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.

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Two nice things: witches like saints & harvesting the moon.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.00.22 PM1. Isabel Allende is one of my all-time favorite authors. House of Spirits has always felt like a more feminine version of my favorite book, One Hundred Years of Solitude. I know my love for magical realism has always made me seem a little immature—espeically compared with the “serious” literature majors I knew in college, who preferred texts that felt impenetrable to me, walls of text made by dead white men with axes to grind and bones to pick. But goddamn it, I like what I like, and what I like is crazy, New Agey, magical shit. Stories where cats walk on two legs and newts have sexy, sophisticated romances and snowy sculptures come to life.

But enough with my dumb, pretentious, self-critical rambling. Allende is wonderful and everyone should read her. She makes femininity feel like such a powerful thing—witchy and earthy and crude and delightful and free. I love how she writes women. Her female characters are round, and I mean that both in the literary sense and the curvy sense. I’m currently reading her memoir Paula, and it really makes me appreciate the power of female companions, friends, lovers, daughters, etc. Here’s one of the best quotes:

Witches, like saints, are solitary stars that shine with a light of their own; they depend on nothing and no one, which is why they have no fear and plunge blindly into the abyss with the assurance that instead of crashing to earth, they will fly back out. They can change into birds and see the world from above, or worms to see it from within, they can inhabit other dimensions and travel to other galaxies, they are navigators on an infinite ocean of consciousness and cognition.

Damn, girl. That makes me want to be a witch, like, yesterday.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.21.42 PM.png2. The second person I’m vibing on today is Bruce Monroe. He is a Pennsylvania-based artist who makes striking installations. The top image is “Moon Harvest,” a visual pun that projects images of the moon onto bales of hay. “Shower of Light” is the second image (directly above). He also uses CDs frequently in his installations, which, when placed together, turn into giant reflective surfaces that look like oversized sequins, glittery and fractured. Check out his other work (and find out where you can see one of his luminous pieces in person!) by clicking here. 

The ultimate mombod.

great mothers of the stone ageIn honor of Mother’s Day (and since my mom reads my blog more than anyone else, probably) here’s a very cool graphic of mombods compiled by the smart ladies at etsi-ketsi. (Don’t know what a “mombod” is? It’s cool, it’s a stupid made-up thing that happened on the internet.)

It’s also interesting to note that these aren’t all Stone Age sex symbols as some might assume. “Erroneously, perhaps even cynically, many of the statues and sculptures shown here have been named Venus statuettes by patriarchal archeologists, as in Venus of Willendorf and Venus of Laussel; names based on the well-known nude depictions of the much later and slender Roman Venus,” explains scholar Eva Sawada.

Here’s another amazing graphic, this one shows “Goddess Sculptures” from the early Bronze Age. There’s something so amazingly modern about these, so geometric and cool, especially the top row.  With their sharp angles and big shoulders, these femmes remind me of 80’s business ladies in power suits. How would you worship a boss-bitch goddess? By burring a pyre of vintage Vogues? By using lipstick as warpaint and reenacting the ancient ritual of the power lunch? By sacrificing your toes to the torture of a pointy heel? One can only imagine. goddess sculpturesAnyway, happy Mother’s Day or whatever. Enjoy the history lesson.

Oh, Louise.

louiseIt’s very late and though I have lots to say about Louise Bourgeois (some of which I’ve already said), I’ll keep it short and sweet for now. Here is a picture of her sculpture “Arch of Hysteria.” Like most of her work, it’s scary and eerie and yet…somehow beautiful. To me, it speaks to that feeling of dread that settles in the pit of my stomach after I make a life changing, supposedly freeing move (for further reference, see the ending of The Graduate). This figure is trapped, yet fluid. It’s the combination of anxiety and bravery made physical in a sweeping motion of the human form. It’s how I feel whenever I stand on top of a mountain: terrified, but terribly alive.

The History of Pretty: The most beautiful sculpture I have never seen.

Bernini3If you asked me to name my favorite sculpture, the answer would be easy: Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne. While baroque painting was never my favorite—except Caravaggio, because it is impossible not to adore Caravaggio and his bloody, beautiful youths—baroque sculpture and architecture is truly amazing. And what Bernini could do with a slab of marble is particularly amazing.

bernini_apollo_and_daphne2Just look at the way her limbs change into trees! It’s like looking at music. It’s so poetic and deeply alive. This sculpture shows the culmination of the myth of Daphne, a river nymph (and thus a woman after my own waterlogged heart) who is chased by the god Apollo, who seeks to possess her after being hit with Cupid’s mischievous arrow. Daphne calls out to her father, the god Poseidon, and begs for some way to avoid the seemingly inevitable rape. He decides the best thing to do is to turn her into a tree, because this is before we had words for everything and dendrophilia hadn’t yet been invented. Bernini, like all baroque artists, seemed drunk with drama, and so he chose to depict the “couple” at the moment of her transformation.

Yes, it’s a statue of a woman escaping her rapist by becoming a plant. It is dark and a little terrible, but it’s also breathtakingly beautiful and amazingly detailed. I hope someday I get to see it in person.

Knock ‘Em Out.

This is awesome. Made by Debra Baxter, this amazing sculpture even has a super badass title: Crystal Brass Knuckles (I am going to realign your chakras motherf*****). In an interview with the blog My Love For You (one of my daily reads, by the way), Baxter said:

It is sort of a superhero tool/weapon. Most of my work is about engaging the body in some way. Calling the body to do something. My work embraces failure and fragility…though you won’t know that seeing this piece… They are made to fit a woman’s hand. There is a feminist/grrl power piece to this…and to all my work. Women engaging in their power and sexuality.

Brilliant. Oh, and her other work is pretty lovely, too.