my world reflected back at me in each of these media. That's what keeps me intrigued, I think.

GASP! I just figured something out! Remember how I was saying 6 inches ago that abstract expressionist and minimalist painting could arguably NOT be about theatricality? Here's some Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still to illustrate my point:

Newman's Adam. 1952. Tate.
Still's 1948-C. 1948. Hirshhorn.

What you see is pretty much what you get here, huh? No depth, no illusion. Just glorious meditations on paint over canvases.

MAAAAAAAAYYBE the modern/contemporary sculptures of Henry Moore, Dan Flavin, Tony Cragg, Louis Bourgeois, and the installation work of Matthew Barney, Olafur Eliasson, and Janine Antoni, to name a scant few, have fired my imagination of late because they, in their very physical-ness physicality-- in the way that they order me around a gallery, alter my ability to see, and affront my every sense-- have surpassed painting as the more theatrical type of artwork! Only I am the actor!

Cheers to you if you are still following me. Crap. I'm beginning to sound like Michael Fried, I can feel it. Milan, Maggie, and Erin, I expect only you to be keeping up with me.

M. Barney's The Deportment of the Host. MOMA. 2006.
Cast polycaprolactone thermoplastic and self-lubricating plastic
The point I want to end on is this: one of the reasons I tend to stay away from studying sculpture is because it feels too daunting. It requires too much memory. I experience so many more emotions when I wind my way around Matthew Barney's lustrous The Deportment of the Host installation than I do when facing, say, a Hiroshi Sugimoto photograph. It always feels nearly impossible for me to even begin to explain my thoughts about sculpture, or think critically about what the artist has done or may be trying to say through his or her work, when it comes to sculpture and installations. 360 ways to look at it, remember? But that doesn't mean I don't love to stop by and continue my love affair with the 3D media. It just means we will always be working things out. I will be a forever fervent admirer, and it will always be invading my space. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Random Pretty Things 2

These two by the artist Andy Goldsworthy, in his book, TIME


These two "dirty nerdy" by the graphic artist cargocollective

These two from the Walls Notebook (a picture book of funky walls for you to draw on... neat idea!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why Art and I Have Separated

I know some of you are thinking, "Where's the art?? You've sold out to the narcissistic MAN, Lindsey! Once upon a time I came to your blog to drink deeply from the well of art historical knowledge that is your half-a-master's degree, and you have UTTERLY failed me!! I'm making plans to purchase a Thomas Kinkade print right now to go over my couch."

NOOOOOOOOOOO! For many, many, MANY reasons, I hope that is not what you are thinking. Please, let's try to work this out.

The problem on my end is, art history at the Master's level is NOT the same quaint art history that you read about at your coffee table. While I'm still looking at many of the same things you'll see in the pretty books you buy in museum gift shop (amazing, mind-blowing works of art like Seurat's La Grande Jatte or this lovely, lonesome little guy by Degas):

I'm concurrently reading craploads of sentences like THIS about the artworks:

The supra-natural artifice form that Baudelaire declares to act as the appearance of modernity is, to Seurat, instead the displacement of the natural from the body to inorganic accoutrements.


In this light, the countess's obsessive self-representations are less an index of narcissism-although they are that too-than a demonstration of a radical alienation that collapses the distinction between subjecthood and objecthood.

Yea. You should be THANKING me for not filling my blog with that. You want to know the worst part? Those aren't the actual sentences I read for homework. Those are my NOTES about my homework. Those are my attempts at SUMMARIZING what other brilliant art historians have said. 

So. Let's go back to the main problem between us, which is, as far as I can see, really just a failure to communicate. I assure you, my heart is in the right place; I want to learn about art and history and turn around and tell you about it, but I JUST DON'T KNOW how to shrink it down into an actual, interesting discussion topic.

Even worse, I'm getting to the point where I can't look at art without having the above matrix of analytical thoughts pop into my brain. Only the faintest click of, "That's pretty," or "Love it!" registers to me anymore before I start looking for signs of the subjugation of femininity to the classic reticence of the priviledged male bourgeois gaze in the planar regions of the foreground of the painting or, possibly, in the absence of a male presence in the painting, as we would expect to see in Degas's ballet works.

I'm going to be on the hunt this weekend for pedagogical inspiration. Let's all pray I find it. :) And that I never again use the word pedagogical on this blog without a really, REALLY legit excuse. Ok be back soon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mournfully kicks an orange leaf down the street...

In case you all have forgotten since last year, may I remind you:

I hate all seasons but summer. 

Dang you, influx of pumpkin recipes and hoodies!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunny DC Row houses

Sunny National Gallery Garden and National Archives building

Sunny Neoclassical architecture, DC's buildings' bread-and-butter

Did anyone else catch this pic on hulu???? BRILLIANT play on Seurat!
I might have to do a whole post on how this Office spoof is actually a brilliant intellectual... well, spoof, of this masterpiece:
Mostly I love it because it makes the greatest cameo ever in Ferris Bueller.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sexiest. Picture. Ever.

From my favorite photographer, Matt Clayton. I can't decide what's my favorite part, the argyle socks or the sweats with suspenders. Or the jawline.

Football: Autumn's most redeeming spectacle.

Mon Day

Not your average Conference post (Redux).

Background: I wrote this post after a lot of thought this weekend, and then (as some of you have noticed), I took it down. I worried that some of you who are in very different circumstances than mine would not appreciate my viewpoint. BUT, this morning, a fellow single friend wrote me and told me she identified with some of the things I said. I'm thankful for her encouragement, because I really thought hard and felt passionately about the following ideas, and it really, really bothered me to take it down. I feel these are important issues to talk about as women.  I can say that I wrote the following with the best intentions. So here goes. I'm exercising my freedom of speech today.


