“The Pursuit of Everything – Maira Kalman’s Books for Children” at the High Museum Atlanta (CFFC 5+ Things)

There really is “everything” to see at the Maira Kalman exhibit at the High Museum. First up: Illustrations from her books for children — on view through September 15 2019.

Maira Kalman (American, born Israel, 1949), Illustration of Sojourner Truth for Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, written by Kirsten Gillibrand (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018). Brooklyn Museum, gift of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery, New York. © 2018 Maira Kalman, courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York. All rights reserved.

Sojourner Truth — Maira Kalman, Illustration for Bold and Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote by Kirsten Gillibrand (Alfred A. Knopf). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery, New York. © 2018 Maira Kalman.

It’s beautifully presented —

Max in Paris - illustrations and wall text. High Museum of Art - Atlanta GA

Text and pictures from ‘Max in Paris’ …

Beyond wall art… she didn’t just write and illustrate a book on Cake. She acknowledges the importance of celebratory moments, and yes, cake is often involved.

A cake is a good thing to sit on - Maira Kalman exhibition, High Museum Atlanta

Lots of fun with the presentation – By all means, do sit on the cake.

Watch out for monsters…

Curator Jane Curley, Maira Kalman exhibition at the High Museum Atlanta

Curator Jane Curley, posing with the big green guy.

From the studio exhibit in Maira Kalman, The Pursuit of Everything, at the High Museum Atlanta

Here’s a treat — selections from the wall behind the workspace in her studio – objects that inspire her and appear in her work.

If you’ve read this blog before you may know I’m always interested in shoes as objets d’art — did I get that right? I may not have got very far in French class yet but I’m as enthusiastic as Max in Paris.

"The Shoes that Slow Down Time" from the studio exhibit in Maira Kalman, The Pursuit of Everything, at the High Museum Atlanta

The Shoes that Slow Down Time: she said she loved them but they’re too big, and it’s hard to go very fast in shoes that are too big. So – they slow down time.

"Kindly do not step on the ladders" from the studio exhibit in Maira Kalman, The Pursuit of Everything, at the High Museum Atlanta

Yes! More shoes.

More paintings —

Maira Kalman (American, born Israel, 1949), “He had a family that he loved very much,” 2012, illustration for Looking at Lincoln (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012), gouache on paper, 15 1/8 x 22 inches. © Maira Kalman, courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York. All rights reserved.

Maira Kalman (American, born Israel, 1949), “He had a family that he loved very much,” 2012, illustration for Looking at Lincoln (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012), gouache on paper, 15 1/8 x 22 inches. © Maira Kalman, courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York. All rights reserved.

If you love humor and whimsey and wordplay, this exhibition is for you. Maira Kalman’s work encompasses cover illustrations for the New Yorker, books for adults, books for children as well as dance, music, and theater collaborations.

And if you love dogs, this exhibition is definitely for you.  Did you see the dog at Lincoln’s table? One more thing:

Dogs: All Beloved, Maira Kalman: The Pursuit of Everything - at the High Museum Atlanta Jul 2019

From Pete to Max and every dog between … “All Beloved”

Oh, and one more “one more thing” — the illustration from  Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, written by Kirsten Gillibrand, art by Maira Kalman, photo provided by the High Museum —

Maira Kalman (American, born Israel, 1949), “Inez Milholland, 1886–1916,” 2018, illustration for Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, written by Kirsten Gillibrand (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018), gouache on paper, 14 1/8 x 11 1/8 inches. © Maira Kalman, courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York. All rights reserved.

Maira Kalman (American, born Israel, 1949), “Inez Milholland, 1886–1916,” 2018, illustration for Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, written by Kirsten Gillibrand (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018), gouache on paper, 14 1/8 x 11 1/8 inches. © Maira Kalman, courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York. All rights reserved.

The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman’s Books for Children- at the High Museum Atlanta through Sept 15 2019

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 5+ Items

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Pech Merle, Prehistoric Cave Paintings in France, and the CFFC Photo Challenge: Hands

What were we humans painting 16000 to 25000 years ago? — horses, bison, mammoths, sometimes people, and…  outlines of our hands.

