Monday, January 26, 2015

The New Monday Quiz V

Wasn't that a great weekend?  Don't you wish it had lasted just one more day?  Well, at least you have the New Monday Quiz...

1. This painting is by an artist who broke with the abstractions of Byzantine style in favor of an expressive realism, helping to kick off the Italian Renaissance and the subsequent development of Western art.  Do you know his name, punk?  Well?  Do you?

2. The third of its four parts is "A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan." What's the title of this 1726 novel?

3. The movie ranked second on the imdb best films list, trailing only The Shawshank Redemption, begins with a wedding.  The marriage will not go well.  What's the name of the movie?

4. John Calvin, who might not have been completely unbiased, thought he was the "last good pope." In office from 590 to 604, he strengthened the power of the Papacy, dispatched Augustine of Canterbury to envangelize the English ("Non Angli, sed angeli"), and substantially revised the practice of Christian worship. His efforts at improving and standardizing sacred music was an influential step in the development of Western music.  Name that Saint!

5. Here's a map showing the provinces of what country?

6. Element #79 soft and easy to shape, and is very nearly heavy as Element #82, Lead! In fact, it's actually denser than lead, which makes it heavier for practical purposes. It's one of the least reactive metals on the whole periodic table. A terrific conductor of electricity, it is for some reason never used in wiring. What's its name?

7. One of your least important internal organs -- you could probably live without it with no ill effects -- it collects the bile from your liver and then squirts it into your small intestine on demand. What is it?

8. His 29 lines include
Heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!

The Queen, your mother, in most great affliction of spirit
hath sent me to you.

My lord, we were sent for.

What, my lord?

My lord, I cannot.
He's arguably one of the most famous unimportant characters in all of theater. Who is he?

9. Oops, I accidentally blurred a spot on this postage stamp!  For many years, this was a postage stamp from a country that no longer existed, but that's not true any more.  What country might you have used it to send a letter from?

10. "His use and development of Norwegian folk music in his own compositions put the music of Norway in the international spectrum, as well as helping to develop a national identity, much as Jean Sibelius and Antonín Dvořák did in Finland and Bohemia, respectively." You are most familiar with some incidental music he wrote for an Ibsen play. Name that composer!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Infinite Art Tournament Round 1: Marc v. Marin!

Franz Marc
1880 - 1916


John Marin
1870 - 1953


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, January 23, 2015

The Free Box Tapes #11, 12, & 13: Fusion, Essays, and 90s Indie Pop

The eleventh and twelfth Free Box Tapes were home recordings; lucky number 13 is a genuine indie-label commercial cassette tape. 

Weather Report: Heavy Weather (1976) / Return to Forever, Romantic Warrior (1976)

Sixty-Four Words: The Weather Report side let out an ungodly garble. I rewound the Return to Forever side, and it seemed to be the epitome of what many people my age are thinking of when they say they don’t like jazz: slick, sterile, and self-indulgent virtuosity. Prog-rock without the rock, perhaps. But I could only give it one listen, and then the tape seized up terminally.

Disposition: Is in the landfill by now .

“Colo Trail”

Sixty-Four Words: This is “Journey to The Fluted Mountain,” essays by a Julie Davis about the hike she took on the Colorado Trail with her dog and some goats. (!) These are the kind of kitchen-sink pieces where any given new paragraph might begin “the Navaho people believe that…” Competent writing in an undemanding form, and probably more than you need to know about Julie Davis.

Disposition: I would be happy to send this tape to anyone who felt like listening to some essays.

My Sister Jane: Pain in the Middle (1992) 

Sixty-Four Words: A jangly and more-or-less intentionally lo-fi guitar pop album that would not have been out of place in the famous early 1980s Athens, Georgia music scene. That’s a good sound! I bet I would have really liked this band live. The recording quality is not quite radio-friendly, but the album grows on me, especially since I noticed that there’s a song in 7/4 time.

Disposition: Isn’t it funny that 1992 is 22 years in the past?  I shall keep this tape out of mild affection.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Infinite Art Tournament Left Bracket Third-Round Elimination: Arcimboldo v. J Bruegel!

The plan for today was to pit the winner of the Avercamp/Bellows Left Bracket Third Round tiebreaker against the winner of the November 2013 Anguissola/Agasse matchup.  But, in the kind of art history drama you can only get at this blog, Avercamp and Bellows managed to tie in their tiebreaker.

