Brussels, Art Nouveau, Musical Instruments Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

I’ve been downsizing travel books this week.  They’re some of the hardest to let go, maybe because I equate releasing a travel book with releasing the possibility of going back to a place I loved touring.  This week I listed Rick Steves’ Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent on Amazon and it sold by the next morning. I love it that someone is going.

In honor of releasing books, I’ll post some photos from our 2015 trip to Belgium. That’s October 2015, in the days of innocence BB, Before Bombing.

On the first morning there, we walked up to the Musical Instruments Museum.

Brussels Belgium

Brussels, looking up the hill toward MIM, the Musical Instruments Museum…

Brussels Belgium, up the hill toward MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

It’s the one with a tower and a turret, on the left.

Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments MuseumNow that we’re here, we can go atop —

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Here’s a view out from behind those Art Nouveau curves…

This Art Nouveau building was originally the “Old England” shops. It was designed by Paul Saintenoy, built in 1899.

View from atop: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

The view from atop MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

There’s a restaurant up top. Sam had the crème brûlée, and I became a person who takes pictures of our food.Crème brûlée at MIM, Brussels Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

More on MIM: gorgeous elevator and stairwell

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Sam checks out the bagpipes… I’m still gaga over the architectural details.

Brussels Belgium, night view

What goes up must go back down the hill. This is a popular view… I love taking pictures of people taking pictures, especially when I can see their phone screens glowing…

Here’s the picture we all took from atop the steps —

Brussels Belgium tourist view

… and now it’s noon on a Wednesday, time for the next photo challenge. Why am I always late with the Weekly Photo Challenge?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

More on MIM, and panoramic photos of the interior

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Hardwood Floor Repairs, Life Imitating Art, and Catching up on the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

A mistake was made on my dining room floor installation. Then came the next day — a sunny morning, open window blinds, hardwood floors, and work starting again… does this remind you of anything?

Channeling Caillebotte's The Floor Scrapers...

Channeling Caillebotte’s The Floor Scrapers?

I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking them to pose. They were already unhappy with the need to re-do. Still, there was something about the light, the floor color, the figures semi-silhouetted… I hovered and tried to catch them kneeling, but one kneeling pose was all I got.

Channeling Caillebotte's The Floor Scrapers...

Channeling the Floor Scrapers…

I’d never seen The Floor Scrapers until I went to an exhibition that recreated some of the Impressionists’ Salon de Refuses exhibitions. Gustave Caillebotte exhibited The Floor Scrapers with them in 1876.

Gustave Caillebotte: The Floor Scrapers

The real thing – Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers (image from Web Gallery of Art)

Is it a good match? Well, maybe not, but it reminded me of how, if we watch closely, life is constantly imitating art.

Have you had an art/life moment lately?

More on the past Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

More on Gustave Caillebotte

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Remodeling, Donations, Chaos, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

The painters are here – this one’s just a shadow shrouded behind a drape of plastic to keep out the dust. Things can get a little spooky looking when the light is just right…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenHere we are in daylight…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenAs you can see (off to the left) everything is piled up everywhere.

Here’s the kitchen last week when it was enshrouded too.  It’s pretty much cleaned up now, and a new fridge delivered too.

Kitchen under wraps - shrouded in plastic The old fridge, now donated, is currently for sale at the Fur Kids Thrift Store. It was working just fine, but updated for cosmetic purposes (hmm, now that I think of it, I could use a little updating for cosmetic purposes myself). Here it is taking its leave.

Old fridge loaded to Fur Kids truck

Out of the shadowy house and into the light — the old fridge gets loaded to the Fur Kids truck.  It’s too bad we can see one foot of the guy doing the loading — otherwise, it almost looks like it’s rolling itself out, leaning forward into a new life.

I’m delighted to have found the Fur Kids thrift store nearby. That makes two stores in this area that benefit animal rescue, Fur Kids and Rescued Too. They’re my new favorite places to take donations.

Fur Kids truck

I love the waving-kitty logo…

What’s your favorite place for donations?

More on Fur Kids and Rescued Too

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American Painting at the High Museum in Atlanta, just a little late for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

There’s a new exhibition opening at the High in Atlanta: Cross Country, the Power of Place in American Art 1915- 1950. Some of these mid-century works are so evocative of solitude that I had to do an extra post to share them. This one could have come straight out of my hometown…

George Ault - Bright Light at Russell's Corners, 1946

George Ault – Bright Light at Russell’s Corners, 1946

Artist John Rogers Cox is from Indiana, but this wheat field would seem familiar to most of us who grew up anywhere in the midwest– it’s the alien-looking cloud I’m worried about.

John Rogers Cox - Wheat Field - 1943

John Rogers Cox – Wheat Field – 1943

“A wheat field has a whispering sound and an awe-inspiring quality like deft music, like an ocean. It gives you a lonely feeling.”  John Rogers Cox in Life Magazine, 1948.

Are you feeling the solitude?

