British Museum, Lines

Today at the British Museum: for the first time, serious security check. Everyone had to line up outside and pass through a white tent (Why a white tent? Self has no idea) and have their bags inspected. First time ever (and self has been to the Museum many times). There was a police van parked right outside the main entrance to the Museum (Also a first; last summer, security was very discreet. Now, the British are flaunting it.)

Met an American pathologist from Seattle who, having wrapped up her conference, was sightseeing. This was her third visit to the museum in a week. Self told her about the “Sunken Cities” special exhibit, and the woman asked if self had seen the Rosetta Stone. Do you know, in how many visits to the British Museum, self has never actually laid eyes on the Rosetta Stone? Go figure. As soon as we got inside the museum, the woman led self straight to it. (There’s a 20-minute Rosetta Stone tour, free, every Friday)

Self was in London last July. All those weeks, and she never set foot inside the British Museum. Not once. Instead, she remembers just holing up in her room and writing. And writing. And writing. London was full of pigeons and tourists and ice cream trucks. It was incredibly hot and muggy. She went on a Jack the Ripper tour of Whitechapel.

Part of the reason she bought her ticket so far in advance this year is because she realizes she needs that push. The British Museum is overwhelming. In the last gallery of the “Sunken Cities” exhibit, a woman about self’s age seated herself on a bench and lowered her face in her hands. Self knew just how she felt.

The gallery of Greek antiquities has these colossal statues. They are completely stunning. A rider at full gallop on a gigantic horse. A running leopard. A mastiff. She hasn’t seen such massive things since the Olmec exhibit at the de Young, several years ago. You talk about Greek sculpture and you think: classical. You think: refinement. But these were from only one period (Hellenistic? 350 AD?) After that, Greek sculptural representations no longer have that gigantic, absolutely in-your-face, larger-than-life ethos (Why?)

There is a piece showing Aphrodite being surprised during a bath. Seeing the statue from the front, self walked right by. As she was leaving the gallery, she saw that same Aphrodite statue from the back. And, gosh, from the back, it is beautiful. Look at the dimples of her lower back! And the hips! OMG the hips!

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Aphrodite, Surprised at Her Bath: British Museum, Friday, 20 May

Self thinks she’ll walk around a bit more. Stay tuned.

Face 2: CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery, Cork, Ireland

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is FACE, and self feels like the luckiest person in the world because, this morning, in one of her periodic rambles around Cork, she stumbled into a gallery on Wandesford Quay. In a smaller gallery off the main exhibit space (looked like a crypt) were a set of prints:

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Lithographs, Connoll Cary, at CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery, Cork, Ireland

When she went closer, she saw the subjects were actually portraits of a human subject:

The exhibit You Make Mine, I Make Yours is a very interesting project. Four printmakers from Cork were paired with another four from Rafamo, Finland.

The pairs sent each other visual prompts, and it was up to the individual artists to come up with original interpretations.

One of the artists, Johnny Bugler, explained how the collaborations worked. He has his own artwork in the show: Dream of a White Dog, and Paradise Lost (which features a screen print of tropical palm trees on found leather)

Actually, self participated in a similar collaboration when The Asian American Literary Review invited writers like herself to react/respond to a visual artist. In April 2012 we were brought to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC to share the fruit of our collaboration. The event was Asian American Portraits of Encounter Between Image and Word. The other participating writers were: Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Garrett Hongo, David Henry Hwang, Kazim Ali, and Anna Kazumi-Stahl.

You Make Mine, I Make Yours runs through May 29.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Admiration 4: A List (Far From Complete)

OH NO! SELF ACCIDENTALLY DELETED HER OWN POST.

It happened while she was trying to expand on her reasons for assembling this particular mosaic of images to represent the week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: ADMIRATION.

And she couldn’t find a previous saved version. Gaaaah! And in re-selecting images, she decided to stop at six instead of the eight she originally had. And she also substituted some images. Sorry for the confusion!

