Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Video: Florida House for Sale

In case my previous post with pictures didn't tempt you enough, check out the fabulous video The Home Team made of my Padre's house! If you can't see the video below, then click here to watch it on YouTube.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Florida House for Sale

If you or someone you know is 55+ and looking for a beautiful, quiet place to retire or use as a vacation home in a community with lots of amenities, including in-ground swimming pools and a golf course, consider my Padre's house in Pinellas Park, Florida! The house is 1600 square feet and has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, living & dining rooms, plus an extra family room and a Florida room (that's an indoor sun room). Special features include bamboo flooring, new carpeting, fresh paint, and it comes fully furnished (Momma had good taste). We're asking only $123,900! Here are all the details for the official listing with James E. Tuten, Charles Rutenberg Realty. For those of you in Florida, there's an open house today, Sunday 3/27/11. Spread the word. Here are just a few pictures of the interior (more via the link).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Subway Shots 2

Ever feel like Fate is toying with you? No sooner do I leave St. Petersburg, FL where I was cleaning up Padre's house, and I'm suddenly being teased to return. (Gee...what a actual vacation in Florida!) I took this picture at about 5:15pm while riding on the 5 train heading south between the 86th and 59th Street stops.

Sherman's comment on my last Subway Shots post has led to a bit of an addiction for New York Subway Guys. I can't help but wonder if I'll recognize anyone! Now by total coincidence I've just come across TubeCrush, a similar site with random pictures of cute guys on the London underground. Who knew subway photos could be so much fun?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DW in the USA

Doctor Whoovians (such as myself) are excited that Series 6 (the second season with Doctor Matt Smith) will be premiering in the US this coming April 23rd on BBC America. Companions Amelia "Amy" Pond, Rory, and the mysterious River Song all are returning as well. Little Britain fans will be titillated to know that David Walliams will be on an episode playing an alien, which should be great fun (Walliams also is an admitted Whoovian). The big news though is that much of the season is going to take place in the United States during various points in history, including the first episode which starts in Utah and winds up in Washington, D.C. That gives a new spin on things for Brits used to the Anglocentric plots in its nearly 50-year history. But of course it isn't the first time The Doctor has visited the US. In the new series alone, Doctor David visited NYC with Martha Jones during the construction of the Empire State Building in the late 1920s, with the Daleks turning New Yorkers into pig-faced mutant alien slaves. (Come on...ya gotta love this stuff!) In related news, I'm curious to see Matt Smith playing gay writer Christopher Isherwood in Christopher and His Kind, a British movie that is going right to DVD here in the US. (For those not in the know, Isherwood wrote The Berlin Stories, which became the basis for the musical Cabaret.) For now, however, we look forward to The Doctor and Amy Pond in about 4 weeks time. Here's the trailer for the new season:

UPDATE 3/21/11: I had drinks & dinner with my friend and fellow Whoovian CW here in St. Petersburg tonight. Imagine my surprise when she presented me with my very own Doctor Who-inspired blue bow tie and button that shouts "Geronimo!" I now have my proper attire for the April 23rd premiere.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Random Musings 5

The image you see here is William Holman Hunt's 1853 painting The Awakening Conscience, part of the collection at Tate Britain. The picture is modestly sized, about 30 x 22 in. (762 x 559 mm). The linear clarity and attention to detail in the work is extraordinary. That is one of the great charms of Pre-Raphaelite painting. Holman Hunt is probably the only one in the group who maintained all the principles of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood when they formed in 1848. Among these were the ideas of truth to nature and subjects of modern life. Dante Gabriel Rossetti eventually moved into lusch Venetian-style fantasy portraits of women, and John Everett Millais went more academic in painting Victorian genre scenes and portraits (note that their work in these styles is equally admirable). Here, Holman Hunt's picture shows a kept woman in her dressing gown. She has been at play with her lover, when suddenly she has looked out the window and sees the light, here taking on its metaphorical message of morality. She has seen the error of her ways and the epiphany on her face suggests that she will now live a more righteous life. One of my favorite parts of this picture is the way Holman Hunt used a mirror to show the open window, thus showing us what she sees. By doing this, the viewer interacts with the woman, not only seeing her epiphany but experiencing it as well by looking at the light too, pointing out the viewer's potential moral failings, showing there is still hope to change.