More on Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950 (Feb 12 – May 7, 2017

More on (last week’s) Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

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Art Exhibitions, Found Objects, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

This is the kind of thing that makes it so hard for me to let things go.  If you have a lot of stuff, a project like these robots could be great fun. Instead of clearing up, I want to get sticky-fingered with every domino and tool and gear and key and blob and button I find.  These perky robot pals are from the gift shop at the American Folk Art Museum.

Robots, Museum of Folk Art, New York, NY

Robots,  don’t they look like they’re about to speak? — or pinch? American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY

Still in New York, at MOMA this time… at the 2016 Marcel Broodthayers Retrospective; this work is from a mixed-media room sized installation with the theme of “the relationship of war to comfort.”

Marcel Broodthayers, from Decor: a Conquest, mixed media, 1975.

Marcel Broodthayers, from Decor: a Conquest, mixed media, 1975.

Now if you’re downsizing, like me, something like this mobile might be a good way to repurpose your clothes hangars. Ready to clean out the closet? — make sculpture! And fabulous shadows play.

Man Ray. Obstruction, original 1920, Moderna Museet Edition, 1961 (13/15), Sixty Three Wood Coat Hangars

Man Ray. Obstruction, original 1920, Moderna Museet Edition, 1961 (13/15), Sixty Three Wood Coat Hangars

Got clogs? Here’s a musical instrument from Brussels…

Clog Fiddle - Jozef Laermans, Meerhout, Antwerp, 1969 (MIM: Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels Belgium)

Clog Fiddle – Jozef Laermans, Meerhout, Antwerp, 1969 (MIM: Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels Belgium)

And last, one from my own closet (recently donated to be repurposed by a quilting friend). Repurposing a quilt should get double points, since quilts are repurposed anyway. This was a flea-market find from years ago… (hard to let it go).

Crazy Quilt

Crazy Quilt – repurposing fabric scraps, corduroy and velveteen.

Do you have potential art materials in your closet?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

Vintage Flamingo Figurines, My Goofy Collections Part 4, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful

Pink plastic flamingos have been popping up on people’s yards for decades (say that fast 3 times). I’ve only got the china kind. At some point in my Art-Deco-to-Midcentury-loving past I must have acquired a flamingo figurine and tended it lovingly enough to inspire friends to give me flamingos. We hoarder-types are always appreciative, so thank you friends, but now I need to downsize. My fabulous flamingos must fly to new homes.

Flamingo figurines - collection

Conflagration of flamingos…

A few flew away earlier – there were souvenir flamingos on my desk at work through a few moves, finally given to an especially nice office-cleaning lady who admired them. My sister in law gave me a feathered one who brightened up flower pots but eventually succumbed to the damp, and an early-inspiration plastic lawn ornament.

As for flamingo lawn ornaments, they were born in Massachusetts in 1957 and achieved their ironic celebrity with the opening credits of John Waters’ film Pink Flamingos (1972).

“The real plastic flamingo is in a sense extinct, Waters says: ‘You can’t have anything that innocent anymore.’”  — Smithsonian

I’m glad I switched from plastic to china. With a little googling, I’m alarmed to see that pink flamingos and garden gnomes are the most popular lawn ornaments. You can get your own “garden gnome eating pink flamingos” and of course,  zombie flamingos and garden gnomes… and so on. I see I’d better be careful about where I let my china flock go. But wherever it is, those pink question-mark necks will always be graceful.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: I don’t have any garden gnomes — do you?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful

More on pink-flamingo lawn ornaments from Smithsonian

Black Friday, Black Cats, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic

It’s Black Friday, the big sale day after Thanksgiving here in the US — the day for dedicated downsizers to remember NOT to shop.

That said, I still like to go antiquing. It’s more like time travel than shopping. I get to see things like my parents and grandparents had when I was growing up. There’s an almost-magical aura of presence about vintage objects, or maybe it’s a patina, spiritual as well as physical.

And, bonus — whenever I find an antique store with a resident animal, I’m instantly in love. Here’s a little black-cat-magic from a recent stop at Through the Years, in Bedford Iowa.

Black Cat Jack at Through the Years Antiques in Bedford Iowa

Black Cat ‘Jack’ at Through the Years Antiques in Bedford Iowa — The only thing better than a store with a cat? — a store with two cats (and a bird!) There must be magic involved, because the cats wander everywhere and the glassware survives.

Some stores have dogs…

Soulful Wiener Dog at Board of Trade Consignments

Could you resist this face? — (not for sale though) — Board of Trade Consignments in Roswell Georgia

And sleeping dogs still lie, at the Rescued Too shop, in Marietta Georgia.

Sleeping Dogs still lie, at the 'Rescued Too' shop in Marietta Georgia

So, maybe I will go shopping on Black Friday. Not for things — sorry Economy, I won’t be helping you out today… but my companions might — I’ll shop for some magical antique interest, and if I’m lucky, a little bonus cat-and-dog sighting.

What are you shopping for today?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic