Posts Tagged ‘friends’
Three more days till the water dragon comes roaring in – here’s wishing all my readers a great long nian, or dragon year, ahead !
Images here: a couple of Chen Rong’s absolutely sublime dragons. Chen Rong 陳容 was a Southern Song painter, famed for his portrayal of these mythological beasties, and the Nine Dragons 九龍圖 scroll, currently in the collection of the MFA Boston, is considered his masterpiece. According to one description:
This long handscroll depicts, as indicated by the title, nine dragons, which appear among clouds, waves, wind, and cliffs, executed in monochrome ink on paper with some subtle touches of red color.
The handscroll displays a great variety and creativity in painting technique, a combination of seemingly random and spontaneous application of ink with highly controlled and articulated brush technique. For example, some areas of the painting display the use a piece of cloth to apply ink or ink splashes, whereas rock surfaces or dragons’ scales are executed with a more controlled brush. These observable features match with descriptions of Chen Rong’s painting practice, which report that he painted spontaneously when drunk and used his cap to smear ink on the painting surface. Chen Rong himself refers to this practice in his inscription as well.
The overall effect of the painting is one of continuous movement and energy throughout the scroll, from which the dragons emerge and into which they disappear.
Dragons have been a motif in Chinese art and visual culture from early times onward carrying a variety of meanings, such as embodying the male Yang principle, controlling rain and weather, or as a symbol of the emperor.
Chen Rong’s handscroll can be placed into a Daoist context of depicting dragons as implied in his own inscription and in the colophons added to the scroll by Daoist priests from the 12th to the 14th century. The emphasis is on the power and transformative character of the dragons, while the motifs of rain and thunder appear throughout the painting and the colophons.
(The write-up is from UChicago’s Center for the Art of East Asia. For an awesome online scroll viewer of the entire 11-metre long painting, see their page here.)
In other news, our regular arts bloggers’ meetup is back ! It’s happening on Feb 1, at 8 pm. (That’s a Wednesday evening.)
As usual, we’re being hosted by the nice folk at The Pigeonhole cafe, who deserve a big coo-out for their continued hospitality.
And no worries – co-host and meetup regular (and, now, new mum!) Notabilia will be there. It won’t be just me making people introduce themselves ten times over …
1. February 1st.
2. 8 pm.
3. The Pigeonhole. 52/53 Duxton Rd.
4. Don’t bring any mandarin oranges, ’cause everyone will be sick of them.
There should be a review of sorts where this post is.
Unfortunately, the second edition of Art Stage Singapore is so huge – and good – that I’m probably going to have go back a couple more times just to see everything.
Previews were yesterday. As usual, it was a total booze-schmooze fest.
My general reaction after eight f*cking hours there:
That’s Chinese artist He Xiangyu’s The Death of Marat, a sculpture so life-like that when it was exhibited in the town of Bad Ems, Germany, the local cops received several calls reporting a death. According to an article in The Washington Post:
The sculpture is called “The Death of Marat” — an art-historical nod to the famous neoclassical painting of French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat, painted by Jacques-Louis David . It depicts Weiwei, who was detained by the Chinese government earlier this year, as lying face down on the gallery floor, deceased. [He] Xiangyu said that he used real human hair, plastic and fiberglass to create the extremely realistic statue. In cribbing the title from David, Xiangyu elevates Weiwei’s status to that of a tragic hero.
A special shoutout to local artist Michael Lee, who was showing his installation piece, Revision as Exercise (below), which premiered earlier in a two-man show at the National Museum. Mike, in a stroke of *utter genius*, put a couch right there in the space – which ensured that everyone was going to show up at some point or other. Bodily Relief as Relational Aesthetic: two thumbs up.
And Zhao Renhui has a booth there too:
This one’s for Notabilia, who recently became a mother to a 6 1/2 lb. baby girl. A huge congratulatory holler to mom, pop and latest arrival !
Strolling through the 17th century Italian gallery just to eyeball Reni’s piece was a ritual of my Met visits. I wish I had a close-up snap of this, but the toddler on the extreme left, the one pointing to his suckling sibling ? – that kid’s mop of hair literally looked like it was spun from a mesh of shimmering, silken strands of soft gold fleece. Literally. I don’t know how Reni did it, but that’s what it looks like on the canvas.
