November 21, 2007

Luigi Serafini

In June we visited the Contemporary Museum of Modern Art in Milan, and the ongoing exhibit they had showcased there was for someone who I was unfamiliar with but went by the name of SERAFINI in huge, bright, bold, majectic letters. I actually didn't see these letters presented as how I just described--they were really just small letters on a small sign, but by the time I left the museum this name left a grandeur impression as such. And that is exactly what his work was to me: grandiose and eye-popping. What we found inside were huge paintings filling up several rooms that depicted the most unusual scenes: a couple picnicing on fake grass amidst machine guns and dead Santa Clauses, Jesus playing crochet with a skullhead while a dragon sleeps in the background and a woman bathes in a checkered tub, zookeepers feeding buckets of pills to a room full of blue wind-up alligators.....i can keep going. These works were so large and finely detailed, but not just limited to canvas. Sculptures, installations, and things I don't even know what to call, all displayed this similar monster-scaled fashion. Even his smaller drawings filled entire hallways and had enough material to pack several books. This guy must have been an unimaginal workhorse, a beast to put it lightly. I was quite lucky to stumble upon his exhibit, and months later I investigated him on the web and came across a few bios. The following is from an ironically small site dedicated to Serafini which can be found here. "Luigi Serafini, globetrotter and architect, historian and gastronomer, set and costume designer, a man who has opened a laboratory of ceramics on the border between art and craft, an industrial designer, a painter, and a writer of stories and articles.
Serafini was born in Rome in 1949. In the 1970's, he commenced his career as a globetrotter and then as an architect.
Subsequently he created the "Codex Seraphinianus" (published by Franco Maria Ricci, Milan 1981), which has now reached its sixth edition, and "Pulcinellopedia (piccola)" (published by Longanesi, Milan 1983), which is dedicated to industrial design.
The extraordinary "Codex Seraphinianus" is a book of 400 pages in the form of an encyclopedia -- graphical letters, signs, animals and plants, anatomy and chemistry -- creating a book to view and to admire. Its writing, completely invented, could never be deciphered even with the most technologically advanced machine, but it can be intuited, loaded with emotional meaning that washes over the eyes.
He has published stories in Bompiani and in Archinto, and has written articles for several magazines and newspapers.
He is an architect and designer. He has created scenery, lighting and costumes for il Teatro alla Scala and the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. He has done set designs for RAI, television acronyms/logos in computer graphics, and a talk-show program for Radio Three.He collaborated with Federico Fellini on his final film, "La voce della luna" (The Voice of the Moon), for which he developed preliminary designs.
He has been a visiting artist at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, and has had exhibitions at the Fondazione Mudima di Milano, the XIII Quadriennale, and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (National Gallery of Modern Art) in Rome.
He has opened a laboratory of ceramics in Umbria, operating between art and craft, he does personal exhibitions, especially in Holland, and participates in numerous collectives.
At the moment he paints paintings and he writes in the "Passeggiate Romane" ("Roman Walks") and "il Messaggero" ("The Messenger") and is occupied with gastronomy.
He lives between Rome and Milan, in an imaginary city where the paths of the culverts surface in Piazza Cordusio." -jaguarman

November 19, 2007

Rescue Dawn: On DVD Tuesday

The title sure does sound like an ad, and it is sort of. Blogs are information tools and one of the my favorite posts of this blog concerns the man, Werner Herzog. I did not go see Rescue Dawn in the movie theater like I wanted to. I was on that whole, "Yes, I want to go see it," when it was in the movies but I just did not get around to doing it. (That seems to happen with most movies and me. I would not and did not let it happen with The Darjeeling Limited, however.) So last week I was saying to a friend, I want to see Rescue Dawn and then three days or so later, there's a television commercial telling me it's coming out Tuesday on DVD. And now I'm telling you. ---Dan

