Category: Art

Holidays in the Bay Area

The holiday season starts with Thanksgiving (end of November) and lasts throughout December. It includes Hannukah,  the Winter solstice, Kwanzaa, Christmas, as well as a few other memorable events, like our tribute to consumerism, Black Friday. This year was extreme: The worst wildfire season in California’s history killed many people and filled the Bay Area with fire smoke for days. It ended a few days before Thanksgiving with the start of the rainy season. The holiday season here is rich with events like open art studios, neighborhood walks, concerts, markets, and Christmas lights. We are experiencing an explosion in development: new construction,...

Leo Löwenthal: On Sociology of Literature. 1948

Source: [easyazon_link identifier=”0878554890″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Literature and Mass Culture. Communication in Society,[/easyazon_link] Volume 1. Leo Lowenthal, published by Transaction Books, 1984. Leo Löwenthal (1900-1993) was a sociologist associated with the Frankfurt School. He began his career by joining the Institute for Social Research in 1927 and became managing editor of its journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung. Soon thereafter he migrated to the United States where he held various positions, including research director for Voice of America, the Stanford Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavior Sciences, and finally settled in the department of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. His...

Wassily Kandinsky: On the problem of form. 1912

“On the Problem of Form,” or: “Über die Formfrage,” was a text written by Wassily Kandinsky for the book Der Blaue Reiter, (The Blue Rider, 1912). It expresses the ideas of a group of artists around  Kandinsky and Franz Marc who lived in Murnau nearby Munich. They formed the core of the movement of Expressionism. In his text, Kandinsky defends the identity of realism and abstraction from an artistic perspective. At the appointed time, necessities become ripe. That is the time when the Creative Spirit (which one can also designate as the Abstract Spirit) finds an avenue to the soul, later to...

Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art. 1938.

Written in 1938, during André Breton’s trip to Mexico, where he visited Leon Trotsky. It is signed by André Breton and Diego Rivera. It is believed that the Manifesto was written by Trotsky and André Breton, although it was signed by Rivera and Breton. The trip to Mexico provided the opportunity for Breton to meet Leon Trotsky. Breton and his friends traveled via a long boat ride from Patzcuaro to the town of Erongaricuaro. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were among the visitors to the hidden community of intellectuals and artists. Together, Breton and Trotsky wrote the manifesto Pour un art...

ANDRÉ BRETON: First Surrealist Manifesto, 1924.

André Breton (1896 – 1966) was a French writer, poet, and anti-fascist. He is known as the founder of Surrealism, which he defined as a movement in the First Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. (“Le Manifeste du Surréalisme,” 1924. The following excerpts are quoted from: [easyazon_link identifier=”B01FIY4HTW” locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Patrick Waldberg: Surrealism[/easyazon_link]. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971. pp. 66-75.) We are still living under the reign of logic, but the logical processes of our time apply only to the solution of problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism which remains in fashion allows for the consideration of only those facts narrowly relevant to our...

Benjamin: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. 1936

This text was written in 1936. “Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain...

Sunset over the Bay Area

“To leave out beautiful sunsets is the secret of good taste.” (Dejan Stojanovic.) Well, occasionally we fail. A spontaneous walk in the evening, without much expectation, and suddenly, there it was, this sunset over the Bay Area, viewed from Tilden Park. In California we are fortunate enough to have the Ocean in the West, which means that the sun sinks into the ocean, if you are living near the coast.  We can watch beautiful sunsets every day,  and therefore we don’t value them enough. If I missed one today, I can watch another one tomorrow. They are guaranteed for the rest of my life. I took the following photos from...

Pacific Gardens

This is part two of my travel report through the Pacific Northwest. One of my goals for this trip was to visit several gardens. The climate along the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington is mediterranean: warm, sunny, with mild winters, and plenty of moist air from the ocean – in other words, the region is ideal for gardening! In this post I will share some pictures, and will briefly describe some of the gardens I visited. About Gardens Gardens are among the most interesting places in the world. They mediate our relationship with nature, and they are expressions of culture and human...

Landscapes in the Pacific Northwest

It’s about a thousand miles to drive on Highway 1 from San Francisco to Port Angeles, the northern-most town that connects the US and Canada. The drive along the ocean is beautiful, through vast coastal landscapes and ancient forests. One can find some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world along this remote coastline, small fishing towns, Indian reservations, and several world-famous National Parks. I travelled the whole distance during this summer, and I want to share some of the pictures below. Links to more extensive photo pages are at the bottom.  About the Region The Pacific North West includes Northern California, Oregon, Washington State, and the...

Eastern Europe

I spent some time during the summer of 2015 traveling through Eastern Europe. It has changed dramatically since 1991, the year in which the Sowjet Union dissolved and the Warsaw Pact ended. Former Czechoslovakia became two countries, and former Yugoslavia fragmented in 1991/1992 into six states (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia). This led to several wars in the territory of former Yugoslavia, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 140,000 people. Today, the region is again in the spotlight, because it is a transit hub for many refuges from the Syrian war and the unrest in the Middle East. Where is Eastern Europe today,...

