Category: non-fashion musings

Annenberg Space for photography century city exhibit generation wealth 1

Annenberg Space For Photography

Annenberg Space For Photography

I recently went to see the Lauren Greenfield exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography. It was a really interesting look at social class through retrospective.

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This exhibit was meant to explore our obsession with wealth and celebrity. I always knew this was a real thing, but it shocked me how seriously some people take their desire to be rich and famous. A lot of the photographs were of people who’d be classified as ‘new money.’ Their lack of class was absolutely repulsive to me. They literally looked like garbage.

I’ve never been more repulsed by money or people who have it. Her photographs really moved something in me.

It seemed like the more money one has, the less class they get to keep. Or that one replaces the other. Their big houses were gawdy and tacky, missing any modicum of art or prestige.

The retrospective also addressed what happened when these same people lost everything. It was amazing to see how quickly people adjust to money, especially women who marry rich. They immediately become adjusted to being super wealthy. Yet as soon as something happens and they lose the money, it’s impossible for them to recover. It’s almost like Flowers for Algernon.

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Money In Russia

One of the sections of the Annenberg Space that really stuck out to me was the one with the photographs of crazy rich Russians. It made me think about my own thoughts on money and wealth, and how it’s different from others’ due to my upbringing.
Money was so volatile after the collapse of the Soviet Union that its ‘societal’ meaning and value became very low. It was almost funny to see something that means so much go up and down so quickly. We had a lot of money during this time, and it ended up being the reason we had to leave. Overtime, money began to lose its’ meaning and value for me.

Some people in Russia saw it the other way, ‘now is our chance to have a lot more.’
I never put a lot of emphasis on money, and I think it was because of how quickly I realized it can lose its value, and become worthless. It just didn’t make sense to strive endlessly for something that may one day mean absolutely nothing. I understood wealth was fleeting, and it was better to spend my time and energy on a more worthy goal.

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The retrospective runs through August 13, please check it out if you are in town!

Hermitage museum St. Petersburg

Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the oldest in the world.

Hermitage museum St. Petersburg

Here are some tiny photographs from the museum, by photographer B. Osenchakov, from 1974.

 

I recently had to empty out a lot of drawers in my house and came across this big box of vintage postcards and maps. Including these photos of the Hermitage Museum.

I hope everyone has a chance to visit this place, it has some of the most comprehensive collections of art in the world.

 

Let me know what you think I should do with all those postcards though!

dwan gallery lacma art of the day avant garde la

Dwan Gallery — Art Of The Day

Dwan Gallery — Art Of The Day

Today’s art of the day post is coming to you from the Dwan Gallery exhibit now at LACMA.

dwan gallery lacma art of the day avant garde la

This LA gallery opened in the 60s and was the home of the avant-garde art movement in Los Angeles. This woman amassed a huge collection of minimalist art and conceptual art, which was very new at the time. The above photo of a mirror installation at the entrance of the exhibit is an example of the conceptual art featured within.

Dwan was a big fan of the French Nouveau Realisme movement, and a lot of that art is shown in this exhibit. I am not very familiar with this movement, so it was extremely interesting to see and learn about this artists. It’s also amazing to see the Dwan Gallery as it was in the 1960s.

Sorry about the vertical filming :PP
Make sure you check this exhibit out!

 

 

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Poet Of The Day — Langston Hughes

Poet Of The Day — Langston Hughes

Today’s poet and poem of the day is Langston Hughes, one of the cornerstone poets of the Harlem Renaissance.

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I’m a huge fan of the Harlem Renaissance movement in poetry. One of my earlier posts referenced Claude McKay and the meaning behind these poets’ style and choice of words. Langston Hughes is in a league of his own regarding style. He wrote gospel and jazz lyrics as well as long ballad poems. But perhaps the poems most indicative of the style of the movement were his poems like ‘To You,’ below.

This poem is classic Harlem Renaissance. The simple rhyme and the poem’s succinct method of delivery are key. The message is clearly a call-to-action for people who are sick of the oppression and injustice faced at the time (and unfortunately, to this day). With ‘Dinner Guest: Me’ just on the next page it’s almost a scoff by the publisher at how little has been done.

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german expressionism lacma mitschke-collande freiheit

German Expressionism

German Expressionism

For today’s art of the day, I thought I would feature my very first attempt at a video. I shot this at LACMA when I went on their free Tuesday. I really love German Expressionism, and in today’s political climate I think we can learn a lot about how to express ourselves from these artists.

Guys, I have never had a more difficult time making a movie in my life! I really want to make the foray into video, and was thinking about getting a good camera and microphone, but now it looks like that won’t happen until I can get a new computer. It kept giving me the spinning beach ball of death! I felt as bad as Otto Dix, featured in that German Expressionism video above. Otto Dix, Mitschke-Collande (below), Anselm Keifer all took a stand with art, and showed the revolutionary spirit of the time. If you’re in the area please visit LACMA and see this collection.

german expressionism lacma mitschke-collande freiheit

codinome beija flor in english

Codinome Beija flor

Codinome Beija flor

“If someone calls you hummingbird in the street, do not answer. Only I should be allowed to call you that.”

Although not technically a poem, the song of the day is Cazuza’s Codinome Beija Flor, or Codename, Hummingbird.

codinome beija flor in english

The song, and especially the line above, always spoke to me because people have called me a hummingbird before. I mean, the similarities are uncanny. As the smallest bird, the hummingbird is always just a few hours from starving to death because its’ metabolism is so fast. I have some experience in this area.

