Monday, October 24, 2011

Art and Transformation

Dean and I went to the "Luminous" exhibit at SAM yesterday. What a great show! It was a selection of Seattle Art Museum's vast Asian Art collection, curated by Doh Ho Su (the artist who created the amazing "dog tag" suit of armor sculpture). It opens with a group of Buddha heads, from different cultures, such as Indonesian, Thai, Cambodian. Then a series of sculptural fragments, and the idea that everything is a fragment, only a piece of the whole, but that it also contains the essence of the whole. The pieces are grouped thematically, rather than chronologically, or by country -- and this serves to open up to larger ideas of the meaning of art, museums, memory, preservation. Suh writes a thoughtful brief intro to each group, that is just the right amount of a prompt.

The most amazing part was Suh's installation called Gate. It is a screen in the shape of the gate at his ancestral home in Korea, onto which a series of video images plays: his Korean home in the changing light (time lapse video); some growing tree branches like paint strokes; butterflies, dragonflies, a deer; and then an amazing series of crows, single and flocking and filling the sky, and swarming into a whirl -- all echoing images that are to come in the next rooms. It is a pretty amazing piece, visually and viscerally moving, and it's worth it to sit in the dark anteroom and watch it for a while, before passing through the gate, and experiencing the transformation that great art offers. And then looking back, and seeing it again from the other side.

Highly recommended.


I love this poem from the new Jim Harrison book from Copper Canyon.

River II

Another dawn in the village by the river
and I'm jealous of the 63 moons of Jupiter.
Out in the yard inspecting a lush lilac bush
followed by five dogs who have chosen
me as their temporary leader. I look up
through the vodka jangle of the night before,
straight up at least 30,000 feet where the mountains
are tipping over on me. Dizzy I grab the lilacs
for support. Of course it's deceitful clouds
playing the game of becoming mountains.
Once on our nighttime farm on a moonlit walk
the clouds pushed by a big western wind
became a school of whales swimming hard
across the cold heavens and I finally knew
that we walk the bottom of an ocean we call sky.

-- Jim Harrison, from Songs of Unreason


Thursday, October 13, 2011

999 = 666 ?

From Conservative Focus

By Paul Bentley

Michele Bachmann ridiculed Cain's plan most successfully, saying that when scrutinised or 'turned upside down' the 999 principle became Satan's number, 666.

'When you take the 999 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil is in the details,' she said.

She added that the proposal was not a jobs plan, but rather a tax plan.

The planned 999 policy has come in for criticism before from tax analysts, who claim it would cause those less well off to pay more.

Jon Huntsman, meanwhile, joked that at first he thought the 999 tax plan was a pizza price, not a real economic proposal.


HAHAHA. The republican debate was such a hoot to watch. Are these people for real? Invoking the Anti Christ and 666 as debate points? It is looking better for Obama every day.

Monday, October 03, 2011

A lovely poem from today's American Life in Poetry:


I used to think the land
had something to say to us,
back when wildflowers
would come right up to your hand
as if they were tame.

Sooner or later, I thought,
the wind would begin to make sense
if I listened hard
and took notes religiously.
That was spring.

Now I’m not so sure:
the cloudless sky has a flat affect
and the fields plowed down after harvest
seem so expressionless,
keeping their own counsel.

This afternoon, nut tree leaves
blow across them
as if autumn had written us a long letter,
changed its mind,
and tore it into little scraps.


Poem copyright ©2010 by Don Thompson, whose most recent book of poetry is Where We Live, Parallel Press, 2009.