Sigh. I had a LOT of conflicting thoughts as I listened to the talk about motherhood and children tonight at conference. Can I say that out loud?

I've thought about it all afternoon. I thought about my very best friend, who just welcomed her first little daughter into the world. I thought about another dear friend who recently had the courage to write honestly and sincerely about a miscarriage. Of course, I also thought about my own career, about an awesome opportunity I'm excitedly pursuing right now, and my wonderful (and work-heavy) classes, the Art of Paris and Preventative Art Convservation. I pondered the sweet and surreal (and sometimes annoying) experiences I've been having in my current employment, nannying the world's most adorable and brave two-year-old prince, Cobb. I thought about my grandmother, my aunts, and my mom, who grew up with gender roles very different than today's, and who saw and felt their experiences as women and others' expectations of them as women change drastically over the last few decades. 

At the end of the night, I just find myself very grateful for the fact that I'm single right now and that I don't have to make the career/homemaker decision yet. I don't know what I'd do at this point. I'm sure Heavenly Father is aware of this fact, and he probably has me where I am for that reason. I want to love someone and raise beautiful little people, I want to work and change the world. Tricky, but not impossible to combine

This all reminds me of something my brother Spencer once told me: we were talking about the mandate upon us to wait, what feels like forever sometimes, for trials to end. He brought up Abraham's 90 year wait for a child. "Lindsey," he said, "I think Heavenly Father had him wait that long because Abraham had to learn something about Abraham." At times, the concept of patience just stokes my fiery, flusterd soul further and I roar about like an impatient toddler. But tonight it doesn't bother me. Tonight I just find myself very grateful that Heavenly Father sees fit to lovingly orchestrate a private tutorial for me, his child. (Echo Dieter F. Uchtdorf's beautiful and inspiring talk).

Later this evening, I watched the following. I think it stands as a pretty great liberal foil to our conservative conference talk on children and women's role, and yet... there's a lot of truth in it as well:

My thoughts:

1. Even though it made me super uncomfortable, I LOVED the parts where they played raunchy scenes without any music, because the sheer idiocy of the entire sexy/b*tchy/ditzy spectacle became so clear. SUCH ironically powerful images!!! (update: This now makes me think of President Monson's wistful talk about the changing moral compass of today, and our assignment to stand firm for goodness. Amen, prophet.)

 2. WARNING: This clip doesn't say anything about how valuable the role of mother can be, nor about what a great option it is for many, many women. Motherhood and careers do not have to be mutally exclusive, feminists!

 3. I can't make up my mind: IS it imperative that we eventually reach a 50/50 gender split in governing bodies like Congress?
3b. If I ever meet that Fox News guy who made a crack about politicians with PMS, I will junk-punch him.

Tangent: I remember describing for my last boyfriend once the strange sadness I got sometimes, thinking about my career. I tried to explain to him that it's a weird feeling as a girl, knowing one day you're going to be asked to just... GIVE AWAY this part of your life that you're totally in love with. The earning money, networking, working hard, gabbing with colleagues, printing business cards, and changing the world part of yourself. Ex-bf admitted that he had never thought about such an emotion before, never realized that women might feel that way. He tried to empathize with me as much as possible. He did NOT try to solve my problem, or tell me what I should do, or what other women in his life would say to do... he just told me that he realized how much that would suck. That was a great moment of validation for me. I'm thankful for feminist men who believe in and value women as equals. (That memory came to me as I watched the part in the video about how the media today breeds insecurity in women in a major way. Again, amen. Thank you men who validate women for having souls.)

4a. I still hate Rachel Maddow.
4b. Here's to the strong women in my life who have transcended stereotypes, made beautiful families while keeping themselves strong and whole, too, women who have had broken hearts and yet rose above, who have trusted God and talked to him in times of trial, fear, and doubt, and will continue to do so to the end. Women who make life beautiful. Those are my heroes.

Only slight related happy-healthy collage I made while babysitting tonight.

My friend Lauren's smart comments:

I thought it was a great video, well, done and so interesting. Some of those images were really disgusting and graphic. (The rap video at the beginning being seared into my head. Gross.) But I think what the women say in the video is so powerful coupled with the disgusting images, because you realize how much we are desensitized to the media. It was also reaffirmed that I hate video games. I think people--women in particular--will get something out of the video. I think its good to recognize things wrong in our society. And you know, I also think that it kind of, in a round about way, goes along with Sister Dalton's talk about fathers and being role models and examples to daughters. Just think, if a father encouraged his daughter to be everything she could be and encouraged her to make a difference in the world, she'd be so encouraged and successful and she'd think/know she could do anything. 

[...] I find myself having a hard time with the work vs. motherhood thing too. I always, my whole life expected to be a mother. I thought I'd get married young like my mom. I thought I'd graduate from college and that would be it, I'd maybe go back to school later. But here I am 27 nowhere near getting married and knowing I need to go back to school in order to further my career and by doing that increase my job satisfaction and in turn increase my self esteem and happiness. On the other hand I can't help thinking, if I get married after having had all this education, am I really going to want to stop and be a mom like I originally planned? Probably not. And then I get frustrated and stop thinking about it and decide I should probably go on multiple dates with the same person before I start planning my future. :)

I hear ya, girl.