Thursday, July 29, 2021

Buddha Contemplates --- Day 10/88

Walk: No, Done in by Pickleball Camp

Distance: n/a, no yoga, no anything

Nam June Paik – TV Buddha, 1974/2002, Statue of Buddha, TV monitor, closed-circuit camera,

Maybe because she is of a certain age (ie, the age that slowly types on its iphone with one finger), Ciwt isn't a fan of video art.  But she is a fan of poetry, humor, brilliant insight, stillness, quiet and such so she Loved TV Buddha by the "Father of Video Art" Nam June Paik (1932-2006).

To stay au current for CIWT readers (thank you!) and art tour clients, she went reluctantly to SFMOMA's huge retrospective* of the Korean born, musically trained, internationally active artist's works.  Her assumption was that the entire show would be alien and incomprehensible to her.  

But luckily TV Buddha was the very first work in the very first room, and she was pulled right in to Paik's timeless orbit.  The yogini in her immediately thought of the present day 'popness' of the ancient discipline of yoga. But that was just one - of many - associations the work conjured for her.

Surveilence, selfies, the complex presence of technology in human society, religion, history, future.  All those associations and more seem to be present in the work - on public display but so personal in its reception by each viewer past, present and beyond.

*Nam June Paik, SFMOMA, May 8 - October 3, 2021

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

SF 'Remodels' --- Days 10/86 & 87

Walk: 1. Novato Engage Pickleball Camp  2. Ditto

Distance:  1. 5 hours Baking Hot Pickleball drills and Play  2. Ditto




And Ciwt's pickleball game got a two day 'remodel.'

Monday, July 26, 2021

Tan Returns --- Day 10/85

Walk: No

Distance: n/a

Ciwt thought so!  The cold era of grey everything

  blue kitchens ,
and black houses  would likely come to an end.  

Judging from store windows around here, it looks like it is on its way out.  And tan is on its way in.  Right now they are taking it gradually with nice tweedy mixtures of gray and tan and white.  

Can't happen soon enough for Ciwt. Too stark, cold, gloomy (and pretentious) for her.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Agile Cat Artist --- Days 10/83 & 84

 Walk:  1. Day of Reading, Rest, Laundry,  2. T.. Joe's, then more of the same with cats

Distance: 1. n/a,  2. 3.6 miles

Famous Cats:

Ignoring You Cats:

Looking at You (sort of) Cats:

Being Nice to You for Food Cats:

Sleeping Cats (of course):


And so many more cats in a wide range of mediums

by Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen (Swiss, 1859-1923).  Known as "The Man Who Loved Cats," the classically trained Steinlen also loved his daughter (a frequent subject with cats as above), Montmartre where he moved from Lausanne, artist friends like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the French cabaret scene, and politics which he depicted under a pseudonym.  You can find his headstone in the cemetery at Montmartre and visit his art in many prestigious museums around the world including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Musee d'Orsay in Paris, MoMA in New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington. D.C.*

But none of Steinlen's cats are lap cats!  Not a one of his hundreds if not thousands.  Too sophisticated perhaps.  Luckily that can't be said of Ciwt's sister cats who are happily keeping her warm during this particularly cold and windy San Francisco summer.

* We even have some in our SFFAM collection but -don't tell her cats - Ciwt has yet to see any on display.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Still in Doubt, More Cats --- Days 10/79, 80, 81, 82

Walk: 1. GG Park Pickleball  2. Various Hoods and Errands 3. GG Park Pickleball 4. Presidio Wall Pickle

Distance: 1. 1.5 miles, 90 minutes pickle 2. 3.5 miles  3. 2 miles  4. 5.5 miles   (Always some yoga)

Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen (Swiss active in France, 1829-1923), A la Bodiniaire, 1894

He didn't just create the iconic black poster cat.  Stay tuned....

