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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Corporate State

A friend sent me this youtube link that captures, more than anything else I've seen/read, what the Occupy Wall St movement is protesting against.  The bit about the Berlin wall is very interesting.

As any card-carrying Morris fan knows, in the 1880s our William was one of the founding members of the British socialist movement.  In the extract below from "How I Became a Socialist" Morris shares his views on the link between the welfare of the working class and the vitality of art.

"A last word or two. Perhaps some of our friends will say, what have we to do with these matters of history and art? We want by means of Social-Democracy to win a decent livelihood, we want in some sort to live, and that at once. Surely any one who professes to think that the question of art and cultivation must go before that of the knife and fork (and there are some who do propose that) does not understand what art means, or how that its roots must have a soil of a thriving and unanxious life. Yet it must be remembered that civilization has reduced the workman to such a skinny and pitiful existence, that he scarcely knows how to frame a desire for any life much better than that which he now endures perforce. It is the province of art to set the true ideal of a full and reasonable life before him, a life to which the perception and creation of beauty, the enjoyment of real pleasure that is, shall be felt to be as necessary to man as his daily bread, and that no man, and no set of men, can be deprived of this except by mere opposition, which should be resisted to the utmost."

You can read the entire essay here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Quasicrystals Quite Unquadrate

(Image Eric Heller)
(Image J. W. Evans)

(Image Eric Weeks)

This week Dan Shechtman won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of quasicrystals, ordered but not periodic crystal mineral structures that lack traditional symmetry.  Many people have since noted that Islamic tiles exhibit similar ordering.  I took the last pic above at the Alhambra, built in the 14th century. 

Here's a funny quote from Shechtman's wikipedia page.  "(he) experienced several years of hostility toward his non-periodic interpretation (no less a figure than Linus Pauling said he was "talking nonsense" and "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.")"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy Wall St.

....a Tea Party for the rest of us.  The spirit of William Morris, tireless crusader for the working class, is in Zuccotti Park this month.

 tried to fact-check this but couldn't find the data....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Neue Galerie, NYC

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907, 138 cm x 138 cm (54 in x 54 in)

A few yards from the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the Neue Galerie, a house museum that showcases Austrian and German art and design from the early 20th century.  I made the pilgrimage to see this Gustav Klimt painting which sold in 2006 to the Neue Galerie for 135 million dollars....basking in its gold glow, I was not disappointed.  Can there be a more gloriously beautiful portrait of a woman?  Of course there are many, but this one is right up there.

I found this somewhat sad passage on the museum of the few written statements (undated) ever left by Klimt:

Linger over a cappuccino in the museum's Cafe Sabarsky, surrounded by Josef Hoffman period lighting fixtures, Adolf Loos furniture, and Otto Wagner fabrics, and ponder how excellent it would be if we could travel back and time and tell people like Klimt and Morris what an amazing influence they are having on people a century later.