First, cake

Two months ago, I attended a Symposium on South Asian Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard.  These images are from an illustrated  manuscript from Bundi, Rajasthan, c. 1660-80.  My photography is imperfect,  not always capturing the full image, as I  wondered, too, about the rationality of capturing  an image in an image.

Radha Confiding in her Companion, c.1660-80, Bundi, India
Sound, 1660-80, Bundi, Rajastan, Arthur M Sackler Museum

 

From the Rasikapriya, 1660-80, Bundi, Rajasthan, Arthu M. Sackler Museum  
From the Rasikapriya, 1660-80, Bundi, Rajasthan, Sackler Museum

The vibrant reds, the brilliant blues. The pink, the orange, and yellow. I wandered, hungry for color, and conversation on image. It was a gorgeous, mind-blowing experience, which I can say without fear of sounding foolish because I am not part of the art world! I heard learned scholars speaking mostly in a language I understood.  I was in delight because most of these scholars were South Asian, a rare ( for me) intellectual majority here in Boston, geographically associated with my birth country.  I was the voyeur, interlocutor, taking notes, and dreaming of changing my major at fifty-seven.

A few weeks ago, I toured Agra with an old friend, and a photographer-guide, seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time. The best photos must be credited to our guide, Bobby.

I am able to do all this not only because I am not teaching this semester, but because I am realizing self-care is not just about pedicures and spas.  I find I am a  happy  student, delving into sight and sound, exhulting in art history, visual imagery, and buying books.  Years of reading fiction make me crave history books, though of course the word itself contains “story.”  Back home, the sky is winter grey.  November thankfully passes into December.  I am nearly over jet-lag.  Now a cat wants feeding, and the horses are brilliant in their still beauty through the window; a super moon on its way.  I see it at dawn, revealing its silver,  and ducking into the clouds. This too is a story.  I missed American Thanksgiving, but I know how lucky all this life is.

This post keeps appearing and disappearing.  I ought to edit, but instead, I’ll launch it again, this balloon full of hot air, and see if it will fly.

Cake?  It is what I ate before attending the first lecture at the symposium.

When I Was Seventeen, It Was A Very Good Year

Enrolled as a first year at Stella Maris College, when I was seventeen, I was a freshman abroad.  I studied in the Fine Arts department, which encompassed both art history and studio art.  We began with Mesopotamia and Assyrian, learning to diagram Buddhist stupas, and number Buddha’s attributes in sculpture ( a top-knot, elongated ears, and our favorite, loti-form lips.) I found my notebooks on this visit back, which I haven’t seen in almost forty years.

For Now: Isamu Noguguchi, Archaic/Modern

Isamu Noguchi is featured in seventy-four works on loan from the Noguchi Museum, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC.  The exhibit, called Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern spans sixty years in the artist’s life, and is spread over several rooms.  It is an expansive, generous antidote to the claustrophobic, philistine atmosphere of the present administration. Noguchi, as the exhibits notes, “was among the first American artists to think like a citizen of the world. He was a Japanese American born in Los Angeles, raised and educated in Japan, Indiana, New York, and Paris” to become  “one of the essential visionaries of the twentieth century.”  His reach included sculpture, design, dance, baby minitors abd art meant to be seen from Mars.  Through March 19, if you find yourself in the capitol.

Detail, Magic Mountain, Noguchi
Detail, Magic Mountain, Noguchi
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Detail, Magic Mountain, Noguchi
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Noguchi, Akari Ceiling Models E (1954), L8(1976), and B (1955)
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Noguchi, Slide Mantra Marquette (1985)
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Detail, Slide Mantra, Marquette
Noguchi, Serpent Dress (dance costume for Martha Graham)
Noguchi, Spider Dress (1946)
(dance costume for Martha Graham)
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Noguschi, Spider Dress (1946)
Martha Graham
Martha Graham
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Noguchi, Mask and Vishnu
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Noguchi, Okame (Hiroshima Mask) 1954
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Noguchi, Vishnu, 1960
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