31 December 2007

Goodbye 2007...

Hello 2008.

Happy New Year!

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Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), "Carnival Evening," 1886
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Thanks to all of you for visiting my blog in 2007. Best wishes for a happy, peaceful & prosperous year ahead!

-- Helquin

29 December 2007

Because I need to hear it...

"If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we'd live like animals or angels in the happy land that needs no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice and thought, and have to choose, to be human at all … why then, perhaps we must stand fast a little -- even at the risk of being heroes."
~ the character Sir Thomas More, in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons

Incidentally, it's interesting to note that the somewhat abbreviated version of this speech in the 1966 film adaptation omits envy, sloth and lust among the vices, and substitutes charity and modesty for the virtues humility, chastity and fortitude. Hmmm...

25 December 2007


"To lead apes in hell (1579) was the fancied fate of one who died an old maid."

Pantone Selects Color of the Year for 2008:
"As a reflection of the times, Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast. Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic. Look for it artfully combined with deeper plums, red-browns, yellow-greens, grapes and grays."
(Color of the Year for 2007 was Chili Pepper.)

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The Zymoglyphic Museum: "The world's only repository for the study and display of Zymoglyphic art, artifacts, and natural history."

File Magazine's collection of unexpected photography: "We publish images that treat subjects in unexpected ways."

The List Universe presents: Top 10 Color Classical Reproductions. Commenter angelina astutely notes that "Apollo's carpet and curtains match."

Blond, of course. ;-)

22 December 2007

Winter Solstice

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Piet Mondrian, The Gray Tree (1911, oil on canvas, approx. 31" x 42")
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"The winter solstice has always been celebrated in China as the resting time of the year -- a custom that survives in the time of rest observed at the new year. In winter the life energy, symbolized by thunder, the Arousing, is still underground. Movement is just at its beginning; therefore it must be strengthened by rest, so that it will not be dissipated by being used prematurely. This principle, i.e., of allowing energy that is renewing itself to be reinforced by rest, applies to all similar situations. The return of health after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement: everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering."
~ The I Ching, Wilhelm-Baynes translation

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Happy Solstice!

14 December 2007

Notes for a Manifesto, #2

"Our blog covers political printmaking, socially engaged street art, and culture related to social movements. We believe in the power of personal expression in concert with collective action to transform society."
~ Justseeds/Visual Resistance Artists' Cooperative

"We no longer are confronted or challenged by ideas -- instead we are entertained by them once they are packaged by the delivery systems."
~ from Rough Trade Art's "Theoretical Disengagement" series:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

A Visual Record
"It seems to me that in my several long-ago days among these paintings [Matthias Grünewald's 16th-century Isenheim Altarpiece], I saw nothing less than a visual record of how we know ourselves from beasts, of our moral imagination, our knowledge of suffering and love, our striving towards redemption -- however we may understand that -- and transcendance."
~ commenter Elatia Harris, regarding this post at 3 Quarks Daily

I'm not familiar with the Isenheim Altarpiece (and it's said to fare poorly in photographs), but -- wow -- what a prescription for the aims of art!

12 December 2007

Figure & Ground

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From "Haptic Visuality" by Laura U. Marks:

"... I hope you get a sense of the political stakes between these two kinds of visuality, haptic and optical, and the two kinds of space they intend, smooth space and striated space.

"Optical visuality sees objects as distinct, distant, and identifiable, existing in illusionary three-dimensional space. It maintains a clear, crisp relationship between figure and ground. Optical visuality is necessary for distance perception: for surveying a landscape, for making fine distinctions between things at a distance. That's how the object of vision is constituted in optical visuality. The subject of vision -- the beholder -- is also conceived as discrete, as having solid borders that demarcate the beholder from the thing beheld. So you can see why optical visuality is needed, for example, for firing a missile. It conceives of the other, the object of vision, as distant and unconnected to the subject of vision. Optical visuality is necessary. But it's only half of vision.

"Haptic visuality sees the world as though it were touching it: close, unknowable, appearing to exist on the surface of the image. Haptic images disturb the figure-ground relationship. The early twentieth-century Viennese art historian Alois Riegl borrowed the term from psychology, haptein, for a kind of vision that 'grabs' the thing it looks at. I think it's important that Riegl was a historian of textiles, and that he came up with this word when he was poring over his Persian carpets. These carpets with their endless, interleaved patterns don't allow the eye to rest in one place; they invite the eye to move along them, caressing their surface. Contemplating these patterns does something to dissolve the boundaries between the beholder and the thing beheld."

~ as published in Framework: The Finnish Art Review (#2, Nov. 2004)

Main image: by Man Ray (1890-1976), from Rayographs 1922-1927
More from Man Ray...
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Right: from Les Champs Délicieux; left: "Juliet et Margaret"

06 December 2007

What Is, Is

"In fact, trauma's never overcome. That's what defines it. Your father is dead, or your mother, and so are most of the Jews of Europe, and the World Trade Center's gone, and racism prevails, and sex murders occur. What is, is. The real is the true, and anything that suggests otherwise, no matter how artfully constructed, is a violation of human experience."
~ Melvin Jules Bukiet, "Wonder Bread," The American Scholar, Autumn 2007

Globalization: "It's the free movement of capital, but not the free movement of labour. It's imperialism under a new form: only the agents of imperialism are companies rather than countries."
~ Tony Benn

"Taking it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries. Only monkeys parade with it."
~ Carl G. Jung, The Integration of the Personality (1939)

Spam Art: "... she joined an appealing tradition of making something from nothing, converting trash to treasure, extracting pleasure from junk-culture detritus."

"The bird is fighting its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wishes to be born must destroy a world. The bird is flying to God. The god is named Abraxas."
~ Hermann Hesse, Demian

03 December 2007


"It is precisely from the regret left by the imperfect work that the next one can be born."
~ Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

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Odilon Redon, Head of Orpheus (1905?)
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01 December 2007

No Reason

"The best reason to paint is that there is no reason to paint..."
~ Keith Haring (1958-1990)

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Keith Haring, Untitled
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December 1: World AIDS Day
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