Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cool Moon

This is the lunar eclipse as my camera saw it:

But with my naked eye, it was pretty cool. My mom and I bundled ourselves up in fleece and blankets (she wore her hat!) and sat out on the deck watching last night's lunar eclipse. We warmed ourselves with mugs of hot chocolate and were out there quite awhile, til the clouds closed in. I kept saying "cool" mom was kidding me that the moon was cool in more ways than one (brrrr!!!, lol).

Only happens every 400 years or so that there is a lunar eclipse on the solstice, so it was a good thing those clouds had taken a break when they did, there was no rain, and I had set an alarm so I didn't forget. I was awake doodling when the alarm went about 11pm here, oh! And up we got.

After we were back inside, warming ourselves with more hot chocolate, I went onto Twitter to look at some pics. Mom was really intrigued to see pics from other places in the world, such as the one from someone in Argentina, as their pic had the lower right corner lit up (rather than the upper right hand corner).

Here is the best pic I saw on Twitter last night, by Jay Rodriguez (click to enlarge it):

1st day of winter 2010 - Lunar Eclipse by Jay Rodriguez #Luna... on Twitpic

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Herb & Dorothy: the coolest art collectors ever

Just watched the coolest documentary...
The full title, with it's subtitle is: Herb & Dorothy: the incredible true story of a postal worker and librarian who built a world class art collection. Click here to visit the documetary's website. Here they are in earlier years with part of their collection:
Below is a more recent picture taken around the time the documentary was made in 2008 (the cat's name is Archie). In a nutshell, Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a NYC couple of modest means, made art collecting their hobby and passion, learning, visiting galleries and making their way to unknown artists' studios. They lived on one income and used the other to buy early works, storing them all in their 1 bedroom apartment ("I noticed their bed getting higher and higher" one family member said in the documentary, lol), being careful to rotate and cover the works to limit the light exposure. Herb has an incredible eye for picking out pieces, and understanding the artist's development.
Bursting at the seams, they eventually donated their entire collection to the USA's National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Truckloads of thousands of works. They never sold a single work, they didn't want to. When the gallery decided to provide them with a modest stipend to help them to "get a new sofa when they got their apartent back" (the old one having been buried ages ago), help with upkeep and deal with any health issues.... the Vogels turned around and used the money to buy even more art, which they donated to the gallery.... lol. The National Gallery eventually deemed they could not hold the entire collection (well over 4000 works), so smaller collections of 50 works were donated to all 50 states. How cool.
This picture is from Perfect Vision, W magazine's article on the couple, it is worth reading to get a sense of how they did it, and some of the works they collected.
The documentary was shown tonight on Knowledge Network, and mom and I were glued to the set (thanks in large part to my sister's markings in the December issue of the K schedule). It was fabulous!!! I will be watching for it to be shown again, as there was so much to absorb.

I have only been to Washington DC once in the past, but this has me wanting to return again. I just have to see that collection! And I love the fact that, thanks to the 50 works for 50 States program whatever American state I visit, I can see a portion of the collection in some gallery there. That's cool 50 times over.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Future Travels: Art Institute of Chicago

That's Chicago in the background of this Picasso sculpture. This is Picasso's immense Nude Under a Pine Tree. I didn't know about this work and really want to see it! And that was before I discovered that he painted it exactly 7 days before I was born: cool.
Both will require me to make it to Chicago.

It was completly by fluke that I came across this blog post on Midwest Rock Lobster on a guy's visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. I have had Chicago on my must-do cities list, but wowee, this convinced me. I am going to start seriously planning towards a trip one day. Anyways, the blog post is excellent, as he really gives you a tour of the works to wet your whistle.
And that it did. Their online catalog lists 344 Picasso works, yum! A quick browse and I know I'd like to see these: Cannes, Games and Reading, Man and Flute Player, Minotaur and Wounded Horse, Painter and Model, and a cool collection of 5 plates - all of which aren't currently on display. Thanks goodness for the internet, as I can still see them! Hmmmm... would be worth watching for an exhibit of Picasso works from the archives.... Also liked this curious sclupture entitled Figure. Truth be told, too many works to even look at online, lol.... was Picasso ever prolific!
Beside a decent collection of Picassos, there are Dalis, Miros, Kandinskys and more....