Posted tagged ‘Art’

Trump Administration Reverses Course; Supports Massive Funding Increase For Performance Art

April 7, 2017

A sidelight on yesterday’s Tomahawk raid on a Syrian airbase.

1:  Fifty-nine Tomahawks fired.

2: Targetting:  “The targets included air defenses, aircraft, hangars and fuel.”  For good reason (IMHO) the strike avoided stored chemical weapons.  Personnel at the base were warned of the impending attack and as of now, no casualties have been reported.

3: Results: some shit got blown up. All of it can be repaired or replaced with out, it seems, significant difficulty.

All of which is to say that this was what most kindly can be called a warning shot, and rather less so, performance art.

Which gets me to my point.  The price tag for fifty nine Tomahawk missiles runs a little bit shy of $90 million.

For scale: that’s roughly 60% of the $148 million the to-be defunded National Endowment of the Arts received in 2016.

I believe Donald Trump’s grant was titled, “Very Expensive Holes In Concrete.”

Image: Adrian Hill, A British Mine Exploding, sometime during World War I.

If You Need A Break (I Do)

June 10, 2016

Here’s some utterly non-political awesomeness with which to launch the weekend:

My regret:  the strandbeests came to Massachusetts last fall — the MIT campus even! — and I didn’t manage to see them in action.


Fables Of The Reconstruction: Cue The World’s Tiniest Violin Edition — Plus: Bonus For A Good Time On The Cape!

October 25, 2014

Attention conservation notice (term stolen from Cosma): What follows is mostly purely Levenson-domicile maundering.  The good stuff is at the end; great art by someone I love.  Now you know.

I’ve gone silent on our kitchen renovation farrago, for the obvious and very good reason:  it’s the eternal return of the same, and thus boring. Everyone who’s lived through (or, FSM-forbid, DIY’d) a major house project knows the one universal truth: it sucks.  It’s like parachuting without the thrill:  August 1 at 7 a.m. we were riding a perfectly functional airplane had a perfectly functional kitchen.  By 8:30 we’d jumped.

And the usual followed:  the house is filled with dust; we’ve broken so many glasses in our makeshift sink that we’ve finally given up and gone to plastic; and as the weeks go by the house looks more like a communal grad-student flop than I ever thought I’d inhabit again.

But there’s hope.  Yesterday — all in one day! — saw the transition from this:



To this:



Of course, the resulting upsurge in that sweet feeling that suggests, yes, this may someday end, is “hope” only in the sense that Robin Williams describe here. (Round about 1:48 for the reference.)   Yeah, the room finally looks more or less like a room again — but now we’re going head on into the fiddly stage, where two or more skilled craftspeople will nudge something or other into some precise configuration that takes hours to work out, for an indefinite and seemingly unending future.  Again…tiny violin time.

Never mind.  We still cook — this week I managed a lamb stew, even, browning the meat on the gas grill — in the midst of a thunder squall — before finishing everything else on 12o0 watt burner on the hot plate:


Tasted fine.

There’s HOOOOOOOOPE (18 f**king times!)

Meanwhile, of course, life continues to do its thing — and given that, can I draw your attention to something that makes me very happy, and that I think (as I should) shows real power as a work of art.

That would be the new installation show my wife, Katha Seidman, is about to open with two other artists at the Cotuit Center for the Arts — calling all Cape Cod-proximate Balloon Juicers!.

Inspired by and in conversation with Giacometti’s The Palace at 4 a.m. (to be seen at MOMA in New York), the installation opens tonight.  Details on the card:


Lots more on the installation (with photos of both the stages of creation and some of the more sculptural elements) can be found at its Facebook page.

I’ve seen it go through all the stages of gestation, from sketches and models to huge bits and pieces, some of which we trialled on our lawn.  It’s (in my no-doubt utterly unbiased opinion) a deeply conceived and executed work of art, powerful as spectacle and more so as I’ve lingered with what its elements say in themselves and with and through each other.  So, if you happen to be passing anywhere near that way in the next month, check it out.

Last, just for grins, here’s a picture of me, singing cooking in the rain:


Ah well. It’s sunny today, at least.

Start The Week With The Lord God Bird

September 8, 2014


A nice start to what might be a tolerable week* comes in the form of a message from Harvard’s rare books collection, the Houghton Library.  Its collection of 114 early J.J. Audubon drawings is now online in high resolution.  Among the treats, a depiction of two Ivory Billed Woodpeckers, the “lord god bird,” having their way with a tree.

According to the announcement, these early drawings are rare/of heightened interest because of Audubon’s practice of destroying sketches and alternate versions after selecting what he saw as the best of any subject.  The earliest images in this collection date back to when Audubon was 18, and, says Harvard, they probably survived Audubon’s rolling erasure of his tracks in the hands of one of his patrons.  In any event, the images are gorgeous, and there for the gazing.

That said, the image above is a later Audubon not from the Houghton collection, as Harvard requires permission from the curator before reusing their images. I’m asking for same; if I get it, I’ll add one from this trove.

*Hah! Who am I kidding.  There are still Republicans with actual power!

Image:  John James Audubon, Plate 66 of Birds of America, depiction of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, 1838.