Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 BLOG AND BOOK REVIEW

BLOG POSTS:
1) ANTHONY DOERR – One of the bright spots in 2017 was the discovery of the luminous, mosaic writing of Anthony Doerr. Cypresses seethe, roots prowl and stars burn in his wide, spacious worlds 
full of light and air. 
2) NO-ONE CAN SEE YOUR LIKES - Twitter has reworked its algorithms so your followers can’t see your LIKES. If you want your followers to know 
what you like, RT it.
3) CAKES INSPIRED BY ART - Thiebaud, Mondrian, Klimt.
4) BOOKS INSPIRED BY ART - V.S. Naipaul, Donna Tartt, Tracey Chevalier
5) ART INSPIRED BY BOOKS - Picasso, Millais, Dali.
6) LIVING WITH GREAT ART – Picasso, Bacon, Uccello.
7) THREE FRENCH NUDES – Duchamp, Léger, Picasso.
8) IT’S NOT ONLY HARVEY - It’s about considering women like resources.
9) TEN THINGS MEN CAN’T SAY ANYMORE - Why didn’t she say something sooner?
10) IT’S NOT ONLY JOHN LASSETER - While the art of animation is cutting edge, the culture is primitive and misogynistic.
11) ART INSPIRED BY FOOD - Da Vinci, de Heem, Arcimboldo



BOOKS:  ↑↑↑ Mmm - ↓↓↓ Ugh – These are just my subjective impressions. 

1) ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑ 
During WWII, Werner in Germany and Marie-Laure, a blind girl in France, are caught up in an intrigue about a fabulous gem. Doerr gets the smells and streets of Paris and St. Malo so right, but it’s surprising that he gets the food, so important in French culture, so wrong. 
2) THE HONORABLE SCHOOLBOY, John Le Carré ↑↑↑
This is the third time I’ve read this book and it is my all-time favorite Le Carré. He gets out of grey London and shows us exotic and still British Hong Kong (in the rain, in a typhoon, in the fog, in the moonlight). We also visit Laos and Viet Nam at the end of the US war. Lots of action, some of it shocking. Marvelous protagonists seething with anger, stoicism and lust. This really needs to be a movie: Stephen and Timothy Cornwell at the Ink Factory, what are you waiting for? 

3) ABOUT GRACE, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑ 
The protagonist has a super-power but Doer keeps it so tightly wrapped in reality that it seems almost plausible. A heart-rending character who endures much suffering and world travel in a good cause.
4) TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, John Le Carré ↑↑↑
A masterpiece of richly observed spies in dreary London venues, a convoluted chase after a mole with barely perceptible hints and clues. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll miss them but you won’t care because the writing is so superb.
5) FOUR SEASONS IN ROME, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑
If you’ve never been to Rome, read this book first. It’s one of the best introduction you can have to the Eternal City. Doerr quotes Pliny the Elder while baby-sitting his twin sons and is amazed that Roman doctors charge him nothing for his wife’s overnight stay in the hospital.
6) DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? Philip K. Dick. 
I always wondered if the book was the source of the magic of BLADE RUNNER, supposedly based on this book but, after reading it it seems  Ridley Scott is the film’s magician.
7) THE SHELL COLLECTOR: STORIES, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑
Shells and marine snails feature in the title story and reappear in ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. Scintillating writing on diverse subjects.  
8) MEMORY WALL: STORIES, Anthony Doerr ↑↑↑ 
The title story has an element of fantasy/science-fiction but is all about humanity and struggle. More spacious, dazzling writing.
9) THE NIGHTINGALE: A NOVEL,  Kristin Hannah - ↓↓↑
Wanting to see what sort of fiction was on the NYT best-seller list, I read this novel that takes place during WWII: two sisters who are supposed to be, but could never in a million years be, French, move woodenly through an unrecognisable France. They predictably encounter hunger, danger, nice & nasty Nazis and naturally, join the Resistance. This book made me scream and swear.
10) DARKNESS AT NOON, Arthur Koestler – I understand this is a masterpiece, but the translation is so awful it’s painful to read. 
I may not finish it.
*
 BOOKS, DOERR, WEINSTEIN, LE CARRÉ, LASSETER, FOOD, ART, HARASSMENT

