Mona Lisa Smile/Mona Lisa Curse

Exciting news on the deal behind the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile reported in the Telegraph here.

Also Mona Lisa related is this great series by the Beeb and Time Magazine art critic Robert Hughes, Mona Lisa Curse, especially refreshing his Hughes confrontation of a wealthy art investor when he asks him to explain why Warhol’s work is genius -  you owe it to yourself to watch all the episodes:

Got Some Downtime?

A good laundry list for things for freelancers to do during the “Dog Days of Summer” via WordCount.  Targeted for writers, but much the same applies. As someone who is taking off in a few days for the cooler climes of Nova Scotia, I’m adding several of these including systems upgrade (!!!!!) to my back-to-school-list in September.

The basic gist is this:

1. Go through your clips.

2. Update your website

3. Update your blog (DONE!)

4. Write letters of introduction. (And I will need to order some calling cards too – sounds so Henry Jamesian!)

5. Research queries.

6. File papers.

7. Upgrade computer/smartphone/software/hardware

8. Redo your office

Might be kind of obvious to some, but who doesn’t love a list?


More Film vs. Digital in a Big Way

Beloved alerted me to a great rant by the Great Ranter himself, Danny Lyon on his blog Dektol.  In the great tradition of the film vs. digital debate, Mr. Lyon brings up several great points about the transition of our great society to a digital one in this age of information:

It is the acceptance of, and our insistence on this instant expendable experience that is the core of the rot that is bringing down the civilization we used to call home. This insatiable desire to own, and show off on the subway, to upgrade, and upgrade and upgrade, until you don’t have enough money left to buy a beach towel without going into debt, has reduced people to slaves of consumption.

On his experience viewing his father’s photo albums:

Though the paper pages have become brittle, I can still look through these albums, and most of the pictures look pretty much like they did when he put them inside eighty five years ago. I am his son. I am touching, and holding and looking at, and smelling something my father made with his eyes and hand, when he was younger than I and all my four children are today. He was then a young man I never knew, but I can see what he saw, and can own and can touch what he made.

Couched in humor, with a very present anger, this post is a perfect primer for humor and tragedy being inexorably intertwined. Check it out here.

Does a famous signature make a picture more beautiful?

An interesting read by Eric Felton in the Wall Street Journal today: “Ansel Adams and the Art World Name Game”here

In it he discusses recent findings of old master works, including the now likely debunked Adams glass plate negatives.

“Why is a set of photos worth millions if they were shot by Ansel Adams, and next to nothing if the photographer depressing the plunger was a nobody? After all the images remain the same. To the extent that art is about appreciating aesthetic objects for their own sake, is it right to put so much stake in the question of who did the drawing or painting or snapping?”

Minor quibble here on the usage of “snapping” especially when related to the making of glass plate negs.

Felton continues, “…We might want to be more open minded when we encounter art of dubious provenance, allowing ourselves to judge and appreciate works for their quality rather than their attribution.”

As a girl of dubious provenance myself, I say amen, brother.

Flak Photo

Monday Night, Sonic Drive-In, Oxford, Mississippi

I crossed a milestone today. Andy Adams (twitter handle: FlakPhoto) published an image from Consumed in today’s Flak Photo (No not the one above).  I cannot but imagine that any of my readers are already aware of Flak, but in case you’ve been living in a cave (and if you are my hat is off to you), you can check out this great site here. Or become a facebook friend of Andy’s here. His might be the only case of where I became a bricks and mortar acquaintance prior to being a facebook friend, when I shared a delish deli sandwich with him in Madison prior to my bacchanal in the Wisconsin Dells last year.

And for those of  you who are wondering is Susana ever going to have new work?  As I am sure many of you obsessively ask yourselves several times a day, the answer is:  Yes, yes I do have new work.  I’ve got a new project percolating proudly sponsored by the ever patient Kodak film, the BEST color negative film for me.  Film, being the operative word here, I’m taking my time, editing, scanning, dusting.  I hope to share some images with you in the next month or so.  I am NOT a one-trick pony.  I have at least two tricks. Which is more than my dog has.

The Future of Magazines

Check out an interesting discussion with Frank Sesno on NPR’s the Diane Rehm show about the future of magazines HERE:

Magazines are in trouble. Hundreds of periodicals folded last year and the former powerhouse Newsweek was sold for a dollar in exchange for millions in debt: What’s ahead for the magazine industry in the digital age.

Guests
David Folkenflik media correspondent at NPR News.
Cathie Black chairman of Hearst Magazines.
Justin Smith president, Atlantic Media Company
Sidney Harman author of “Mind Your Own Business,” founder and executive chairman of Harman International, and former deputy Secretary of Commerce.

Betwixt the Measurable and Immeasurable with Yo-Yo

David Mermelstein gives us an interesting article on inspirational cellist Yo-Yo Ma in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal (The Ever-Curious Cellist).  Even for those of you who are unfamiliar with the virtuoso’s Bach interpretations which are chillingly good and soothing, one can not but love a man, a superstar, who goes by the name of Yo-Yo.  For me it says, I am gifted, but I do not take it all so seriously as to be a total BORE.  Of course, I am unfamiliar with Japanese culture, so for all I know, Yo-Yo might be the Japanese equivalent of Ignatius Humperdinck, but I have my doubts.

For me, curious people are the best people in the world.  I adore seekers.  Mermelstein had a cakewalk with this interviewee, because Y-squared oozes inspirational quotes:

“You spend years trying to communicate that this sound is reflective of that thought, but then there’s the question of how it’s received. My job as a performer is to make something memorable. If I do something nice but forgettable, it needn’t have happened. But if it sinks inside someone else’s brain and then they make connections, that’s something worth doing, because you’re going to intimate places in someone else’s psyche. I spend a lot of time thinking about what is the magical mix that can make the thing I love to do be so wonderful for others.”

“You go through phases,” he writes of exploring other genres of music,” You have to reinvent reasons for playing, one year’s answer might not do for another.”

Regarding his wife’s near death fall from a cliff while on safari last year,” I am a different person since then. I’m just so unbelievably grateful that she’s here . . . It affects everything – the way I live, the way I play. There are moments when the answers about who you are and what you are doing can change suddenly. Even if we don’t like change, we change anyway. There’s no real stasis. So the question is how do you change?”

“With every year of playing, you want to relax one more muscle. Why? Because the more tense you are the less you can hear. So the more you can collect that energy and be unblocked and be totally present, the more you can say, ‘I’m here because I really want to be; there’s no other place I’d rather be.’ And if you really mean it it’s not that bad.”

And want to know how Yo-Yo differs from Chuck Close?  When asked “Are you famous?” the virtuoso responds, “My mother thinks so.”

I’d say for Yo-Yo, that fame is only a means to providing the platform for which he can work, not the end-goal.

“Between the measurable and the immeasurable things, that is where I live.”