Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day Off!!

I took a day off before my vacation - a wonderful day to pick out a new camera and backpack, get chores done and even breezily pop in to the Metropolitan Museum of Art 15 minutes before closing.

A portion of "Under Bryant Park" by Samm Kunce

According to the museum folks:
Zoomorphic helmet masks, the most prestigious and powerful masks worn by the Senufo men's Poro society members, are worn at funerals of important elders.  The masks' aggressive qualities ... express the supernatural powers they embody.
Senufo Helmet Mask
19th-mid 20th C, wood

The Northwest Coast peoples of North America have mythic cycles that feature important ancestors and supernatural beings.  Encounters between them are visualized in elaborate performances.

The impressive whale masks of the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples are grand constructions in which the mouth, finds, and tail of a sea mammal are made to move in imitation of a whale swimming.  The tail goes up and down, the lateral flippers move in and out, and the great mouth opens. The dorsal fin also moves slightly.
Whale Transformation Mask
British Columbia, ca. 1890

Peruvian vessels

Stirrup Spout Bottle - Owl
Peru, 15th-9th C B.C.

Stirrup Spout Bottle - Frog
Peru, 2nd-5th C

Mortar - Monkey
Ecuador, 2nd millenium B.C.

Vessel - Turtle
Panama, 300-500 A.D.

Vessel - Monkey
Panama, 900-1100 A.D. 

A view of "Clouds" by Olaf Breuning

Saturday, July 26, 2014


It was a great day for fungi.  There was an impressive (large and extensive) orangey cluster on a long-fallen tree.

I saw bright orange (Cheetos style) fungi,
as well as a deep dark red, and the small
dark brown ones that always remind me of the cross section of a tree trunk

This looked almost like a frilled fabric

Delicious raspberries!  I also picked a few early blueberries...

Butterflies and bees in a garden

Dimly seen among the pond growth...

While a boat goes by in the background...

This means YOU!

Message from Church (Cold Spring)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Museum of Fine Arts

Ceci n'est pas une plante.
It's a 42-foot-tall “Lime Green Icicle Tower,’’ a glass artwork by Dale Chihuly.  
We went to see the Magna Carta exhibit,  "Return of the Dragon" (three recently restored works by Shōhaku), and "D is for Design."
The content of the Magna Carta exhibit was well-chosen, but I didn't like the way it was displayed.  

The Magna Carta itself was presented like a relic, rather than an item to be read; it was raised up high and at an angle where it was virtually impossible for me to make out any words.   They could have placed a magnifying glass over part of the text, or -- even better -- displayed an enlarged facsimile of the actual text on the wall nearby for careful perusal.  I would have loved to have the opportunity to pick out individual words in medieval Latin, and perhaps I might have even gotten a sense of the sound and feeling of the document.  

Unfortunately, the few excerpts that they chose to display on the wall did not fit the bill.  They were rendered in modern English, and yet were rendered essentially unreadable in the dim light because they were grey on dark blue.  (By contrast, an enlarged image of the actual document would have been easier to read, because it is dark ink on a light background.)   This was tremendously disappointing.  

The Shōhaku exhibit was fascinating - insights into the restoration process.  And a predecessor of sorts to Roy Lichtenstein, at least in his "drunken" cartoon-like work, Dragon and Clouds.

Shōhaku's hawk, apparently channeling the Soga school

Close-up of "Dragon and Clouds" (1763)

Dragon Claw

Tiger Claws

Hawk talons
In between exhibits, we saw some south american works (including one vessel in the form of a rat, and another vessel adorned with copulating rats) and some Indian works (there was a really beautiful one of Shiva, and a fascinating one of a powerful warrior god wearing an elephant skin on his back, holding a demonic consort with two arms (while the other 24 or so hold various weapons, symbols, tools)...

Lucas Kilan, German, 1579-1637, "X"
In the "D is for Design" exhibit, they said: Believe it or not, we don't have any designs
in the collection by an artist whose last name begins with X.  If you know of any great designers
who fit the bill, please do get in touch.  In the meantime, here is an X to mark the spot.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Pawtuckaway State Park

We saw a red-winged blackbird here - he's the small dark triangle in front of a big tuft of grasses

Water hyacinth


Dragonfly - just left of center, down near the bottom of the photo

One of the residents of the boulder field...