26 December 2019

great grandpa Wyckoff

Wyckoff is one of the good old Dutch family names that I associate with New York City, especially Brooklyn. A second cousin of mine broke the interesting news a few days ago that we were seventh cousins, at two or three removes, from Georgia O'Keeffe. That was pretty exciting and then he sent a flowchart, aka family tree, with the link between our family and Georgia O'Keeffe. We both go back to Pieter Claesen Wyckoff (1620/1625-1694). According to Wikipedia, "most persons surnamed Wyckoff in North America, including many variations in spelling, can be traced to his family."

Pieter Claesen Wyckoff's granddaughter Margaret Grietje Wyckoff married Samuel Poling Sr and that's the line from which I descend. The Poling became Polan four generations later and my maternal grandfather was Herbert Lewis Polan. His mother had a great name: Frances Agzilla "Aggie" Hoult. Georgia O'Keeffe comes down through another son of Pieter Claesen Wyckoff.

I wouldn't say that I've been bitten by the genealogy bug though I was really intrigued by the connection to the Clarke House in Chicago. And now I'm enjoying this connection to Wyckoff. There's a Wyckoff Street that runs across central Brooklyn through Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. I wonder if I could drop 9-great grandpa's name and get a discount on an apartment. More likely, they'd figure I was rich and they'd up the rent. One of the members of my bookclub when I lived in New York City lived on Wyckoff Street.

The Wikipedia article on Pieter Claesen Wyckoff also describes a fraudulent bit of genealogy that would have Wyckoff be the son of Claes Cornelissen van Schouw and Margaret van der Goes. Ah. Now we're back in familiar territory. Hermione van der Goes was the little known (you could say unknown) painter to whom my grad school chum Nancy Stowell and I credited any early Netherlandish painting of disputed attribution. Hermione was the sister or daughter of Hugo van der Goes, a painter of whom we were both fond. To the fraudulent bit of genealogy, you can add our fraudulent but innocent bit of attribution. Truth be known, we just liked saying "Hermione van der Goes."

24 December 2019

everyday wonders

Yesterday, somehow, I happened upon a citation for Everyday wonders: Luigi Caccia Dominioni and Milano: the Corso Italia complex, the catalog for a show at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. His name is most enjoyable to say and the buildings he designed are also pretty special. The catalog is particularly focused on the 1957-1961 mixed-use (commercial and residential) complex he designed on the Corso Italia in Milan. I stupidly missed it, or perhaps vaguely missed it, when I was walking up the Corso last year.

I didn't realize I was supposed to be looking across the Corso as I walked up to find the 1951-1956 mixed-use (offices and apartments) building designed by Luigi Moretti, a block or so further into the center of town.
Note that the Torre Velasca is peeking over the upturned roofline at the left. My t-shirt with the Torre Velasca is just another everyday wonder. Its caption is "Milano loves design."

All of this was coursing through my brain (and heart) as I walked the loop this morning and "everyday" reminded me of Vija Celmins who did many sculptures of ordinary objects, natural and manmade, in her early career. She shifted to drawings later and there is a retrospective on at the Met Breuer now. Ends soon; I'll probably miss it ... but I didn't miss this pencil at a 2010 show at the Brooklyn Museum of women in pop art.
It's about three feet long. She also did some wonderful painted bronze "stones" which are displayed with the original natural objects. I enjoyed the review by Cigdem Asatekin of the Celmins show, entitled "Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory at The Met Breuer." I don't know: does "fixing the image in memory" play well with "everyday wonders"? Sure, as long as you leave space for tomorrow's wonders.

11 December 2019

Albrecht Gonzalez-Torres

Albrecht Dürer
Six Studies of Pillows, 1493
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Untitled (billboard of an empty bed), 1991
first exhibited on the streets of Manhattan, New York City

09 December 2019

Olafur di Paolo

Olafur Eliasson, Untitled, 1996
Source: hipinuff (Tumblr)

Giovanni di Paolo
The Creation of the World and the Explulsion from Paradise, 1445
Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art