I've started with this picture in this latest Random Musing because the Tate recently announced that there will be a new Pre-Raphaelite exhibition in 2012. The last major British retrospective in all media of this group was in 1984, and although that was a landmark show, it was highly criticized at the time for excluding women artists and not engaging with new theoretical ideas in art history at the time. This new show promises to change all that, and the planned title--Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde--tells you the intended modernist trajectory the curators will be suggesting. In some ways I had been thinking I would avoid London in much of 2012 because of the Olympics (e.g. overpriced hotel rooms and overcrowded streets), but that exhibition is making me rethink my plans. It opens September 2012.

Also on exhibit in 2012 (closing just before that show opens) at Tate Modern will be a major retrospective of the career of contemporary bad boy artist Damien Hirst. This is the shark-in-formaldehyde guy, as well as the diamond-encrusted-skull guy. He is one of the most successful British artists in history (if you measure success in monetary value and pop cultural references). I'm not a big fan of his work (the animal rights part of me gets riled up at times), but I cannot argue with the fact that his work has revolutionized sculpture by abstracting the figurative, altering our expectations of what we think we will see and, naturally, by shocking us at times with his experiments in form. It's no surprise also that the painting which earned the most money at auction last May ($106.5 million), Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, has gone on long-term loan to the Tate Modern, since they're going to launch a Picasso and Britain show in 2012 as well. (Note to reader: museums have figured out that if they want to draw large audiences, they should do an exhibition on either Picasso or Van Gogh or anything Impressionist.)

In other art news, Leo Steinberg has died at the age of 90. This art historian's writing was always interesting to read. He made you look back at works of art not just once but over and over, seeing new things each time. You have to love anyone who had the balls to write a book entitled The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and Modern Oblivion (who knew there were so many images of Christ showing pronounced bulges!). His obituary by Ken Johnson in The New York Times is quite fascinating and definitely worth reading, giving you insights into how life experiences make an art historian.

In Queens, NY, there's a movement both to sell off and to save a public monument called The Triumph of Civic Virtue by the American sculptor Frederic MacMonnies. The non-art people find it offensive because the nude male is crushing two women. The art people recognize it as a major NYC public commission that in allegorical terms represents civic virtue crushing vice and corruption. Maybe the problem is that politicians don't like being reminded of their civic responsibility to oppose the evils of society...or they're offended by the nudity.

The polemical gay-themed art exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture is apparently going to travel, including making a stop at the Brooklyn Museum later in 2011. I saw this exhibition in DC with RL just over 3 months ago, and it led to some great conversations between him and me about "gay" art and its social implications for the gay/lesbian community, not to mention basic principles in exhibition design. The Brooklyn Museum doesn't have information on its site yet about the exhibition, but the news was reported here in the NYT blog.

I'm writing this post from a hotel room in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida. I'm getting the Padre's house ready to go on the market next week. Work, work, work...but what can you do? At least there's art to think about and appease one's mind.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Earthquake. Tsunami. Radiation. Any one of these things on their own is a serious tragedy, but to have all three happen in one geographical region within a few days of each another is incomprehensible. The notion that the earthquake in Japan was so massive that it actually shifted the country 8 feet to the west simply boggles the mind. These interactive before and after images from The New York Times are disturbing, although, tragedy aside, I have to admit that they also are an incredible use of digital image technology (thanks to PR for the link). Like many, I have been going through periods of information gathering to know more about how the people of Japan are doing through this catastrophe. As of my writing this, 2400 people are dead, more than 3000 are missing, and they are still talking up to 10,000 deaths from this tragedy. Anderson Cooper was reporting on CNN that he was amazed at the dignity of the Japanese who waited patiently in line for water, only to be told there was no more, and not a single person complained. Another CNN reporter responded to him by noting that is part of the legacy of the Japanese people, their need and respect for order.

In honor of that spirit, I thought I would share a little piece of Japanese cultural history. The image above is of a beautiful summer kimono made of silk gauze with carp, water lilies, and morning glories, made during the Meiji period about 1876, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is just one of the many cultural items that the Japanese can call their own. Haiku. Samurai. Sushi. Ukiyo-e. Zen.