Poster near the entrance to the Pech Merle cave, Southwestern France

It’s a poster in the entry lobby to Pech Merle, an ice age cave in Southern France, one of the few still open to the public.

Oh, and dots. We (our ancestors) were painting dots — dots that meander through the scenes and make us wonder about their meaning, and dotted horses that modern researchers have determined were not just another excuse for dots, but most likely represent ancient horses with coats in patterns similar to our Appaloosas.

Road sign - on the way to Pech Merle

Road sign – on the way to Pech Merle

A reproduction red hand-print sign in a village near Pech Merle, Southwestern France

A reproduction red hand-print on a sign in a village near Pech Merle, Southwestern France

Hand-print on a postcard - Pech Merle cave - Southwestern France

Hand print, souvenir postcard

We assume illiteracy, but their visual language was rich, and still speaks to us. Who’s to say the patterns of dots and animal shapes weren’t a language of symbols we just haven’t found the Rosetta Stone for?  Or maybe, as one of our group suggested, considering some of the exaggerated female figures we saw here we could argue instead for teenage-boy graffiti.

But there’s also a relatively recent study of prehistoric hand stencils that argues many if not most were made by women. Could female artists have had an equality in ancient times that we don’t have even today? (hey, maybe those cave-men weren’t such cave-men after all)

Hand-print and horses - from the tourist brochure for the Pech Merle cave

Hand-print and horses – from the tourist brochure for the Pech Merle cave

It couldn’t have been easy to do — in dark caves, with flickering torchlight, at difficult heights in corridors deep underground.  But on a lighter note, here’s one thing our ancestors may not have seen when exiting the caves…

Exit through the gift shop - Pech Merle furry mammoths and bats!

Exit through the gift shop – Pech Merle, with cute fuzzy mammoths and cave bats

And one thing we cave tourists have in common with the prehistoric world?  — no photography. And I understand that. I’m just glad they let us breathe (body heat, moisture and CO2 from our breath can be harmful to the paintings, with the result that only a few are still open to the public).

This was our favorite cave tour of our April trip to southern France. We thought it had some of everything — dots, horses, mammoths, reindeer, bison, and aurochs, some human figures, and of course, the outlines of hands along with incised drawings, and even fossilized footprints.

Do you have a cave tour to recommend?

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Hands

Pech Merle Cave  

More on Pech Merle

Who made those hand-stencils?

Missing Kusama: Yayoi Kusama at the High Museum in Atlanta, traveling on…

We’re in the Infinity Room at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the High Museum last December – suspended in the cosmos while the “stars” above and below seem to go on forever. In reality, the little walkway we’re standing on is the center of a tiny room. But like the Tardis, or Snoopy’s doghouse, or Harry Potter’s tent, it seems much bigger inside than outside.

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room November 2018 - High Museum Atlanta

Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. Yayoi Kusama – High Museum Atlanta GA

Outside Infinity - Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room at the High Museum Atlanta

What’s outside Infinity? — the gate-keeper.  Only three can go in at one time… and for less than a minute, but we’ve happily stood in a long queue to get this far.

Infinity Room Door - red dots

Another door to infinity, this time with Kusama’s signature soft sculpture forms with obliterating red dots. Peeking in the door at changeover time is almost as interesting as going inside…

That was December. The Kusama show closed February 17, a week ago yesterday. I’d bought tickets early on for November and December dates, not realizing how much I’d want to go again or how soon it would sell out. Then I saw the film Kusama: Infinity, and when the museum did a surprise opening up of ticket sales on the last week, of course I went online to get one. Problem:  I was number 29,593 (-ish) in queue.  I didn’t get a ticket.

So, today I’ll revisit my photos (and wish I’d taken more).

Island in the Sea # 1 - Yayoi Kusama, 1953 - gouache and painted pastel on paper

This small early piece was one of my favorites — Island in the Sea # 1 – Yayoi Kusama, 1953 – gouache and painted pastel on paper. 

