Memories

When you are alone and you look in a mirror you never put on a pleasing smile. Well, you don’t, do you?

David Hockney was way ahead of today’s ubiquitous selfies. In the 1980s—already famous for his painted landscapes of California pools and suburban houses—he threw himself into drawn, painted and photographed self-portraits…

At first the Hockney self-portraits showed vulnerability and self-consciousness, according to Dr. Brooks. But over the years, he adds, they showed intense self-examination. Mr. Hockney has depicted himself with his mouth wide open in surprise, with a scowl or with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth at an angle.

The results, as well as Mr. Hockney’s wider interest in photographic collage, are the main focus of “Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockney,” a celebration of his turning 80 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, opening in two stages, June 27 and July 18. Most of the versions of Mr. Hockney on view, though, don’t make for a cheery celebration. “I usually only draw myself in down periods,” Mr. Hockney told London’s Telegraph newspaper in 2001. “I suppose that’s why I often draw myself looking grim. I just think, ‘Let’s have a look in the mirror.’ When you are alone and you look in a mirror you never put on a pleasing smile. Well, you don’t, do you?”

~ Alexandra Wolfe, from Self-Portraits and Photos for David Hockney Birthday (wsj.com, June 23, 2017)


Notes:

  • Photograph top: David Hockney with ‘Blue Terrace Los Angeles March 8th 1982’.
  • Drawing: David Hockney ‘Self Portrait, 20 March 2012 (1219), iPad drawing printed on paper, mounted on Dibond.

 

Saturday Morning


Bernard Toustrate wrote in the Forum Catholique, summarizing one degree of Sister Marie-Aimée’s “twelve degrees of silence” [Les Douze degrés du silence]: “If the tongue is mute, if the senses are calm, if the imagination, memory and creatures keep quiet and form a solitude, if not throughout the soul, then at least in the innermost part of it, then the heart will make only a few noises. Silence of one’s likes and dislikes, silence of desires insofar as they are too intense, silence of zeal insofar as it is indiscreet; silence of fervor insofar as it is exaggerated; silence to the point of sighing.

~ Cardinal Robert Sarah, excerpts from “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise” (April, 2017).


Photo: Verwunschlicht

TGIF: No Truth!

A few days ago I was at a conference in Montreal, and a Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?”

I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites…but the sectarianism that has destroyed nation-states in the Middle East is now infecting us.”…

So when I got home, I called my teacher and friend Dov Seidman…and asked him what he thought was happening to us.

“What we’re experiencing is an assault on the very foundations of our society and democracy — the twin pillars of truth and trust,” Seidman responded. “What makes us Americans is that we signed up to have a relationship with ideals that are greater than us and with truths that we agreed were so self-evident they would be the foundation of our shared journey toward a more perfect union — and of respectful disagreement along the way…

But when there is no “we” anymore, because “we” no longer share basic truths, Seidman argued, “then there is no legitimate authority and no unifying basis for our continued association.”…

While our system can’t function without leaders with formal authority, what makes it really work, he added, is “when leaders occupying those formal positions — from business to politics to schools to sports — have moral authority. Leaders with moral authority understand what they can demand of others and what they must inspire in them. They also understand that formal authority can be won or seized, but moral authority has to be earned every day by how they lead. And we don’t have enough of these leaders.”

In fact, we have so few we’ve forgotten what they look like. Leaders with moral authority have several things in common, said Seidman: “They trust people with the truth — however bright or dark. They’re animated by values — especially humility — and principles of probity, so they do the right things, especially when they’re difficult or unpopular. And they enlist people in noble purposes and onto journeys worthy of their dedication.”

~ Thomas L. Friedman, excerpts from Where Did the People Go (NY Times, June 21, 2017)


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: “We are living in a time when lies are sanctioned. We have always lived in that time, but now the lies are publicly, rhetorically sanctioned. And something tribal has happened, which means that nobody gives a shit whether ­somebody’s lying or not because he’s on my side or she’s on my side. In the end, will truth matter? Of course truth will matter. Truth isn’t relative. But there’s going to be a great sacrifice on the way to getting truth to matter to us again, to finding out why it does, and God knows what shape that sacrifice will take.” By Ali Smith, from the Art of Fiction No. 236 (The Paris Review, Summer 2017)
  • Portrait: (via mennyfox55)

Truth!

