Sunday, August 3, 2008

July 10 - August 2, 2008

Everything That Rises A Book of Convergences
Lawrence Weschler
2006 Hardcover
10 cards

I was aware of this book when McSweeney's released it, but at the time I didn't have time to read it. This fall I had time to listen to Weschler's talk from U of M's Penny Stamps lecture series and now by August I've finally finished reading the book. There are four very different sections of this book. I found the first two the most interesting in the connections the essays explore between works of art and other things. One of my favorites is a photo of the moon that Weschler compares to a late Mark Rothko painting. I also appreciate that he also puts forward such observations without trying to tie them up into perfect explanations or lines of influence.

Before this book I've experience synchronicities with material I've read and things in daily life, but this book led to a great one. On page 99 there's a reproduction of Velazquez's Aesop. Unfamiliar with this painting until encountering it here, while reading this book I saw a copy of Aesop's face by John Singer Sargent (a copy of the original Velazquez) at the Ackland Museum of Art. (I also have some photos from when I was younger that look somewhat similar to the photo on page 79 which is just creepy.)

Some excerpts:

15- "What's interesting to me is that history repeats itself, not only in how people arrange themselves but in how the portraits of them stands in relation to them."

22- Joel Meyerowitz: " is always carrying a chapbook of images around. ...For a street photographer like myself, randomness is everything, because that's one thin the world has in abundance and I am just passing through it with my share."

33- "The artist's task is not to alter the world as the eye sees it into a world of aesthetic reality but to perceive the aesthetic reality within the actual world."
-James Agee: "how deep and deft creative intelligence must be to recognize, foresee and make permanent [that world's] best moments."
42- Benjamin: "...There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism."
47- Rothko: "The people who weep before my paintings are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them."
-Rothko "If you are moved by the color relationships then you miss the point."
-"it draws you out and gives nothing back. Its presence, like that of a black hole, is of such density that you might lose your self there."
-"For those Rothkos do not make a statement; rather, they raise a demand, or more precisely maybe, a question."
-"There is a moment in looking at those paintings when we stop looking at them and they start looking at us- and if we are not careful, if there is not enough of us there, straight through us."
-"Rothko keeps bleeding out of aesthetical categories and into ethical ones. Not, is it beautiful? But rather, how should one lead one's life?"
-p. 46 and p. 49
-"And yet on the moon, there was nothing there...A vast interminable emptiness: a howling airless silence. A vacuum of meaning: absolute silence."
-W.H. Auden: "Out apparatniks will continue making/the usual squalid mess they call History:/all we can pray for is that artists,/chefs and saints may still appear to blithe it."
51- Eisenstein
-footnote- Larry McMurty (Lonesome Dove) (forefathers) "What they dreamed, we live and what they lived we dream."
53- "Funny the way mirrors (time or otherwise, canvas or crystal) are constantly doubling and redoubling possible significations in a vertiginous regress."
-Magritte, La reproduction interdite, 1937
54- Diebenkorn- solitary women
-"Abstraction: to be lost in thought, lost to thought transported out of oneself. But out of oneself toward what?"
57- trains- standard time
-Einstein- theory of relativity- trains- "one of the principal motifs in the exploration of simultaneity"
58- Einstein- day job- Swiss patent office- "mindless drudge work, something to help pay the bills while the real work of genius transpired late at night and around the margins."
-Georg Simmel's Philosophy of Money, 1900
-GS: "The meaning of money lies in the fact that it will be given away."
59- "As a tangible item, money is the most ephemeral thing in the external practical world; yet its content is the most stable since it stands as the point of indifference and balance between all other phenomena in the world..."
69- (Edward Snow- Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring) LW- "Has she just turned toward us, Snow asks, by way of entry into the image, or is she just about to turn away?"
-"Capture and release. A punctum."
80- poster tribute to Bruno Schulz
89- (Herb) "He'd be my best reader and I was writing for him."
93 (Vermeer's Lacemaker) " everything in it is slightly out of focus, either too close or too far, except for the very thing the girl herself is focusing upon..."
133- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Midnight clock [currently it's 5 minutes to midnight]
159- (heart bumper stickers in 1981) "The phenomenon seemed at once naive and a bit hopeless- another American effort to single yourself out, to differentiate yourself (and your car) from the hordes of apparently identical beings and things. At the same time, it seemed like an attempt to reach out across the asphalt to signal your humanity (through what you hearted) to other souls..."
169- Persian proverb- "Fear those who fear you."
182- Rhonda Roland Shearer wrote in 1999 about Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q.- "Duchamp had subtly superimposed a photo of his own strangely feminine face onto Da Vinci's portrait, before pencilling in the wicked little moustache and goatee."
-decades speculation about Da Vinci superimposing his face on the Mona Lisa
218- Proust
220- every cell in our bodies replaced every 7 years
223- W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn- "The greater the distance, the clearer the view..."
232- Lao-Tzu- "...We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want..."

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