The Whitney Biennial, 2017 (Catching up with the Past Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting)

Want to know what these people are looking at?  We’re in New York at the Whitney Biennial in March, and it’s hard to know whether to look up, down, out, or over.

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Samara Golden – The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Here’s a view from the platform —

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Samara Golden – The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial

You can tell this is a huge and site-specific installation, but even standing there in it, I couldn’t tell exactly how many floors were part of it and how many were illusions. The sky was down, or was it up? The traffic was up (and down) and the Hudson River was out (wasn’t it?). To each side were floors of sculpted interiors – with stratified layers of furniture, office, and institutional space, some nightmarish. Were they all even right-side up? I don’t think so.

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial

The clouds and the traffic, along with the occasional helicopter, provided movement. It was hypnotic. With so much going on, I didn’t take in the social commentary until I read about it. Not unusual, since I’m all about the visual when it comes to looking at art.

Like many recent exhibitions, this year’s Whitney Biennial was strong on social concerns. Suffice it to say that those layers were meant to provoke thoughts of social as well as visual stratification, referring to inequality and our political climate. I’ll share more images from this year’s exhibition in future posts.

How about it – do you look for the social implications or for the visual when you’re reflecting on art?

 

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Warm Winter, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Nothing contributes to a little outdoor ambience like a 70-degree weekend. Out for a walk last Sunday, I finally stopped to appreciate the design of this raised walkway in Piedmont Park…Raised walkway in Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA

Looking  back, and back again ….

raised-walkway-piedmont-park-atlanta-dsc00029

And here’s a little Atlanta Beltline ambience from Saturday…

Sign painting, restaurant on the Beltline, Atlanta GA

Touching up, sign painting on the Atlanta Beltline: New Year, New Food

And on the home front: outdoor ambience from yesterday. This squirrel found something tasty on the rim of a flower pot in my back yard. This pot-licking went on for several minutes.

squirrel-dsc00054

Or maybe it was some kind of new squirrel-yoga?

squirrel-dsc00046Of course warm days in January can affect our feelings in less positive ways too — waking thoughts of climate change. There’s always a niggling fear beneath the delight with warmer temperatures. But this is the South, so there’s some chance it’s not that unusual. I’m hoping it’s just what we Mid-westerners used to call the “January Thaw”.

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P.S. – what should I be feeding that squirrel?

Views, Tree-cutting Guilt, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizons

I miss having a view of the horizon. I’ve loved the trees here in Georgia, but they do obscure the view. Here’s my one sliver of horizon-view — can you see a little pink over the retaining wall? That’s the sunrise.  I didn’t have this view until a couple of months ago.

New retaining wall and sunrise When we moved here, there was already an oak tree towering over the driveway. At first, I parked my truck beside the wall, but surprise! —  the acorns fell from such a height that I got “hail” damage on it when they fell.

The tree was only a couple of feet from the wall, and not far from the foundation of my neighbor’s house on the other side. I did worry about it every time we had a storm, but worried more seriously when I saw that, with the old wall down, there wasn’t a tree root in sight. What was holding the tree up? By that time it was even taller, leaning slightly toward my house, and with most of its branches on this side. I still feel bad about this, but I had the tree taken down. That’s what gave me the sliver of horizon.

Behind the retaining wall

Here it is with the wall down — no roots!

Tree down in the driveway

Here’s the tree-top, down now, in my driveway. I didn’t have the heart to go outside.

Now here’s a horizon view from Sam’s condo in Midtown —

Western horizon view from Midtown AtlantaAt least it was the horizon view — now there are new business and apartment towers being built, and this horizon view will soon be slivers too.

Views can be scenes, perspective, convictions, and beliefs. I want to expand my horizons in all those ways. I’d like to find a place in the city after I get my house downsized — but I’ll have to remember that all views can change. Meanwhile here’s one more photo from the same location, a bit more panoramic, still “before” new towers.

Midtown Atlanta evening view

Here’s to 2017 — may all your new horizons be panoramic.  I’m looking forward to finding new views as well as new opportunities — how about you? 

