Wislawa Szymborska, “Vermeer”

Vermeer Wislawa Szymborska (tr. Clare Cavanagh & Stanislaw Barańczak) So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum in painted quiet and concentration keeps pouring milk day after day from the pitcher to the bowl the World hasn’t earned the world’s end. Comment: Not even our age, with a supposed concern for rights, a profession to […]

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Aubrey Beardsley, “The Death of Pierrot” (1896)

The clown’s passing is not unremarkable. “The thinness of [Beardsley’s] tragically elegant lines suggest the breaking off of everything” (1). The lines are indeed everything. Death comes into the room stealthily, majestically, in four dressed as though they left a masquerade or performance. Supple lines convey their agility and figures, their easy confidence comparable to […]

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Maiko Shioda, “let me dream”

With thanks to Mark Alonzo and Coco Rico Sharing one’s dreams is very risky.  It could be interpreted as an act of incredible shamelessness or bravery. Maiko Shioda’s reflections on her dreams are vulnerable and searching. They’re an invitation to reconstruct pointed pains and doubts, acknowledging how we’ve grown. They come towards the viewer, encompassing […]

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George Romney, “Young Man with a Flute”

The cutest and saddest thing happened while I was staring at this. Some little girl was being led by her Dad past this painting. She slowed a bit and attempted to read the caption – got the name “George” said correctly, but struggled with “Romney.” Dad dragged her past and put her in front of […]

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On Museum Jokes

Andy Warhol’s famous “Brillo” box, made out of exquisitely crafted prints, makes the essential point. Credit to Paul Drozdowski (btw, happy birthday!) for talking me through it. Here’s an everyday piece of design that we all take for granted. But add a famous artist’s name and technique to it, and it’s in a museum. The […]

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