November 16, 2007

Getting "Gonzo" With Hunter S. Thomspon

Most people come to know of/about Hunter S. Thompson through “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” either through the cult classic book or the film adaptation of the book. It is my experience that just about every single person who reads the book, instantly falls in love with and becomes enamored with HST.
Perhaps that person goes out and obtains his first book, “Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga” or they want to read his essays in “The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time.” There is even “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72,” which is the second book I read by HST.
I did not have any real interest in politics before reading the book that covered the 1972 Presidential election. He got close to George McGovern and tore into Richard Nixon whenever he could, always stoned, drunk and fearless. He also never strayed away from the virtues of that election year that he found littered on that campaign trail that criss-crossed America. I received more of an education on politics in that book than I have ever received anywhere else.
That’s the thing about HST, many people detract from his work because he indulged in copious amounts of drugs, and admits the drugs made him the writer who he is. This is also an essence of HST that attracts many readers to him.
It is fair to say HST has a large following. He was one of the leaders of New Journalism, a harsh critic of unfair laws whether it was locally in hometown of Boulder, Colo. or federal laws. When he wrote about American politics, everyone read it – from the hippies to college kids to his peer journalists to the political folks who ran the country.
There is a term which too many people believe HST coined, “Gonzo.” Doug Brinley, who worked closely with HST compiling his essays and letters, stated that the term comes from a 1960 song called “Gonzo,” by James Booker. HST friend Bill Cardoso came by HST’s place one night bringing over a cassette of the tune, which they played all night long. As the night dragged on into morning, Cardoso referred to HST as the “Gonzo man.” Cardoso later sent a note to HST in response to an article he wrote about the Kentucky Derby, calling it “pure Gonzo journalism.”
This information can be found in a recently published book, “Gonzo: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson,” by Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour. Wenner is the founder of Rolling Stone magazine. The book is a must have. I am not here writing about this book though, I am here to dote on another recently published book, simple titled, “Gonzo.”
If you are a dedicated Hunter S. Thompson aficionado, this book is fucking perfect. It is one of those books when you have no cash you put on your credit card that is near its limit already. It is one of those books you steal from Barnes and Noble or Borders because fuck them, you WANT this book.
It covers his life but after going through it a few times, you’ll want more, you'll NEED more.
The book is a collection of never before published personal photographs, notes, bumper stickers, drawings, manuscripts, certifications and so much more. There has not ever been anything else published that permitted the public to get beyond just the words of HST. This book opens that door.
The section on the mythic “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” contains notes he made on napkins, booklets on the dangers of narcotics from the national policemen’s drug conference he attended, copies of bills and flight receipts and new photos. Amazing!
One particular thing I loved was seeing the actual election booth button – a photo of the actually button that you would select when going into the voting booth – when he ran for Pitkin County Sheriff in Colorado in 1970. This book allows us the opportunity to actually step into HST’s world like we never have before.
There are awesome photos of the Hell’s Angels, a pic of him next to a huge marlin he caught while in Hawaii composing “The Curse of Lono” and Polaroid photos that Ralph Steadman drew on. His Air Force certificate is shown as well as his Doctor of Divinity certificate among many other personal documents. Readers can finally get into the mind, life and times of Hunter S. Thompson by reviewing the artifacts he has left us.
There are hardcover books you leave out so other people can see them and this is one of them.
For more information about "Gonzo," visit the publisher’s Web site at *posted by Dan

Raymond G. Perelman Building

Just thought I'd throw a reminder that the new Perelman addition to the Phila Art Museum is finally open and free to the public up until Christmas thanks to a donation from a kind altruist. Its located right across the street from the main museum. The place is really facinating and much more of a modern vibe than its sibling on the other side of the street. I think after the free period is up, it'll be something like $26 a head for admission, so hop to it! There's a Euro-inspired cafe inside and the exhibits being offered are really interesting. From the Philamuseum website: "Across from the Museum's main building and behind an exquisitely preserved Art Deco facade is the newly renovated and expanded Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, the first phase of a major plan to dramatically enhance and modernize the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Visitors from all over the region, across the country, and abroad are at last able to experience the Museum's collections—some of which are being placed on view for the first time—in these extraordinary new gallery spaces, as well as enjoy state-of-the-art visitor amenities, study centers, and educational resources like never before."

November 13, 2007

More from CMOG...

The Glass Collection Galleries explore Near Eastern, Asian, European, and American glass and glassmaking from antiquity through present day.

They tell the story of glass creation, from a full-scale model of an Egyptian furnace to the grand factories of Europe, and, then America, and finally, to the small-scale furnaces that fueled the Studio Glass movement that began in America in the 1960s.

The galleries contain objects representing every country and historical period in which glassmaking has been practiced.

Conceived of as an accredited educational institution and founded in 1950 by the Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated), the Museum has never been a showcase for the company or its products, but rather exists as a non-profit institution that preserves and expands the world's understanding of glass.

When the Museum officially opened to the public in 1951, it contained a significant collection of glass and glass-related books and documents: there were 2,000 objects, two staff members, and a research library, housed in a low, glass-walled building designed by Harrison & Abramowitz.

Under its first director, Thomas Buechner, the Museum continued to assemble a comprehensive collection of glass, and its library acquired rare books related to the history of glassmaking. When Buechner accepted the directorship of the Brooklyn Museum, he was succeeded by Paul Perrot, who continued the expansion of the collection and the staff.

*photos by Jaguarman and text courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

November 12, 2007

CMOG in Corning, New York

We visited the Corning Museum of Glass in Upstate New York this past weekend. To put it short it was an amazing experience...."The Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of glass--more than 45,000 glass objects, spanning 3,500 years of glassmaking history. Visitors can also explore the science and technology of glass in a hands-on exhibit area, see live narrated glassmaking demonstrations and try their hand at glassworking in short daily workshops.
Located in the Finger Lakes region, in one of the most prominent glassmaking towns in America, the Museum is an educational institution, dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of the art, history and science of glass." *posted by Jaguarman