Category Archives: Art

When You Care Enough to Send the Anapest

Goodnight, Mrs Calabasas, wherever you are.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and grocers grew fey,
As they set out their produce in cheery display
In which veggies foreshadow the Birth of the Lord
With a Rudolph the Red-Nosed made out of a gourd,
It was captured by Mrs N. Work with her phone
As she shopped for potatoes and fresh provolone,
And repurposed to say have a most Happy New
Year, and Merriest Christmas. Yours, Nice W.

WikiLimereak

What fools these anarchists be.

There once was a man called Assange
Whose name did not rhyme with mélange.
“You must say it,” he said,
“Not like ‘mange’ but instead
“Like the Congolese river, Ubangi.”

Who Was That Lady?

Athena or Hera or Demeter or Aphrodite or Someone ElseSay good-bye to this ancient Roman goddess before she leaves her present home in The Getty Villa in Los Angeles. She will return this Sunday to her birthplace, Sicily, where, we hope, she will be better treated than before when she was left buried like an old tin can for several millennia. Having seen how nice she looks when cleaned up, the Sicilians suddenly want her back, so back she goes.

Her name is Aphrodite or Hera or Demeter or Athena, depending on the now-missing identifying objects she once held, and on the now-missing headpiece she once wore. Maybe the Sicilians can kick around in the dirt and find something to I.D. the lady.

You can see that Jane Doe — Giovanna Cervus in Latin — is a doughty hunk of woman. Eight feet at least, without shoes. The picture above includes a field trip kid for scale.

Mostly she’s made of limestone, but her head, arms and feet are marble. Marble, intones the informational card on her pedestal, was an expensive Greek import and so was saved for the nicer bits.

We’re also told that close inspection reveals faint traces of pink and blue pigment in the crevices. No such close inspection was vouchsafed this member of the public. The alert museum guards forbade pedestal clambering. Peer as we might from the allowed distance, nothing pink or blue was revealed to our sight. But we take the coloration as a matter of faith from the Getty curators who have never lied to us.

The statue was carved sometime around 400 B.C. Or 400 “B.C.E” to you godless heathens out there. It’s well preserved — not too badly weathered, that is — so we guess the Sicilians valued Ms Unknown Goddess and took good care of her for a while, until they forgot where they’d put her.

Maybe she's Miss Etna 400 B.C.

I Left My Heart in a Bowl of Rice-A-Roni™

Much more fun than cable TV.The onrushing cable car above hints at where we’ve been.

We spent a couple of carefree days strolling up and down (way up and down) the City by the Bay. Hadn’t climbed those  quadricep-challenging hills in years. We feared we might have to relearn that Awful Truth “What youth deemed crystal, age finds out was dew,” but San Francisco is one of the few places in this disappointing world that is exactly as nice as you remember it.

Even nicer in some ways. This giant hand, one of six, wasn’t there last time we passed through:

Three Heads Six Arms, 2008, by Zhang HuanNor, for that matter, was the present home of the Asian Art Museum where we spent about five times the amount of time we’d budgeted. After all, you can’t just rush by items like this seated Buddha from the 4th century:

There's a date inscribed on the back corresponding to 338 AD.It happens to be the “most published” item in their entire collection. Every book on Buddhist sculpture includes it, says the helpful placard nearby.

Then there’s this stern soldier — a “haniwa,” or Japanese funerary figure in terra cotta, made in the 3rd millenium BC  — who won’t let you pass until you pay your respects:

The entire figure is maybe three feet tall.And what would a sojourn in the Bolshiest city on the Bolshy left coast be without an hour browsing for lewd and seditious literature in City Lights Bookstore? This is the indy bookshop from which, in 1957, extruded Allen Ginsberg’s epic Howl. Signs in the upper story windows exhort passersby to “keep an open mind” and also to “turn left.” But can a passerby do both at once?

The best minds of MY generation were destroyed by Cocoa Puffs.We patriotically held out the palm and sneered “nyet!” to all the Bolshy blandishments, but before we could launch into our chant of “Sarah Barracuda” the Red Youth Brigade (now rather aged) spotted our red, white and blue hearts and ejected us into Kerouac Alley…

On the Road, In the Alley.… into which poor drunken Mr Kerouac had been tossed more than half a century ago from Vesuvio, a bar in which he had been demonstrating once again that the Beat Culture was more acceptable on paper than in the flesh.

But if you have to become so inebriated that crawling along the sidewalk becomes a reasonable mode of transportation, and street signs loom too far in the distance above your lolling head to help guide you to your SRO in the Tenderloin, don’t worry. San Francisco helpfully molds the street names into the concrete at every intersection:

Chewing gum splotches were Photoshopped out to protect your refined sensibilities.Next Post: A visit to San Francisco’s De Young Museum of All Kinds of Art.

—L’autre direction! dit l’abeille.

He was right, too!We went a-hunting for a Los Angeles bookstore selling books in French. A store with more titles than the measly selection in the big box bookstores. The magic mind of the Web told us to go to Skylight Bookstore on North Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz.

Well we found it eventually, but not before we got lost in a section of the city called “Wilshire Center” because it would be impolite to call it Shabbytown. Our mapless wandering up and down miserable streets was, happpily, of short duration. A friendly statue of a gesticulating bee [see above] seemed to tell us the direction in which to go. We obeyed. The bee did not lie: Reader, we found Skylight Bookstore.

The number of books in French that were on sale there filled four or five short shelves; indeed more than you’ll find in Barnes & Borders, but not nearly enough to justify the grueling car trip over the mountains. The rest of the books throughout the store, humbly standing on plywood planks, spoke of the “poisonous doctrines of Milton Friedman” and offered tips on planning your gay wedding. A shrine dedicated to Bukowski’s prose and poetry rose Mayanlike in tiers. The giant bee who had been so helpful back when we were driving in circles proved to be a homosexual Marxist alcoholic.

Two Views of Hiroshige

A young lady took a photo from this spot at this angle moments before me. Wonder if it's on the web, too.We drove out to Pasadena to revisit the fantastic exhibit of prints by Hiroshige at the Norton Simon Museum. One visit wasn’t enough. There’s a whole lot of prints to see and each individual picture of early 19th century Japanese life requires a lot of nose to the glass perusal. The sheer number of geishas, workmen, dancers, pilgrims and holiday makers demands a second viewing — and another viewing in the future as well, and one or two after that.

I was all pumped to write an in-depth appreciation of Utagawa Hiroshige and how the Norts had assembled several entire print series — e.g. Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji — but fortunately, when I had changed earlier from my blue shirt into my yellow shirt in order to be dressed appropriately for National Mustard Day, I unwittingly left my spy cam in the breast pocket — and as anyone knows, you can’t write a weblog post about an art exhibit without photos. So I’m off the hook. Instead, I can go have a bowl or two of Cap’n Crunch. Museuming makes me hungry.

All I had on me at Nort was my camera phone with which I captured the fuzzy image above, but phone photos don’t count.

National Watermelon Day

Not to be confused with Andrew W. MellonDid you know that today is National Watermelon Day? Well, neither did we until a few minutes ago. In observation of so worthy a vegetable, we at NiceWork bring you this photo of actual bins of actual watermelons at an actual Ralph’s Fine Foods. It was snapped for no reason only yesterday, so the chances are good a quick visit to the Ralph’s at Topanga and Ventura will snag you one of these beauties.

If you prefer your melons shot to pieces with exploding rounds, you might want to CLICK HERE.

Not to be confused with John Cougar Mellancamp.