To help Japan during this crisis, consider donating to the Red Cross, because they seem to have taken the lead in helping them. The Japan Society here in NYC is also accepting donations for an earthquake relief fund.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Last Friday I went to the afternoon half of the 8th Annual Graduate Student Symposium in 19th-Century Art, organized by the Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art (AHNCA). I enjoy going to this symposium because I like to hear some of the projects that other graduate students and PhD candidates are working on. I wrote about this conference in 2010 and 2009 (when I gave a paper on the Ottoman Turks at the Great Exhibition of 1851). I do regret having missed one paper in the morning session on representations of King Louis-Philippe of France during the July Monarchy (1830-1848), but the papers I did hear later on were interesting.

Jennifer Chuong (MIT) gave a theoretical talk about the late 18th-century botanical and animal prints of William Bartram and their connections with the social-politics of the day. Barbara Caen (Universität Zürich) gave a museum-style talk on French and German weavers who had emigrated to the US to work in 3 different tapestry manufacturing firms in NY and NJ in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hélène Valance (Université Paris 7 Diderot) gave a thought-provoking presentation on night and darkness in late 19th-century American painting. Two of my co-students at the CUNY Graduate Center presented as well. Mary Zawadzki spoke about travel imagery in the American children's periodical St. Nicholas Magazine, and Leslie Anderson gave an insightful talk about how early 19th-century Danish artists painting themselves at leisure can be seen as a form of freedom away from their academic training. Finally, Christina Ferando (Columbia)--a fellow sculpture historian whom I've met up with in New Haven, Rome, Washington, D.C., and now NY!--presented a great talk on Antonio Canova's Penitent Magdalene (image above, from Web Gallery of Art) and how French critics evolved in their appreciation of it from a despised object to a symbol of nationalism. Her PowerPoint presentation was excellent too, reminding me of the importance of showing multiple viewpoints when looking at figurative sculpture in the round.

Even though the College Art Association just ended its NYC conference, they've already released the call for papers (CFP) for the 2012 conference, which will be held in Los Angeles next February. I had gotten confused, thinking NYC was the 100th conference, but in fact the organization turned 100 last year and 2012 will be the centenary conference (got that?). Interestingly, the CFP seems to confirm the "crisis in art history," that new students only want to study contemporary art now. More than 50% of the sessions in the CFP relate to 20th-century and contemporary art. I find that disheartening, but it does reflect the dominant mood of the art market and museums/galleries around the world. Nevertheless, there are a few promising sessions on the CFP, one of which is seriously tempting me to submit a proposal (can you guess which one?)...
** "Other Histories of Photography: The First One Hundred Years" (hm...sounds like the influence of Geoffrey Batchen!)
** "Where the Bodies Lie: Landscapes of Mourning, Memory, and Concealment" (cemeteries, funerary monuments)
** "Impressionisms: From the Forest of Fontainebleau to the American West" (French and other 'Impressionist' art movements)
** "Classicizing the Other" (rubric of classical antiquity on racial/ethnic others)
** "Future Directions in the History of British Art" (celebrating 20 years of the Historians of British Art)

Monday, March 7, 2011


The ASPCA is asking registered voters to help push for the passage of H.R. 835—Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act, colloquially known as the PUPS Act. Not only is this an important move to help eradicate the mistreatment of dogs, but it is a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), and Don Young (R-AK), showing that Democrats and Republicans can work together to make a difference when it comes to something they believe in.

The PUPS Act was introduced into the House on March 1st and, according to the ASPCA, seeks "to bring all commercial dog breeders in the United States under federal oversight. Currently, only breeders who sell their dogs to puppy brokers or pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected by the USDA. If passed, the PUPS Act would require any breeder who sells or offers to sell more than 50 dogs annually directly to the public—including over the Internet—to also be licensed and inspected. The PUPS Act would also require all dog breeders licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act to exercise every dog every day, including allowing the dogs to reach a running stride without the use of treadmills or similar devices. Commercial breeders often keep their dogs in tiny cages for their entire lives. Requiring exercise could dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of dogs suffering from endless confinement at the hands of the commercial breeding industry."

To email your Congressman/woman and show your support for the bill, go to the ASPCA's Advocacy Center and fill out the online form. An automatic email showing your support will be sent to your Representative. It will take you, quite literally, less than 1 minute to do it, so don't hesitate and do it now.