Babies are awesome.
I’m thrilled for my pal.
Image of the day: Elliott Erwitt’s iconic snapshot of a Springer, Paris (1989).
Someone I know is facing one of those dilemmas that seem to crop up in life with almost .. reassuring regularity.
Sometimes a leap – of faith, of courage – is called for.
No better way to break a deadlock than a bold, gravity-defying gesture.
While I’m raiding the iPhoto library – a picture of yours truly.
Season’s greetings to friends, readers and general lurkers ! And a great big shoutout for having made 2011 so .. surprisingly rewarding. I mean it. Thank you. 谢谢. Terima kasih. நன்றி. शुक्रीया. ありがとうございます. 감사합니다. Danke schön. Merci beaucoup. Muchas gracias.
Me with local artist Cheo Chai Hiang at Valentine Willie. <squeal !> Yeah, he was a little sozzled … On the right is Shuyin Yang of Christie’s.
(A Bunny Bonanza, part one, here.)
A couple of weeks back, sitting in a friend’s shophouse, chugging back a couple of expired beers and looking at his portraits of spooky-looking children, I tried explaining to a group of friends the concept of the Eight Characters.
A brief summation: most people know that Chinese astrology assigns an animal to each year, with one’s zodiac animal representing certain personality characteristics. What is perhaps less common knowledge is that the fact that (a) each animal is also accompanied by an element, of which there are five (metal, water, wood, fire and earth), and (b) there is an animal and an element assigned not just to your year of birth, but also the month, day and hour, thus making up one’s personal Eight Characters (4 animals + 4 elements = 8 characters).
And Chinese astrology holds that it is the day of birth, rather than the year, which most accurately describes one’s personality.
Reactions to my er, exposition on the finer points of Chinese astrology was met with the usual gamut of reactions: excitement (SY discovering she was born on the day of dragon); disappointment (MP realizing he was born on the day of the goat, which was too … unglamorous for him); skepticism (everyone else, with AO just assuming I was making shit up <lol>).
And me, I was born on the day of the wood rabbit — or yi mao 乙卯 in Chinese.
August is my month, as it is my country’s; my birthday happens in a couple of weeks, Singapore’s in a couple of days. Which got me to thinking about my fellow bunnies … I got down to some extensive Wiki-ing, and came up with a list of famous people who were also born on the day of rabbit. Curiously enough, quite a few renowned artists featured on the list, including Picasso, Pollock and Rauschenberg. Colour me impressed.
Also — less pleasingly — a couple of complete assholes ……
So, without further ado, I present you with The Brilliant Bunny Wall of Fame, followed by The Nasty Bunny Wall of Shame.
THE BRILLIANT BUNNY WALL OF FAME (artists first)
Gustave Caillebotte, b. 19 Aug 1848 (Metal rabbit). Post-Impressionist painter best known for his Paris Street; Rainy Day of 1877.
Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877), Gustave Caillebotte. In the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Pablo Picasso, b. 25 October 1881 (Metal rabbit). Only the most prominent artist of the twentieth century.
Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (1907), Pablo Picasso. In the collection of the MoMA.
Man Ray, b. 27 Aug 1890 (Earth rabbit). Artist best known for his surrealist pictures and objects, and so-called ‘rayographs’.
Jackson Pollock, b. 28 Jan 1912 (Water rabbit). Artist of the New York School; famed for his action painting and ‘all-over’ canvases.
Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950), Jackson Pollock. In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum.
Philip Guston, b. 27 June 1913 (Earth rabbit). Painter; shifted from the Ab Ex style of Pollock to a more personal, pictorial idiom.
Cherries (1976), Philip Guston. In the collection of the MoMA.
Ad Reinhardt, b. 24 Dec 1913 (Earth rabbit). Painter; produced monochromatic (or near-monochromatic, heh) canvases.
Abstract Painting (1963), Ad Reinhardt. In the collection of the MoMA.
Robert Motherwell, b. 24 Jan 1915 (Wood rabbit). Yet another New York School guy. His brand of Ab Ex-ism consisted of rough black forms set mostly against a white backdrop.
Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 110 (1971), Robert Motherwell. In the collection of the Guggenheim New York.
Andrew Wyeth, b. 12 July 1917 (Wood rabbit). Realist painter; best-known for Christina’s World, which depicted a polio-stricken young woman.
Christina’s World (1948), Andrew Wyeth. In the collection of the MoMA.
Robert Rauschenberg, b. 22 Oct 1925 (Earth rabbit). One of the most famous of the mid-century, post-Ab Ex artists. His ‘combines’ are his defining works.
George Maciunas, b. 8 Nov 1931 (Fire rabbit). Founding member of the Fluxus movement. One of its most seminal, yet enigmatic, members — due largely to an early death from cancer.
Sonic Youth performing George Maciunas’ Piano Piece #13 (Carpenter’s Piece).
Yoko Ono, b. 18 Feb 1933 (Wood rabbit). Someone else who needs no intro (though for all the wrong reasons). Associated with the Fluxus group as well.
Georg Baselitz, b. 23 Jan 1938 (Wood rabbit). German painter famed for his upside down canvases of the ’70s.
Richard Serra, b. 2 Nov 1939 (Water rabbit). Sculptor famed for his massive cor-ten steel behemoths.
Walkthrough of Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipse IV (1998), in the collection of the MoMA.
Ok, now everyone else (this is of course a partial list at best):
Dwight Eisenhower (34th President of the US), b. 14 Oct 1890 — Fire rabbit.
Bertolt Brecht (playwright, The Threepenny Opera), b. 10 Feb 1898 – Fire rabbit.
Aaron Copland (composer, Appalachian Spring), b. 14 Nov 1900 – Metal rabbit.
Sukarno (First President of Indonesia), b. 6 June 1901 – Wood rabbit.
Henry Fonda (actor, 12 Angry Men), b. 16 May 1905 – Wood rabbit.
Jean-Paul Sartre (philosopher, Being and Nothingness), b. 21 June 1905 – Metal rabbit.
Hannah Arendt (political thinker, Eichmann in Jerusalem), b. 14 Oct 1906 – Metal rabbit.
Jacques Tati, (director, Mon Oncle), b. 9 Oct 1907 – Metal rabbit.
Edwin Land (scientist and inventory, the Polaroid camera), b. 7 May 1909 – Fire rabbit.
Desi Arnaz (musician, actor, The Lucy Show), b. 2 Mar 1917 – Water rabbit.
Michael Caine (actor, Alfie), b. 14 Mar 1917 – Wood rabbit.
Quincy Jones (musician, composer), b. 14 Mar 1917 – Wood rabbit.
Lena Horne (singer), b. 30 June 1917 – Water rabbit.
John Rawls (Harvard philosopher, A Theory of Justice), b. 21 Feb 1921 – Wood rabbit.
Jane Russell (actress, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), b. 21 June 1921 – Wood rabbit.
Jack Kerouac (writer, On the Road), b. 12 March 1922 – Earth rabbit.
Malcolm X (activist), b. 19 May 1925 – Water rabbit.
Bill Haley (musician), b. 6 July 1925 – Metal rabbit.
B. B. King (musician), b. 16 Sept 1925 – Water rabbit.
Robert Fogel (economist, Nobel laureate), b. 1 July 1926 – Metal rabbit.
Miles Davis (jazz musician), b. 26 May 1926 – Wood rabbit.
Princess Margaret (of the U.K.), b. 21 Aug 1930 – Water rabbit.
Allan Bloom (academic, The Closing of the American Mind), b. 14 Sept 1930 – Fire rabbit.
Nagisa Oshima (director, In the Realm of the Senses), b. 31 Mar 1932 – Metal rabbit.
Corazon Aquino (11th President of the Philippines), b. 25 Jan 1933 – Metal rabbit.
Jayne Mansfield (actress, The Girl Can’t Help It), b. 19 Apr 1933 – Wood rabbit.
Karl Lagerfeld (fashion designer), 10 Sept 1933 – Earth rabbit.
Frederic Jameson (academic, Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism), 14 Apr 1934 – Wood rabbit.
King Harald V (of Norway), b. 21 Feb 1937 – Earth rabbit.
