• Contemplative
  • The Many Worlds View

    I’m off to New York for a few days. I want to see the Mannerist drawing show at the Morgan Library, most particularly out of respect for my daughter Kellin who is a Mannerista fanatic now that she is living in Florence. (To read an excerpt from the New York Times review of this show, […]

  • Against the grain
  • Gabriele Basilico: The Space of Flows

    An unforgettable exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Photos of Silicon Valley by Milan-based architect and photographer Gabriele Basilico. Having grown up in the Bay Area, I remember well when the Valley was mostly apricot orchards and vegetable farms. But Basilico’s images do not sentimentalize the past or assault the viewer with […]

  • Poetry
  • Elizabeth Bishop’s Last Poem

    Sonnet Caught — the bubble in the spirit level, a creature divided; and the compass needle wobbling and wavering, undecided. Freed — the broken thermometer’s mercury running away; and the rainbow-bird from the narrow bevel of the empty mirror, flying wherever it feels like, gay! Elizabeth Bishop And if you are so inclined, here is […]

  • Poetry
  • Inexhaustible, Mysterious Genius: Elizabeth Bishop

    The Library of America has just released a new volume on Elizabeth Bishop. I have several others from the LOA series and find the quaintness of these publications comforting–the smaller size, the simple glossy black cover, the onionskin-thin paper, the bookmark cord supplied for you to employ immediately at your favorite spot. Having this carefully […]

  • Art Making
  • Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming

    Here’s a ray of hope on the Spiral Jetty preservation front. This article by Patty Henetz appeared on February 21 in The Salt Lake Tribune (and presents a much more hopeful view than a similar piece that ran in the other Salt Lake paper, The Deseret News.) Artists outraged at the possibility of oil drilling […]

  • Imagination
  • The Shape of Her Soul is a Square

    She Considers the Dimensions of Her Soul (Mrs. Morninghouse, after a Sermon Entitled, “What the Spirit Teaches Us through Grief”) The shape of her soul is a square. She knows this to be the case because she sometimes feels its corners pressing sharp against the bone just under her shoulder blades and across the wings […]

  • Art Making
  • Gimme Shelter

    How refreshing to find an art “feel good” counter story in the New York Times, especially one that offers pre-coverage of the ever contentious, rhetoric-infested, “I can’t wait to hate it” Whitney Biennial. This piece made me feel hope, like someone opened a window in a stale, stuffy room with tired furniture and too many […]

  • Art History/Theory
  • A Longing from Deep in The Bones

    Ever since it was first published in 1998, Uncontrollable Beauty: Toward a New Aesthetics, edited by Bill Beckley with David Shapiro has been my primary text. This collection of essays brings together the thinking of artists and critics on the greatly misunderstood (and much maligned) topic of beauty. Uncontrollable Beauty embodies many of the reasons […]