Thursday, February 27, 2020

You Must Take the F Train

If you want to see William Wegman's wonderful Weimaraners in mosaic.

 They adorn the 23rd Street station, at 23rd Street and 6th Ave. on both the uptown and downtown sides.

Isn't this cool?  They're so beautiful and also funny and silly.  Bravo and thank you to the MTA. I know we all want a better chance at a seat at rush hour and shorter waits for a train, but you've got to admit, this provides a little lift.  There's a ton of wonderful art in our subways; you can check it out here;

Art in the Subways

Monday, February 24, 2020

A message from Kaylie Hanson Long

Dear Friends,
I am forwarding this letter from Kaylie Hanson Long.  Kaylie's husband Jeff, the son of our dear friends, Nancy and David, died in an accident in July of 2018.  Kaylie has created a special way of remembering Jeff and I want to share it with you.

Hi friends and family,

Hope everyone's having a great day after a long weekend. As you may know or remember, Jeff's birthday is February 25th - one week from today. Some of you know that I've received a lot of reiki following Jeff's accident (a form of Japanese energy healing based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us). I believe energy also flows out of us -- putting good energy into the world can have such a great impact on so many people, places and things.

Last year, a few of us put our good energy into the world in Jeff's honor through random acts of kindness executed on February 25th. Examples of what folks did are below... really sweet, powerful stuff that truly captured the positive impact Jeff had on the world. This year, I'm expanding the list to all of you in hopes you'll mark Tuesday (2/25) as a day to do an act of kindness in your own world. If you have a moment and feel moved, please send me a quick note back with what you did and I may circulate anonymously in the week following, with the goal of building even more positive energy off of those acts... but I also just want to know! :) 

Feel free to forward this note to others who may want to participate, and feel free to give my email address to whomever.

Lots and lots of love! xoxo,

Kaylie (and Layla, of course... she might be giving her bone to a dog in need :) )

  • Many cups of coffee purchased for the guy/gal behind them in the coffee house line
  • A conversation with a colleague about Jeff’s life and legacy over a long lunch.
  • Yesterday, I was on a flight from Denver to SF. There was a man sitting next to me who was very uncomfortable because the seat in front of him was broken (and stuck in the reclined position). I offered to switch with him so that he could have an aisle seat, and not have to deal with the broken seat. I'm only 5'1", so not having a lot of room is not a big deal for my little legs. He actually didn't end up switching seats with me. But he did go from cranky to smiling. And then he fell asleep for most of the flight. :)
  • Donations to Mercy Corps, Children’s National hospital, elementary school classroom in need and the cystic fibrosis foundation.
  • An extra-long phone conversation with a friend who needed the extra love.
  • Being more intentional to make eye contact and offering smiles to people on the street.
  • Food and money to a member of the SF homeless community.
  • Some extra TLC with a family member going through a medical treatment. 
  • Extra long hugs and “I love you’s” to friends and family.
  • dropping off cookies to the sweetgreen Palo Alto crew after the afternoon rush
  • sponsored classes at my local Corepower Yoga studio to hand out to 10 of Jeff’s fellow yogis, in his honor
  • In honor of Jeff I picked up donuts to give to my favorite Capitol police officers (specifically, Officer Burke who mans the back Hart door) as a "thanks for being you."
  • I sent flowers to my friend - it was her first day on a new job. Starting a new job is a big deal, and I wanted her to feel the love because I know she is really excited about it.

Kaylie Hanson Long
(203) 561-3945

Thursday, February 20, 2020

George Washington Never told a Lie

Happy Birthday to George Washington.
When that other George, King George III of England, was told that at the end of his term of office President Washington would relinquish power and retire to his farm in Virginia, he said,
"Then he's the greatest man in the history of the world."
Yes, the father of our country was a great man but not perfect, because, oh, yeah, slavery. It's hard to love Washington as whole-heartedly as we love Lincoln.

"Merci, Monsieur le Marquis.  De rien, Monsieur le Presidente."

 In this collage, 
 General Washington expresses his thanks to the Marquis de Lafayette for his help in winning American independence.  It's a statue that stands in Place des Etats Unis in Paris. A French coq and a Louisiana heron look on. The snow-covered trees are a reminder of the winter at Valley Forge.
In a New York Times op-ed this week, Alexis Coe, author of You Never Forget Your First, A Biography of George Washington,  says that "Lafayette spent the rest of his life proposing various ways Washington could free his slaves during his lifetime, setting a powerful example for the infant nation." If only. 
Lafayette idolized Washington but he knew right from wrong and he wanted his hero to be perfect.
I'm trying to imagine how Washington could have held on to the life he enjoyed without free labor.
 Lincoln said in his second inaugural address,  
“It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not that we be not judged.”
So I won't judge.

This reminds me of Mount Rushmore, which Jessie and I visited the summer she turned sixteen. I found it to be weird and a little cheesy.  As you approach the viewing place there are tinny speakers playing Sousa marches.  You have to feel some awe at the chutzpah of the whole thing. I wonder what the people who lived there thought about it.

Guston Borglum, the artist, taught at the Art Students League, so I felt an affinity.  I looked up and thought, "Should I be working bigger?" 

This monumental work was begun in 1927, conceived as an attraction to bring tourists to the Dakotas. Four presidents, carved into a mountain. Washington represents the birth of the nation, Jefferson its growth, Lincoln the preservation of the Union and Teddy Roosevelt its development into the twentieth century.  those were the years that many monuments to the Confederacy were being erected all across the south and Borglum made many of them.  Borglum was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.  Maybe he found connections with Klan members to be helpful in securing commissions. But still. There's no upside to the Klan. 

Didn't Hemingway say, "Don't get too close to an artist--he might smell bad." Can we love our heroes with all their faults?

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A Week of Vincent Van Gogh

Years ago my  teacher, Leo Manso,  looked at the little book in which I was making notes and pasting random images and said, "This is a playground for you." I took him at his word and kept at it. 
 Eventually I started working on my yearly appointment books. Last week I browsed through 1999 and found a celebration of Vincent Van Gogh.  In that year both the National Gallery and the Los Angeles County Museum held major exhibitions and they must have spent a fortune on their advertising; the magazines were full of these gorgeous reproductions of his paintings.  I really went to town.  A playground indeed.

Then I made this collage with several etchings and a drawing.  It's titled

"Claude Monet Greatly Admired the Work of Vincent Van Gogh"

Christmas in July

I've been feeling a little uninspired and overwhelmed by papers and stuff, torn by needing to clear the decks and get rid of everything ...