Jack Nicholson (actor, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), b. 22 Apr 1937 – Earth rabbit.
Dustin Hoffman (actor, Tootsie), b. 8 Aug 1937 – Fire rabbit.
Joyce Carol Oates (writer, them), b. 16 Feb 1938 – Earth rabbit.
Ted Turner (media mogul), b. 19 Nov 1938 – Wood rabbit.
Tina Turner (singer), b. 26 Nov 1939 – Fire rabbit.
Michael Stuart Brown (geneticist, Nobel laureate), b. 13 Apr 1941 – Metal rabbit.
Nora Ephron (screenwriter and director, Sleepless in Seattle), b. 19 May 1941 – Fire rabbit
Julia Kristeva (academic), b. 24 June 1941 – Water rabbit.
Paul Anka (singer), b. 30 July 1941 – Earth rabbit.
Harrison Ford (actor, Indiana Jones series), b. 13 Jul 1942 – Fire rabbit.
Diane Keaton (actress, Annie Hall), b. 5 Jan 1946 – Earth rabbit.
Stephen King (writer, Pet Semetary), b. 21 Sep 1947 – Water rabbit.
Al Gore (45th Vice President of the US), b. 31 Mar 1948 – Wood rabbit.
Clarence Thomas (US Supreme Court Justice), b. 23 June 1948 – Earth rabbit.
Prince Charles (of the U.K.), b. 14 Nov 1948 – Water rabbit.
Peter Suskind (writer, Perfume), b. 26 Mar 1949 – Wood rabbit.
Jamaica Kincaid (writer, Lucy), b. 25 May 1949 – Wood rabbit.
Chris Van Allsburg (writer and illustrator, Jumanji), b. 18 June 1949 – Earth rabbit.
Michael Richards (comedian and actor, Seinfeld), b. 24 July 1949 – Wood rabbit.
Peirce Brosnan (actor, GoldenEye), b. 16 May 1953 – Fire rabbit.
Benazir Bhutto (two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan), b. 21 June 1953 – Water rabbit.
Jerry Seinfeld (actor and comedian, Seinfeld), b. 29 Apr 1954 – Wood rabbit.
Steig Larsson (writer, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), b. 15 Aug 1954 – Earth rabbit.
Annie Lennox (singer and musician), b. 25 Dec 1954 – Wood rabbit.
Rowan Atkinson (actor and comedian, Mr. Bean), b. 6 Jan 1955 – Fire rabbit.
Kevin Costner (actor, Dances with Wolves), b. 18 Jan 1955 – Earth rabbit.
Bruce Willis (actor, Die Hard series), b. 19 Mar 1955 – Earth rabbit.
Chow Yun Fat (actor, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), b. 18 May 1955 – Earth rabbit.
Spike Lee (director, Do the Right Thing), b. 20 Mar 1957 – Metal rabbit.
Ray Romano (actor and comedian, Everybody Loves Raymond), b. 21 Dec 1957 – Fire rabbit.
Ellen Degeneres (actress and comedienne, Ellen), b. 26 Jan 1958 – Water rabbit.
Prince (singer, musician), b. 7 June 1958 – Wood rabbit.
Jim Carrey (actor, The Mask), b. 17 Jan 1962 – Wood rabbit.
Steve Irwin (zoologist and TV personality), b. 22 Feb 1962 – Metal rabbit.
Fandi Ahmad (Singapore football legend), b. 29 May 1962 – Fire rabbit.
Stephen Chow (actor, Shaolin Soccer), b. 22 June 1962 – Metal rabbit.
Anthony Kiedis (singer and musician, frontman of Red Hot Chili Peppers), b. 1 Nov 1962 – Water rabbit.
Bret Easton Ellis (writer, American Psycho), b. 7 Mar 1964 – Wood rabbit.
Wynonna Judd (singer), b. 30 May 1964 – Earth rabbit.
Guillermo del Toro (director, Pan’s Labyrinth), b. 9 Oct 1964 – Metal rabbit.
Teri Hatcher (actress, Desperate Housewives), b. 8 Dec 1964 – Metal rabbit.
Bjork (singer and musician), b. 21 Nov 1965 – Earth rabbit.
