Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament Left Bracket Second-Round Elimination: Hepworth v. Hammershoi!


Barbara Hepworth and Wilhelm Hammershoi both won their First-Round matches, lost their Second-Round matches, and then won the Left Bracket Second Round to stay in the race. This is, as far as I can recall, the first time this has happened -- winners of First-Round Elimination tend to do really well against Second-Round losers. It's enough to justify this tournament being double-elimination, as if any such justification were needed.

Richard Hamilton's two losses came to Hammershoi and Hepworth, and he leaves the Tournament with a 1-2 record. Also exiting this week is Hans Hartung, also at 1-2.




Barbara Hepworth
1903 - 1975
British





Wilhelm Hammershoi
1864 - 1916
Danish





Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting, but likely much longer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Left Bracket Second Round: Judd v. John!

Donald Judd
1928 - 1994
American

Kicked around by Frida Kahlo in Round 1.
Beat Allen Jones in First Round Elimination.






Gwen John
1876 - 1939
British; worked in France

Surprised favorite Jasper Johns in the First Round.
Lost to Bouguereau in Round 2.






Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting, but likely much longer.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ten Records from the Classical Past

In years past, like 2009 and 2011 and other long-ago times, I used to write a lot here about my hauls from the Friends of the Multnomah Public Library books sales.  Since then, however, Mrs.5000 and I have apparently grown old, the key symptom being that we have lost the acquisitive urge.  I don't know if we even went to the sale last year.  This year we did, and our total combined haul of books amounted to, I think, five.

Maybe we're just out of places to put them.

I did, however, take the opportunity to buy ten classical albums at a buck a pop.  Genuine LP records!  They are my current favorite recording medium, partly because I think one takes music more seriously if it has a demanding physical form, and partly because, a buck a pop!

Here's the damage:

Music for Viola and Piano, 1987.  Spare pieces by Benjamin Britten and two unknowns, Frank Bridge and Rebecca Clarke, the later of whom was unusual in the world of classical composition by virtue of being female.

Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, 1963.  I know, I'm really stretching myself in the repertoire here, aren't I!  But I actually listen to the famous fifth less then the other Beethoven symphonies, except for the less-of-a-big-deal first two, so this will bring me back into true.  Also, this recording was in the tiny record collection of the small-town library that I cut my musical teeth on, so it has nostalgic appeal.  It's significantly slower than most modern performances, which makes it feel a little ponderous by today's standards.



Songs of the Auvergne, 1973/1973.  Volumes I and II.  These concert pieces by Joseph Canteloube, which some classical fans consider lushly Romantic to the point of absurdity, have become guilty pleasures of mine in the last few years.  We call 'em Chants d'Auvergne these days.  These recordings are sung by Victoria de los Angeles, and the albums are labelled "VICTORIA DE LOS ANGELES, SONGS OF THE AUVERGNE" and then have the name "Canteloube" in tiny tiny letters underneath, literally in parentheses.  I had the idea that the orchestra was the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but that was an obvious cognitive error (it's actually the Lamoureux Concerts Orchestra, whoever they are).  They are nice recordings, but quite unlike the other two very nice versions I have. 

Cello Concertos by Haydn and Mott, whoever Mott is.  1969.  Haydn and Mott, whoever he is, get a font size about half that of Jacquline du Pre, the famously doomed young cello star.  Pleasant performances of pleasant music, played with a little more Sturm und Drang then these pieces would get today.
  
Mahler, songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn.  1958, and looking every inch of it:


The cover art was a big factor in my decision to bring this one home.  I haven't listened to it yet.

Schubert, Mass in E Flat.  Probably 1960s.  This is apparently Schubert's 6th and final Mass.  Who knew?  Likely to be a bit heavy.  Haven't listened yet.

