Monday, March 31, 2008

Fading Memory

When I see an enchanting piece of art I think of you: For truly what is art if it is not to remind me of you, of pain and remedy, both, I find in your eyes.

Each time I look at golden periods of art, following one another on the history charts – I like these charts, they make it easier to see ups and downs of our performances in this world – I think of you, your splendid mind and your fiery eyes.

I study these pages of often-tiresome history books only to find you and to keep you in my ever-fading memory. It is you I am searching for.

Color of the Earth, March 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On View in New York

Color Chart is an interesting exhibition on MOMA that covers the theoretical and aesthetic views on color in the works of artists from 1950 to today. The exhibition touches on the irony of color as an industrial readymade production in the hands of contemporary artists. The exhibition is on through May 12, 2008. You can see the online exhibition of the Color Chart, which displays some selected works from the exhibition, here.

Also a very tempting exhibition will be up on MOMA on Olafur Eliasson, a Danish artist famous for his atmospheric-landscape installations. Take Your Time will be on view from April 20 – June 30, 2008. Last fall I saw this exhibiting on SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), and as its title truly suggests: take your time; don’t rush through it and then you will enjoy the installations and its surroundings.

And on MET: I am planing to go to Gustave Courbet’s exhibition. More than his paintings I like to see some 19th-century photographs that are on view in this exhibition. They are related to Curbet’s paintings and I can not wait to see the ones related to his nude works; Around 1860's Courbet painted a series of nude and erotic works that caused many controversies back then, that's why I like to see the photos.

Olafur Eliasson

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!

Happy New Year
Happy Norooz
Happy Spring
All Persians, Afghans, Tajiks, Turks, Azerbaijanies and Uzbeks,
And to all who celebrate Norooz and Spring

Haft Sin Table, March 2008

نوروز تان پیروز
هر روزتان نوروز

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Un-Monumental Days

I had a week full of headaches and sad news. I have still a pile of works for Norooz ahead of me. The Persian New Year always brings lots of excitement into any Iranian household. The spring-cleaning is perhaps the hardest task, but I regularly and frantically clean my house so I don’t have much of a problem there. The most nerve-breaking task of Norooz for me is growing sprouts or Sabzeh for the Haft Sin Table. Although for my table they have always turned out OK, I never really know when exactly to start to soak and grow my lentils for them to have the best shape at the New Year’s; this year, the new year will start at the early hours of Thursday, March 20th.

On Arts: Unmonumental will be on view up to March 23rd in the New Museum; so hurry up. As I mentioned on New Art, New Ideas, Unmonumental is an exhibition in four parts, all of them displaying works by contemporary artists. What I did not like about this exhibiting, in general, was the repetitiveness of the works in each category. This repetitiveness disturbed the shocking quality that many of these artists were aiming for, and it gave their works an unnecessary dullness which was especially apparent on the category of The Objects in the 21st Century.

The only work I enjoyed in that part was Claire Fontaine’s Passe-Partout, 2006; It consists of three sets of key-chains, each heavy with loads of keys and other small objects, hanging on the wall; each set of keys belongs to a specific place: Paris, New York and Chinatown. As heavy and full as my own key chain, the piece hit me the moment I touched my own key-chain in my pocket. Key chains really are the objects of the 21st century. Keys are clues, are answers; keys open the doors to our own homes; they let us access the most intimate properties we have; we feel lost without our keys; we are homeless without them.

The collage section of the exhibition was the most interesting part. While most works presented antiwar views of their creators, I was intrigued with a series of Film Portraits by John Stezaker, 2005. The Film Portraits were combinations of two different photos of two well-known film stars, usually a male and a female; this combination created a new third picture in which the person is neither of those stars, and it is not clear what is the gender of this newly born movie star; this ambiguity is very much the core of the film industry itself.

I am heading to New York tomorrow to visit some exhibitions and galleries. Also I meet with Jeerjeerak, my lovely friend, who is here in the Big Apple.

Film Portrait, John Stezaker, 2005

Friday, March 14, 2008

Maryam Khanoom!

Her silver shiny hair, her slim body and her proud smile; She had piercing eyes and a firm voice. She was borne a Qajar princess; she revolted against all her monarchal genes and became the Maryam Khanoom that I know.

Maryam Firouz passed away two days ago at her house in the north bound of Hafte Tir Square. Her loving body was urgently buried in a family cemetery. No ceremony was allowed. She was 95.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Art, New Ideas

This is a shot from the balcony of the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Its mission statement is new art new ideas. I enjoyed the architecture more than its current exhibition, Unmonumental, which displays in four categories objects, collage, sounds and montage-internet.