Everyone thinks

they have the best dog in the world.

None of them are wrong.

~ Shower Thoughts


Photo: (via Newthom)

I tend to feel rhythm in my torso.


I tend to feel rhythm in my torso. Maybe that’s because I play seated and my torso is the only part that can move. But when it’s there, everything else follows and the hand is connected to it. I like to tell my students that a lot of music happens below the neck, in your heart and in your gut. They really can get a little heady with things and I have to remind them: music is first and foremost a way for us to move together.”

~ Vijay Iyer, in an interview by Mendi Obadike and Keith Obadike in BOMB Magazine

 


Vijay Iyer, 45, is an American jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, producer, electronic musician, and writer based in New York City. He became a Professor of the Arts at Harvard University in early 2014. Born in Albany and raised in Fairport, New York, Iyer is the son of Indian Tamil immigrants to the United States. He received 15 years of Western classical training on violin beginning at the age of 3. He began playing the piano by ear in his childhood and is mostly self-taught on that instrument. After completing an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics at Yale University, Iyer attended the University of California, Berkeley, initially to pursue a doctorate in physics. Iyer continued to pursue his musical interests, playing in ensembles. (Source: Wiki)

Photo of Vijay Iyer: Via Observer.com.

Summer

wiltshire, England
Revelers gather to celebrate the festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. (Photo by Chris J. Ratcliffe, Agence France in wsj.com on June 21, 2017)

Lightly child, lightly.

This question is addressed not to Muslims, not to Arabs, but to all the children of Adam and Eve. […] There is no need to “acquire” religious knowledge. There’s only the need to let it go: let go of the egoism, the sexism, the nationalism, the tribalism. Then the inner jewel of our hearts will shine. […] Let us also answer yes. Let us also recover these jewels in our hearts and in our traditions. Here’s the challenge we find ourselves in. All of us have to drink from waters that run deep. And we have to also engage and purify the very fountains that we are drinking from. Let us dedicate ourselves to cleansing these ancient fountains.

Yes, there are real jewels in each of our traditions. And they are all covered in filth and junk that is centuries old. In some ways, the jewels shine today as they have always shone. There is a light that’s too bright to be put out. At the very same time, the filth and shit of racism, tribalism, nationalism, colonialism, classism continues to cover the jewels. There is a jewel inside our own hearts. That jewel, the inner divine knowledge, also shines so bright. It too has to be purified from the filth of egoism, sexism, and greed.

Let us wash these jewels,
you and I.

Let us rinse these jewels,
you and I.

Let us polish these jewels,
you and I.

Let us be in awe of our own inner light,
you and I.

We dive, and keep diving, into these oceans, picking out dirty jewels.

We curate these jewels and think about which jewels, which stories, which teachings, which practices are worth passing on to our children. So many are. Not all of them are.

There will be a polishing that our own children will have to do. We may be too deeply immersed in some of the filth to see it.

Let us be divers after pearls, friends.

Let us cleanse the fountains we drink from.

And then we will be able to sing together:

This little light of mine,
I am gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I am gonna let it shine.

~ Omid Safi, from Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk (Onbeing.org, June 14, 2017)


Notes:

  • Photo: gosia janik (Madrid, Spain) with “I co teraz?” via mennyfox55
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • Photograph by Andy Anderson: “These camels were herded in our direction in the morning of a desert campout east of Abu Dhabi. We stood and watched on a dune ridge.”
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

It’s been a long day

I just keep taking the next step knowing there’s no call for standing in the crowd and recounting my failures, there’s no retribution that demands I shrug off the notice of the works of my hands. There’s no need to deny or lessen the good by stepping back into my wanderings to tell of the bad. There’s grace in the ordinary life I live that just needs to live, knowing it’s all miracle, all of this beautiful stuff every morning. All the days long.

~ Lisa Tindal, from “The Essence of Days

(By one of our very own WordPress bloggers at the handle: Quiet Confidence)

 


Notes:

 

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