Yayoi Kusama 1955 quote - High Museum Atlanta, exhibition 2018-2019

Kusama came to the U.S. and moved to New York. Her soft sewn sculptural work inspired Claes Oldenburg to start his series, her early infinity spaces inspired Lucas Samaras’ successful mirrored rooms, and an exhibition in which she papered the gallery with copies of the same image over and over led Andy Warhol to the idea. But Kusama’s career did not take off like theirs, and she went back to Japan in 1974.

High Museum Exhibition 2018-2019

My Eternal Soul” – recent work – High Museum Exhibition 2018-2019

Yayoi Kusama - as an artist...

Kusama has said the main theme of her art is obsession, that her work is based on “developing her personal psychological problems into art.” When she returned to Japan in the 1970s, she found a mental hospital offering art therapy and checked herself in. She’s almost 90 now, still living in the hospital, going out every day to work in her studio nearby.

One of the many ways Kusama was ahead of her time is how her work expands to encompass us all. It seems made for today’s obsession: social media.  In this show, everyone got into the selfie spirit, even me.

Infinity box at the High Museum exhibition 2018-2019

This was a box to peek into, not to step into.

 

Forget “exit through the gift shop” — viewers got a chance to participate in the theme of obliteration when leaving the exhibition through (of course) the Obliteration Room. Given a set of six multi-colored multi-sized adhesive dots, we each chose where to place our own dot allotment in a room that started out all white.

Kusama Obliteration Room - High Museum Atlanta - November 2018

Kusama Obliteration Room – the first week of the exhibition. High Museum, Atlanta GA

Kusama Obliteration Room - High Museum exhibition 2018-2019, Atlanta GA

Here’s the room a month later…

Kusama Obliteration Room - High Museum exhibition 2018-2019, Atlanta GA

.. by this time it was getting hard to find a place that didn’t already have a dot. 

The exhibition has moved on now. Installation for the next one must have begun – here’s what we saw when walking past the museum a few days ago —

High Museum Atlanta GA - banner for Phillips Collection

Putting up the banner for European Masterworks from the Phillips Collection, opening April 6.

 

Now, late again for Cee’s Foto Challenge – CFFC: Color of Your Choice — what color shall I choose? I’m going with “Dot” – can you blame me?

Film, Kusama Infinity – trailer

High Museum exhibitions:

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

Art from the Phillips Collection

Winnie-The-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, at the High Museum, Atlanta (Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: CFFC)

Step up Atlanta – there are only three days left to see the High Museum’s exhibition Winnie the Pooh, Exploring a Classic. It’s an immersive exhibition with many original drawings by illustrator E.H. Shepard, plus a room full of Pooh memorabilia, photographs, play-spaces, and reproductions of the toys.

To me the drawings were a revelation. I’d seen (and loved) the books, but the preparatory drawings are on a whole new level. There’s more depth and detail in the drawings than in the modern editions of the books.

"Do you think it's a Woozle?" - Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic - “Pooh and Piglet go hunting,” Winnie-the-Pooh chapter 3, pen and ink sketch by E. H.Shepard, 1926. From the collection of Clive and Alison Beecham © The Shepard Trust

“Do you think it’s a Woozle?” – Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic – “Pooh and Piglet go hunting,” Winnie-the-Pooh chapter 3, pen and ink sketch by E. H.Shepard, 1926. From the collection of Clive and Alison Beecham © The Shepard Trust

We see Pooh and Piglet (above) from behind, but they’re still individual personalities. I hadn’t seen Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and company for a while. Modern anime eyes and googley Disney eyes and exaggeration are so intrusive that I’d almost forgotten the joys of subtle expression, compact movement and economy of line.

Another revelation: the trees. The subject may be Piglet in the flood or three friends discovering Roo, but the forest is a character too.