  1. Lady in Red: Ger, chef of Cork’s pre-eminent restaurant, Café Paradiso. Such a great chef, and also very direct and witty! Self loves Ger.
  2. Katniss Everdeen: Self-explanatory, really.
  3. Allison Joseph, co-editor with Jon Tribble of Crab Orchard Review. Fabulousness.
  4. The mother-daughter team who cook and manage Chez Mamie, 22 Hanway Street, London. They make London feel like home.
  5. SeaCity Museum, Southampton, England: Thank you to Joan McGavin, who took her here last year. What a great exhibit on the Titanic. While other cities lay claim to having the best exhibits on the tragedy, Southampton’s is so poignant because it focuses on the crew, most of whom were from this city. And therefore, the focus of the displays is on working-class people. Which makes this a much more layered story. In one gallery, there’s a map on the floor with red dots representing the houses of each of the victims. The dots are clustered around the poorer sections of the city.
  6. Last but not least: Nutschell Ann Windsor, Program Administrator for UCLA Extension’s on-line Writers Program. She is the best. She not only handles all requests with Zen calmness, she is a writer herself. And an editor. She’s holding an anthology she edited.

And now self will post before she accidentally deletes something again.

Stay tuned.

Landscapes 3: Two Actual, One Metaphorical

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is LANDSCAPE.

Self loves landscapes in general. So here are pictures of three:

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Evening, Mendocino, March 2016

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Evan Hobart’s Landscape of Clay: Mendocino Art Center, March 2016

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Presbyterian Church, Mendocino, February 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Dance 2: What Makes People Want To Move

Is it just self or are The Daily Post Photo Challenges becoming more challenging? The theme of this week’s challenge is DANCE:

Below, Artist Janet Self at Oddfellows Art Gallery, Mendocino:

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Artist Janet Self, standing next to her piece in the 2nd floor of Oddfellows art gallery in Mendocino, 2014

Below, one of self’s large collection of Christmas ornaments.

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Fresh-Cut from Wegman’s: December 2014

Final Picture: the Fillmore Jazz Festival, July 2014:

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Cool Shoes: 2014 Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Vibrant 4: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 5

The past week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is VIBRANT. Self has been having so much fun with it. In the past week, she’s posted pictures of Mendocino and Venice. Now, she’s posting photographs she took during an exhibit of Chinese artists that she and her niece, Irene, saw when we were in Florence, November 2015.

The weather was glorious: it never rained. And Florence, self doesn’t need to tell dear blog readers, is enchanting.

We got ourselves a Museum Card (Would you believe, there are 64 museums in Florence?).

As we were walking towards the Duomo on one of our earliest days in Florence, we noticed this museum and went inside.

Now, self can no longer remember which museum it was, but there was an exhibition of Chinese paintings which totally blew self away: International Tour of the Works of the Twelfth China National Exhibition of Fine Arts.

The oil painting below is called “Scenery with Six-Tusked Elephant.” The artist is Lin Jianfeng.

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Lin Jianfeng, Artist From China: Seen on the International Tour of Chinese National Artists, November 2015, Florence

The second painting, self has featured on this blog before. It is by Liu Kongxi: “Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18):

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“Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18)” by Liu Kongxi

And the last painting: Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

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Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

As Jen H. says on The Daily Post, “Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.”

Self thinks these three paintings do fit the bill.

Stay tuned.

The Final Post on TRIOS: the New Whitney Museum, Cork, the Lake at Annaghmakerrig

It is the day after Thanksgiving. Snap out of your food comas, everyone!

Self must say, this year’s Thanksgiving was brilliant. Self ate more than she’s ever eaten in her life. Her friend was up at 6 a.m. because she and her daughter are going to the mall. But self has an on-line class to get caught up on, so she chose to stay behind.

Before delving into her student pieces, however, self peruses her archives so that she can make one last post on WordPress Photo Challenge this week:  TRIO.

Self took the first picture in a museum she considers one of the best in the entire world: The new Whitney Museum. On exhibit right now: a retrospective on Frank Stella.

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On the 6th Floor of the New Whitney Museum (Didn’t take down the name of the artist, boo)

The second picture is from one of self’s happy places: Café Paradiso in Cork, Ireland.

