Thursday, January 18, 2007

Creamy but not Icy

Truffle Butter
There is a saying that goes "eat to live, not live to eat". I understand that the inherent germ of knowledge in that is we should should not be gluttons. Understood.
Yet none of the food that we "eat to live" should be boring. Everyday food should be flavorful and give you a reason to pick up another tasty morsel of what's on your plate and put it in your mouth.
Which brings me to the photo. It looks like chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. It most assuredly is not.
It is D'Artagnan Black Truffle Butter. Simply put it is creamy butter and bits of black truffles. It is also one of the most simply delicious things I have in my refrigerator. I stir a small amount into scrambled eggs. I accompany it with some thinly sliced toasted whole wheat bread and I have a delicious breakfast.
And if you have not had enough truffle butter in the morning, restrain yourself, have it at lunch mixed in with some boiled pasta. Not enough truffle butter yet? Dinner can be a lovely experience if you take a small filet mignon, sear to medium rare, slice, place dollops of truffle butter on each, consume with crusty french bread. But really, try not to do this all in one day.
Let's face it, it's all calories, the questions is: how do you want to use them?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

YAG: Not quite done yet.

African Art
Recently there was an article in the New York Times about the Kahn building and the collection/exhibitions. I have to admit that African art has always been a problem for me. The problem was not with the art; it was with my understanding of the exhibitions. Many African art exhibits I'd been to have often been out of context, explanations lacking.
As you can see Africa is a huge continent and trying to understand it has proven to be a challenge. It has often been the same with Chinese art and admittedly other non-Western art.
But the great part about reading books, magazines, etc., is that it opens our eyes to what we may have overlooked in the past. It makes you consider something outside your boundaries of comfort and thereby brings a new understanding to the world around you, whether that world is global or local.
The New York Times article inspired me to consider another visit (not that I actually think I am done with YAG, next on the agenda is Asian Art) and to go straight up to the second floor.
The exhibition is concise with a fair amount of accompanying information. Photographs of the objects in situ help you understand their role in that particular society. It also gives you a view (albeit a very narrow one) of the different parts of Africa; everything from fertility figures to crosses to banners.
The exhibition can be enjoyed by everyone. During my visit there, children were just as intrigued as adults by the objects on the display.
Do you think it's possible they would let me borrow a few pieces to contemplate in my own home?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dog vs. Cat

I have a dog. A big, fluffy wonderful dog. Fluffy acquired me at the Humane Society. Not my job to change his name, he couldn't care less.
But this is not about my dog. It is about the cat I found outside my house when I came home tonight. It wasn't even a full grown cat. Somewhere between a kitten and cat. I thought it was just a stray but then I saw a collar. Perhaps there was hope reuniting this feline with its owner. I lured the kitty over with bread (hope that kitty appreciated extra virgin olive oil and garlic ciabatta) and looked for a tag. None was to be found but there were two collars. A shiny, embroidered one and a flea collar.
Okay, so he belongs to someone. Did I mention I have a dog? Did I mention that my dog hates cats? Actually I don't know whether he hates cats as he has never caught one. I just know they always run faster. Apparently the cats don't want to know either whether Fluffy hates them. Let's call it animal detente.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Hoping that I could reunite the cat with the owner, I thought I might put some posters up, try for the tearful reunion. I wanted to put the cat out on the back porch, keep him safe. I didn't want to pick him up and perhaps be scratched; then I had an idea.
Let's flash forward to the moral of the the story: Cats do not like leashes and will not allow themselves to be led.
The second moral of the story: Some people just don't want to be helped.
Hope the kitty finds his way home.
n.b. yes, that's a picture of my Fluffy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Financial Times