By the way, the picture of the adorable pup above is an ASPCA-rescue dog named Scooby, part of their "Cute Photo of the Day" series for March 4th.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Subway Shots

Looking back at my 2nd "Week-in-my-Life" series which ended last night, it was a pretty mundane, run-of-the-mill week for me. Nothing as nearly exciting as last time when I was almost run over by the Jesus-stickered livery cab. The good news is that the decaying odor in the hallway is gone finally.

Last night, just after 8:00pm, as I was standing in the subway station at 14th Street, having alighted from the 3 train and waiting for the 1 train to take me one stop further north, I looked up and saw the picture you see here with my camera phone. Now, anyone who has ridden the NYC subway system knows never to look up, because you're horrified by the sooty, mucky, gunky, stalactitey refuse that hangs down from the ceiling, threatening to crash down upon you at any moment and smother you with some unknown chemical compound that inevitably would either kill you, or turn you into a mutant superhero. But on this rare occasion, I looked up and was pleased to discover that the MTA has been increasing the number of digital screens telling you how long until the next train arrives. I don't know why it's taken NYC so long to put these into place. The London underground has been doing this for ages, and if memory serves me correctly they have it in Paris and Rome as well. It's a common courtesy, notifying passengers how long they have to wait. Somehow, having this knowledge makes you more patient. The unknown frustrates you more. Knowledge is power, as they say.

About 12:30am this morning, waiting for the F train at the 23rd Street station, I decided to snap the next two pictures, and decided on the spot that this will be the beginning of my new blog photography series Subway Shots. The first one shows the platform and the tracks. Pretty disgusting, huh? Wait until I get a great a shot of one the rats.
This next one is a poster encouraging people to visit Miami. I thought that was kind of ironic that I was standing in NYC looking at a poster encouraging one to go to Florida, something I do quite a bit, although not necessarily for the reasons they're suggesting. Yes, of course the poster is even greater because of the two hot guys on it, with one of them smooching the other. And, yes, this is gay Chelsea! The funny thing is that these two guys look familiar to me...just not sure why...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Week-in-my-Life: Feb/Mar 2011 (Pt. 3)

THURSDAY 03/03/11

2:15am = insomnia! decaf tea and chocolate biscotti; watch episode of House that turns out to be more emotional than I expected.

7:15am = officially awake now. breakfast: scrambled eggs, English muffin, fruit, coffee. weather: ridiculously cold (yuck!).

8:00am = commence writing of section of dissertation chapter.

11:00am = break. go downstairs to get the mail, almost choke from worst smell ever in hallway, spray Febreze, but doesn't seem to help, wonder if something died in the wall. back to writing.

1:00pm = lunch: tuna sandwich.

4:00pm = phone call from RM about the Padre's health status past few days.

6:00pm = finish writing for day, shocked to discover 10 pages written. (yay!)

8:00pm = dinner: roasted pork chops with vegetables and stuffing; Netflix movie: The Social Network (good movie, but creeped me out about getting back on Facebook for a while).

FRIDAY 03/04/11

8:15am = wake up startled to discover I slept 9 hours and never moved. breakfast: oatmeal and last of the English muffins (finally!). weather: mild but cool, 40s.

10:30am = subway read: more of Potts (cover above). arrive at gym, cardio for hour+, realizing halfway through routine on elliptical I forgot to program it so have no idea how much I burned off, pretend it was a magical number like 444 calories.

12:15pm = lunch at Moonstruck: California wrap (chicken, avocado, etc.) with Greek salad.

1:00pm = at school for the afternoon half of the AHNCA Graduate Student Symposium (more on that later), I meet up with RL and other people I haven't seen in a while; Prof. Judy Sund tells Prof. Elizabeth Mansfield about my blog, pointing out that they purposely tortured me during my Oral Exam just to see what I would write about them (scandalous!).

4:30pm = post-symposium wine & cheese reception and networking (always important).

6:00pm = RL and I make a quick stop to Macy's so I can show him the suit I fell in love with, but alas they still don't have my size; oddly, RL keeps trying to get me to spend more money on clothes, but I resist. for now.

7:30pm = arrive home, odor in hallway is still atrocious, now convinced something died in the wall. dinner: chicken noodle soup and leftover pizza; Netflix movie: Paranormal 2 (not as good as the first one).

