Artwork of the Week for Sept 21, 2009

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Ian Wallace
Clayoquot Protest, 1993

The Clayoquot Sound is the largest unlogged temperate rainforest remaining on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. In 1993, the BC government passed The Clayoquot Land Use Decision, which effectively allowed MacMillan Bloedel to log the the old growth forest on the sound. In April 1993, 12,000 protesters peacefully gathered to prevent MacBlo workers from beginning the clear-cutting process.

Wallace’s photographs of the protests go beyond mere a documentation of the largest act of civil disobedience in Canada’s history. Composed of 3 mural-sized prints, the photos allude to the western tradition of history painting while challenging the myth of objectivity that surrounds photography. Areas of the image are removed and blacked out, thus each supposedly documenting photograph is in fact incomplete. As a result, Wallace’s panoramic scene is a composite of three doctored photographs.

The Musings of a Department

Quotables from those fortunate few who work in MoMA’s print department:

“Look, if there’s a fire, I’m grabbing a stack of Picassos. Forget the crying baby in the stairwell. I’m taking the picassos. The baby only stands a chance if he looks like a Picasso.” — H, the keeper of the prints

“I haven’t seen a single male since I walked into this office.” — Visiting high school art student

“You’ll notice that around the holidays it gets a little crazy around here. There’s always food, tons of food. It’s one of the advantages of being an all-female department: people always give us chocolate.” — Emily

Workdays spent…

9/15
i had a ham and cheese for lunch.
i put more paper in the copier today.
the copier jammed 5 times.
i took paper out of the copier.

9/16
staff meeting
learned about pensions
apparently, i’m not eligible for a pension
previewed exhibit
my staff meetings are cooler than your staff meetings

9/22
taught myself german
photocopied german books
read some french books on german painters
viewed water lilies
forgot the german i learned in morning.

Artwork of the Week for September 14, 2009

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Joyce Kozloff
Boy’s Art #7: British Fleet, Falkland Islands, 2002

I’m very intrigued by Kozloff’s work — by her play with depictions of space and her interpretation of the history of place. Her Boy’s Art series is based on maps from the age of colonialism. She merges western cartography with indigenous map-making traditions, images of conquest with art works created by the conquered. Here, Native American ledger drawings are superimposed on the hand-drawn map. Migration, relocation, and colonialism are all addressed in this multilayer scene.

Woes of the temporarily uninsured

So get this — as of May 20th, 2009, I am no longer a student. In July, I had Swine Flu (woooot!). My student health insurance expired on August 31. So this means that for the last 11 days, I’ve been uninsured. Last night at fencing practice, a foil slipped up under my mask and hit me in the side of the head. No blood, no scrape, no concussion. Phew. Dodged that bullet. 15 minutes later? Ankle gets caught on strip, rolls one way then the other. Cracks 3 times. Walks it off. Or so I thought… while I was walking to locker room about two hours later, after a lesson, two more cracks, pain shoots up leg. Okay, just a passing thing? Hmm… maybe not. During the commute home, excruciating pain shooting up leg, can’t move toes, can’t touch foot without squealing. Fuck. I’M UNINSURED and I THINK MY FOOT IS BROKEN.

I’m writhing in the front passenger seat of the car, contemplating pulling into the ER, but I decide to hightail it home. I don’t have health insurance and my bill from the Swine Flu incident included an x-ray and had totaled at $2,600. Now, there are a lot of stairs between my car and my bedroom and I can’t put any weight on my left leg, which has turned into a kankle (this is a technical term for super swollen ankle). So I hop… on one leg…up 3 stairs to the walkway, 12 stairs to the house, 20 steps to my bedroom. I hop into the shower, literally. I hop out of the shower. I fall over putting on my PJs. I scream. Even after icing and 6 advil, sleeping is a chore. Every time I turn, my foot catches on the blanket and pain shoots up my shin. fuck.

The first thing I do when I wake up? enroll in the continuation plan option on my expired health insurance. Next? Go to doctor.

Verdict on foot? No broken bones. phew.
Total cost: $25 co-pay + $6,111 for health insurance = $6,136.
Wallet? Empty.
Doctor asks if I have a rich boyfriend yet. Answer is still no, though one is now definitely needed.

Artwork of the week for Sept. 7, 2009

poirot

Paul Poiret
Costume (Fancy Dress), 1911

French couturier Paul Poiret couldn’t sew, yet he was probably one of the most influential and revolutionary fashion designers of the 20th century. Two years ago, the Met’s costume institute featured an exhibition on Poiret’s work. If you ever had any doubt about Fashion as Art, “Poiret: King of Fashion” would have wiped it away.

This exotic ensemble was probably Worn to “The Thousand and Second Night” Party, one of Poiret’s famous fancy costume balls. The party’s theme alluded the story of Scheherazade and 1001 Arabian Nights and was partially motivated by the success of the Ballet Russe’s performance of “Scheherazade” a year earlier.

