Sign me up.

Japan-retirement-home.jpgA Tokyo-based architecture firm designed this cluster of pods to serve as a retirement home for elderly Japanese women.

I feel about a thousand years old and I have been sleeping a lot lately, so I think I would fit right in with the old lady wood-pod lifestyle. Tonight, I’m going to shuck off my shoes and head off into the woods in search of a pointy pod of my own. The grass looks nice and soft and ahhhh yes, let’s all take off our tight jeans and sit on the floor and look up at the sky through the round holes in our domes and see the moon, just there, just now it fits there perfectly, like it was made for the chimney, all bright and full.

Goodnight.

Via Dezeen

Current mood: Icarus

antoine

“Antoine Josse’s suitcases are full of images and noises, desires to fly, to get to the moon, to be a trapeze artist, a human cannonball…. In his sculptures, as in his paintings, everything seems light: the material is light, the poetry and the desire for flight are ever present.” – Annabelle Cavallin

Image by French surrealist sculptor Antoine Josse.

Women & Art: We’ve got a long, long way to go.

louise_mamanHere’s a statistic that should make your blood boil: on average, only 5% of the pieces in permanent collections of museums around the globe were created by women. 95% of the art that has been purchased by museums—the very institutions that safeguard our culture—was created by men. While women earn half of the MFAs granted in the US, only a quarter of solo exhibitions in New York galleries feature women. 

We’re over half the residents of the planet earth, but when it comes to culture, we’re still woefully underrepresented, undervalued, and underpaid.

I’m researching a piece right now about gender inequality in the gallery world. While part of me is overjoyed to be doing this kind of work, to be writing about a subject that’s so important to me, there’s another part of me that is just angry. Filled with rage at the injustice of it all.

A recent study from Lehigh University found that “artistic careers are subject to the same social forces that drive gender wage gap in other fields. ‘Though one might expect that the flexible nature of many artistic careers—well as research indicating that artists tend to possess more liberal ideologies than other professionals—would result in greater gender pay equity, our research shows that the difference between the incomes of female and male artists are about the same as you’d find in other fields,’” explains study co-author Danielle Lindemann. Not only is there a significant pay gap for women working in the arts, but there is also a “fatherhood premium” and a “marriage premium” that applies to men only. While women’s pay takes a plunge when they have children, men’s paychecks get a nice little bump. Fortunately, in the arts, women don’t experience the same motherhood penalty (but men do still receive a fatherhood premium).

Does this piss you off? It should. Whether you’re male, female, or don’t ascribe to gender binaries, this should really make you mad. Because it means we still don’t value women’s work. As a society, we place a higher value on art produced by men. Their work goes for far more at auction. Male museum directors and curators make more money than their female counterparts. Male writers are paid more, and their books sell more copies. It’s true across the board.

For years, I’ve been seeking to address this in small, quiet ways. I buy books written by women. Much of the art that hangs in my house was painted or photographed by women. I buy albums by female artists, rather than just listening for free on Spotify. When I want to read a great new book by a talented female author, I buy it. I get Melville from the library, but I pay full price for Karen Russell, Kelly Link, Zadie Smith, Emily St. John Mandel, and Eleanor Catton.

I believe in voting with my dollars. I also try, in this small, tiny, personal corner of the internet, to highlight female artists as often as I can. While men make great work, too, they don’t need my help. Not when their work comprises 92% of lots for sale at New York evening auctions. Not when there are men like Georg Baselitz arguing that “women don’t paint very well” in well-respected places like The Guardian.

Baselitz says, “the market does not lie.” But money doesn’t equal talent. We should all know that by now.

I’ll end this rant before I get too wound up and decide to quit working as a female writer and start selling my eggs instead (they’re worth more than my words, apparently). But I want to say this: If this subject is something you care about, you need to start voting with your dollars. Spend money on women artists. Pay women writers. Support women in the arts, because we still need it.

Image: Maman by Louise Bourgeois. This piece, which sold for $25 million, was the only one to make the top 100 lots sold at auction in 2015. All 99 other top-selling pieces were by men.

Big city lion.

big city lionWhile on assignment in Spain, photographer Julia Werner found a starving dog blonde dog. She fed the skinny little guy and rescued him. She loved his big spirit, and so she made him a mane to match. Then they went out exploring Hapsburg. The resulting photo series is wonderful—whimsical and sweet. Poking around her website, I saw that she also photographs kids in super hero costumes, which is just so damn happy it hurts.

And with that, have a nice weekend, you big city lions.

The hours we spend becoming ourselves.

Hope_Gangloff_the_girlsEmma Cline’s debut novel got a seven figure book deal. Seven figures, you guys! But after reading The Girls, I have to say, she earned it. Based on the Charles Manson murders, The Girls is the story of a young girl named Evie who falls into a cult. But she’s not drawn in by the charismatic leader (who is, of course, a man). Instead, Evie is seduced by a bad, beautiful, dirty, black-haired vixen named Suzanne.

Unlike most Manson-based fiction, the novel really isn’t about Russel, the angry hippy with poor guitar-playing skills whose grudges incite murders. Cline’s book is less about the sensationalist violence and more about girlhood and all its complications, pains, and joys. It’s a compelling story (an all-nighter page-turner) but the best part of The Girls is how Cline captures the obsessive insecurity of teenage femininity. Like take this passage:

Every day after school, we’d click seamlessly into the familiar track of the afternoons. Waste the hours at some industrious task: following Vidal Sassoon’s suggestions for raw egg smoothies to strengthen hair or picking at blackheads with the tip of a sterilized sewing needle. The constant project of our girl selves seeming to require odd and precise attentions… Back then, I was so attuned to attention. I dressed to provoke love, tugging my neckline lower, settling a wistful stare on my face whenever I went out in public that implied many deep and promising thoughts, should anyone happen to glance over… I waited to be told what was good about me. I wondered later if this was why there were so many men at the ranch. All that time I had spent readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you—the boys had spent that time becoming themselves.

Daaaaaamn. I wish I had read that at age 15. I wish I had known how little difference those ritualistic pluckings and preenings would make, how much energy I was wasting on thankless tasks that always made me feel worse, never better.

I wish I could say I’m beyond vanity now, but that would be a hilariously transparent lie. I’m so vain! I probably think this song is about me! But I’m also less inclined to spend time or money on my vanity. Because at the end of the day, I’d rather spend those hours becoming more and more myself.

Image by Hope Gangloff, whose work I’ve written about before and admire so goshdarn much. 

When the world breaks your heart…

Frida_Kahlo_endureThe shooting in Orlando breaks my heart. The malignant violence (and anger and hatred and homophobia) in American culture scares me more than I like to admit.

Sometimes, there’s nothing to do other than recognize the pain of others. And keep on living.

Frida Kahlo said it well: “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”

Image via Corazon Beats

Two cute monsters by Marina Muun & Scarlett’s colors.

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 8.24.17 PM.pngI love these monsters and I love love Marina Muun’s color palate. I’m really into unexpected pastels lately, mauve-y pinks and gray-greens.

See her professional portfolio here.

Check out her Tumblr here.

Updated, a few hours later:
Some brilliant person pinpointed the color palates of famous films. Wes Anderson’s colors, when separated from context, are ugly. (I love his movies and how color creates a mood, but never-would-I-ever want to live in a mustard-and-ketchup world.) This one’s my favorite, though I love the colors of The Revenant, too. Scarlett_Lost