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robert morris: felt magic

February 4, 2011

[here]

These installations by Robert Morris have just obliterated my snooty anti-felt attitude (which, in my defense, is usually relegated to the school room craft table or the back of a moving truck). Holy Jesus, these are gorgeous. I want to wear them, or be enveloped in their mysterious, impeccable folds.

age of aquarius

January 29, 2011

This card was created for the most magnificent Aquarius I know: my mother.

Silhouettes and shadows reduce objects to their elements: angles, lines, hints of something more. They’re bold in their blackness yet retain a sense of mystery. Like a confident woman. Happy Birthday, Maman.

banjos

January 26, 2011

It’s not just the sound they make, which is glorious and makes me think of fresh grass, peeling paint, and cold whiskey sweating in a glass. It’s something about their shape, the long delicate neck attached to the stout, reliable base. Elegant and stalwart, delicate and hardy.

portrait of Creole George Guesnon. Noel Rockmore, 1960s, Preservation Hall, New Orleans

[here]

[here]

Originally made from gourds and animal skin, the banjo was brought to America by African slaves in the 17th century and became particularly popular in the last 60 years with the rise of bluegrass and folk music.

If you wish to know and hear more (like me), The Banjo Project is an unreleased documentary directed by Mark Fields and narrated by Steve Martin for which they’re trying to raise enough funds to finish (it looks like they have). I hope so. Keep an eye out.

a new collection

January 12, 2011

I am fascinated by what people choose to collect and why. I haven’t collected much myself due to a fear of clutter in our Brooklyn apartment–that, and I didn’t feel swept up enough in any one type of object to search for it the world over.

But on a recent visit to New Orleans I saw a striking mint-green vase at a Magazine Street antiques shop. Handthrown with a matte glaze, it had the bold crisp lines of the Art Deco period, and I stood in front of the case gazing at it as if I were in the Tiffany room at the Met. I finally asked the clerk about its price: $250. Not outrageous, but certainly beyond my means.

I continued to pine for it when I returned to New York, until finally I turned to Ebay. Wow! So many fabulous antique green vases! I eyed several, but decided on this modest piece made by the Muncie Pottery Company, which was in business from only 1919 to 1939 in Muncie, Indiana. Though it stands at just 6 inches tall, I fell immediately for the matte finish, the springy green, and the crisp yet organic shape. When it arrived, wrapped in cotton, its substantial weight was both surprising and reassuring. I knew I’d chosen correctly.

It isn’t worth very much, but it’s a noble start to my new collection of vases from the 1920s and 30s. If you’ve recently started a collection or simply like to read about others, CollectorsWeekly.com is a remarkable resource. It’s got lots of smart information about all types of collectibles, and it’s also well designed and frequently updated. If you’re not inspired now, you will be.

passenger pigeon, 1914

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year everyone! In the spirit of celebrating ends and welcoming beginnings, here’s the first part of series I’ve been working on for the past couple of months. The last passenger pigeon died in 1914, its species decimated by hunting and pollution (though recent research suggests that populations may have been cleared out by a strain of lyme disease). The passenger pigeon’s skull is near weightless and exquisite in its delicacy. This particular skull was found in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on an archeological dig and I loved it on first sight at the owner’s apartment in Queens.

cut paper and gold leaf, 10"x20"

While this species and others were taken for granted during their existence, all we have left are their bones, which are beautiful and tragic and worth more than their weight in gold.

i’d rather be a cyclist than any other beast

December 10, 2010

There is so much goodness in this photograph: the tidy rows of bikes, the white tires, the phonographs, the endless rows of drawers, the wallpaper, the lofty, beadboard ceiling. Beauty in order. Detroit, 1912.

[via Kottke]

*title from “The Cyclist” by John Joy Bell (1871-1934)

collected: doris salcedo’s chairs

December 9, 2010

Columbian sculptor Salcedo’s installation of 1,550 chairs for the 2003 International Instanbul Biennale: a remarkable example of the power of mundane objects when placed in a new context. What I want to know is how she got them to stay in place.

[via here]