Monday, August 22, 2011

NYC reloaded, Day1

 My return was smooth and relatively painless. The new place feels sufficiently inspirational to deserve the "temporary home of a global nomad" label.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Some things never change...Homer got it a long long time ago :) 

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon- don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon- you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

On Global Citizenship

 We are like traveler navigating an unknown terrain with the help of old maps, drawn at a different time and in response to different needs...While the terrain we are traveling on - the world society of states - has changed, our normative map has not.

Seyla Benhabib, "The Rights of Others: Aliens, Citizens and Residents " (2004)

European Art in Beijing

How the detainment of a famous Chinese artists put clouds on a German exhibition traveling to Beijing, strategically referencing“The Art of the Enlightenment”, which shows late 18th century European art from some of Germany’s greatest museums.

Guido Westerwelle explained that the  Enlightenment’s “advance of rationality” had turned Europe’s “ruling elites into governments” and “subjects into citizens” - clever sloganeering against yet another reality check here:

More about Ai Weiwei's exhibition "Sunflower Seeds"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway - commentary

The show at the Park Avenue Armory , on display Dec.3 - Jan.6, was a lot about Peter Greenaway and very little about Leonardo. The visitors confronted a chaotic installation of conflated images of medieval and contemporary Italy. Scale substituted for a refined and well-thought sequence.

The first relevant NYT article is titled "Last Supper for the Laptop Generation." I wonder if the Laptop Generation should be treated to one, in the first place. The second review article in NYC scales back its enthusiasm with a more reflective "Adding Bells and Whistles to Leonardo." Indeed.  

Leonardo's Last Supper, projected on a wall and accompanied with a plastic table and chairs in the middle of the huge armory space, seemed incongruous and disturbing. Or, quite improbably, a witty and subversive reference to American take-away plastic culture. Anachronistic baroque music, supposed to enhance the dramatic impact of the work, was rather distracting. Silence, reflection, wondering around the art work, thinking and experiencing it on your own pace are not allowed. Digital effects soon begin to "light up" different aspects of the painting, and add in some special "zoom in on the hands" effects. In trying to project many different versions onto one, Greenaway rushes the spectator though a light show, which has little respect for conveying the work's sanctity and spiritual elevation.

The third part of the exhibition, an introductory art-history lesson of Veronese's "Marriage at Cana," apart from confusing basic iconography, slices and dices the work into planes and tiles. To the point where dissection takes over artistic appreciation. The didactic approach to the last part raised question - why not superficially lecture about the Last Supper as well? And why lump those together?

Call me old-fashioned. But I do prefer to calmly contemplate in front of Leonardo's pseudo-fresco in Milan, pick up an art-history book and talk with a few people after individual reflection.  On the other hand, not everybody can go to Milan, and not everybody has background about Veronese. On the way out, I heard many viewers comment positively on "the lesson." May be Greenaway's work is pioneering in a direction of using digital media to transform art-education. In the future, I will be happy to go on a web-site and experience similar myriads of digital gimmicks. And a more refined lesson in art-history. In the end, may be I just disliked Greenaway's vision, the way I like Picasso's take on "Las Meninas" by Velazquez.

Greenaway's was as legitimate an interpretation as any other in art, given that art history is history of never-ending inspiration and deconstruction.

For some youtube insights, click here.