Here's my video of miscellaneous Smithsonian American Art Museum sights (5:34 in length), including some folk art. I like folk art, especially weathervanes. We once had a church talent show where we were encouraged to present things we had handcrafted. There were a lot of knit goods from women, of course. I think Cari made one of her magnificent blueberry pies.
My contribution was a collection of smaller reproduction historical weathervanes I made out of pine; I called it "Heritage Above" after a book I once read on the subject. I thought that was pretty cool.
But perhaps I was mistaken.
That impressive statue of the sad young woman in the cloak seen in my video is the Adams Memorial, sculpted by Auguste Saint-Gaudens, one of America's greatest artists. Wikipedia link here. What's in a name? "Saint-Gaudens's name for the bronze figure is The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding, but the public commonly called it Grief - an appellation that Henry Adams apparently disliked. In a letter addressed to Homer Saint-Gaudens, on January 24, 1908, Adams instructed him: 'Do not allow the world to tag my figure with a name! Every magazine writer wants to label it as some American patent medicine for popular consumption - Grief, Despair, Pear's Soap, or Macy's Mens' Suits Made to Measure. Your father meant it to ask a question, not to give an answer; and the man who answers will be damned to eternity like the men who answered the Sphinx.'"
Hmmmm. The man who answered the Sphinx was Oedipus; it was he who solved the riddle (see image above), caused the Sphinx to kill herself and thereby became the King of Thebes. While he was indeed cursed, it was because he murdered his father and married his mother, not because he answered the Sphinx. That was a triumph. As we all know Oedipus gouged out his eyes in despair. What most do not know, however, was that this pitiable figure settled in Colonus (outside of Athens), and, when he died, his grave became sacred to the gods.
I made a somewhat disturbing video using the same Penderecki music (De Natura Sonoris II) I used for my Sollie 17 video: The Art of Marshall Arisman (2:25 in length). I have blogged about Arisman's art before. It appeals to me, which tells you a lot about my warped aesthetics. I like ugly representations of humans but dislike ugly modernist buildings, go figure.
Yesterday I was able to reunite a medical doctor with a fond childhood possession: a gumball machine skull whose eyes and tongue poke out. He bought it off e-Bay for no less than $30.
I bet Medicare will end up paying for it.
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