A very small animal entirely surrounded by water - E.H. Shepherd, 1926

“It’s a little anxious to be a very small animal entirely surrounded by water” – E.H.Shepard, 1926

E.H. Shepherd, Winnie-the-Pooh, Exploring a Classic, High Museum Atlanta

E.H. Shepard, Winnie-the-Pooh, Exploring a Classic, High Museum Atlanta

The Three Pine Trees - High Museum, Winnie the Pooh Exploring a Classic

The Three Pine Trees – High Museum, Winnie the Pooh, Exploring a Classic, High Museum, Atlanta

Re-reading the first book, I found only one written description of the trees. The illustrations carry it after that.

It was a fine spring morning in the forest as he started out. Little soft clouds played happily in a blue sky, skipping from time to time in front of the sun as if they had come to put it out, and then sliding away suddenly so that the next might have his turn. Through them and between them the sun shone bravely; and a copse which had worn its firs all the year round seemed old and dowdy now beside the new green lace which the beeches had put on so prettily.

They’re a little bit of ancient Britain shining first into the 20th, and now the 21st Century, a remnant of enchanted forests.

Here’s a photograph of E.H. Shepard…

E.H. Shepard, photograph by Howard Coster, 1932, given by Mrs Norah Shepard © National Portrait Gallery, London.

E.H. Shepard, photograph by Howard Coster, 1932, given by Mrs Norah Shepard © National Portrait Gallery, London. (High Museum, Winnie-the-Pooh, Exploring a Classic)

… and A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin Milne and Pooh Bear, by Howard Coster, 1926 © National Portrait Gallery, London.

A.A. Milne, Christopher  Robin Milne and Pooh Bear, by Howard Coster, 1926 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Photograph of A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin
From: Correspondence and other material relating to the illustration and publication of ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Now we are six’, 1925-1926.

 

And at the end, wall-sized “Good-Bye”… 

High Museum, Winnie the Pooh Exploring a Classic

“Of course it isn’t really good-bye… the Forest will always be there, and anyone who is Friendly with Bears can find it.”

And one more thing, for a little color, and a little fun, (and in case you’re wondering how I can possibly work this post into this week’s Cee’s Photo Challenge: Teal/Aqua/Seafoam/Turquoise)… who doesn’t love picture cut-outs?

Eeyore/Piglet cutout - High Museum Winnie the Pooh Exploring a Classic

Today’s question: are you Friendly with Bears?

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge

More on the exhibition: High Museum

Using my Car as a Storage Bin, Missing my Truck, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

 I’m still downsizing, even though I sold my house and moved last October. At least I’ve gone from three storage bins to two, but I seem to be stuck getting to one. Here’s what happens when I take stuff out of storage but I don’t want to bring it into the condo where it will be in the way…

My car - my storage bin

My car – my movable storage bin – and this is just the back seat. The trunk is full too. That Ohaus scale is a real oldie, once used for measuring out photographic chemicals. 

I got into this mode of movable storage when I still had my (beloved) truck. While parked in the garage at the house it was also handy for accumulating donations and recyclables, then for delivering them. I bought the truck in 1990, before moving to the Atlanta area. It was not so easy to drive in the city, but I still couldn’t seem to give it up even after buying a car in 2005.

My 1990 Nissan pick-up

Here it is last fall, parked in its foster-care driveway, waiting to be donated. It’s gone on to a new home now.

I need to get over the bad habit of car storage. On the night before I left town on a trip last week I noticed I’d sold a book on Amazon. Where was it? Oh yes, it was in my car. In the trunk. Somewhere.

Car Storage - Full trunk

Oops, where are the books? — a classic case of “Hello! This is the Universe; you really need to get organized.”

I trekked down to the parking garage at 10PM, pulled everything out of the trunk, found the book and took it along with me the next morning to mail on arrival.  What was the book?

Droodles # 1, by Roger Price

Droodles – “riddles expressed in visual form”

Here are some examples…

Droodles - Spider Doing a Handstand

The next page assures us it could also be “Total Eclipse of the Sun on a Stick,” ” Family of Worms Stuck in a Caramel apple,” or “Frightened Mop.”

Droodles - Fat Man Smoking

I think this one looks more like a turtle. Of course, that may be because I spent a good part of the morning watching and photographing turtles in the lake at Piedmont Park.

