Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Give Me Space --- Day 10/118

Walk: Golden Gate Park pickleball  

Distance: 1.8 miles, 90 minutes pickleball

Waiting for a Pickleball Court on Weekends

Welcome to Pickleball articles abound in newspapers and magazines these days.  And, yes, Pickleball can be a great game to play, giving people an oppportunity to exercise even with some minor physical limitations (or major years).  It also enhances social connectivity between peers and members of different age, gender and cultural groups, keeps people active with something to look forward to and avoiding isolation.  

However, to receive all those benefits, you need to get on a court, and limited court space is becoming a concern everywhere pickleball is played.  Ciwt wishes all those articles would mention this, maybe encourage the 'powers that be' to provide more pickleball courts in locations that are suitable for both players and non-players who don't want the noise or commotion that comes with this popular game.

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Stunning Dinner Undertaking --- Day 10/116 & 117

Walk:  1. No, catch up phone calls with family and friends 2. Monday errands

Distance: 1. n/a, yoga  2. 2.5 miles, yoga

Judy Chicago, Eleanor of Acquitane, three test plates for The Dinner Party Project, 1975-78, China paint on porcelain

As is often the case, the art lover/inquirer/'expert' Ciwt wishes she was taking her annual Fall trip to New York, in this instance to go the Brooklyn Museum's installation of Judy Chicago's iconic The Dinner Party. Widely regarded as the first epic feminist artwork, it was begun in 1974, completed in 1979 with the help of hundreds of collaborators and toured to 16 venues in six countries on three continents where it was viewed by 15 million people.  It began to suffer from the wear and tear of constant traveling (as well as the media slings and arrows of art and other critics) and was retired to storage for decades.  Since 2007 it has been on permanent exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.

The Dinner Party is a complex work composed of many skillfully executed parts, each of which is celebrates historically important women as well as traditionally female accomplishments such as weaving, china painting, embroidery and sewing.  

There are six woven Entry Banners welcoming visitors to The Dinner Party.  The principal component of the installation is a massive ceremonial banquet arranged in the shape of an open triangle - a symbol of equality - with a total of thirty nine Place Settings.  Some of the 'guests' include: Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf,  Sappho, Saint Bridget, Elizabeth I, Sacajawea, Sojourner Truth. The work rests on the tiled Heritage Floor inscribed in gold luster with the names of 999 other mythical and historical women of achievement. There are seven Heritage Panels which are hand-colored photo and text collages portraying the lives of the women whose names are on the floor.  Finally there are Acknowledgment Panels that depict the 129 members of the creative and administrative team that worked on The Dinner Party.

Ciwt is not sure how she will react to it, but she would like to see it in person - and be in New York!

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1974-79, ceramic, porcelain, textile, 48' each side

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Blue Heron, Green Pond --- Day 10/115

Walk: Presidio Pickleball courts

Distance: 2.5 miles, 1 Hour pickle

On the way to Golden Gate Park Pickleball courts. (See the heron?)  Makes Ciwt yearn for all those peaceful small lakes back in the Midwest.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Cookies for a Sharp Cookie --- Day 10/114

Walk: No, trapped by wet carpets after cleaning.  But good opportunity to read .

Distance: n/a

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Chicago Sans Politics and Special --- Day 10/112 & 113

Walk: 1. de Young Museum: Judy Chicago Retrospective Press Preview 2. de Young Museum Judy Chicago personal walk through

Distance: 1. 7.2 miles  2. 6.2 miles

So, Judy Chicago, artist, politics aside.  That's is a very big aside for an artist who has worked on 'projects' that are virtually synonomous with politics her entire 60 year career.  But there are many interesting things to know about this super energized, talented and courageous woman.

1. Her artistic 'projects'  and therefore imagery include: Death (hers and species'), the Holocaust, Male Power, Birth, Feminism, Minimalism, Pyrotechnics.

