Curiosity Looks Back

televisions, meat, diamonds, couches, brand new lawns, pools of various sizes, lawn chairs, wars for all of the above… yet Curiosity is roaming completely oblivious to all of this. Down the thread on reddit people are getting excited about dirt biking on Mars, just like back home. What a great time to be alive.

Curiosity Looks Back

Thanks to reddit and https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/4ktoha/curiosity_looks_back/

Curiosity Rover mission page on NASA’s website:
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html

( funny thing, it turns out i like (reddish) brown, my dad likes brown and from what he told me my grandma also liked brown )

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I have everything

This is a combination of two posts I wrote a year ago and decided to revisit as part of putting together the “I have everything project”.  In addition to an essay, the project also includes installations, collages, digitally manipulated photographs, photographs of various objects and a sound recording.

“I have everything” project started with ( even before ) moving from the Marina in San Francisco to a small room with a red chair in Harlem. The title I got from a message I scribbled over a Nordstrom catalog. It is so brash, of course no one ever has everything and it is factually incorrect. Because you ever only need one thing – the ability to think independently.

For centuries people found comfort and security in being told what to think. Peoples have been thinking the thoughts of kings and queens, the thoughts of their masters, the town elders , the pharaohs, the priests ( don’t get me wrong I am religious but I argue and think about my religion and don’t you ever take that from me).  For if there’s a great gift that the French gave to the world it is the opinion of the common man.

Now as part of this project, being a common man myself and also confronting the Occupy movement in New York, I made several sound recordings where I reflected on the question of what is it to have. Occupy had stratified people into the 99 and 1 percent, where there were some that had more than the others.  I made a thought experiment of trying to determine what is it to have.

What is it to have? To hold? How is it that we are having it when we are not holding it? How do we have the things that we supposedly have like our limbs. We posses temporary control over a collection of molecules that responds to electrical stimuli? Is that the having? But we do own supposedly things that we neither hold nor electrically stimulate. How  are we sure. It is a fascinating subject.

When I open a newspaper it is as if we never went through the Enlightenment. It is full of guided content and regurgitated narratives of sex, guns, and money. Have you ever wondered how many girlfriends Kant had, or Plato? Did you ever wonder how much money Van Gogh had? None.

No one ever tells you that the most important thing that you own, apart from your good health and the proper function of all your organs, is your ability to think independently. And the second thing is your ability to express and argue your opinion in public. These were the two Dreams of the Enlightenment.

In his Essay What Is Enlightenment? Kant defines Enlightenment as  “man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance.” For his  second dream he says “the public use of one’s reason must be free at all times, and this alone can bring enlightenment to mankind.”

Once you have traded your goods and services, obtained lodging and food, secured your home, sturdied your frame and medicated your body, feel free to use the greatest gift you may ever have, free thought.

 

 

I have everything, 19 x 11 inches, sharpies on the back of a Nordstrom catalog, 2011 - Mirena Rhee
I have everything, 19 x 11 inches, sharpies on the back of a Nordstrom catalog, 2011

 

I have everything II, 23.1 x 15.3 inches, digital collage, 2011 - Mirena Rhee
I have everything II, 23.1 x 15.3 inches, digital collage, 2011

 

The paper dress I am wearing is a 30 x 40 inches mixed media collage over a c-print of my Lucasfilm W2:

 

I have everything paper dress, 30 x 40 inches, collage over c-print, 2011 - Mirena Rhee
I have everything paper dress, 30 x 40 inches, collage over c-print, 2011
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The Plank constant

Insofar as we understand the universe – if it can be understood – our doings must have some desire for order in them; but from the point of view of the universe, they must be very grotesque. As a matter of fact, the idea of “order” reminds me of something Jack Tworkov was telling me that he remembered of his childhood.

There was the village idiot. His name was Plank and he measured everything. He measured roads, toads, and his own feet; fences, his nose and windows, trees, saws and caterpillars. Everything was there already to be measured by him. Because he was an idiot, it is difficult to think in terms of how happy he was. Jack says he walked around with a very satisfied expression on his face. He had no nostalgia, neither a memory nor a sense of time. All that he noticed about himself was that his length changed!

Willem De Kooning, written in 1950 for a lecture series at Studio 35 on Eighth Street in New York.

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Unfinished paintings by great artists at the Met Breuer – for an artist it is a revelation.

Unfinished show at the Met – favorite unfinished piece so far is a Van Gogh, painted just before he died, it is the ultimate interruption in an artist’s work.

Zoom into a Leonardo.

Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck

 

I thought the show was magnificent and made me weak in the knees, thanks to Ian Mack for letting me know so I hurried to see it.

I’d pick two rooms, one with a Van Gogh, another with Michelangelo, Leonardo and Van Eyck.

Can’t imagine anything better than being in a room together with Michelangelo, Leonardo and Durer, with a Van Gogh across the hall.

After several centuries crowds gather enthralled by little pieces of cloth and wood with scribbles on them. The two Leonardos are the size of a letter. Such is the power of art.

There are no chests filled with gold and emeralds, no food, apparently no one is naked, no clowns juggle in the halls, but everyone is quietly in a trance in front of these great albeit unfinished works. Such is the power of art.

There’s also Rubens, El Greco, Rembrandt, Titian. The titans of paint in all their unfinished glory. It happily confirms my convictions in the power of art to wiggle out of centuries and entertain fresh crowds.

