22 April 2007

129 to 100

Friday evening we were at Blind Tiger Ale House on Bleecker at Jones. Elizabeth and I were trying to figure out the demographics: lots of men but not the high proportion of visibly gay men that you might have expected in the West Village. Today's paper had an article about the ratio of men to women in downtown NYC: 129 men to 100 women. So it's all of those Wall Street guys! It seems that women are looking for neighborhood amenities and men are looking for a good commute.

Our reason for being at Blind Tiger was to wish Emily a good next stage. She is leaving NYU and will be sorely missed. She has brought humanity with good management skills. She brought life to our dysfunctional work "family." And she was a fine colleague in so many ways.

It's a gorgeous day. I got up early -- arrived at Silver Spurs at 7 a.m. When I woke up, the thoughts about the introduction to my ARLIS/NA session swirling in my head. I'll throw off the slides and just talk for a while. I figured out how to work Benjamin into those introductory words; that's my private joke for Sharon. When I told her that I had found some inspiration in Benjamin, she wondered if she had time to whip out the introductory issue of Not Walter, our faux journal of critical theory dreamed up when we were at the symposium honoring Angela Giral on the occasion of her retirement at Avery Librarian. The journal issue didn't happen but then it would probably be Not Not Walter.

13 April 2007

melancholy in the work of bosch

Just reading through email, I came across the notice for the grad student art history symposium sponsored by IFA and the Frick. One of the papers is "The Delusion of Delight: Melancholy in the Work of Bosch" by Anna Ratner, Columbia University. Both "melancholy" and "Bosch" trigger my interest. I'll have to watch for her dissertation or articles.

It's been a while since I've put anything here. My brother called a bit ago to say there's a northeaster coming this way. If I don't go to Alfred this weekend, it will be June before I could easily get there again so we'll face the weather. The bus is usually pretty stalwart.

Bill Connor visited last weekend and we went to the Met to see the Barcelona and Venice shows. The Venice and Islam show was interesting and there were some nice works; more Islam in Venice than otherwise. The Barcelona show was fantabulous! Lots of architecture, including a wonderful model of the Spanish Republican pavilion at the Paris 1937 expo. Robert and Andrew had both talked to me about Spanish Civil War stuff in the past week, partly the authority work for the various Spanish armies of the mid-late 1930s. So I was ready to be intrigued. And "Guernica" was in the pavilion, as well as big Miro stuff. The Barcelona show was a nice mix of painting, architecture, dec arts, objects (as Roberto said, it's strange that the Met has multiple big shows at the moment that are more material culture than fine arts).

Bill and I also went to his uncle's opening at Andre Zarre Gallery on West 20th where we ran into Carol and Bob Krinsky. Carol had been a camp counselor with Adele who is now Uncle Russell's wife. Small world. Bill spent the afternoon gallery hopping while I saw the Robert Moses show at Columbia with Francie, Liza and John, and then went for pizza at V&T on Amsterdam. The Moses show was fun with such avid New Yorkers who know intimately one or more of the neighborhoods where projects were proposed and/or built (Washington Square and Pratt, principally).

01 April 2007

ohmygod, it's walter!

On the flight back from Kansas City, I was reading "The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction" by Walter Benjamin. I was struck by his comments (chapter X in the Schocken paperback edition) about how printing blurred the line between writer and reader. That set me to musing about how blogging and other social computing really blurs those edges, almost to the point of extinction. We are all writers, we are all readers!

Before I started reading the Benjamin essay, I was finishing An unquiet mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. When in a manic state, she couldn't read. My moods or racing thoughts do sometimes get in the way of reading but I haven't been debilitatingly devastated for long. If you haven't read the Jamison book, I recommend it highly.

VRA in Kansas City

VRA was a fabulous conference. Kansas City was really good to us: mostly good weather, warm with thundershowers and hard rain (but not for long). A few of my favorite things: Jonathan Furner on FRBR (I was part of that panel and my paper was misdirected but the discussion after the presentations was splendid); Megan Winget on Flickr; walking back and forth between the conference hotel and my guesthouse (about 20 minutes walk); driving about with Nancy Green and her husband Scott through the fancy suburbs old and new and then supper at Blue Koi; lots of good meals with friends old and new; Country Club Plaza; the wonderful symmetrical brick building at the foot of Baltimore Street; walking from my guesthouse to downtown and finding the city market; the Caravaggio at the Nelson-Atkins; running into Brian at the Nelson-Atkins and talking about a couple Indian sculptures and other stuff; getting into the new library reading room at NAMA, designed by Steven Holl and filled with diffuse light (the galleries open in June but you could get in to see the reading room if someone was available to guide you); the wind so strong it tried to steal my Birkenstock; LattéLand's medium latté; going dancing at Missie B's with Elaine, Lia and Pep (and, mentioning Lia, getting my own "Don't ask me about metadata ... ask Murtha" t-shirt!). Though that list is more about stuff around the meetings than about the meetings, I did hear many good papers and discussions. Once I've studied my notes, I might even do up a summary.