Monday, July 19, 2021

When in Doubt...Cats --- Day 10/78

Walk: Presidio Pickleball

Distance:  2 miles, 90 minutes pickle

 Bart van der Leck, The Cat, 1914, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Weekend!! --- Day 10/76 & 77

Walk: 1. T. Joe's 2. No, Sunday Home Stuff

Distance: 1. 2.5 miles 2. .5 miles, Yoga

Ciwt's Marvelous Summer Weekend in SF.  (Really; she's a homebody)

Friday, July 16, 2021

Straight Down the Winding Road --- Day 10/75

Walk: Presidio Pickleball, Vogue Theater (Roadrunner)

Distance: 4.5 miles, 90 minutes pickle


An incredibly straight forward presentation of one man's life.  Yes, it and he was extraordinary, but there's no effort to put him on a pedestal or sentimentalize or 'solve' his death.  You really feel like, yes, this is who he was - as much as that can be known.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

LOVE Hurts... --- Day 10/74

Walk:  Hood

Distance: 3 Absolutely Freezing (for SF) miles

Robert Indiana (American 1928-2018), LOVE (1966-99), Aluminum and paint, SFMOMA 

Poor reclusive artist Robert Indiana, who spent as much time as he could on a distant island off the coast of Maine.  He created the most iconic sculpture of the Pop Art era,  There are 50 LOVEs placed and loved all over the world; several in foreign languages, but always just four letters or symbols.  

Maybe the only person who didn't love LOVE was the artist himself. The main stream fame the series brought overshadowed the rest of his career and was something he (possibly) came to HATE. In 2014 he told an NPR  interviewer, “It was a marvelous idea, but it was also a terrible mistake. It became too popular; it became too popular. And there are people who don't like popularity. It's much better to be exclusive and remote, you see.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The New Museum, Some Artists --- Day 10/73

Walk: Union Square, GG Park

Distance: 5 miles

Wangechi Mutu 

Nam June Paik (not so new: considered Father of Video Art)

Carolyn Drake

Klea McKenna

Carolyn Drake

Olafur Ellison (Ciwt Loves his work)

Charles Gaines

Oliver Chanarin

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Times, They Transform... --- Day 10/72

 Walk: Golden Gate Park Pickle

Distance: 2.5  miles, 90 minutes pickle

Inadvertently Ciwt answered her own question yesterday: To wit: *PS - The young couple from Michigan (see Birthday Art post) loved Mutu's works - and their tour.

People of Ciwt's era mostly go to museums as respites.  Respites from politics for one.  But this is changing for young people.  Or has changed.

So while Ciwt was perplexed about the new 'personal', political artistic statements showing up more and more at museums and galleries, her young tour takers were intrigued by and interested in them.  To Ciwt such art museum offerings are foreign to her museum going expectations and experience.  But to younger people they are the norm - or so it appears or soon will be if the majority of museums and galleries continue this emphasis.


Monday, July 12, 2021

Museum Going Now --- Day 10/71

Walk: Goodwill and SPCA Donations

Distance: 1.2 miles, Yoga

Auguste Rodin (Fr. 1840-1917), The Thinker, 1904/cast 1914, and Wangechi Mutu (Kenya, 1972 - ), Shavasana I, 2019 and Shavasana II, 2019 all bronzes  

So the museum walls are being rehung here and elsewhere, probably worldwide.  Lots of personal political/life statements and many not particularly 'pretty.'  Also many 'no name' artists.  Used to be you had to make your way up the art ladder to be considered 'museum quality.'  The usual: you have to be published to get published.

Now new artworks stand (or lie) beside the old.  Here at the Palace of the Legion of Honor Auguste Rodin's iconic Thinker contemplates the works of contemporary artist Wangechi Mutu who is very 'museum worthy' with many prestigious one-person shows around the world.  Here her bronzes are fantastical creatures, strongly feminist, Black-African, earth-animal, embodying a new mythology as they emerge from suffering.  

And here viewers, along with Ciwt, contemplate these new artistic juxtapositions.  If they are like Ciwt - who is writing entries on this but not really progressing - it is taking a while for this type of museum going to sink in*.  

*PS - The young couple from Michigan (see Birthday Art post) loved Mutu's works - and their tour.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

SF Summertime --- Day 10/70

Walk:  Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 3.5 miles, just a few games

Is this a heat wave?  