I went to the source museum for the Van Gogh’s piece and turned out it is a museum in Finland which has the painting.  Naturally they had a very high resolution photograph of it online for your viewing pleasure here:

http://kokoelmat.fng.fi/app?si=http%3A%2F%2Fkansallisgalleria.fi%2FE42_Object_Identifier%2FA_I_755

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Van Gogh painting unfinished - at the Met unfinished show

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Everything you ever need to know

 

 

 

Earth rising over the Moon taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (nasa.gov)

 

I wanted to be an astronaut when I grow up and thanks to the internet I guess I am. From the little comfort of my bed and my mac I watch little people take spacewalks on NASA tv, which should be the only kind of television politicians are allowed to watch. It is apparent there are no divisions out there, no fences, no one else to laugh at us for about at least million light years.

From the Earth, the daily Moonrise and Moonset are always inspiring moments. However, lunar astronauts will see something very different: viewed from the lunar surface, the Earth never rises or sets. Since the Moon is tidally locked, the Earth is always in the same spot above the horizon, varying only a small amount with the <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKRtZ89AMts”>slight wobble</a> of the Moon. The Earth may not move across the “sky”, but the view is not static. Future astronauts will see the continents rotate in and out of view and the ever changing pattern of clouds will always catch one’s eye. Well at least on the nearside, but what about the farside? The Earth is never visible from the farside, imagine a sky with no Earth or Moon – what will farside explorers think with no Earth overhead?

This image was taken when LRO was 134 km above the farside crater <a href=”http://bit.ly/1ReO7lT”>Compton</a> (51.8°N, 124.1°E). Capturing an image of the Earth and Moon with LROC is a complicated task. First the spacecraft must be rolled to the side (in this case 67°), then the spacecraft slews with the direction of travel to maximize the width of the lunar horizon in the NAC image. All this takes place while LRO is traveling over 1600 meters per second (faster than 3580 mph) relative to the lunar surface below the spacecraft! As a result of these three motions and the fact that the Narrow Angle Camera is a <a href=”http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/about/specs”>line scanner</a> the raw image geometry is distorted. Also, because the Moon and Earth are so far apart, the geometric correction is different for each body. Reconstruction of the Earth-Moon image is not a simple matter – and that is just to get the black and white image!

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The Modern Degas You Haven’t Seen

a Degas monotype that looks like an old photograph

 

Beautiful never before seen Degas – his monotypes look like old photographs.. He created these while photography was a fledgling medium so it all ties together.. but look so modern for a 1870s work. Also a great room with landscapes.

The Modern Degas You Haven’t Seen

 

a landscape from Degas:

Degas Landscape

 

The Modern Degas You Haven’t Seen article in the NYT goes into depth about the show. Show is until July 24 at the MOMA. Here is the show website.

 

Thanks to Scotto Mycklebust for the tip, it was worth the trip. If you are an artist and wonder what to take on next, if the old ways are no longer working – experiment, just like Degas.

 

 

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The magnificent sculpture of the Kamakura period (1185–1333) – now at Asia Society in NYC until May 8

Thanks to my dear friend Janet for telling me about this show.

Notabe artworks:

http://asiasociety.org/new-york/exhibitions/kamakura-realism-and-spirituality-sculpture-japan#!artworks

Kamakura Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan

More about the show on the Asia Society website:

http://asiasociety.org/new-york/exhibitions/kamakura-realism-and-spirituality-sculpture-japan

 

Kamakura Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan – the Catalog:
The Kamakura period (1185–1333) is considered a pinnacle of Japanese artistic expression, often described as a renaissance in Buddhist art. This catalogue is the first in over two decades to examine the exquisite sculpture of this period, artwork characterized by an intense corporeal presence, naturalistic proportions, a sense of movement, realistic drapery, and lifelike facial expressions animated by eyes made of inlaid crystal. Essays by noted scholars explore the sculptures’ arresting exteriors and powerful interiors, examining the technical and stylistic innovations that made them possible, and offering new context for their ritual and devotional uses. They demonstrate that the physical beauty and technical brilliance of Kamakura statues are profoundly associated with their spiritual dimension and devotional functions.

 

New York Times review:

Spellbinding Treasures From Japan’s Kamakura Period at Asia Society

The magnificent sculpture of the Kamakura period (1185–1333) - now at Asia Society in NYC until May 8

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Ancient Rome in HD

Ancient Rome is such a powerful symbol, visually and aesthetically, as well as in terms of ideas, its battles and wars, the powerful personalities that blasted their thoughts across the centuries. Remember I spent hours with ancient Roman marble busts from the Vatican, just like with old friends.

Here is Caesar’s marble bust ( all photographs in this post I took during a Christmas in Rome ), video by Khan Academy :

Julius Caesar Marble  Bust in the  Vatican Museum

\Marble bust of Caesar at the Vatican Museum

The walls of this gallery at the Vatican are lined with marble busts:

Marble busts at the Vatican Museum

Visited the Colosseum in the evening on Christmas day and it was absolutely a solitary and beautiful experience, with a bit of drizzle and without a single living soul in sight.

Colosseum in Rome  up close

Colosseum in Rome  up close

Colosseum in Rome  at nightime

Colosseum in Rome  at nightime

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