Cazuza’s sentence structure and the way he wove these lyrics together is especially beautiful, I’ll try my best to translate them.

 

‘What’s the point  of lying?
Or pretend to forgive?
What’s the point of being friends
The passion is gone.
Love is a funny coincidence
Our music will never play again

Why bother to figure out
Our hidden intentions?
The nectar we had between us
Was slowly dissipated
From flower to flower
Amoung my enemies
My hummingbird.

I protected your name out of love
Using the codename ‘hummingbird.’
If someone calls you hummingbird in the street, do not answer, never

Only I should be allowed
Into your icy ear
Whisper secrets that will melt you.
You dreamed while awake
In a way so as not to feel the pain
You would cry inside,
But pour out a generous love

You would cry inside,
But pour out a generous love.’

 

Ao my translation leaves something to be desired, but I hope the message is clear. I don’t speak Portuguese that well, so I’m sorry for any mistakes I made. It’s very difficult to translate Codinome Beija Flor because Cazuza’s lyrics are very complex. Combined with the music, this song is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard. Please go and have a listen!

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Bryan Adams Photography

Bryan Adams Photography

I love when artists cross over into other forms of art, I think it really shows their depth. That’s why today’s photography of the day is Bryan Adams.

What is so amazing about these photographs is that they highlight the detail of the fabric. It reminds me of my fashion classes when we had to learn every different kind of fabric and construction method. These photos are from his mystery of cloth series.

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Part of the test was to be able to guess the fabric just by looking at it. I am a little rusty, but the last one is definitely brocade!

I love these photographs because they really show the details and quality of fabric. Even thought the majority of Bryan Adams’ photography is black and white nothing is sacrificed. He perfectly captured the tactile mood of these clothes. The fabric is practically tangible through the screen.

books I want to read

Books I Want To Read

Books I Want To Read

Today’s books of the day are all these books I want to read! I got them years ago and haven’t gotten around to reading. Mark my words, I will finish them by the end of this year.

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Thomas Bernhard ‘Extinction’

When I was reading Knausgaard’s My Struggle, I wrote down anything and everything that might be useful to me. Whenever I love an author, I always try to find books they read, in an attempt to learn more about them. Knausgaard called Thomas Bernhard’s ‘Extinction’ the scariest book he’s ever read. Later on, as I was reading ‘The Lady in Gold’ I came across Bernhard once again, this time he was mentioned for his criticism of Austrian government’s involvement with stolen artwork during the Holocaust, and refusal to accept its past.

His constant reappearance in my life can only mean I really need to get into this book!

Deathless

This book grabbed my attention because of its’ references to the domovy – a Russian house hobbit. I have no idea what this book will be about, but it is an American author who does an amazing job of describing Russian folklore and traditions without missing anything.

Phantoms In The Brain

This is a scientific book I bought because it included a whole chapter on the sensory parietal lobule. This part of the brain is where the compiling of all our sensory information takes place. Illnesses like phantom limb syndrome have been linked to a misfire in this part of the brain. When I was writing my papers at university about the implications of brain research I found some studies that suggested trans people’s gender dysphoria is also linked to the sensory parietal lobule.

I can’t wait to read more about these scientific findings!

Sand and Foam Kahlil Gibran

Sand And Foam — Poem Of The Day

Sand And Foam — Poem Of The Day

Today’s poem of the day is Kahlil Gibran’s Sand and Foam.

Sand and Foam Kahlil Gibran

“I am forever walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam,
But the sea and the shore will remain.
Forever.”

I can’t retype the whole poem because it’s very long, but I love the above line. It is the very opening of the poem.

Recently I was talking with someone about the psychology behind wanting to leave a footprint in the world. People have many different fears, but I think the greatest is being forgotten. It is not so much that people want to be famous, or be revered, as they want to leave their mark. Human psychology and fears are fascinating to me. Why do we fear being forgotten? When discussing this poem specifically, I argued that people who fear being forgotten aren’t truly confident in their purpose in life. Sand and Foam is all about leaving behind something, just so it can be wiped away, like a Mandala. The practice of this really forces us to learn that what is most important is within us all the time. A lesson I need to re-learn constantly.

I have another favourite quote from Sand and Foam:

“It takes two of us to discover truth: one to utter it and one to understand it.”

Completely unrelated to the above, it means we have to really listen to grasp the meaning of something. And it also harks back to the concept of ‘is something real if we don’t believe it;’ something I talked about in-depth in this post.

Kahlil Gibran goes on to say that we are present in everything. The universe is comprised of all of us. Maybe this is what our lives mean after all.

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The Master And Margarita

The Master And Margarita — Book Of The Day

I guess it’s not really book of the day, since Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita is technically a story, but it’ll do for our purposes.

I’m sorry to have another non-English book of the day, but I’ve been on a kick lately. I think it helps me speak Russian better. I love comparing translations, so give the English a read and let me know what you think.

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I guess it can be classified as political satire, fantasy, fiction. There really is no way to define this genre. Bulgakov is brilliantly funny and sarcastic. And as is the case with my favourite books, not a word is wasted. There’s no filler, everything is vital to the unfolding of this amazing satire.

Without giving it away, the devil comes to atheist, communist Russia. Unfortunately, there is no english word for the Russian ‘smeh i greh,‘ it’s basically when you laugh at something you know you shouldn’t. And I’ve been doing a lot of that as I re-read this, laughing while shaking my head.