2. She is 'outspokenly' passionate and direct about her 'projects.'  For instance, here is one of her 'male power' paintings: 

3. But she is not a hot head.  She puts at least six years of research into each of her topics, including reading widely, sketching, in-depth preliminary studies, prototypes in a variety of materials.   Her personal, prepatory notebooks are extensive and thorough: 

4. Ciwt thinks her color palette is nice to look at even though Chicago (nee Cohen) has been heavily criticized for it since graduating from art school 60 years ago. ('They' feel her colors should be more earthy, strong, male, or something).
Rainbow Pickett, 1965/2021, Matthews polyurethane paint on stainless steel

5. She went to auto body school to learn welding and other techniques in the 1960's and was the only woman in the school.  This is one of the car hoods she painted back then.  Again, not taken seriously by the critics at the time.  Teenage boy car lover Ciwt would have loved it even then!
Birth Hood, 1965/2011, sprayed automotive lacquer on car hood

6. She was also the only woman in her training when she received her certification in pyrotechnics.

7. She carefully tailors her medium to her feeling about each of her 'projects.' For instance, some of the pieces in her 'death and extinction project' are cast in patinated bronze while her 'birth project' works are needlepoint - stitched by supportive volunteer needleworkers all over the world. 

Birth Trinity: Needlepoint #1, 1983

8. She has never been motivated by money and says she married one of the only other people who isn't either.  They have survived together (he is a photographer) doing whatever calls to them for 36 years.

9.  One thing she has done for money is write: art reviews, articles, books.  So she incorporates her writing in many of her works. 
Virginia Woolf, from Reincarnation Triptych, 1973, sprayed acrylic on canvas

10. The deYoung Museum's retrospective is her first.  People have asked her if she is angry that it has taken 60 years for such a show.  She answers that she feels privileged to have been able to create in her studio all these years.  

11. She was very moved by and appreciative of her retrospective.  She came in person to the press preview and 'surprised herself' by bursting into quiet tears from time to time when speaking or answering press questions.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Tear Continues... --- Days 10/110 &111

Walk: GG Park Pickleball

Distance: 2.5 miles, 90 minutes pickle, yoga stretch

After doing it for her new rug in one room, Ciwt can't stop clearing closets and drawers in all her rooms.

Her cats cower under the bed (which is too heavy for Ciwt to budge.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Back to School --- Day 10/109

Walk: Outside in hood at last

Distance: 6 miles, small yoga

No matter how old Ciwt gets, this time of year always feels like her new school year is about to start.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Are You Sure That's Off-White? --- Day 10/108

Walk: Up and Down Stairs again, finishing touches on new carpet project

Distance: 1 mile (all stairs), small yoga

So, Ciwt's attempts to photogaph her new carpet  

(which is actually a latte-ish off-white shade that eludes her iphone camera) put her in mind of a New York artist who spent much of his career attempting to capture the essence of white.

That would be Robert Ryman (1930-2019) who was known for his abstract, white-on-white paintings.  That's one below on a white wall. 

And here are a few more: 


Ryman originally came to New York City from his native Tennessee with the intention of becoming a professional saxaphone player.  To support himself  he took a job as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art and soon became fascinated with the subjects he was guarding.  Specifically his fascination went to exactly how the paintings on the walls had been done.  As he was famously quoted "There is never any question of what to paint, only how to paint."  After quitting his MoMA job, which he held from 1953-1960 in order to be close to painting, he spent the next year working in the Art Division of the New York Public Library.  At some point he began buying a variety of art materials and experimenting with them in his apartment.  This plus ongoing, intense talks with his many artist friends and co-workers, such as Sol LeWitt and Roy Lichtenstein, was his self-styled art education.  

It is difficult not to think of Ryman as a 'monchromist' or a 'minimalist,' but he saw himself as a 'realist' painter because he felt he was only presenting the materials he used at their face value.  Ever an experimenter, the majority of his 'realistic' works feature brushy white on white or off-white paint on a wide variety (to say the least) of surfaces: canvas, linen, steel, aluminum, plexiglas, vinyl, burlap to name a few. No matter how Ryman was categorized, he was prized by numerous galleries, museums, and collectors in the States and abroad throughout his career.  