Numbers, charts, and of course, Martin Lukes.
I cannot pretend to be a high-flying financial wizard. The lovely salmon colored Financial Times (it's evil twin is New York Press) is full of financial information. Lots of it. There are two things I love about this daily.
1. The Weekend section which arrives on my doorstep on Saturdays is full of everything. Food, wine, books, theater, travel, restaurants, interviews, movies, etc.
2. Martin Lukes. No arrival of FT is more anticipated than Thursday's issue which features the inner workings of a-bglobal.
This ongoing telenovela via email missives can be understood even if you arrive in medias res. Martin Lukes heads up a-bglobal. Martin is a completely unaware person (except of his own importance of course) who goes about doing what he wants. a-bglobal is his playground and everyone else is but a clay accessory to be molded (although molded is a rather mild word for what he does to people) to his wishes.
If Martin asks you a question it will only be so that he can then insert his own experience into it, i.e. but enough about me, what do you think of me?
Anyone who has worked for a large corporation will understand the cast of characters.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

No Wrath of Kahn

Concrete Sol
This will be the last of the Yale Art Gallery/Louis Kahn Building entries. Since I never saw the building before the renovation, I cannot comment on its merits or demerits (nor would I be qualified to do so). I can only comment on what I see now. To me it is all summarized in this photo. The knot in the concrete, the Sol LeWitt mural and the tetrahedral ceiling.
Then again, it may not be the last entry. I am still intrigued by the Richard Serra Stacks, I haven't really done the African art floor, not to mention the very, very cool slow moving video with the two women and the Jesus-like figure rising out of the water. You have to go see it. It is like looking at a moving picture. Literally.


Being Moved vs. Moving
Yes, I can be lazy. I admit I like taking elevators. But at the Yale Art Gallery taking the stairs affords you an intimate view of the construction of the building.
Also you can look up at the triangular ceiling while standing in what feels like a silo.

YAG:dos y dos son cuatro but I like Jane & Enrique

Jane Hammond and Enrique Chagoya
I wanted to buy these. Simple as that. Ms. Hammond for her fantastical /classical setting. Mr. Chagoya because he immediately reminded me of Pepon Osorio. Mr. Osorio is part of the permanent collection at El Museo del Barrio. Museum mile does not end at 96th St.


Compare and Contrast
I have no idea why I decided to pair these two works together. There is no chronological arrangement at the gallery. Somewhere in my brain I have made a connection. Perhaps one day it will come to me. I need to go back, again.
The work of art on top is Vincent van Gogh's Le cafe de nuit while the other work is Edward Ruscha's Level. Both are paintings but the Ruscha fascinates me for its photographic quality. The van Gogh because I have an historical obsession with the drinking habits of painters and writers and how alcoholic beverages are portrayed in paintings (I am in the adult beverage industry i.e. the booze business).

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Richard Serra: Stacks

Inserting a Meaning

Inserting a meaning occurs constantly, for works of art (of poetry, of painting, of music) enrich the register of existing things, while every existing thing calls for something, and it is not enough to say simply: it is. Inserting a meaning into a pine or a mountain is very difficult, it is a little easier in the case of the creations of man, that being who incessantly strives, expects, desires. Hence the repeated attempts to name the strivings hidden in an oeuvre.

Yet past events also call for a meaning, as it is difficult to stop at one word, simply saying they were. Was not Marxism just an act of inserting a meaning into the history of the nineteenth century?

And inserting a meaning into one's own life. Something must correspond to something, something must result from something. Perhaps so that things just plain stupid and dishonest find an explanation.
--Czeslaw Milosz, Road-side Dog

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Kahn-did Talk

Paging Mr. Jugo de Vegetales!
It is sculpture. The best part? The return label on this is funny only if you speak Spanish. The sender's name is Jugo de Vegetales. Translation: Vegetable Juice.