Sunday, December 24, 2017

ART INSPIRED BY FOOD


THE LAST SUPPER, a mural by Leonardo da VINCI, painted in tempera on stone, around 1495/6 in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria 
delle Grazie in Milan. It measures 15 feet by 29 feet. 
Historical & biblical records indicate the menu may have included 
bread, wine, fish, olive oil, honey, dried apricots and figs. 
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STILL LIFE WITH HAM, LOBSTER AND FRUIT, 75 x 105 cm painted in oil on canvas circa 1653 by Dutch artist Jan Davidsz de HEEM.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
Heem was the inventor of the “sumptuous” still life, this one with 
rutilant lobster, succulently translucent grapes, soft, meaty ham 
and all the beautifully captured textures of the peeled orange: 
juiciness, pithiness and thick, dimpled skin.
*

SUMMER, oil on wooden panel 67 x 51cm, painted by Italian artist
Giuseppe ARCIMBOLDO in 1563. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
With her peachy cheek, cherry lips, peapod teeth, artichoke heart and the artist’s signature woven into her oaten collar along with the date, “Summer” is a beautiful and fun food painting.

BTW, IF YOU LIKE THIS POST, PEASE DON'T 💗 IT, 
LET YOUR FOLLOWERS SEE IT WITH AN RT.
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ART, FOOD, ARCIMBOLDO, DA VINCI, DE HEEM

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

IT'S NOT ONLY JOHN LASSETER

John Lasseter’s full leave-of-absence letter:

I have always wanted our animation studios to be places where creators can explore their vision with the support and collaboration of other gifted animators and storytellers. This kind of creative culture takes constant vigilance to maintain. It’s built on trust and respect, and it becomes fragile if any members of the team don’t feel valued. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen; and I now believe I have been falling short in this regard.

I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them. As a result, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the leader I am today compared to the mentor, advocate and champion I want to be. It’s been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent. Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form. No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.

In my conversations with Disney, we are united in our commitment to always treat any concerns you have with the seriousness they deserve, and to address them in an appropriate manner. We also share a desire to reinforce the vibrant, respectful culture that has been the foundation of our studios’ success since the beginning. And we agree the first step in that direction is for me to take some time away to reflect on how to move forward from here. As hard as it is for me to step away from a job I am so passionate about and a team I hold in the highest regard, not just as artists but as people, I know it’s the best thing for all of us right now. My hope is that a six-month sabbatical will give me the opportunity to start taking better care of myself, to recharge and be inspired, and ultimately return with the insight and perspective I need to be the leader you deserve.

I’m immensely proud of this team, and I know you will continue to wow the world in my absence. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and look forward to working together again in the new year.

John

Animation is not, as everybody thinks, a “fun” job.
While the challenges are enjoyable, it is mostly very hard work.
But for women it’s not only hard work
because, along with the glass ceilings and rampant sexism,
it’s also a hostile environment
where even the most timid of males feels free
to insult and humiliate female workers with impunity. 

Animation is a boys’ club culture 
where women’s looks are constantly remarked on, 
where they’re routinely groped, dismissed, ignored, 
patronized and underpaid. 

If a woman stands up for herself 
she will be told: “If you don’t like it, leave.”
And if she doesn’t leave, she will be
ostracized, blacklisted and slandered.

This misogyny started with Walt Disney 
and pervades the animation industry worldwide.
That it persists today is shocking.
While the art of animation is cutting edge, 
the culture is primitive and backward,
the self-serving language of the above memo notwithstanding.

In a master stroke (they've been handling sexual harassment for decades)
Disney lawyers carefully re-drafted Lasseter's folksy memo, using euphemisms and omissions which successfully allowed the studio to slither out of firing a man who is more important to them than providing a safe place for women to work.