Droodles - Man in a Tuxedo

… or a turbolift, if you happen to be a Star Trek fan.

Now it’s time to start answering the call of the Universe and sort out some “stuff”. I’ve been trying to get organized for years now, so wish me luck on that?

P.S. Now, what’s stored in your car?

 

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Murals, Art and MARTA, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

A sunny day last May, a walk to the neighborhood grocery store, and a discovery when passing the MARTA train station (that’s “Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority”) — there’s painting going on — it’s not just MARTA now, it’s MARTA.

Midtown MARTA Station painter

Midtown MARTA Station mural artist – Andrew Catanese

Yes – the wheels are off the ground.

And, it’s not just a one-side-of-the-door thing, there are several murals… and more painters.

Midtown MARTA Station mural - painter's helpers

Painter’s helpers – just starting out

The murals were commissioned by MARTA’s Artbound program. We watched as the weeks went by and the details got filled in… here are more recent photos.

Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

I like to think of this next one as “Sheep may safely graze” but maybe they’re goats (they are across the street from the Dancing Goat coffee shop). A nearby sign tells us that the mural “celebrates Midtown as a diverse and collaborative community that welcomes all” – so I’m thinking safely grazing is accurate enough.
Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

Details are lots of fun…

Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

“Picasso eyes?”

Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

Goose with glasses…

Atlanta Midtown MARTA Station mural

Peeking parrot, or bird with hands?

I see now that there were volunteer days — I wish I’d known, it would have been fun to go and help paint.  Meanwhile,  there’s a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the station on Monday July 23, for dedication of the murals. I’m putting that on my calendar. And, after looking at the page about the Artbound program, I see I’m going to have to get busy and tour more MARTA Station Art.

More about the Midtown MARTA Murals 

and MARTA’s Artbound program

 

The High Line, the BeltLine, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

The High Line: on this year’s trip to New York, we finally got to see it greening up for spring.

High Line Park NYC - from the Whitney Museum

From a balcony at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The High Line: a 1.45 mile long park in New York City, created on a stretch of elevated railway that was no longer used. 

High Line Park NYC - spring

Looking back toward the Whitney. I love it that pieces of the old railroad track are incorporated into the landscaping. 

High Line Park NYC - spring blooms

The daffodils were blooming. That’s a first for us, after the last two years when we traveled in March and were blessed with snow.

At home in Atlanta, we have the BeltLine, not elevated like the High Line, but destined to be much longer. It’s a proposed loop of around 22 miles of trails planned to connect 45 neighborhoods. Here’s Sam on a rainy day last fall. It was one of the days with lots of hurricane-engendered rain, and for a while we were the only ones out braving the storm.

Atlanta BeltLine - stormy day

The BeltLine already needs a new lane. It’s often mobbed. Between speeding bicycles and people with dogs on long leashes making trip-wires, it can be difficult to walk safely.

There’s lots of art along the way, and landscaping is coming along nicely. These are from a sunnier day —Atlanta BeltLine - morning glory Atlanta BeltLine - grasses

Turning disused rail lines into walking trails is not a new idea. Years (decades) ago, when the trains no longer came through my small hometown, there was a plan to remove the rails and ties and make the railroad line into a walking trail. I’d already moved away, so I’m not sure what became of that, but I think it would have been hard to keep the trails going. For example, they were fragmented by the removal of two of the three railroad bridges. Here’s one that stayed,  (I think it’s still there) —

NH railroad bridge

The bridge on the other end of town is a background in this next photo, a family history photo now — the girl wearing glasses is my mother at 16.

When I was growing up there, we walked on the railroad tracks, played on the bridges (gasp!) and along the way, picked berries and asparagus that grew beside the tracks. With all these railroad track paths, it sounds like I’ve spent my life walking railroad lines, doesn’t it?

Do you have a favorite rail line path?

More on the Manhattan High Line  Wow – I see you can adopt a plant. I’m considering… I’d want to see updates on mine though, and maybe visit it each year to check on progress and be allowed to give it a little compost treat.

More on the Atlanta BeltLine

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines