The Museum of Americana, Issue # 25

To celebrate the launch of this milestone issue, The Museum of Americana is hosting an on-line reading tomorrow, Thursday, 21 October, 5:30 PST / 8:30 EST

Free on Facebook Live!

See the full list of contributors here.

What is The Museum of Americana? It’s an on-line literary review of creative writing that revives and/or repurposes historical American culture.

Past Squares 9: CROWDS

In the first months of the pandemic, self looked through her archives, a lot. What she found most striking were her photos of CROWDS. Looking at these pictures from a post-pandemic mindset, it’s hard to imagine being comfortable in crowds this big, ever again.

(Loving the theme of Past Squares. Thank you, Becky at Life of B, for this fascinating challenge!)

The interior shot was taken at the Louvre. Look at that crowd of people trying to get in front of the Mona Lisa! Self didn’t think she’d ever make it, but a Spanish tourist grabbed self’s hand. It is much easier to push when there are two of you. Somehow, we managed to get close enough for each of us to take a picture.

The second picture was taken on the steps of Sacre Couer. Again, what a crowd. Wonder what it’s like in front of Sacre Couer today.

Past Squares 8: HATS

How much fun is it to join the Squares Challenge? Super super fun!

This month, the theme is the PAST (or Past Squares, your choice!)

Self has been looking back at the memorable exhibits she’s seen over the years.

In 2017, the Legion of Honor had an exhibit on Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade. Self had a blast! Here are a few pictures from the exhibit:

Past Squares 4: When Museums Re-Opened

For today’s Past Squares challenge, she’s posting a couple of photos from two big exhibits she saw this year: the Frida Kahlo and Judy Chicago exhibits, both in the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

Self had tickets to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit last year, but the week she was supposed to go, the whole city abruptly went into pandemic lockdown mode and stayed locked down into 2021. As soon as the de Young re-opened to the public, just this past spring, self rushed over. YAY!

The Frida Kahlo exhibit was followed by the Judy Chicago retrospective (which is still on; everyone within driving distance should go: it is FANTASTIC!)

Last on the Card, September 2021

Thanks, bushboys world, for hosting the Last Photo on the Card photo challenge.

I’ve been taking more pics with my cell these days. The last pic I took with my Nikon coolpix on September 23, 2021:

“Pink Over Red”: Mark Rothko, American, born Latvia (1903 – 1970), Stanford’s Anderson Collection

Stanford’s Anderson Collection had re-opened to the public, the day before. It so happened that Sept. 22 was also Dear Departed Mum’s birthday; she would have been 86. So, I was full of FEELZ when I stumbled across this Rothko.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Life in Colour Challenge: September 2021

It is almost the end of September! What happened?

The Life in Colour Photo Challenge for this month is GOLD. Jude’s blog has so many striking photographs, wow.

A few days ago, the Anderson Collection on the Stanford Campus finally re-opened to the public (limited capacity: must register on-line first). I focused on pieces that had shades of GOLD:

“Approach” : Helen Frankenthaler, American (1928 – 2011)

“Burn and Glitter” : Jules Olitski, American, born Russia (1922-2007)

“Hostile Terrain 94” : a participatory art exhibition created by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP)

1938

All over Europe, artists were on the run. Beckman left for the Netherlands the day after Hitler’s speech at the Haus der deutschen Kunst. He would spend the next ten years in Amsterdam, trying to get a visa for the United States. Kokoschka was in Prague, where he painted Self-Portrait of a Degenerate Artist, his response to Entartete Kunst, which showed him sitting with arms folded while a man and a deer lurked in the forest behind him: the artist as fugitive. Ernst remained in Paris, where he would later be picked up by the Gestapo before fleeing to America with the help of Peggy Guggenheim. Klee and Kirchner were in Switzerland, where Klee produced hundreds of pieces that dealt with his fate. Kirchner, depressed and fearful that German soldiers would eventually come for him, shot himself dead in the summer of 1938.

Those German modernists who hadn’t fled lived in a state of internal exile, working little or furtively, in some cases under surveillance.

The Gallery of Miracles and Madness, p. 152

Am picking up the pace. When Hitler starts his meteoric rise in politics, he becomes much, much less interesting.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Alas, Young Adolf

If that doesn’t just take the cake. Hitler, a very gauche bumpkin, moves to Vienna with inflated hopes. The last thing self expected to happen was to actually empathize with his frustration!

In the last post (before this one), a dim assessment of Adolf’s artistic talent was delivered by his (only) friend Gustl Kubizek, who ends up accompanying him to Vienna. Little does Kubizek know that Adolf is harboring a deep, dark secret:

Hitler still harbored the secret of his failed exam and pretended to attend the academy each day, a bizarre situation made worse by Kubizek’s easy acceptance to the Conservatoire to study music.

The Gallery of Miracles and Madness, p. 70

Could Hitler possibly have been driven mad by his rejection by the Academy of Fine Arts (Only 28 of the 113 applicants who took the entrance exam with Hitler were accepted), his disappointment exacerbated by the death of his beloved mother (and only ally) two months before? When “Hitler launched a tirade,” Kubizek “had to go into bed. He would lie there as Adolf ranted and cried and gesticulated, and if Kubizek fell asleep Hitler would shake him awake to shout at him some more.”

And then, Hitler ghosted him: Kubizek returned to his hometown after the end of term. This Kubizek must have been a very mild fellow, because when he returned to Vienna, he still expected to share the room with Hitler but “he found that Hitler had cleared out, leaving no explanation or forwarding address.”

The next section is about Hitler’s “sexual frustrations” and fear of women. At this point, self thinks Kubizek should be earnestly thankful that he is no longer rooming with Hitler although, poor man, all Kubizek feels at the moment is disappointment and abandonment.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Adolf Hitler, Aspiring Artist

“The rapid catching of an atmosphere, of a certain mood, which is so typical of a water color and which, with its delicate touch, imparts to it freshness and liveliness — this was missing completely in Adolf’s work,” a friend named Kubizek recalled.

The Gallery of Miracles and Madness, p. 67

I suppose you couldn’t really call Kubizek a friend, since in reality Hitler had no friends. But Kubizek did get close enough to be shown examples of Hitler’s art.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

September Colors and Letters Challenge: Gray Orange

Self does not know whether she’s interpreting the challenge correctly: Find a picture that contains both GRAY and ORANGE.

She didn’t think she could find any pictures that fit, but — will wonders never cease? She found two pictures from a visit to the de Young Museum, a few weeks ago: Ruth Asawa art!

Without further ado:

Ruth Asawa: Permanent Installation, Education Tower, de Young Museum, San Francisco

Ruth Asawa: Permanent Installation, Education Tower, de Young Museum, San Francisco

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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