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From a Book on Dublin-born Artist Sean Scully, which was in Self’s Room in Café Paradiso, Cork

And finally, a picture of the Mother of All Happy Places, a place that signifies peace, happiness, mindfulness, inspiration: the lake in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

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3 Metal Bars Sticking out of the Lake in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

Treat 3: Still Florence

Florence is a beautiful city. It is beautiful, and yet worldly, and the people are so warm.

Today, Irene directed our steps to two museums. The first one was a kind of natural history museum, with dinosaur bones and the like. But since self has already seen the Mother of All Dinosaur Exhibits, in the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, she was not much interested in the ones on display in Florence. We moved on quickly to the second museum, which happened to have an amazing exhibit: Works of the Twelfth China National Exhibition of Fine Arts, Italy.

These featured large-scale oil paintings by Chinese painters, the likes of which self had never seen. Thank goodness there was no Ai Wei-Wei. Because he is trotted out at every major exhibit of Chinese painters, and his work doesn’t speak to self at all. After two decades of hearing nothing but praise about him, she is frankly bored by his ubiquitous presence.

Irene and self decided to stop for pastries and coffee at a café called Gilli (founded 1733), which has outdoor seating facing a lively piazza:

Café Gilli, a Florentine landmark

Café Gilli, a Florentine landmark

The Piazza next to Café Gilli, Florence: Self loves the carousel (which strangely had no riders)

The Piazza next to Café Gilli, Florence: Self loves the carousel (which strangely had no riders)

Self had to try the meringues. This one was light and airy and absolutely delicious:

Never had self tasted an airier meringue!

Never had self tasted an airier meringue!

It was wonderful to stroll along the streets by the café, as evening fell.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Monochromatic 3: Costume Designer’s Sketch, Book Cover, a Weathervane in Cambridge, UK

Loved the delicacy of this page, depicting an iconic character:

Katniss, page from Costume Designer's Sketch Book for The Hunger Games

Katniss, page from Costume Designer’s Sketch Book for The Hunger Games

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Self purchased Lucifer Princeps at the Atlantis Bookstore in London’s Museum Way. The bookstore specializes in all manner of things related to the occult. Since self is writing a novel about an 18th century Spanish priest who is sent to the Philippines specifically to battle demons, she thought the book might come in handy.

Lucifer Princeps: Book Detail

Lucifer Princeps: Book Detail

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Self took the picture below while she was on a Jack-the-Ripper tour of Whitechapel and environs!

Cricket Player Weathervane, on top of a building on Whitechapel Road, near E. Aldgate, London

Cricket Player Weathervane, on top of a building in Cambridge, UK (Revised the location — I originally posted as a building in Whitechapel, London. Good thing I double-checked)

Other Monochromatic Takes:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beneath Your Feet: The Sea City Museum in Southampton

Self is posting this as a tie-in to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  BENEATH YOUR FEET.

The Daily Post says:

Experiment with your angle. Stand as you snap your picture, or get close to the floor.

In July, self visited the Sea City Museum in Southampton, which has a fantastic exhibit on the Titanic.

Until then, self had no idea about:

  1. Where do icebergs come from?
  2. Where are icebergs made?
  3. Which part of the Titanic sank first: the bow, or the head?
  4. Poop decks: what are they?

Here is a floor map of the city of Southampton. The red dots mark the homes of the crew who went down on the Titanic. Apparently, a majority of the Titanic’s crew of 897 were from Southampton. Of the almost 900 crew members, only 212 made it home. Which makes perfect sense when you are reminded (by the exhibit) that the crew bunked in the bowels of the ship, near the engines. They had no chance to escape once the ship hit the iceberg (It took less than an hour for the ship to become completely submerged)

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum's Titanic Exhibit

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum’s Titanic Exhibit

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

As self said earlier, it’s a floor map.

Here’s her friend Joan McGavin, who lives in Southampton, pointing out other place markers to self.

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

It was a fantastic exhibit. Self highly recommends it to anyone who has heard about the Titanic, watched the movie, or just wants to know about social classes in England in the early part of the 20th century.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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