Music for the Baroque Oboe.  Perhaps 1967.  Until the late 1970s, baroque music outside of Bach was quite an esoteric niche in the classical spectrum.  Recordings from the 1950s and 1960s are kind of fun, because they often lack the courtly lightness and constancy of tempo and volume that modern players give the baroque.  The modern way is supposedly righter -- more in keeping with the composers' intentions -- but it's also the reason why some people (not me, of course) find baroque music a bit sterile.  I like to occasionally hear it played as if it were written by Beethoven.



Haydn, Symphonies 44, 45, & 49.  1986.  The famous Hayden symphonies are pretty much all in the last 20 of his whopping 104, and I imagine I have copies of most of them in one format and/or another.  Being way down in the 40s, these are likely pleasant, tame, and new-to-me.

Walton, Variations on a Theme by Hindemith and Symphony #2.  mid-1960s.  Ever since there were records, people have struggled with the problem of how to make 20th-Century music alluring to the record-buying public. I don't know if the jacket design for this particular recording really hit the "sweet spot."


Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round One: Goldsworthy v. Cragg!

Andy Goldsworthy
born 1956
British




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Tony Cragg
born 1949
English




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Vote for the artist of your choice! Votes go in the comments. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Friday, October 24, 2014

If you wait long enough, I make a quilt.

Hey, I made a quilt! Didn't see that coming, did you.

I have a Room of My Own, which is a bit of a sty, littered as it is with an appalling volume of half-finished, half-begun, and ill-conceived projects. Short of flame, the only way I can think of to "clean" it -- by which I mean, open up an access path so that I can water the plants back by the window -- is to actually complete some of the projects.

This is what I might term, if I were insufferably pompous -- you make the call! -- a "process quilt." That's to say, I never sat down and planned where each individual piece of fabric would go. Rather, I made a set of rules and followed them, trusting that they would end up generating a quilt that looks more or less good.

In this case, the basic rule is that using low-grade scrap and surplus fabrics, I'm alternating thicker strips of dark with thinner strips of light.  (If you have a weirdly active memory, you might catch that I mentioned this idea a year and a half ago.  The quilt I was talking about in that post is still cluttering up the room, and thus might make progress towards actually quilthood if my momentum stays all fired up.)  Because I've been working on, and sorting out, several projects simultaneously, I don't really remember how much of this one was already put together and how much not when I uncovered it last month.  I think I did most of it in this October, though.

Although you won't credit it from the picture, I think it actually looks pretty good.



Mrs.5000 likes it too.  So, as is generally the case when she seems enthusiastic about a quilt in production, it's hers.  Like we need more blankets.  We are a house unusually rich in blankets.



The Specs

Name: none.
Serial Number: I've lost track.

Dimensions: 77" x 57"
Batting: An old blanket I found somewhere.
Backing: A low quality synthetic material that was, technically speaking, both "stretchy" and "slippery."  Because of these qualities, and because I used a simple pressure foot instead of a walking foot [just nod knowingly] there is massive pucker between all of the quilting seams on the back end.  That's usually considered an error, but in this case I'm calling it part of the design. 
Quilting: Parallel transverse straight lines.

Begun: Hard to say exactly, but maybe May of 2013.
Finished: October, 2014.

Intended Use/Display: Blanket for use.
Provenance: In the collection of Mrs.5000.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament Left Bracket Second-Round Elimination: Greuze v. Gris!


Jean-Baptiste Greuze
1725 - 1805
French





Juan Gris
1887 - 1927
Spanish; worked in France
  • Decisively beat 18th/19th century French painter Baron Antoine-Jean Gros in Round 1.
  • Sent packing by Atkinson Grimshaw in Round 2.
  • Defeated Matthias Grünewald in the Left Bracket Second Round by a two-vote swing -- YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!



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Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Left Bracket Second Round: Johns v. Jordaens!

Jasper Johns
b. 1930
American

Stunned by underdog Gwen John in Round 1.
Beat Domenico Beccafumi in First Round Elimination.






Jacob Jordaens
1593 - 1678
Dutch

Beat living artist Allen Jones after a tough fight in Round 1.
Lost to Frida Kahlo in Round 2.






Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting, but likely much longer.