Avercamp tied with Bellows. Bellows had tied with Ford Maddox Brown, and Avercamp had tied with Arcimboldo.  So we could reasonably expect Arcimboldo/Brown to be another very tight match, right?  Of course not.  Arcimboldo trampled on Brown, 11 votes to 3.

That brings us to todays match, in which the extremely early surrealist will be taking on the second most famous Bruegel in all of art history!  Jan Bruegel is a Left Bracket phenom, and has won four straight matches after losing to his dad in the opening match.

Mr. Brown had a good run; his 2-2-1 record included 27 votes in favor, 43 against.  Also leaving us this week is Jan Bruegel's victim Arthur Boyd, who went 2-2 in the Tournament, chalking up 25 votes against 34. .

Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Jan Bruegel (the Elder)
1568 - 1625


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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Wednesday Post

Pintores Famosos
A postal collection of artists who have left the Infinite Art Tournament

Antonello da Messina
Record: 2-1-1 [forced out by grudge match rule]
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 35-15, .700
Left Tournament: November 2013
Honored by: Italy

François Boucher
Record: 2-2
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 18-30, .375
Left Tournament: May 2014
Honored by: France

Constantin Brancusi
Record: 2-2
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 26-25, .510
Left Tournament: April 2014
Honored by: Moldova, France

Aelbert Cuyp
Record: 1-2
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 17-20, .459
Left Tournament: April 2014
Honored by: Liechtenstein

Jean Dubuffet
Record: 1-2
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 15-23, .395
Left Tournament: February 2014
Honored by: France

Thomas Gainsborough
Record: 1-2-1
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 22-30, .423
Left Tournament: July 2014
Honored by: Maldives, Nicaragua, United States

Record: 0-2
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 9-15, .375
Left Tournament: January 2014
Honored by: Hungary

Arshile Gorky
Record: 0-2
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 5-20, .200
Left Tournament: March 2014
Honored by: United States

Lucian Freud
Record: 0-2
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 6-20, .231
Left Tournament: December 2013
Honored by: Guinea-Bisseau, albeit in a cravenly bogus issue

Kees Van Dongen
Record: 1-2-1
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 27-24, .529
Left Tournament: February 2014
Honored by: France

Anthony Van Dyck
Record: 1-2-1
Votes For/Against; Batting Average: 20-29, .408
Left Tournament: November 2013
Honored by: Antigua & Barbuda, Belgium

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round 3: Ghirlandaio v. Krøyer!

Domenico Ghirlandaio
1449 - 1494

Tied with Lorenzo Ghiberti in his first try at Round One.
Beat Raoul Hausmann in the Round 1 tiebreaker.
Laid a beating on Oskar Kokoschka in Round 2.

Peter Severin Krøyer
1851 - 1900

Thumped Leon Kossoff in Round 1.
Crushed American Jeff Koons, albeit with gentle lyricism, 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.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The New Monday Quiz, MLK Day Edition

The New Monday Quiz celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, within the limited scope afforded by its essential nature.

1. The Federal Holiday is a moveable feast; Dr. King’s actual birthday was last Thursday, January 15th. He shared this birthday with a seventeenth century French playwright who is generally considered one of the comic geniuses of the Western tradition. Who was this author of plays such as The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, and Tartuffe?

2. Dr. King was born Michael King; his father was inspired to change his name after a 1934 family trip to this country.  Where did the Kings go?  

3. King sang with his church choir at the Atlanta debut of this film, which is #158 on imdb’s list, right after Trainspotting. What’s it’s name?

4. Young Martin King’s high school was named after a nationally known educator and political leader, the first African American to be commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp. What was his name?

5. Dr. King received his doctorate -- his dissertation, alas, tainted by plagiarism -- at a university in a large North American city that was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630. What was the name of this city?

6. The Reverend Martin Luther King was a Baptist preacher. On this map of Christian denominations, Baptists are shown in red. What is shown by gold, grey, and blue?

7. In 1959, Dr. King made a journey to a country whose several official languages include Kannada, Marathi, and Santali. What country is this?

8. On August 28, 1963, Dr. King made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Exactly 114 years earlier, the Republic of San Marco surrendered to Austria, thus ending the last attempt at sovereignty (so far) for a republic that had maintained its independence for more than a thousand years. What’s the name of the venerable city that was the heart of the San Marco Republic?

9. Here’s a photo of Dr. King chatting with another well-known American political leader. What’s the other guy’s name?

10. A few hours after the April 4, 1968 assassination of Dr. King, someone set aside a planned campaign speech to give a very short address, which included this line:
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization -- black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.
Two months and two days later, he too would be assassinated. Who was he?