Mabel, another Black Label
Duane Hanson. Enough said.
Does the Wadsworth still have the one of the woman sunbathing?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Yale Art Gallery:Kahn Reopens

Concrete Love
I have a job in sales. I travel all over the state of Connecticut and am discovering many of its wonderful aspects. My latest love and discovery is the newly renovated Louis Kahn building at the Yale Art Gallery.
First of all, while it was undergoing renovation, I barely noticed it. The Kahn building is attached to the other part of the Yale Art Gallery (the part that is Gothic), across the street from the Yale School of Architecture and the Yale Rep Theater. For some reason, as many times as I have crossed those streets, I never noticed the Kahn building. That period of my life is over. The Concrete Age has begun. Cement is what one mixes with other media to achieve concrete. Concrete as an art form had been lost on me. The British Art Gallery at Yale felt like one big concrete building. Utilitarian at best, boring at worst. I tried to love the building but it didn't love me back. At the YAL:LKB I saw the intricacies of concrete. As I looked closely I could see the patterns left by the wood forms on the concrete. The knot in the pine is now the knot in concrete. The familiarity is understood even if the medium is different. On a Thursday night like tonight, the gallery is open until 8:00. It is empty, hardly anyone there. The perfect evening to explore.

Sol LeWitt
Any building that has a Sol LeWitt in its lobby automatically moves to the front of the line. In fact if Sol LeWitt wanted to use my house as a canvas, I would let him. My town would probably pitch a fit and I would hire a lawyer just for the privilege of letting two types of Sol shine on my house.

Cocktails Anyone?
To the right of Mr. LeWitt's work is what you might call a lobby with sofas but really, let's spin it. It is a chic seating area. Put a bar in there and you have a New York style lounge. There is an information area between the LeWitt and the reception area. As for the museum shop? I heard someone ask if this was the museum shop while standing in the middle of it. You will not be buying calendars, mugs, scarves or notepads here. Books and postcards are all that's available.
On the other hand, where can I get one of those chairs? Perhaps Design Within Reach.

Susan Morse Hilles Sculpture Courtyard
There are two courtyards at the Gallery. At night, the one on the first floor ha
s a beautifully illuminated sculpture. I couldn't find the information placard anywhere. Doesn't matter, it's beautiful. This photo is of the door leading out to the courtyard; you can see the illuminated sculpture and the reflection of a painting in the lobby.

It's Winter.
Okay, then let's pretend winter's here. If you had a coat, scarf, umbrella and packages what do you do with it all? Chic lockers await.

Kahn you wait until the next post?
I realize there is a lot to this gallery, it's getting late, so I will leave you with a photo of a photo of Mr. Louis Kahn.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The Art of Ebrû

Feridun Özgören
Years ago I discovered paper marbling. I spent six weekends at an arts center learning Florentine paper marbling. I loved spraying on the alum, putting the paint on the water mixed with agar. I was always surprised to see what appeared when I lifted the paper.
Recently I was at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and saw this work of art. It is Ebrû, which is Turkish marbling. There were a few of these but I was completely captivated by this one. Honestly, I wanted to take it home. And yeah, nothing I could do about the annoying spotlight. This work of art was not at eye level. The work is titled Ebru with Calligraphy, 2005.
I have a notebook in which I keep notes about works of art that intrigue me. If possible I take a photograph of the work. In this case I went home and searched for information about this artist. Sometimes I find connections between a work of art at one museum and another work of art I have seen in another museum. So far my obsessive connection is linking drinking vessels from paintings of the Dutch Golden Age and the similarities to contemporary glasses. Somewhere in all of that is a doctoral dissertation waiting to be written.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

My Last Sigh (okay, not mine but Buñuel's)

My Last Sigh: The Autobiography of Luis Buñuel
One of my favorite books, if only because it very seriously discusses the Martini and other libations.
Here are some quotes:
"To be frank, given the primordial role played in my life by the dry martini, I think I really ought to give it at least a page"
"I do drink other things, of course--vodka with my caviar, aquavit with smoked salmon"
"If I had to list all the benefits derived from alcohol, it would be endless"
"If alcohol is queen, then tobacco is her consort"

Sometimes I miss it....

Right now the only place I want to be is New York City. I don't live there anymore, I miss it. On days like this, I miss walking out of my apartment, turning the corner and within minutes seeing this beautiful sight and getting lost in the crowd. Sometimes I think about moving back. But this blog will not be about New York City. It's just that today, I miss it.