Zoe Tay (Singapore actress), b. 10 Jan 1968 – Earth rabbit.
Alexander McQueen (fashion designer), b. 17 Mar 1969 – Metal rabbit.
Faye Wong (singer and musician), b. 8 Aug 1969 – Wood rabbit.
Catherine Zeta-Jones (actress, Chicago), b. 25 Sept 1969 – Water rabbit.
Daniel Handler (writer, a.k.a Lemony Snicket), b. 28 Feb 1970 – Earth rabbit.
Dave Eggers (writer, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), b. 12 Mar 1970 – Metal rabbit.
Lara Flynn Boyle (actress, The Practice), b. 24 Mar 1970 – Water rabbit.
Andre Agassi (tennis player, former world champion), b. 29 Apr 1970 – Earth rabbit.
Uma Thurman (actress, Pulp Fiction), b. 29 Apr 1970 – Earth rabbit.
Ewan McGregor (actor, Moulin Rouge), b. 31 Mar 1971 – Wood rabbit.
Portia de Rossi (actress, Ally McBeal), b. 31 Jan 1973 – Fire rabbit.
January Jones (actress, Mad Men), b. 5 Jan 1978 – Fire rabbit.
Laura Prepon (actress, That ‘70s Show), b. 7 Mar 1980 – Earth rabbit.
Alicia Keys (singer, musician), b. 25 Jan 1981 – Water rabbit.
Hayden Christensen (actor, Stars Wars Episode II and III), b. 19 Apr 1981 – Fire rabbit.
THE NASTY BUNNY WALL OF SHAME (oh, booo.)
Ed Gein, b. 27 Aug 1906 (Water rabbit). American serial killer; the character of Buffalo Bill (Jame Gumb) in The Silence of the Lambs was based on Gein.
Pol Pot, b. 19 May 1925 (Water rabbit). Khmer Rouge leader and mass murderer.
Bernard Madoff, b. 29 Apr 1938 (Metal rabbit). Financial crook, public enemy numero uno of the late 2000s.
Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi, b. 7 June 1942 (Metal rabbit). Libyan leader and dictator.
Gary Ridgway, b. 18 Feb 1949 (Earth rabbit). The so-called Green River Killer. Responsible for the murders of at least 70 women in Washington state.
Bill O’Reilly, b. 10 Sept 1949 (Water rabbit). Big bully, and all-round imbecile. (At least you give folks like Cheney credit for political efficacy and some measure of intellgence/cunning. O’Reilly’s just … annoyingly loud. Like the Westboro Baptist folks. <shudder>)
Tsutomu Miyazaki, b. 21 Aug 1962 (Metal rabbit). Japanese serial killer. Murdered four young girls and mutilated their corpses, partially consuming them and drinking the blood of one.
Pigeons in holes. Couldn’t resist … Image from Natasha Scarlet.
Second post of the night: it was so good we’re doing it again.
I got my numbers mixed up: apparently at our first ever arts bloggers party last week some 40 people showed up ! – not 30 like I previously mentioned. Hmm. Look who can’t count – or at least guesstimate. I’m being a bad Asian stereotype.
The booze-addled goodness is happening again at:
The time: 8pm, 31st August (Wed).
The place: The Pigeonhole, 52/53 Duxton Rd. (hence the image …)
And just one preliminary logistical matter: if you were included on the mailing list for the last gathering, doncha worry, this isn’t for you. If you weren’t, and would like to be kept in the loop, please either give me or Notabilia a heads-up with your e-mail addy. Or, alternatively, leave a comment here or over at her blog.
Oh, also I got lost in the wilds of Tanjong Pagar the last time trying to track the place down, so those of you who happen to be … directionally-challenged, Google Map it beforehand !
So The Longue Durée … has been receiving some pretty positive word-of-mouth attention, courtesy of folks at Notabilia, Singapore Public Art, and – in a visit from the self-esteem fairy – our very own National Museum.
They tweeted: “Take this with a pinch of salt, one of the few better art blogs in Singapore.” (See screengrab below.)
I’m not quite sure how to read that, but okayyy <lol>.
So to my multitudes (?) of regular readers out there, don’t forget the sodium chloride the next time you’re stopping by.
Thanks to CT for the heads-up !