I am standing amidst the breathtaking expanse of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Amid the myriad of artifacts and art pieces, I find myself drawn to an artifact of particular intrigue. At first glance, it may not command your immediate attention, but I assure you, its narrative is as grand as any. It's a captivating statuette hailing from the Byzantine era, bearing the likeness of a Roman goddess: Fortuna, also known as Tyche.
|Fortuna (Tyche), Late Roman|
or Byzantine ca. 300-500 C.E.
Upon closer inspection, you begin to notice the details etched into this statuette that elevate it from a simple representation of a goddess to a profound symbol of historical narrative. A distinguishing feature of Fortuna is her sculptural headdress, ingeniously designed to mimic a city-like fortress, replete with a gate, and walls to fortify it. The statuette portrays her with this sculptural motif of a city perched atop her head — a poignant indication of the goddess's authority and influence.
But, the statuette holds more in its petite form. Cradled in Fortuna's hand is a cornucopia - a classic emblem of abundance and prosperity. This combination, a city upon her head and a symbol of prosperity in her hand, is powerful. It's a juxtaposition that beautifully ties together the themes of urban society and fortune.
The statuette isn't merely an exquisite work of art; it's a vessel, carrying layers of symbolism and a profound narrative within it. Fortuna, adorned in her cityscape headdress, seated on a throne, paints a picture of the intricate relationship between chance or fortune and the development of civilization. It's a compelling reminder of how the evolution of societies has always been tied to the capricious hands of fate.
So, it isn't just a 'cool little statuette' - it's a piece of history, a symbol of societal evolution, and a testament to the intricate craftsmanship of the Byzantine era. It's the embodiment of the idea that every artifact carries a tale, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be told. Take a moment to admire this extraordinary piece of history and let Fortuna's tale unfold.
Gego — Gertrud Goldschmidt — Retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to Open on March 31, 2023
Do you see it? I was drawn in by the small square
dangling in the left corner of one of Gego's
trippy geometrical pieces — on view at
the Guggenheim Museum.
| Another example of Gego's geodistic fever dream —|
can you imagine being shrunk and navigating
you way through this three-dimensional maze?
|Dragon Dancers |
from Long Island
|A museum docent talks about a|
16th-century Buddha sculpture from China.
|Greig poses in front of a young Marcus Aurelius in the |
Ancient Greek and Roman wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
|Marble head of the youthful|
Marcus Aurelius ca. C.E. 138.
But go to a museum today, and you see staid marble and what appears to be a vast collection of grays, browns, and three-dimensional black and white photographs. But the pigments and paints decay. And the weathering of the seasons and the march of time have made most color drain away.
But the coloration is still there, in small traces — which the Chroma exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has attempted to recapture — to see ancient artworks in color again. Alas, you won’t see the now lost statue of Zeus at Olympia, but you will see that same artist’s head of Athena, which at one time had ebony eyes. I especially liked the bronze warriors. And the Sphinx in color was fantastic.
If you have a moment and you are in New York — take a moment and experience these reconstructions done by Prof. Dr. V. Brinkmann & Dr. U. Koch-Brinkmann. @metmuseum @metgreekandroman
|Reconstruction of a marble portrait of the |
Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus,
known as Caligula, Variant B.
| Reconstruction the bronze statue from the Quirinal in Rome of the so-called Terme Rule.  Reconstruction of bronze Riace Warrior (mid-view detail).|
|Bust of Zeus|
It’s possible that this edit is rather basic. But it's relatively early TikTok. I like the use of color and fashion and the sheer fact that the guy is having a lot of fun. And that's quite a mess for one less-than-thirty-second video.
7. The Five Minute Bathroom Break
9. The Smiling Boy
10. The Histrionic School Lunch Lady Performance
11. It's Got To Be the Sweater
In this post, I tussle with Martin Heidegger's concept of "everydayness," — all the while having fun in the town of Catskill, New York (Why, not?!).
Put your feet in the air!
Martin Heidegger has this idea he calls everydayness. It’s a complex idea to explain, but somehow it has been on my mind. Everydayness is a condition of being in the world — with its routines, habits, conventions, etc. Let’s call them societal norms. And let’s further say societal norms were constructed to form a modicum of order and stability in living with others. Please don’t take my fish sticks, or I’ll murder you and all your kin. No one has time for that foolishness. So everydayness has its merits. But, then, it’s a tricky business when those same societal norms constructed to protect and carve out stability can also have the light effect of destroying freedom of self. Everydayness is being in a world where one is so caught up in the mundane busyness of living that one forgets how to live. For me — I feel a break from everydayness when I travel. When I’m not plugged into the typical 9 to 5 life. But something is terrifying about breaking away from everydayness. Because to break away from everydayness is to be authentic. And authenticity is most terrifying for one when one doesn’t know how to live outside the habits and conventions laid out for one. To wake up with nothing on one’s schedule, no one calling, no emails to answer, nothing demanding conformity — what’s left is the empty well of the self where authenticity is carved out. So I stick out my tongue. Get caught in the rain. Sit by the river. And feel the ache. The terror of being alive. Because life is so damn limited. A quick breath of air. Poof. You’re gone. What am I to do? And no — the answer is not in any advice or life coach’s guidance. I don’t know the answer. But at least let’s try.
Wag your tongue.
Feeling Kinda Heated in a Heatwave — A Solo Adventure to Washington State (And How I Was Almost Stuck Without a Ride at a Safeway in Monroe)
|Feeling heated in Seattle|
The theme of my post is weariness. I hiked, and I walked, and I explored random parts of Seattle. Do you see the face of Greig? He’s bone-weary.
I’m not used to such locomotion. But I feel like the photographs capture the mood of the day — sultry, hot, relentless. A boy on the bus this morning played a Schecter electric guitar. And then told me a rational argument for gun ownership (although privately, I think to myself I’d never owned a firearm).
|A Glorious Patch of Wild Flowers|
At night the stars beam, and I feel restless. I consider the prospect of living in a rural area like the mountains of Washington State — “Fun to visit. But I prefer New York.” I gather my things in the motel room — today, I board the train again.
|Early Evening in the Suburbs|
|Bus Stop Near Everett|
I’m no Van Gogh. I have both 👂. But I love a good communal 🎨. With my collegial krewe, we paint and pass the time.
Inspired by the Romantics, I find inspiration in the everyday material world.
A bike covered in pigeon droppings. OK. That’s ewwwww. But. Look.
A bowl of grits, green onions, and cheesy eggs.
Me looking at art books.
A snapshot from my favorite mobile game @taptapfish.
What was supposed to be a walk to increase my daily steps turned into a journey. People pop out. Restaurants offer outside seating. The night is crisp. Saturn and Jupiter are still visible in the sky — on the way to convergence. I wanted to get more faces in my photographs. But the moments passed by too quickly. I saw a masked guy in a cab. He was balefully looking out a window. The Q49 bus runs along 74th Street. Wear your mask.
Today in class an adolescent pupil couldn’t answer a question — so she said to me, “This question makes me feel unsafe.” I was taken aback by her statement. It’s the Covid. I imagined her shrieking out of class. By an unsafe question. I’m teaching a course on mythology. And one characteristic of myth is the unknown. So I get it, girl. Stuff gets real. From chaos to calm. From the womb to the tomb.
That time I stepped into the Museum of Modern Art since it had closed (like all cultural institutions) its doors because of the coronavirus outbreak.
|MoMA normally has massive crowds. Not today.|
|A series of five parallelograms on view |
in a special exhibition on the artist Judd.