Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Signs --- Day 3/219

Walk: Sausalito, Presidio
Distance: 3.5 miles

Here are the signs Ciwt encountered today: Callie did not want her breakfast and hasn't eaten; Ciwt was 45 minutes late to a lunch with a dear friend; A beloved yoga student wrote to say she has found a new teacher; on her walk her old aerobics teacher rode by on his bike; she found an entirely new path in the Presidio where she has walked for decades.

Let Ciwt decode if you're interested:

1.Callie's 9th life is probably fading after an extra year and 5 months. Ciwt does not look forward to life around here without her.
2. Ciwt is known as a total stickler for promptness so this is out of character.  Along with an aching jaw which Dr. Internet says (in many places) is often a result of stress.
3. Ciwt has been aware her student was bored, thought about talking to her, but decided it was the student's decision to reach.  She guesses her student may partially be picking up Ciwt's deep non-connection with teaching.  Ciwt's energy isn't there, she isn't learning or growing or challenged.  It has been coming for quite a while and now perhaps it is unmasking even in her oldest class.  She was happy for her student; and, after the sadness,  now feels a bit more free to move on herself.
4. Her old aerobics teacher had a heart operation then a heart attack then a serious hip replacement with a multi-year complicated recovery.  Ciwt was thrilled today to see him looking so fit on his bike, and she has certainly never been the exercise fanatic he is.  However it reminded her that repetitive exercise over many years leads to overuse of ligaments, tendons, and other parts of the body. And putting out energy that isn't really there has its effects on body and spirit.

You probably know where Ciwt is heading with this.  She is getting nearer to closing the door slowly on her yoga teaching and seeing what other doors might open when she does.

The good news of course is that, just as she was really grappling with these signs, she realized she was walking a Presidio path she didn't know existed.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Some Thoughts on Collecting: Signatures --- Day 3/218

Walk: CPMC, Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles and teach yoga class

Cornelis de Baellieur (Belgiun, 1607-1671), Interior of a Collectors Gallery of Paintings and Objets d' Art, o/c

Building an outstanding collection - of anything - is a long and complex process - as well as a joyous 'labor of love.' The best can take lifetimes and even these are culled through for early mistakes or changes in direction, shaped and re-shaped.  This applies to individual collectors as well as institutions for which decisions are usually a more collective endeavor.

Mistakes are usually made along the way. A common one for beginning collectors is to 'buy signatures.'

This is the term applied when a collector hasn't acquired sufficient knowledge. Such a collector hasn't developed the 'discerning eye' that comes from time spent with the art, conversations with knowledgeable advisers such as gallery owners, museum personnel, other collectors, maybe even the artists themselves - and time spent with themselves assimilating this information and sensing how it is impacting their desired goals.

Often at the beginning collectors aren't aware that most artists go through a series of stages (some short-, others long-lived) before arriving at the peak of their style.  Further, the artist's personal idea of their peak can be quite different from what the public favors and comes to have enduring value.
There is a good example of this right here in CIWT on Days 344-46.  These entries concern Andre Derain's shift from Fauvism (the style for which he is best regarded historically):

AndrĂ© Derain. (French, 1880-1954).                                                                     
Bridge over the Riou. 1906. Oil on canvas
to the much less regarded Realism:
                                            Andre Derain. (Fr,1880- 1954) The Rehearsal, 1933. O/c

But more and more the collector's eye as well as art buying sense is cultivated and they are set increasingly free to enjoy the thrilling, life-enriching adventure of collecting.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Few Rothko Thoughts --- Day 3/217

Walk: No
Distance: 0 but good home yoga practice

An installation view of "Gorgeous," mixing Asian Art Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art pieces, features Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Quanyin) (1600-1700), gilt bronze (left), and Mark Rothko's "No. 14, 1960," oil on canvas. Photo: Kaz Tsuruta, Asian Art Museum, S.f.
Mark Rothko "Number 14, 1960" oil near Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Quanyin) (1600-1700).

The lovely Mark Rothko (1903-1970) painting from the permanent collection of SFMOMA has a well-deserved place of honor in the current Gorgeous show at the Asian Art Museum (see Day 3/214 for Ciwt's thoughts on that show). Seeing it placed so perfectly for a long meditative viewing put Ciwt in mind of the two other Rothko paintings currently on museum display in San Francisco. They are both at the de Young.

One is, in Ciwt's opinion, a terrible embarrassment to that museum and shouldn't have been purchased by the de Young or hung.  Getting it out of the way: Mark Rothko, Untitled
                                                                                            Untitled, 1949, oil on canvas

The other is part of the important Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection visiting from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  It was painted in the year (perhaps months) before Rothko committed suicide.

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1969. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, collection of Robert and Jane Meyerhoff. © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Untitled, 1969, oil on canvas

It is said the Meyerhoffs were after a more colorful Rothko when they went to his studio to buy, but were told by him "This is what I am selling now."

Here are some of the paintings I saw when living in New York and D.C. after college.  They captured the sun, no the complete energy of the solar system and were at once soothing and elating, containing joy and as with all things, its opposite.  All things and their opposites.  Never garish or intrusive, in a darkened room they had captured so much true energy they emitted a soft, ethereal glow. They came, as far as Ciwt could tell, from Rothko's soul and reached hers - as they did many others. Their luminous spirituality often moved people to tears; this deep receptivity included Ciwt and the artist himself.  He was famously quoted: The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them.  And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point! 



                                         Number 8, 1952
Even the 'dark' ones emitted radiant energy:
                                             Untitled, 1959

Black on Maroon, 1959

It is this way in which colors were brought together in washes, rough strokes, large and small masses until they became a transcendent spiritual and emotional creations that is Rothko's great and unique achievement.  It is this which one who has been touched by his art has embedded in her memory.