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Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

The stresses of bathroom remodeling and personal access to H2O were getting to me, so what better way to make my peace with the element than to visit a watery refuge that doesn’t depend on plumbing…

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge - heron

Life imitates Art – this heron blends in with the surroundings so well, it reminds me of Arts & Crafts wallpaper.

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge - coots

These are coots – apparently they’re shy and I made too much noise approaching…

… because, next photo, here they are, fleeing. Still, they splash the H2O around nicely.

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge - coots

The official beginning of migration season is coming up on October 15, so I got to Squaw Creek a little early.

Now, it’s time to get back home and splash in my own new tub.  Well, maybe not quite time, as you can see, this bath still needs some finishing. The counter-top will be ready in a couple of days, after that it’s get the sinks installed, the walls painted, and the rest of the cleaning up done.

hall-bath-img_1127

I’m just posting this “during” remodel photo in a blatant bid for sympathy… so how about it, are you sympathetic yet?

More on Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge:   “The refuge includes 7,440 acres of wetlands, grasslands, and forests along the eastern edge of the Missouri River floodplain.”

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Preparing for Bath Remodels and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

In this house full of accumulated stuff, I thought there’d be nothing so rare as an empty cabinet, but now I have two empty vanity cabinets plus an empty medicine cabinet. The occasion? — bathroom remodel starts next week.

Empty medicine cabinet

Medicine cabinet with 3-way mirror — it was handy, but hulking.

This poor old cabinet is coming apart, but I’ll keep the glass shelves long enough to see if they might be useful to someone. I’ve been diligently sorting out what’s still usable, what’s recyclable, what’s never-used and can be donated, and what must be discarded, all the while trying to keep track of what I’m keeping.

Just to keep myself entertained, I held a “Goofy Stuff I Found” contest — here are the winners.

— Most prolific find — safety pins. Nearly all these came from one drawer in the dressing-table. I think they’ve been breeding in there. The first runner up on most prolific: match books. There were twelve. Two were empty. (?) Next would be the eight manicure scissors (Bob’s) and at least that many nail clippers (ok, some were mine). We must have had a fear of not being able to keep our nails short after the revolution.

Many many found safety pins

Apparently, I am very interested in safety (at least in pins).

— The oldest finds  — Flouride gel, expired 2/1989.  Prescription, expired 5/1998. SO last century. Luckily, collection of expired medication is no longer a once-a-year event, and I can drop these off with a bag of others I’ve set aside.

The oldest things found in the medicine cabinet

I’m trying to dispose of things responsibly, but it isn’t always easy. I ended up with a small grocery bag of trash, and a LOT of stuff I need to use up. That includes what I cleaned out of another cabinet a while back, posted here.

On the topic of throwing things away, quoting a comment on an Apartment Therapy blog from last week, “There is no away.”  –Good to remember.

 

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Before and After in the Laundry Room, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Opposites

Am I late posting the photo challenge Opposite? Yes, but life is hectic. Maybe it’s time to call yet another opposite and blog about this small project instead of the big one I’m working on now.

Here’s my laundry room in the throes of change:

Laundry Room during paint job

My new appliances are covered while the old rest-of-the-room gets an update. I used this as a warm-up project – getting ready for the big one – a bathroom remodel.

Here’s my “before” photo with the old washer and dryer, bought when we moved here in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately there’s no angle without the ceiling light glare on the cabinets.

Laundry room "before"

Let me guess, you’re wondering “blue paint, what was she thinking?”

All the cabinets in this house are dark.  I had these painted as a test. If they hold up well, I’ll know I can have the kitchen cabinets painted.

The first step was getting a new washer and dryer (thank you Georgia, for a tax-free weekend for energy efficient appliances). The old ones were thunking and groaning their way to end-of-life.

Laundry room project "during"

New appliances, old cabinets ready for their update.