SATURDAY 03/05/11

6:45am = breakfast: scrambled egg & tomato sandwich on multi-grain bagel with lovely cuppa tea; back to bed for a quick catnap. weather: cool and cloudy, low 50s.

9:00am = catnap turns into longer delightful snooze. pay bills. food shopping, once again shocked how one comes home $60 poorer with only 2 bags of groceries to show for it.

10:00am = start editing dissertation text from Thu, realizing within a few short hours I'm surrounded by falling towers of books.

11:15am = break to get mail, discover odor in hallway has almost dissipated, but now smells like patchouli, so obviously something died.

1:00pm = lunch: tuna & Swiss cheese sandwich.

2:45pm = break, look down at calendar, realize sheepishly I've forgotten everyone's birthdays this week!

4:00pm = finish writing, feeling pretty good about it, discovered I added another page & 1/2 of text (yay!).

4:30pm = texting with AR about evening, jealous he's getting a pedicure.

5:00pm = pleasant 30-minute catnap on the couch, followed by snack.

7:00pm = heading out to Chelsea for dinner & movie (The Adjustment Bureau) with AR. looking forward to brunch with the RL+DGs on Sunday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Week-in-my-Life: Feb/Mar 2011 (Pt. 2)

MONDAY 02/28/11

4:00am = wake up at ungodly hour but decide to have breakfast: English muffin. fall back to sleep. weather: horrible rainy day, extremely grateful bought Tote umbrella day before.

8:00am = subway reading: Potts, chapter five, "Ideal Bodies."

9:00am = arrive at work, starving so snack on mini bran muffin and large cuppa tea.

12:30pm = lunch with MLS intern CW, who's working on a project for me; roast beef & cheddar sandwich on multigrain bread with Sun Chips.

3:45pm = surprise phone call from RL who's back from Costa Rica.

7:00pm = dinner: turkey pot pie and salad, watch episode of CSI: Miami about corrupt psychics.

8:00pm = read Padiyar, chapter two, "Inheriting Greek Eros: Anacreontism and Homosexual Desire."

TUESDAY 03/01/11

6:30am = breakfast: Golden Grahams cereal and 1/2 English muffin with cashew nut butter & blackberry preserves. weather: sunny, upper 40s (yay!).

9:00am = amazed at work on time for second day in row.

10:00am = email co-workers for advice: how should we catalog for our visual history database a digital image of a negative photographed in 1942 by American artist Charles Scheeler (1883-1965) of the facade of the museum (see above!), when it turns out the image also is a 1982 photographic print that is an accessioned object owned by the Photographs Department?

11:00am = meeting...followed by another meeting.

12:30pm = lunch: 1/2 chicken sandwich and small salad.

2:00pm = wearing my brand-spankin'-new navy blazer and a tie, give presentation with my co-worker CD and boss AG to a select group of V.I.P.s about our new Visual History Project (roaring success! crowd goes wild!).

5:45pm = on way to subway, surprise phone call from Padre, lots of bantering back and forth in Italian and English.

6:15pm = pick up interlibrary loan book from school: Grant F. Scott, Joseph Severn: Letters and Memoirs (2005); review at home for Gibson references.

8:00pm = dinner: eggs and English muffin with fruit salad and Greek yogurt; watch first 2 episodes from Season 3 of Upstairs, Downstairs, including shocking twist involving Lady Marjorie and the Titanic!

WEDNESDAY 03/02/11

8:00am = slept through alarm ("accidentally"); breakfast: 1/2 English muffin and blueberry yogurt. weather: cool but sunny, reaching mid-40s.

9:00am = subway reading: Potts, chapter six, "Freedom and Desire."

11:00am = meeting (for 2 hours! ugh!).

1:00pm = lunch: baked tilapia, potatoes, green beans.

2:00pm = meeting, during which we resolve the Scheeler image dilemma (who knew he worked for the museum in the early 1940s?).

4:00pm = desperate for cuppa tea, have a lovely Earl Grey and sneak in a pudding parfait too.

6:00pm = subway reading: call for papers for the 2012 College Art Association conference in Los Angeles.

7:30pm = dinner: pizza and salad; watch more of Upstairs, Downstairs.