log (2010/04/09 to 2010/04/15)

Many things have been occurring again!

The little boy has had his Carnegie Hall debut. Really! Well, not all alone on the stage juggling eels or anything, but definitely up there on the stage among the basses, playing music with the best of 'em.

That was neat. (M has pictures!)

M and I dropped him off at the bus and then drove down some roads in a generally southward direction until we were in Manhatten. We parked in a place that lets you park if you pay them (Early Bird Special!), and then we walked around.

We went to the American Folk Art Museum, which is near Carnegie Hall. It used to be called the Museum of American Folk Art, but they changed it.

For the obvious reason. *8)

(I can think of two possible reasons: to be nearer the beginning of alphabetical lists, and to make it ambiguous whether "American" modifies "Art" or "Museum", thus giving them more leeway to display non-American (or even un-American!!) artworks. More explanations may be available on the World Wide Web, but I am currently sitting in the lounge at the music school again (the same music school as previously, although in a different building, thus raising interesting questions about identity over time), and their wireless is either too weak to reach the laptop here, or not sufficiently promiscuous for me to connect.)

Ummmmm, what? Oh, right! The American Folk Art Museum was having various inneresting exhibitions (exhibitions? shows? something like that), including one all about folk art by women (M's favorite part), and one all about what the famously unusual Henry Darger had hanging on his walls, and one Approaching Abstraction, which was probably my favorite part.

Approaching Abstraction was all full of more or less nonrepresentational folk art, which is slightly unusual or at least atypical or astereotypical. Folk Art is usually associated with roosters, people riding sleighs, flowery quilts, and so on (although come to think of it crazy quilts and other geometric or otherwise nonrepresentational quilt patterns are examples of folk art where abstraction isn't particularly surprising; how about that!). But this exhibition was all full of variously nonrepresentational flat art and also sculpture, ranging from geometric or mathematical to wildly expressionistic to just plain odd.

It was great!

I particularly liked the stuff by Eugene Andolsek (here's the American Primitive Gallery's section on him; read the words and then click on "works"), which are gorgeously colorful and intricately precise and completely abstract, and also the Philadelphia Wireman (wikipedia entry, as updated by me after we got home, unless someone's reverted it).

These (and for that matter Henry Darger, although he's been a bit overexposed I think) are fascinating both because of the art (which is cool, evocative, neat, beautiful, unique, enigmatic), and because of the stories that the art comes embedded in (in which the art comes embedded).

We love stories 'round here!

Eugene Andolsek would sit at his table after work, with a ruler and pens and ink and I think graph paper, and create goregous things to help him escape from or otherwise cope with his day job and taking care of his ailing mother, and then toss them into a corner or a closet or whatever, because he was all about the making of them, not the end products. And when eventually his mother died and he retired, and he kept making them, and finally in the nursing home a caregiver noticed the amazing things he was doing, apparently he said he thought they might make pretty placemats or something.

Or, as it turned out, get shown in art galleries all over th' place.

No one knows who the Philadelphia Wireman is, or was, or whether it was one person or more than one, whether it is, or was, a man, or even from Philadelphia. Someone just found these hundreds and hundreds of lovely odd intricate little, well, scuplture, art, things... in some garbage bags in a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia.

Has anyone written a book about that?

There were also, I recall but can't find in the online catalog, a few strange little sculpted insects or montsers made out of who-knows-what, glued-together castoffs, like but unlike the Wireman's works, sitting in a glass case, with a card saying that they had been purchased at some time in the past, at some random tag sale or something, and no one really knew who'd made them or where they came from or what they were.

This reminds me, come to thnk of it, of my own first NaNoWriMo novel, with its dirty subterranean room full of mysterious anonymous sheets of paper, covered with odd pictures and odd words.

So maybe I like these things because they resonate with some features of my internal landscape.

Or vice-versa.

So anyway now I am back home with a network conneciton an' all (I have scrolled upward and filled in the link to M's weblog where the pictures of the little boy are). And I will close with today's Selected Viral Memes:

Also, hi! *8)