Ciwt has to wonder if he, like she, went nuts trying to capture his artwork on camera - or if he left the photography to the professionals.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Post Carpet Caper --- Day 10/107

Walk: Into one room, then another, then back, then ...

Distance: Who knows, feels like a lot

Back it all goes after new carpet installed...

Thursday, August 19, 2021

New Carpet!!! --- Days 10/105 & 106

Walk: 1. T. Joe's for sustenance, emptying room for carpet continues  2. Carpet Contractors to pay for new carpet

Distance: 1. 2.5 miles  2. 5 miles

Cat (not Ciwt's) reacting to new carpet (not Ciwt's) to sink its claws into 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Almost There and Back --- Days 10/102, 103, 104

Walk: 1. Hood Open Houses 2. Emptying bookcases, file cabinets, ancient stuff 3. GG Park Pickleball, Goodwill to donate all those books from yesterday 

Distance: 2. 4 miles  2. 1 mile 3. 2 miles, 90 minutes pickle

Half the books off the shelves, file cabinets weeded out in office area, tech stuff secured, furniture out except for a table and couch Ciwt can't budge. So Ciwt's back room is almost ready for its first new carpet in 30+ years.  And Ciwt's brain is almost ready to sprong out after sifting through 30+ years of memories.  Many of her contemporaries know exactly what she is writing about here....

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Old News --- Day 10/101

Walk: Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 3 miles, a few games of crowded pickle, yoga

So, today Ciwt heard from somebody who had been told by somebody that some author has pronounced that old age does not offcially start until age 90.  Ciwt didn't research that news too extensively; she'll just take it as fact and enjoy the many youthful years she has left.*  

*Until another author proclaims we aren't considered old until we get to 100.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Understated No More --- Days 10/99 & 100

Walk: 1. GG Park Pickleball  2. Hood errands

Distance: 1. 1.3 miles, 2 hours pickle, small yoga   2.  3.5 miles, Yoga

So when it comes to artistic statements about women's uphill battle for 'a place at the table,' Ciwt is more inclined toward something like Viola Frey's huge (almost 9') ceramic sculpture of a power-that-be looking down on a woman's attempt to have her work entered in a museum collection : 

Viola Frey, Man Observing, 1984, glazed earthenware with steel plate

Or, going back a century, some of Mary Cassat's paintings of refined women 'having the audacity' to attend Paris cultural events independently. (See the man with his opera glass focused - probably disapprovingly - on the woman while she herself closely follows the performance on stage).

Mary Cassat, In the Loge, 1878, oil on canvas

But Ciwt's taste is way too tame and understated for many people these days. A show much more to their liking is about to open in San Francisco and a couple of Ciwt's art tour clients are coming to see it.  So, beginning next week Ciwt will be immersing herself (or trying to) in the ultra bold, FEMINIST art of the ultra energetic, strongly driven, Judy Chicago.   Hopefully her valued readers will join her.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Stand Aside, Simone --- Day 10/98

Walk: Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 2.4 miles, 2 hours pickle, yoga

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Let's See, What to Write About..... --- Day 10/97

Walk: GG Park Pickleball

Distance: 1.8 miles, 90 minutes pickle, Yoga

Monday, August 9, 2021

Fan Notes --- Day 10/96

Walk: Monday Hood Errands

Distance: 3.7 miles, Yoga

So having 'eaten dinner with Alex Trebek' and loved Jeopardy! for 37 years (including making a trip to their studio for a taping)*, Ciwt feels qualified to say something about the new Jeopardy host. Whoever he or she will be.  

During those same 37 years there were people who never forgave Alex for not being Art Fleming, the host when Jeopardy! was a daytime game.  Many of those in the disappointed crowd probably didn't watch the show any more.  And, it is extremely likely that the same dynamic will come into play when the new permanent host(ess) is announced.

There were a surprising (to Ciwt) number of absolutely excellent guest hosts, some with large, built in followings and some who gained champions during their one or two week stints.  People chose their favorite(s), and they will be legitimately disappointed if their person isn't "the winner."