So when Ciwt sees one - just one - Rothko painting hanging in the de Young permanent collection and it is from an earlier period when his washy brush work is beginning to emerge but he is still working with European influenced surrealist images and colors, it makes her sad.  Rothko hasn't become Rothko yet in the de Young painting, and viewers who only see this one in a museum setting are, in Ciwt's opinion, being done a disservice. Such a painting would be educational in a retrospective where one could see the entirety of Rothko's artistic development.  But, in this single work case, the uninitiated viewer will likely walk away thinking they know Rothko's work, and perhaps never again encounter or even learn of the creations for which he is best and internationally known.

Obviously, there is great sadness for Ciwt and everyone - certainly the artist - in the Meyerhoff Rothko. In 1968 Rothko had been diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm but continued to smoke and drink heavily, avoid exercise and eat unhealthily in spite of doctors' orders. His troubled marriage became increasingly so compounded by his poor health, impotence resulting from the aneurysm, nervousness, restlessness and general sense of agitation.  On New Year's Day 1969, he and his wife separated, he moved into his studio where he painted the Meyerhoff among other works and was found dead a little over a year later. These are the actual facts, but to Ciwt and other lovers of Rothko's pictures, you don't need to know them; his Meyerhoff painting and his other dark ones toward the end tell it all. As the work from the 1950's and earlier 60's captured spiritual life, these paintings capture something akin to spiritual death.  Possibly because Rothko could be nothing but authentic until the end.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Non-birthday Flower RE-arrangement --- Day 3/216

Walk: Fillmore Street, Trader Joe's
Distance: 3 Miles and home yoga practice

Ciwt has fun keeping flower arrangements going, and going...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hello, Gorgeous? -- Day 3/215

Walk: No
Distance: 0 and teeny yoga practice.  

Imagine a woman dressing for a dinner engagement.  She puts on a gorgeous ancient Japanese kimono of ruby silk with hand stitched white crane motif.   Then she finds a finely crafted, new American-made Aussie outback hat  and places it on her head.  Because she loves to ski and recently spent a fortune on the latest Black Diamond high tech ski boots, she selects them for shoes.   Her jewelry is Bulgari  and she wraps herself in a museum quality antique Mexican

What do you say to her when she walks into the party? She is a virtual walking museum, but each piece she has on has its own history - of culture, country, technique, fabrication, manners and more.  Seeing them all together boggles the mind.  How can you go from the entire history of weaving to an in depth appreciation of Italian gold and gem work without feeling you have given one item or the other short shrift?  That is, if you can take them all in together because there is something the mind rejects in being entirely overwhelmed with in-depth visual information.

Or at least that is how Ciwt reacted to the latest SFMOMA-on-the-go show(they are dark and closed for a major addition) at the Asian Museum. It is entitled Gorgeous. Individual pieces from each collection were chosen for their 'gorgeousness' and placed near each other. 
How they actually relate is anybody's guess.  For instance, how does Michael Jackson and Bubbles, a large porcelain sculpture produced by Jeff Koons in 1988 as a piece in his Banality series, relate to Bamboo, an 8-panel folding screen created @ 1750 by Korean artist Yu Deok-jang? Well, they are both golden..and actually look kind of pleasing together.  This is one of the 'better' fits.  Certainly the very best 'fit' and most successful room in the show is the one containing Mark Rothko's large "Number 14, 1960" oil near Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Quanyin) (1600-1700).An installation view of "Gorgeous," mixing Asian Art Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art pieces, features Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Quanyin) (1600-1700), gilt bronze (left), and Mark Rothko's "No. 14, 1960," oil on canvas. Photo: Kaz Tsuruta, Asian Art Museum, S.f.

But, overall, for Ciwt Gorgeous was an unsatisfactory viewing experience.  Facile questions and no answers. She saw many pieces from both collections she likes very much but found it disheartening to see them so out of context and without a proper way to take them in, admire them and learn from them.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Relating American Style --- Day 3/214

Walk: Mindful Body, Asian Art Museum (Gorgeous show)
Distance: 2.5 miles and teach yoga class

Between birthday, non-birthday, yoga classes and subs, movie-dinners and a few other people things, Ciwt has had quite the extroverted couple of weeks.  Time for rest/regroup with Callie.  (Then maybe she'll comment on the failed combo modern/ancient asian art exhibit she went to today with some docent friends).

Somewhere in her recent travels she received a handout for foreigners coming to do business with Americans. And she tried to keep the following points in mind when out.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

non-birthday --- Day 3/213

Walk: Garibaldi's SF Restaurant, CPMC, Mindful Body
Distance: 3.5 miles and take yoga class

 Non-birthday arrangement.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fear No Bathing Suit (Maybe...) --- Day 3/212

Walk: Geary Blvd, Clement Street
Distance:  3.5 miles and teach yoga class

For some reason (maybe to just get away from it all for a moment), Ciwt will call your attention to something that was just brought to her  attention.   Coolsculpting.  Have you heard of it? Apparently it is a non-surgical procedures which disappears excess body fat by freezing it and letting your body release it naturally over time.  And, speaking of time, they say there is no downtime involved.

If it works Ciwt - as a person and a yoga teacher/practitioner - is happy for the people who can benefit from it.  Seems to her So much safer and easier than liposuction or tummy tuck.  Or at least a safer, easier way to begin to reduce fat that gets in the way, depresses, eats into self-confidence. Then, if you aren't pleased with the results...

No recommendation here; she hasn't researched the procedure.  Probably a good example of when Dr. Internet can be very useful.

Now, if they could just freeze the aging cells......