Allow me to interpret the memo from personal experience:
for "trust & respect" and "vibrant, respectful culture" read patronizing dismissiveness disguised in formal corporate-speak towards women.
"if any members of the team don't feel valued" meaning women
Women are not valued or respected in the animation industry generally
and especially not at Disney. Young female animators hesitate to get into
the industry because this.
"conversations" This self-righteous letter is not, as is suggested, the 
result of his own spontaneous soul-searching. Lasseter's behavior being 
well-known, Disney would have met with lawyers, called him in and had 
him take this leave of absence to pre-empt an actual scandal.
Did any women actually speak up, lodge formal complaints? Former Pixar employees suggest they did.
If so, were they forced to sign NDAs?
Why do we not know their names?
You'll note the use of the lawerly "IF I've let you down".
"unwanted hug" or "mis-steps" - This means groping women's upper thighs during meetings, pressing himself against women in the guise of "hugs", inappropriate kissing and touching, making inappropriate remarks about 
their appearance and more.
"My hope is that a six-month sabbatical will give me the opportunity 
to start taking better care of myself" - As though his health were the issue.
Notice women are never mentioned in the entire memo
Neither is harassment. Using euphemisms and omissions, it repeatedly suggests the harasser has been hurtfully misunderstood and his good intentions mis-interpreted.

The most powerful thing Disney has going for it besides its size, 
is its squeaky-clean brand.
Nobody wants to believe anything bad goes on at Disney.
Come on, folks, this is the real world not fairyland.
Very ugly things go on all the time at Disney and
one of them is misogynistic harassment.

And John Lasseter is not the only one. 
There are DOZENS more harassers still operating with impunity
at the studio, probably hundreds more in the overall animation 
culture that condones such behavior.

I'm hoping Disney women will find the courage to stand up for themselves 
or, not only will these unpleasant working conditions persist at Disney, 
but this clever ploy will embolden other companies to do the same 
and women everywhere will continue to suffer the indignities of 
harassment. The fact that no-one at Disney dares speak out 
and no-one anywhere else dares say anything, tells you 
how afraid people are of this powerful company.
Mickey smiles and smiles but carries a very big stick.




UPDATES:
November 16, 2017 - Jon HEELY, a Disney music executive, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing two underage girls. Disney SUSPENDED him. As far as we know he still hasn't been fired. 

February 21, 2018 - Thomas SHUMACHER , theatrical executive, was accused of lewd conduct and harassment by four people. Disney didn't even bother with a memo this time and Shumacher didn't even bother issuing a statement.

May the 4th (be with you) 2018 - John LASSETER's six months are up and it seems even Disney is reconsidering having him back. If John goes back, it will kill women in animation,” a former Pixar insider told T.H.R.  
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DISNEY, ANIMATION, LASSETER, HARASSMENT, BOYS' CLUB CULTURE, PIXAR



Saturday, October 28, 2017

TEN THINGS MEN CAN'T SAY ANYMORE (without sounding like a Neanderthal)




1) WHY DIDN’T SHE SAY SOMETHING SOONER? - The inference is that if she was blameless she would have spoken out immediately. Guys, what’s so hard to understand about the consequences of reporting harassement: getting fired, slandered, ostracized, sometimes
beaten up and even killed? 


2) IT WAS JUST A GOOD-NATURED/FRIENDLY PAT
Women are sovereign human beings not pets. Unlike cats you require permission to touch a woman.

3) SHE SHOULD BE FLATTERED
Why would a woman ever be flattered to be disrespected?
Do you really think women want to be assaulted?
Unwanted touching suggests that a woman 
is thought of as a resource, 
an amusing pleasure toy at men’s disposal. 
As in “wine, women and song.”

4) SHE'S CRAZY - When women fight back, they’re always called “crazy”. 
So, which is it: “Speak up sooner” or “She’s crazy” if she does.

5) I DIDN’T KNOW - Any man who’s ever had a girlfriend knows.

6) SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT - Admitting that you’re controlled by women’s behavior/clothing is embarrassing isn’t it?

7) IT WAS A JOKE - No it wasn’t. Jokes are funny.

8) I MEAN, ARE WE GOING TO BE SUED EVERY TIME WE WINK AT A WOMAN NOW?  Yes.

9) IT’S A WITCH HUNT. We hope so.

10) SMILE - Anyone who thinks he’s entitled to remark on or control 
women’s facial expressions is delusional.

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HARASSMENT, SEXISM, CAT-CALLING, DISCRIMINATION,  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

IT'S NOT ONLY HARVEY











It’s not only Harvey
it’s not only Hollywood
it’s not about “compliments”
it’s not about sex addiction
it’s not even about sex.