Ciwt too has her favorites and hopes one of them will be announced.  BUT don't bother calling Ciwt when Jeopardy! is on because she will be watching no matter who is named the permanent host.  Jeopardy! is a great game (for trivia buffs), a great dinner companion, a game Alex believed in and made clear he wanted to continue after his death.  So, there may be a few choices that will be a challenge for Ciwt for a while, but, well, boo hoo Ciwt, then on she will go.....

*See Days 297, 98 & 99 and many Jeopardy entries over the years.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

What a Beautiful Frame, My Dear --- Days 10/95 & 96

Walk: 1. Presidio  2. UpDown Steps, Sunday at Home

Distance: 1. 2 miles  2.  1 mile, Yoga

Jules Bastien-LePage (Fr. 1848-1884), Sarah Bernhardt, 1879, oil on canvas

Usually when the frame dwarfs the art work it surrounds, Ciwt finds that unfortunate.  But this dramatic, over-the-top, metal frame seems to her just perfect for a portrait for the-over-the-top Victorian era actress,  Sarah Bermhardt.  

Friday, August 6, 2021

Please, No Purple Presents --- 10/92, 93 & 94

Walk:  1. de Young Museum  2. Marin Driving Day  3. Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 1. 2.5 miles, small yoga  2. .8 mile, small yoga  3. 2.5 miles, 90 minutes pickle, yoga stretch

So, tomorrow is Ciwt's birthday.  And she will not be wearing purple, unlike the Scottish poet Jenny Joseph who warned she would when she was 'of a certain age.'*  Ie, Old.   

Ciwt has never liked purple, particularly mauve.  It comes in on her puce channel which she detests

She may owe her actual existence to this purple repugnance. In ancient Byzantium the  Tyrian purple was proclaimed exclusive to the royals and ruled making, buying, wearing or even owning Tyrian purple a crime punishable by death. So the people with purple loving dna were endangered whereas those wth purple repugnance like Ciwt flourished. And a few are having birthdays tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Where You Been? --- Day 10/92

Walk:  GG Park Pickleball

Distance: 2 miles, 90 minutes pickle, wee yoga

Yinka Shonibare (English), Gay Victorians, 1999, wax printed cotton
Background: Mickalene Thomas, Qusuquzah, une tres belle negress 1, 2011, Rhinestones, acrylic paint, oil, enamel paint on wood panel

Sometimes artworks are so exquisite Ciwt just enjoys their beauty. Other art causes her to think, perhaps re-examine.  

For instance the dresses above.  The artist Yinka Shonibare purchased the fabric at a popular London market.  The cloth is commonly associated with contemporary Central and West African fashion but is actually based on Indonesian batik designs.  So how did the designs get to Africa?  Well, the Dutch in their East Indies Colony were fascinated with the native batik technique, and in the 19th century a Dutch company took it to their colonies in Africa.  There it was adapted to African patterns and introduced into West African markets.

Shonibare has added another layer of hybridization to the cloth by fashioning it into European Victorian style dresses worn at the time of rapid colonialization of much of the African continent.


Monday, August 2, 2021

Women With Hats, Thank You Very Much --- Day 10/91

Walk: Presidio Pickleball

Distanee:2.4 miles, 90 minutes pickle

Henri Matisse, Woman with Hat, 1905, oil on canvas

Once upon a time it was considered scandalous to portray a strong woman wearing clothes that rival her face for attention and looking straight (and undemurely) at the viewer.  History records that when Matisse did just that, and entered his painting in the Paris Salon of 1905, he was severely ridiculed by the French press and public and even hung in effigy outside the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mickalene Thomas, Qusuquzah, une tres belle negress 1, 2011, Rhinestones, acrylic paint, oil, enamel paint on wood panel

He also opened the door for no holds barred portraits like the powerful one above that sparkles with rhinestones when you see it in person.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Yawn --- Days 10/88, 89 & 90

Walk: 1. No, 2. Quick Hood, 3. Same

Distance: 1. 0, 2. 1.5 and smallish yoga, 3. 2.5 miles, smallish yoga

Ciwt is having trouble getting motivated, so she's returned to shopping - from home.