Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
When Buckminster Fuller visited Reykjavik two years later, Einar told him this story. “I’m happy to know this,” Bucky said, “because I like to think that everyone has some good in them and I’ve never heard anything positive about Nixon.”
Einar writes about this, his first visit with Fuller, in his upcoming book about his 40-year quest to find what he has named the “Fang,” which is, in geometric terms “a space-filler for five-fold symmetry space.” Below, Einar’s geometry at work in one of Olafur Eliasson’s installations, Your spiral view (2002), which I photographed at the Kunstmuseum in Wolfsburg, Germany, in 2004, and is now part of the Beyeler Foundation collection.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Statesmanship is an art, which means that there is always room for inspiration, and for grace. We are right to look for a record of pre-eminent ability when we can find it. But the basic doctrine of republican government, that all men are created equal, can be a surprise bonus for some leaders, as well as a guarantee of rights for all of us. Sometimes greatness appears in unlikely places, even in ordinary pols from Illinois.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Via my fellow former Chicagoans at The Daily Swarm. And hey, how about a bailout for the Tribune? This Minneapolis editorial makes a case for newspapers' continuing relevance as necessary watchdogs. Just as the automobile manufacturers need to change their products to keep up, so does the print media. If only they realized their job is not to compete with the Internet, but concentrate on those things print does best: in-depth reporting and investigative journalism--photo journalism, too, while we're at it. Ironically, the antique format The New Yorker has clung to all these years (while simultaneously keeping up a big Web presence) turns out to be the most pertinent. There's no question art looks better in art magazines than on the Web, and if we're going to read criticism (which has a responsibility now more than ever to define art for our times) we shouldn't be sitting in front of the computer, but on the couch with a glass of wine. Art in America's redesign takes this into account, and Marcia Vetrocq, in her January editor's letter, promises to bring the magazine up-to-date on the Web with "market reports, updates on exhibitions and events, interactive features, reviews and more." Hopefully this will ultimately include what would be most valuable: an archive.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The living room:
The dining area:
Einar at work:
Thursday, December 4, 2008
(I’m not linking to the trailer because that would ruin it.)
Giorgio Morandi at the Met is up for another week (through the 14th). I liked it, but would have loved it more if everyone in my world hadn’t been raving about it for months. As Roberto said, “It’s a quiet show, so doesn’t lend itself to hype.” What I really loved was Rhythms of Modern Life: British Prints 1914-1939, which is up only through Sunday. There’s an accompanying book, and although the prints’ subtlety and texture doesn’t entirely translate in photographs, if you are intrigued it would be worth getting.
Sybil Andrews (1898-1992) Racing.
Monday, December 1, 2008
In our rush to control our children’s experience, we forget that people sometimes learn most from attempting to do those things for which they’re not naturally gifted.
As a child, my most obvious talents were musical, and although I studied classical piano for 20 years, I turned out to be an artist—no doubt because, not in spite of, of the challenges art continues to present.
I don’t practice yoga because I’m naturally flexible, but because I’m not.
In Lawrence Wechsler’s biography of Robert Irwin, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, Irwin says:
In my years…as a teacher, I’ve seen it over and over again. It’s the kids with the greatest facility who can run up against the biggest problems. You are the best in your class without even trying, which is the best way to learn nothing…The not-so-facile kid just plugs along, every step is a working step, and he comes to the twentieth step and it’s just another step. But facility is a funny thing—it takes you way up, you soar, and you look like you’re really doing something—but at a certain point you go as far as you can with facility, and then you hit the big questions. And for you, who’ve never been pressed, that can present a huge roadblock. I’ve seen a lot of kids get waylaid at this point…
I’m convinced children are best served when the quality of their effort is applauded, rather than their success. ("The process is the reality," as Samuel Johnson said.) And because there’s a Times article to back up every opinion, here’s Praise Children for Effort, Not Intelligence, Study Says, from 1998.