It's about the entitlement of the male gaze,
to stare, judge and condemn.
It's about the misguided authority
to tell women what to do,
even what expression to wear:
Smile! Don't look so serious.
At least that got a smile out of you. 
It’s about cat-calling
It’s about treating women like pets
like animals in a zoo 
like property
like vaginas
like breeders
like trophies 
or luxury toys
like nonentities.
It’s about POWER.

I once stood on the sidewalk 
with a large group of women 
(power in numbers)
and we cat-called all the men
walking past. 
We whistled and yelled: 
Yo, handsome 
Why don’t you smile?
Look at that tushie
etc.

Not one man looked pleased 
or flattered or complimented.
They all looked alarmed, 
uncomfortable 
and some, a little scared.
Because cat-calling is an assault.
Never a compliment.

There's only one way to get respect:
reject, report and LAUGH at harassers' suggestions.
Understand that "groping", "fondling" and "unwanted touching"
is SEXUAL ASSAULT/BATTERY.
Then lawyer up.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Sexual Offenses Act of 2003
Verbal Harassment
Penal Code 243.4 PC, (groping)
                            *        

















HARASSMENT, SEXISM, WEINSTEIN, MISOGYNY


Friday, September 8, 2017

ART inspired by BOOKS




Pablo PICASSO’s 1955 India ink sketch 
of DON QUIXOTE and Sancho Panza
was featured on the August 18–24 
issue of the French weekly journal 
Les Lettres Françaises in celebration 
of the 350th anniversary of the first
part of Cervantes’s DON QUIXOTE.
 
(Cover art by Gustave Doré)
Miguel CERVANTES, perhaps the only 
writer ever captured by pirates, 
wrote the epic novel
(EL INGENIOSO HIDALGO DON QUIJOTE DE LA MANCHA).
Part I published 1605 - Part II 1615, it
is considered the most influential work
of literature in the entire Spanish canon
and has spawned the adjective “quixotic”
 ------


British artist Sir John EVERETT Millais painted OPHELIA singing before she drowns. 1851- 1852.
Oil on canvas. 
Inspired by Shakespeare’s 
play HAMLET.
William SHAKESPEARE’s
written between 1599 and 1602 and
derived from the legend of Amleth.
It is his longest and most
influential work:
who among us has not asked
at some point in our life
“Etre ou ne pas être?”
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Salvador DALI’s 
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE 
was based on Lewis Carroll’s 
ALICE IN WONDERLAND. 
One of twelve heliogravures, 
one for each chapter of the
book published by 
Maecenas Press - 
Random House, 
New York in 1969.

In 1862 Charles Dodgson, a shy Oxford
mathematician with a stammer,
created a story about a little girl
tumbling down a rabbit hole 
under the pen name Lewis Carroll:
Insipid Alice is a bit of a bore but
who doesn’t love the Mad Hatter,
the Queen of Hearts,
the Cheshire cat?
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** See also BOOKS inspired by ART **
 
art, books, painting, picasso, cervantes, Carroll, Dali, Shakespeare

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

THREE FRENCH NUDES






NU DESCENDANT UN ESCALIER No. 2 1912,
Marcel Duchamp.
Oil on canvas.
(Philadelphia Museum of Art)
This painting scandalised 

New Yorkers at the
Armory Show in 1913

 1887-1968. (Photo: Man Ray)
French painter, cartoonist, sculptor, chess master, writer,
Duchamp, along with Matisse and Picasso
had an enormous impact on art.
He rejected “retinal” art and chose to make
 thought-provoking art.

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NUS DANS LA FORÊT, 1910
Fernand LÉGER. 
(Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands)
Exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1911 it’s 
considered Léger's first 
major work showing his 
alliance with Cubism.

Joseph Fernand Henri LEGER
1881-1955
French painter, sculptor and filmmaker.
An early cubist, his work evolved
into more tubular forms with
primary colors, causing his style 
to be called "Tubism".
In 1938, Nelson Rockefeller commissioned 
him to decorate his New York apartment!