For more discussion about Poiret and his clothing the best place to go is here: http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={0DC3D00F-4611-4F91-8DC2-CC3C1A5C48D5}

Oh, Canada

To most Americans, Canada is something to laugh at. It’s a non-threatening country to the North of us, with a people who punctuate clauses with “eh” and pronounce “ou” like they’re tooting a horn. For the record, real Canadians don’t say aboot. Canadians have a lovely lilt in their speech — a rhythmic change of intonation that sounds a bit like the Irish and a bit like the French. If you listen to a proper Canadian pronounce “a-b-o-u-t” you’ll notice a deepening of their voice — the “ou” is more internal, lower in pitch, and is the same sound you make when you stub your toe. When most Americans think of Canada they think of bacon, the RCMP (most Americans call these fellas Mounties), lumberjacks and John Candy (or Mike Meyers if you’re under 25). But Canada has a lot more going for it that pork products, plaid and SNL (though, let’s not lie — those are pretty awesome things to lay claim to). Here are a few things I love about Canada:

1. The Big Wild
Canada has an amazing park system. Ontario alone boasts 1000 lakes and provincial parks larger than the state of New York. Banff, Jasper and the other National parks in Alberta boast some of the most ruggedly spectacular scenery in the world. Rock-climbing, hiking, kayaking — whatever, you can do it to excess in Canada. Nearly one quarter of the planet’s wild forests are inside Canada’s borders; 20% of the world’s fresh water and 24% of the planet’s wetlands are Canadian, too. Canada is so self-consciously defined by it’s nature that the citizens chose a maple leaf as its flag and a beaver as it’s national animal.2010 Olympic Jersey Logo

2. The Flag
You may think that maple leaf is a lil hokey, but man, can you do a lot with it. Check out the design Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow created for the Canadian 2010 Olympic Hockey Team — it includes First Nations design elements within the borders of the leaf.

3. Men
Okay, ladies, I’m going to let you in a secret — Canadian men are real men. Let’s remember Ryan Reynolds, here. Sure, they try to start camping fires with gasoline (not sooo safe), but at least they go camping, regularly. So far in my interactions with Men to the North, I found them to be well-balanced, interested in a variety of things, outdoorsy and funny….

which leads me to…

4. Sense of Humours
Canadians are funny — they have to be to live up there. Almost the entire population is concentrated along the border. The winter is longer. They have a lot of mosquitoes. Their national animal has bucked-teeth. They have to be able to laugh at themselves. Only 1 in 10 Canadians are too serious (this is not an official statistic, but I think it’s reasonably close to accurate)

gouda lady

Artisan Cheese from PEI

5. Cuisine & Beverages
Canada does have some uniquely Canadian food. Buttertarts and date-squares for one. Buttertarts can be compared to a pecan pie, with raisins instead of pecans, but less offensively sweet. They’re ridiculously delicious. The Maritime provinces also have tremendous seafood — Prince Edward Island mussels are world famous (and their potatoes are pretty damn good too) and there are some fantastic chefs working out there. Vancouver is one of the hottest cities in the world for food right now, thanks to a diverse immigrant community and increasing prosperity. Canadians also take their caffeine very seriously — they have their own coffee chains and cities boast lots of tea shops. Oh, and their beer has more alcohol.

6. DetailsShane's cottage adventures 09 008
Canadians pay attention to the small things. Lawns are well-maintained and landscaped with flowers — regardless of the size of the home. Air Canada stocks its on-flight bathrooms with sanitary napkins and mouthwash. They consider the small things and take personal pride in meeting an exceeding standards.

7. Universal Health Care
This one needs no defense or explanation. No citizen is left without coverage. If they can do it, we can do it.

8. No global dimmingCottage on a lake part 1, 09 027
The sky is different in Canada. Clouds are fluffier and better defined. Orion and the Big Dipper are not the only stars in the sky. Why? Because Canada doesn’t suffer from global dimming in the same way the US does. Less heavy industry, fewer cities and a more dispersed population are the primary reasons why the Canadian sky is brighter and cleaner. It certainly makes for a prettier horizon.

9. Farms
There is a lot of stunning farm land in Canada. Ontario produces such a wide variety of goods, that it can effectively stock the entire produce section of supermarkets. Everything from carrots to peaches can be grown within the province. The farms are also beautiful and well maintained. And somehow, the Prairie provinces lack the monotony of American corn fields.

10. Compassion
For me, going to Canada is like going home. Part of it is in my blood, I know. But I’ll always remember the weekend I drove to Montreal in September of 2001. It was 2 weeks after the World Trade Center attacks. My car, with its New York license plate was parked outside the hotel on Rue Sherbrooke and as I was unloading the luggage, strangers stopped me as they passed — “Are you from the city?… We’re glad you’re here, have a wonderful vacation.” One after another after another stopped to wish me well. They weren’t looking for details or an insider’s view. They just wanted me to know I was safe here and that they cared. That’s the thing I love most about Canada, they just seem to care.

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