I like the top-loading washer with a glass lid because I can look in to see what’s really happening. For example, is it using more than 2 cups of water? (usually not – we’re talking mega-water-saver here) The only problem is, the new smart appliances are smarter than I am. If they have a problem, they don’t even talk to me about it – they tell my phone. On the bright side, they do play happy little tunes to say they’re finished with their cycle and, presumably, were glad to serve me.

Here’s my “after” photo — with a finished paint job, plus new molding and new cabinet hardware. And, goodbye blue, hello neutral walls. Another plus, the walls are the same as the adjacent breakfast room, so there’s consistency, not to mention fewer paint cans to store.

Laundry room "after"

Lest you think the outside of the cabinets looks a little blah — in the interest of opposites, there’s still an explosion of color inside the cabinets.

Clean hoarding: Laundry cabinets insideI feel the need to apologize for having all these plastic containers, especially in the midst of Plastic-Free July, but I’m still using up the hoarded cleaning supplies from a decade ago (previous post on clean hoarding).

Before and after, old v. new, inside v. outside, neutrals v. color, it’s still just a laundry room, but it does feel newer and cleaner, and gives me a sense of progress.

How about it – am I alone on this, or are your appliances smarter than you are?

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Sustainability, “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” at the High Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve

Here’s to sustainability in sneakerdom: the undulating wave-like curves on this ocean-inspired sneaker are threads made from reclaimed, recycled plastic ocean waste. The Ocean Plastic Program’s goal is to end plastic pollution of the oceans.

Adidas/Parley for the Ocean sneaker - High Museum 'Rise of Sneaker Culture'

Prototype sneaker: Adidas, in partnership with Parley for the Oceans, and industrial designer Alexander Taylor ( Retail availability 2016)

There’s a lot more to see in “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Though it’s a mostly boy-centric show,  I still found things of interest — like these silver moon-boots…

Moon Boot inspired sneaker - The Rise of Sneaker Culture at the High Museum, Atlanta

Sneaker moon boots! (well, sorta)

2014:   100 pairs were created in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, and released on July 20 at 4:18 pm, the exact time of the landing of the lunar module in 1969. This sneaker sold for $196.90 to honor the date.
GE, Android Homme, and JackThreads collaborated on the design, using GE materials, including GE’s silicone rubber (as in original moon-walk boots) .

Puma and Undefeated, Clyde Gametime Gold "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" - High Museum, Atlanta

Still shiny — Christian Louboutain Roller-Boat.

2012. Gold pony-skin uppers with studs, for men who “treat shoes very much as objects, as collectors’ items.”

And while we’re still on in the realm of gold, let’s segue to sports…

Clyde Gametime Gold - "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" - High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Puma and Undefeated, Clyde Gametime Gold, 2012

Puma archive – these are an homage to the gold medal winners of the US Olympic basketball team.

Next, here’s an early pair of lady-shoes (yes I know I’ve already complained that there’s not much here for women).

Dominion Rubber Company Fleetfoot, 1925 - "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA

For the ladies: Dominion Rubber Company Fleetfoot, c. 1925

The apology here is that, “there were still concerns that women’s participation in athletics would detract from their femininity.” Hence the high heel. *sigh*   Still, it’s a unique show and well worth a visit if you live in the Atlanta area — on view through August 14, 2016.

Now for more thoughts on shoes and sustainability. If I google “average number of shoes a person owns”  the consensus from scads of articles seems to be “about 19 or 20,” at least for women. In view of that pair above I’m guessing the reason we have so many is that we’re still looking for some that are comfortable.

I’ve been reading The Boomer Burden, Dealing with your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff, by Julie Hall. This morning, among sad facts like “Americans use 14 billion plastic shopping bags annually” (could that be true?) I read, “The average American buys 6.7 pairs of shoes a year.” Hmm, I am not innocent. I bought a new pair of sandals on sale last fall, and I’ve been staring hard at the soles of my walking shoes and wishing to replace them.

Now I’m off to count my shoes. I must have some I can donate.

How many pairs of shoes are in your closet?

 

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