----------------



STANDING FEMALE NUDE
Pablo PICASSO 1910. 
Charcoal on paper 
(Met New York.) 
Some think this is 
composed of 
the letters of 
Picasso’s name.








Pablo PICASSO 1881 – 1971
(Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno
María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso)

Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist,

 stage designer, poet and playwright.
He wrote two surrealist plays: 

“Desire Caught by the Tail” 1941 
and “Les Quatre Petites Filles”, 
the former performed as a reading by himself, 
Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir
Valentine Hugo and directed by Albert Camus.
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ART, PICASSO, DUCHAMP, LEGER, CUBISM, TUBISM

Monday, August 14, 2017

LIVING WITH GREAT ART

It occured to me recently that, thanks to the internet, I could have the world’s best art on my walls. I’ve always had the world’ best literature in my bookcases and now I could have the pictures to go with it.

Downloaded art may not have the intimacy of real-life brush work or the excitement of light gleaming on a paint smear and maybe the colors aren’t exactly the same, but wow, Leonardos and Giottos and Rembrandts on my very own walls.
Thrilling. 

Every time I walk past one of my favorites, hot fudge fills my chest as I savor again Uccello's beautiful compositions, grin at Picasso's arrogant angles, wince at the agonies of Bacon. 

Living with great art makes you straighten up as you pass a masterpiece and aim a little higher in your endeavors.
 
GUERNICA - a mural-sized painting 11′ 6″ x 25′ 6″
Oil on canvas by Spanish artist Pablo PICASSO
 April 26, 1937–June 1937, in Paris.
(Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain)
- Picasso requested that Guernica should remain
 at MOMA in NY until Franco died and 
only then be returned to Spain. 
Being an expressionof national outrage,
this painting has never been sold.


------


 RHYTHMS OF A SLAUGHTER Triptych, Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962 
Oil and sand on canvas by Francis BACON Irish-born British artist 1909-1992
(The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York)
- Bacon’s work isn't easy on the eye but I do like the cheery tangerine of 
these three paintings despite the cowering lumps of bloody gristle.
-------

THE BATTLE OF SAN ROMANO, another triptych
this one by Paolo UCCELLO. Tempera on wood panels. 1435 - 1460
(National Gallery, London /Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence /Musée du Louvre, Paris)
- Uccello is easy on the eye: fat, prancing horses, designy lances, 
colorful pennants and turbaned warriors fighting in an orange grove.
*
art, uccello, picasso, bacon

Saturday, August 5, 2017

BOOKS inspired by ART

Giorgio de CHIRICO’s oil painting  
THE ENIGMA OF ARRIVAL AND THE AFTERNOON 
(Privately owned)
was painted in Paris in 1912. The French poet Guillaume Apollinaire gave
the painting its title.


Nobel Prize winner V.S NAIPAUL’s 
cold, bereft, partly autobiographical book 
can be fully appreciated only by an immigrant.
Its title, THE ENIGMA OF ARRIVAL, 
was inspired by the sail, hinting at arrival,
 in CHIRICO’s eponymous painting.
                                    ----------------------- 




THE GOLDFINCH (HET PUTTERTJE),
Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands.
Oil on panel, a trompe-l’oeil painted by Dutchman 
Carel FABRITIUS in 1654, 
the year of his death.

In the 17th century, goldfinches 
were
popular pets because they
could be trained to draw 
water from a bowl with a 
miniature bucket.





The Fabritius painting is a key element in
Donna TART’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning 
novel THE GOLDFINCH
 ““The Goldfinch” is a rarity that comes along
 perhaps half a dozen times per decade,
 a smartly written literary novel that
 connects with the heart
 as well as the mind.” –
 Stephen King
                                     -----------------------




THE GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING (MEISJE MET DE PAREL) Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands1665 tronie oil painting by Dutchman Johannes VERMEER. 
Thought to be a portrait of his
daughter.


THE GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
by Tracey CHEVALIER tells the story of 
Griet, whose life is transformed by
 her brief encounter with genius...
even as she herself is 
immortalized... 
                                                     *
>> See also ART inspired by BOOKS <<

                     ART, BOOKS, LITERATURE, PAINTING, PAINTINGandLITERATURE