I agree with Woody Allen on that Black & White is the best when it comes to capturing Manhattan's true spirit.

My Eye On Manhattan, New Museum, Jan.2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tameshk Jar

Every time I fry garlic I remember your kitchen
Its tidy dimensions
Its lively smell,
And the jars of Tameshk jam sitting in a row
Waiting for my hungry fingers
To discover once more their sweet and sour taste

Every time I see a morning glory trying its way around a fence
I remember the surreal shape of your garden
The curve of your body
Bowing to every growing thing

Every time it rains I think of you
On those lonely nights
The touch of kismet on your broad forehead
The force of days on your bent shoulders

I've missed your never fading smile
I've missed the faint sound of your prayer beads
Clicking into my surreal deeds

I've missed you
Passing me a spoon to cave deeper into the Tameshk Jar.

* Happy March 8th; Happy Women's Day!
** The White Experience, Austin, January 2008: I took the photo in a rainy morning: White Jonquil flowers.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

An Admiration for Yadda yadda nada !

Like any other advertisement, this ad has targeted those who are assumed to be the main consumers for this new SONY product – Noise Canceling Headphones. We see a young serious looking adult male who is in a plane, perhaps going for a business trip, and who is canceling the annoying noises in the plane by his SONY headphones.* My main objection is to the inaccuracy and meanness that this ad earns from just to be cool and appealing.

Inaccuracy: In any random public place, babies and mommies are not the main sources of noise (pollution or otherwise), let alone inside an airplane, where the plane’s engines make all the noise. The SONY advertisement decapitates a mommy and a baby and dehumanizes their heedless bodies with newly replaced megaphone heads. Here lets merge to the meanness part: Why a mother and a baby; couldn’t SONY beheaded two noisy adults? Couldn’t it be someone talking out loud with his cell inside airplane – which is both loud and against the airline regulations?

For you to believe that I am not going for the Romanic sentimentalism of motherhood here I give you a little personal explanation: I am not a mother, and personally I don’t want ever to become one.

Regardless of my personal choice on reproducing,** I love kids, babies and children; I admire any little growing human being, I love to see their changes, and I die to be a witness of their growing-up progress. I enjoy them and I learn a lot from them, kids. I do not like it when, in public places, people shush towards kids, role their eyes at their mothers or pass unpleasant glances towards a crying noisy kid who perhaps is having a disagreement with his/her parents. To me any sound from the baby is a voice; it is not a NOISE; to me it is talking. To me if the sound is from an older child, it is the most natural sound without which, any public place becomes a graveyard.

I believe a little bit of patience and compassion toward the younger members of the society goes a long way. After all, there was a day that we all were kids, how easy we forget!

SONY Ad for Noise Canceling Headphones, Austin, Jan. 2008

* I’ve mentioned in the previous post that this ad is cool, new and interesting.
** Personal references can be found in the inner circle of Soup & Salad and the Miracle of Cracker.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Spices Of The Week:

1- I am reading two exciting and newly released books. The Spice Route, A History by John Keay is a well-written page-turner book that follows the steps of early travels and presents a new angle to ancient spice routes both to the East and to the West. I picked up this book merely because of my longtime interest in the history of food and cuisine and also my studies on the Silk Road. The second book is not considered a history book by many but it is a kind of history, history of Dreams; Dream I Tell You by Hélène Cixous. I have been following Cixous' writings for sometime now (here) so I am very excited. Beverley Bie Brahic translated this newly released book.

2- Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits are on view in Philadelphia Museum of Art. The occasion was Frida’s 100th birthday. Although She is not one of my favorite painters, I like some of her works and especially some of her self-portraits; her personality reflects itself boldly in her harsh forms and figures. And I don’t know why, when I see her works I immediately think of her husband, Diego Rivera! I think what Rivera accomplished in his murals and large scale figures, Frida did within her smaller canvases. The exhibition is on until May 18th 2008.

3- A bout a month ago I took a photo – here you only see a detail of it – from a billboard advertisement in the airport.

When I saw the ad, immediately I wanted to do something about it. To me, as a person who always enjoys cool, new and interesting ideas in advertisement and design this ad - that has all the above qualities - was just a dismaying display of intelligent. You may have seen this ad, if not feel free to guess what the whole picture is or what it advertises for or simply wait until tomorrow when I write about it.