Thursday, July 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEWS: Fascinating!

Watch for this new picture book, written by poet and children's book author Rich Michelson about his friend and colleague Leonard Nimoy. It will be released on Sept. 8, the 50th anniversary of the first ever episode of the original NBC Star Trek series. I'll be reviewing the book soon here, on Mad for Mod.

"Fascinating tells the story of how this child of Jewish immigrants, who often felt like an alien in his Boston West End neighborhood, discovered a love for acting and photography. He worked hard, followed his dreams and reached for the stars. The book begins with Lenny’s secret discovery, as an eight year old child, of the Hebraic blessing which would become known throughout our galaxy as the Vulcan hand gesture of greeting and peace."

Live long and prosper! 


Friday, July 22, 2016

EXHIBITIONS: Seattle Art Museum's vast and fascinating collection

The Seattle Art Museum (affectionately known to the locals as SAM) comprises not just a single building but three different venues: the tony, modern SAM itself (very close to the Pike Place Market -- but do not expect to be able to check your fish in their cloak room!); the Olympic Sculpture Park, a 10-minute walk away; and an Asian Art Museum, located in Volunteer Park.

Exterior of Seattle Art Museum
all photo credits to SAM, unless otherwise noted

SAM's permanent collection includes African art (both traditional and contemporary),
ancient Mediterranean, Australian aboriginal, decorative arts and design, 
Native American, and of course art of the Pacific Northwest. 
Special exhibitions and new acquisitions are always being added.

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Hair Portrait #20, Mickalene Thomas (2014
Plastic rhinestones and acrylic on panel
photo credit to Michael Schonbach 

The shimmering silvery chic of this piece, an homage to Andy Warhol's style of  
celebrity portraiture, acknowledges the glamour of black women that has
often been overlooked by modern artists. Here, thirty repetitions of the same image  
segue from light to dark, assertive presence to ethereal shadow. The piece is an especially beguiling new acquisition to the museum; it greets the visitor quite close to the main entry, 
and is difficult to pull oneself away from (especially if "oneself" loves glitter!)

 Tumbleweed, James Rosenquist, 1963-1966
Chromed barbed wire, neon and wood
Photo credit to Michael Schonbach

This is a rare sculpture by Rosenquist, who was primarily known as a painter.
The piece, which was donated to the museum in 2014,
was intended to allude to the political turmoil of the 1960s. I see it also as
expressing the feeling that even in the darkest of times, there is always a ray of hope.

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The special exhibition Go Tell It: Civil Rights Photography
is a stunning pictorial narrative of the decades-long struggle to end segregation and
discrimination against African Americans. Depicting daily, small indignities 
suffered by black citizens, as well as great leaders and the momentous
events at which they were in the forefront, the exhibit is a deeply moving 
and profound journey through a time that changed America forever.
Go Tell It will run through Jan. 8, 2017.

Above: A Negro Entering a Movie Theatre by Outside "Colored" Entrance,
Belzoni. Mississippi
Marion Post Wolcott, 1939
Gelatin silver photograph 

Harry Belafonte, Martin Luther King Jr. and
Coretta Scott King arriving at Montgomery Airport,
March 24th, 1965
Photo by Dan Budnik

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At the Asian Art Museum, the current special exhibition 
Mood Indigo: Textiles From Around The World 
is proving to be a hit. It's a wide-ranging homage to the color blue and the many 
moods it evokes, from the cheerfulness of a bright sky, to waves sparkling in the ocean,
to the sultriness of dancers under a midnight moon. 

The exhibition is drawn mainly from SAM's global textiles collection, and includes
tapestries from Flanders, a silk court robe from China, batiks and ikats from 
Indonesia and Africa, an extensive array of kimonos from Japan,
and ancient cloth fragments from Peru and Egypt.

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And don't forget the Olympic Sculpture Park --
"a free museum without walls"!

 Above, at Olympic Sculpture Park: 
 Father and Son fountain and Eye Benches by Louise Bourgeois

Below: Alexander Calder’s Eagle 

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There is always a plethora of new exhibitions coming to SAM, way too many 
to mention here! A brief preview would include

• Big Picture: Art After 1945 (opening July 23, 2016)
       • Yves Saint-Laurent: The Perfection of Style (opening Oct. 11, 2016)

 Mondrian dress by Yves St. Laurent
Photo by Alexandre Guirkinger

            • Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors (opening June 29, 2017)

For more information about the Seattle Art Museum, visit

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And from the Okumpku Masquerade Players,
 happy trails until we meet again ... 

Photo credit to Michael Schonbach

~ oOo~

Saturday, July 2, 2016

BOOK NOTE: AIRLINE: Style at 30,000 feet

Remember when flying used to be exciting and romantic, an eagerly anticipated adventure
rather than a dreaded ordeal? Check out

Airline: Style at 30,000 feet
Laurence King Publishing, paperback, 144 pages, 250 illustrations, $14.95

Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet is a pleasurable stroll down memory lane to the pre-sardine era, a time when both domestic and international airlines attempted to give their customers a theatrical experience, complete with kicky costumes, contemporary decor, and even decorative tableware for miniature but attractively-presented meals. 

Divided into four sections -- fashion, food, interior design and corporate identity -- the book spans the conservative to the outrageous, "from saris to hotpants, showing a wide selection of retro styles and illuminating the experience of the parallel universe that existed at 30,000 feet."

If you like Mad Men, you'll certainly enjoy this book!

Sharply contrasting with the modesty shown by most airlines up to that date, 
in 1973 Southwest threw caution to the winds with its stewardess uniform. 
"The girls must be able to wear kinky leather boots and hot pants or they 
don’t get the job," said the airline’s male bosses. Times have changed, thankfully!

Real silverware, smoked salmon appetizer and a boutonniere 
in a meal served during the glory days of British Airways
Bon appetit!

Time to freshen up in your typical airplane rest room.

KLM Airlines wants you to be healthy for your trip ...
enjoy a selection from their fruit tray!

For a video narrated by Airline's author Keith Lovegrove, 
a highly respected designer and writer, link here.
(Scroll down a bit on the linked page to find it.)


Originally published 6/30/15