The Roots of Religion

Thanks to modern science, we now know more about religious history than ever: Scientific archaeology began in the 18th century, and since then excavators have been discovering and interpreting evidence, ranging from tiny goddess figurines carved from mammoth ivory to entire sacred landscapes, such as at the Giza plateau in Egypt. The archeological evidence enhances and corrects our knowledge derived from books and other preserved objects. Ancient graves, statues, temples, stones, sacrificial offerings, or places of initiation – they all express the universal human search for spiritual power and understanding. Archaeology provides evidence that is very different from historical writings like the Bible or...

The Rivers of Europe

The rivers of Europe are the veins that run through European culture and geography. They are the main lines of transportation and commerce, they irrigate and feed the surrounding landscapes, but they also serve as natural borders. European rivers are celebrated in songs and poems; they play a major role in the economy as well as in politics. Hundreds of rivers and their tributaries crisscross the European continent, thus connecting many cities and landscapes. Nowadays, tourism booms along these rivers: River cruises offer an easy way for foreigners to travel through Europe and experience many cities and historic places close-up. The following list includes...

Josef Koudelka: Photos from the Underside of Europe

Josef Koudelka, a Czech photographer, was born in Moravia, Czechoslovakia, in 1938. He began to take photographs as a student in the 1950s. He started a career as an aeronautical engineer in 1961; during that time he began photographing Gypsies. He also worked part-time taking photos of theater performances in Prague. In 1967, he became a full-time photographer. In 1968, Koudelka documented the Soviet invasion of Prague, publishing his photographs under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. In 1969, he was anonymously awarded the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa, Gold Medal,...

The Getty Museum in LA

The Getty Center has a very impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and photos, but what makes it truly unique is the architecture. It sits like a castle on top of a hill, overlooking LA, and is build with Travertine stone, glass, and steel. The garden is truly extraordinary – it is itself a piece of art, surrounded by the museum buildings. It was opened in 1997, and it cost 1.3 billion dollars to build. Designed by architect Richard Meier, the Center also houses the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Getti Foundation has...

Visit at the De Young Museum, Jan 2015

I really like the De Young Museum in San Francisco; it is worth a visit every year. The museum’s architecture is just as interesting as the collections themselves. It is located right in the middle of the Golden Gate Park,  across from the Japanese Tea Garden and the Academy of Sciences. It was completed in 2005, and it  is very earth-quake resistant. It adapts to the park environment due to a natural reddish-brown color created by oxidizing copper, and has a characteristic twisted tower that gives a magnificent view of the Golden Gate Park and San Francisco. The museum houses rich...

Visit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

Last Sunday ended an exhibition in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. I visited just in time and saw some beautiful and large paintings which depict in great detail the life in a royal Korean Court, during the Joseon Dynasty, (1392-1910.) The photos are below, and there is also a video about Korea at the bottom. I  include some photos from other art objects at the museum as well, from Chinese, Japanese, and Indian traditions. The museum is definitely worth a visit. Video of the Exhibition: Celebrating  Korea.

Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich was born in 1774 in Greifswald, Germany, and died in 1840 Dresden, Germany. Introduction He was a painter of German Romanticism, and created landscape paintings with enormous intensity.He said: “God is everywhere, in the smallest grain of sand.” The sculptor Pierre-Jean David d’Angers wrote about him: “Caspar David Friedrich was the sole landscape painter who…had the power to move every part of my soul, the one who created a new genre: the tragedy of landscape.” Friedrich aimed to produce a Christian art based in nature, divested of standard biblical imagery. Initially, he painted in sepia. In 1807...

Adorno: music and language – a fragment

This fragment was written in 1956. it is published in “[easyazon_link identifier=”B004VYF1A0″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Quasi una Fantasia, Essays on Modern Music.” by Theodor W. Adorno[/easyazon_link]. (Translated by Rodney Livingstone), VERSO, London, New York. Adorno compares music and language, and also outlines a theory of modern aesthetics. Here is the text: “Music resembles a language. Expressions such as musical idiom, musical intonation, are not simply metaphors. But music is not identical with language. The resemblance points to something essential, but vague. Anyone who takes it literally will be seriously misled. Music resembles language in the sense that it is a temporal sequence...

Banksy

The New Activist is a truth seeker: someone who has left the introvert schisms of the old world behind. The new activist is like a sniffer dog detecting power strategies and corruption, without hesitation. Banksy is the prototype.

Renaissance

The Renaissance is a cultural movement that starts from Italy in the mid-14th century and spreads through Europe. It brings the Medieval time period to an end, and is marked by a changing consciousness about politics, the world, and art. It’s the time of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giotto, Titian, Raphael, Donatello, or Brunelleshi. Here is a timeline of some of the main events that characterize the period: Timeline (Quoted from Sparknotes ) April 6, 1341: Francesco Petrarch is Crowned Poet Laureate Many historians cite this date as the beginning of the Renaissance. 1397: Giovanni de Medici Moves to Florence Giovanni...