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Well Deserved Rest --- Days 10/67, 68 & 69

Walk: 1. Art Tour sites  2. Art tour  3. no

Distance: 1. 1.5 miles & at home prep  2. 6 miles  3. easy yoga

Today Ciwt rests after preparing for and giving first all day - mostly maskless even - art tour since pandemic began.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

A Friend Indeed --- Days 10/65 & 66

Walk: 1. GG Park Pickleball 2. Hood 

Distance: 1. 5.5 miles   2. 3.7 miles

"Presented to
Golden Gate Park
By a Friend of the Sculptor
 as a Tribute to His
 Energy, Industry and Ability"

On her way to join friends for pickleball in Golden Gate Park yesterday Ciwt noticed this sculpture for the first time.  What a dear sentiment and loving friend! 

Monday, July 5, 2021

Astonishing Duet --- Day 10/64

Walk:  Fillmore Street Holiday lunch

Distance: 2.5 miles

Mavis Staples and Mahalia Jackson at 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival

Maybe half way into Summer of Soul, a documentary of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, Mavis Staples and Mahalia Jackson are standing on the west facing stage along side a very young, hip and handsome Jesse Jackson.  Mahalia leans toward Mavis (who idolizes Jackson) and says something like "I'm not feeling very well.  Can you help me out with this song?"

And you think, "omg, are those two going to sing together?" - Or Ciwt did anyway.  

But, no, the music begins and Staples steps forward and begins belting out a stirring version of M.L. King's (who had been assassinated the year before) favorite hymn, Take My Hand, Precious Lord.  Oh well, no duet, but Mavis Staples is just nailing it; can't imagine anything better.

Or yes you can because Mahalia steps forward, takes the mic from Mavis and omg!  Who hasn't at some point had an lp, tape, cd or just heard Mahalia Jackson sing?  However you are hearing her, you are moved to a higher dimension.

As if that isn't enough, Staples comes over and those two glorious voices start sharing the mic.  Just the fact that it is happening is stunning enough, but to actually hear and see this perfomance is beyond words.  All Ciwt could think to do was grab her iphone and take a picture from her movie seat.  

Later she saw that NYT arts reviewer, Wesley Morris, actually did find the words:  

Then together — Jackson refulgent in a fuchsia gown with a gold diamond emblazoned below her bosom; Staples in something short, lacy, belted and white — they embark on the single most astounding duet I’ve ever heard, seen or felt. They share the microphone. They pass it between them. Howling, moaning, wailing, hopping, but well within the song’s generous contours and, somehow, in control of themselves...

I don’t remember how long this performance lasts. It doesn’t really even have an ending, per se. It just simply concludes, with each woman heading back to Reverend Jackson, into the band. But when it’s over you don’t know what to do — well, besides never forget it. It’s an extraordinary event not just of musical history. It’s a mind-blowing moment of American history. And for five decades, the footage of it apparently just sat in a basement, waiting for someone like Thompson to give it its due.

(Wesley Morris, NYT, June 24)

Artists before and after Jackson and Staples include Stevie wonder, Gladys Knight & the Pips, David Ruffin, Sly & The Family Stone, The 5th Dimension and so many more.  The festival drew an audience of 300,000.  The film is remarkable.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Blowing Freely --- Day 10/63

Walk: AMC Kabuki (Summer of Soul)

Distance: 3 miles, Yoga

Happy 4th of July

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Colors --- Day 10/61 & 62

 Walk:  1. ? 2. Presidio Pickleball  2. AMC Kabuki (Summer of Soul)

Distance: 1. ?  2. 3.5 miles, 1 measly game pickle (so crowded!)  2. 3 miles, Yoga

Wayne Thiebaud, Paint Cans, 1990, lithograph  -  Flags

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Movie Food for the Soul --- Day 10/61

Walk: Vogue Theater (Truffle Hunters)

Distance: 1.5 miles, a bit of theater seat yoga 

Screen shot of The Truffle Hunters from Ciwt's theater seat. Look among the gorgeous leaves to find two hunters - a man and his dog - at work

If you love dogs, awesome nature, Italian farms and houses, arias, arcane but traditional ways of life, having your heartwarmed - oh and truffles - this endearing and beautiful documentary is for you.  

Here they are up close