Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dry bones

Giant flowers
Georgia O'Keeffe's art I learned as part of the New Mexican arts identity. (By the way this is the first time I've ever noticed that her last name has two ffs. Huh.) It was presented as high art but also our (white people who love the southwest) art. And the more I've looked the more I've liked it. No matter that the giant flowers were supposed to be labial. No matter that the cow skull with flower became a 70s southwest cliche. No matter that she is a feminist icon. (I'm fine with having feminist icons but what I mean is that they are set apart and not just allowed to be artists.) I am always rewarded when I look at her works. When I first saw a bunch of the paintings I expected that I would find the flowers inspid. But there is a lot of movement and pow in them. (Those are technical art interpretation terms.) The Steiglitz photos of her are bonus fun. She lived outside of Abiquiu (and that is the back of beyond, beautiful and far from everything) for her last 2o-some-odd years. I loved reading this article about a show of her works at the Whitney in New York. I wish I could go.

Did your way-back namesake ancestors fight at the English battle of Agincourt? Here's a way to check. This database allows you to search the records of combatants by last name. Thank you, universities of Reading and Southampton. I was chuffed to see my family name in there. It's pretty uncommon in the states and I was surprised at how glad I felt to see it listed. I was just friended on Facebook by someone completely unknown to me but with the same last name. I wrote back to see if he wanted to try and figure out what degree of cousin we are.

Ever looked at cohousing? It's commune lite with modern real estate considerations included. There's a local group that owns townhouses not far from downtown, on the same side of the city as we are now. We went to their Sunday potluck last weekend. It was pretty jolly and our kids loved their treehouse. I felt like I recognized most of the people we met. Later I realized that it must be because they seemed so Bay Area-n to me. So we have found the epicenter of Bay Area living in Lawrence. And as they are finding it hard to sell their units, we may start renting there in January. Amazing.

On the pro side: recent buildings in excellent shape; good price rental; nice garden, landscaping and common areas to share; good location on a quiet street; kids for ours to play with. On the con side: count me scared of committee meetings; change of school district. Nod spoke with our principal yesterday and found out that the girls would finish the year where they are if we move in the middle. That's a relief. Then they'd be at a new school in the coming fall. We are trying to decide if we want to put down a deposit now. I'm making Nod make his own pro/con list and for us to go through all the items on both lists. Trying to make well founded decision. Tuesday I was just crushed down by all the uncertainty and change. But I've bobbed back up since then. Renting is less of a commitment than buying of course. But then I would hate to jerk the kids out of school *again* after next year. I am trying to be the beacon for continuity and stability in shifting seas. (I suppose if I'm the beacon I should try to stay on dry land.)


Anonymous said...

They just had a great exhibit juxtaposing O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams at the SF MOMA--it was way cool. It also had a room of other contemporaries, including Stieglitz, but a bunch of other men, which just went to show that she was beyond their level in beauty and inventiveness. It was also great to see her next to Ansel Adams, sometimes of similar scenes, but it really showed how they were both moved by the Southwest in powerful ways.

I don't know about that article, I've never been overwhelmed by the sexiness of O'Keeffe--more the spare beauty and vision. She famously and often denied sexual representation in her flowers, which I think is a little protesting too much, but also those nude photos made a huge splash and set her up as a person oozing sex, which explains a lot of the criticism thereafter. They just couldn't get over seeing her naked, ya know? Not an anonymous model, she was really the person, and the men of the time couldn't and wouldn't forget it or let her forget it. I think that had something to do with her escape to NM, too.

There was just a decent biopic about her on Lifetime of all places, but it starred Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, so that was pretty cool. Worth checking out, I'm sure they're playing many reruns.

Co-housing sounds great! Go for it! It seems like it would make such a difference for you to be in intentional community--would lessen the feeling of being alone, I think, and seems like it would be great for childcare, parenting buddies, etc.

This is amenaneri, by the way--I couldn't log in with livejournal for my comment again...

Nimble said...

Thanks AM for your GOK commentary. You are a superlative art chum.