'Harlem has long symbolized the culture of the African-American
experience in 20th-century America. Its history has been well documented
in photographs, literature and other media. '
'Harlem 1900-1940: An African-American Community , is a history
education portfolio that has been produced by the Educational Programs
unit of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York
Public Library. The scope of this portfolio is Harlem from the years
1900-1940. Various elements of the history of the urban experience in
Harlem's early days as the Cultural Capital of African Americans are
represented here by graphic and photographic images from the Schomburg
Center collection. Some of the subjects include the Schomburg Center
itself, political movements, education, sports, social organizations,
religion, the Harlem Hospital, theater, business and music ... '
Creepy Crawlies. What is this life that lives on
'Peace and quiet? Maybe. Empty? Not. There may not be any other people
around, but you are far from alone. Dare you find out more about who may
be sharing the HOUSE with you? Or who may be sharing your BODY with you?
The Tarot of the Bohemians, 1892.
'Tarot of the Bohemians, along with the Pictoral Key to the Tarot,
constitute the core literature of 19th and early 20th century
'Tarotism'. However, PTK is to the TOB as arithmetic is to differential
calculus. If you have no experience reading occult literature of this
period, you may find yourself profoundly lost after the first couple of
pages, staring at the abundant and profoundly esoteric tables, charts
and diagrams, trying to get a clue as to what Papus is talking about.
Papus is after a 'Theory of Everything', and finds evidence for it in
the Tarot and a set of correspondences with everything from the
tetragrammaton to numerology and astrology ... '
Vigee Le Brun: Self Portrait in a Straw Hat.
'Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun achieved extraordinary success as an artist.
Her status and wealth were particularly unusual because she was a woman
working in an overwhelmingly male art world - how did she do it? All
March, we focused on her stunning 'Self Portrait in a Straw Hat' ... '
Titian: Bacchus and Ariadne.
'Titian's 'Bacchus and Ariadne' was our focus painting in February,
showing the electrifying moment when a god falls in love with a
heartbroken mortal woman. Heaven and earth collide in an explosion of
colour and shapes - we even see stars ... '
The story of Bacchus and Ariadne. That feckless
Zora Neale Hurston.
'Zora Neale Hurston is one of the greatest writers/ anthropologists of
the 20th century. she could write about the most ordinary things and
make them infinitely gorgeous. in Zora Neale Hurston's books, the reader
empathizes, loves, hates, and mourns, because Zora makes her characters
so real and human it is impossible not to. she has the rare power to
write fiction that is timeless and vibrant. '
Art Images from Films. A nice selection, including
several from 'Prisoner of the Mountains', a great
Russian film made in the 1990s about a young
Russian conscript held as a prisoner
of war held by Chechens.
Ulysses deriding Polyphemus - Homer's Odyssey.
'This scene from the action-packed journey of the Greek hero Ulysses
was our focus during Museums and Galleries month. Having blinded and
outwitted the one-eyed giant Polyphemus, Ulysses makes his get-away in
a splendid galleon. Turner shows him as a tiny figure in red on the
upper deck, taunting the defeated giant who appears almost as a huge
cloud formation, arm raised to hurl rocks at the ship. But does Turner
reserve the real drama for his depiction of the sunrise?'
Greek myths and art.
'Whereas the consequences of modern science and technology dominate
our lives and thoughts, we have been slow to incorporate scientific
concepts into our culture. We often resent the way science challenges
our deeply-held assumptions and beliefs. Increasingly, people are
being asked to question the judgment of scientists on issues ranging
from nuclear power to GM foods. Will science continue to be the
cultural 'superpower' in Western society? The collections of the
Science Museum include many items used to teach and symbolise science,
from the orrery to the chemistry set. We look to science for the
solutions to our problems, yet have doubts about the answers
scientists give us. Many people prefer to put their trust in religion
or a love of nature. Concepts incompatible with mainstream science
astrology, homeopathy, even alchemy still attract widespread
support. The tensions of our relationship with science are revealed by
popular films, which either portray scientists as heroes or madmen. In
response to this growing distrust, scientists have sought to explain
and justify their activities in simple terms...'
'My choice of weapons = this blog and a video camera. I am the media.
We are the media. The revolution will be blogged. '
The Douglas Dillon Legacy: Chinese Painting for the Metropolitan Museum.
'Douglas Dillon (19092003), former chairman of the Metropolitan
Museum's Board of Trustees, became involved with Asian art out of his
respect for Asia's importance in world affairs and the need to
represent its cultures at the Metropolitan in a comprehensive manner.
This exhibition, comprising more than 50 masterworks of Chinese
painting acquired through the generosity of Mr. Dillon and The Dillon
Fund, as well as several noteworthy gifts presented in his honor or
memory, highlights his lasting contribution to the field of Chinese
art. Spanning more than 1,000 years of Chinese painting, from the 8th
to the 18th century, the exhibition constitutes a compelling survey of
all the major schools and trends of the last four dynasties. ' Images.
'Bobbins was the comic I drew from October 1998 to May 2002, when the
top of my head came off like the lid of some wacky volcanic jar. A lot
of people enjoyed it and if you're discovering it today, I hope you
glean a crumb of comfort from its homespun tales.'
Francisco de Zurbarán: Saint Margaret of Antioch.
'Saint Margaret of Antioch was a strong-willed woman. She was a
legendary 4th-century martyr, who was imprisoned for refusing to marry
the prefect of Antioch. Swallowed whole by a satanic dragon, she used
her holy cross to break free from the monster's belly. Since she
emerged unharmed, she became the patron saint of women in labour.
Francisco de Zurbarán's painting shows Saint Margaret as a determined
character who has already tamed the snarling dragon by her feet.'
'Resplendent in fabulous furs and silks, two men lean casually on a
set of shelves laden with objects and instruments. Who are they, and
why was this huge portrait of them painted? What do they tell us about
themselves, their achievements and their ambitions? And just what is
the strange shape that seems to float in the space at the front of the
Leo Szilard Online.
'Welcome to the world of physicist, biophysicist, and "scientist of
conscience" Leo Szilard (1898-1964). How do you say it? Say SIL-ahrd
Dawn of the Floating
'The 'floating world' (ukiyo) was the world of transient
pleasure-seeking in Japanese cities, particularly Edo (modern Tokyo)
after the shogun's new capital was rebuilt following the great fire of
1657. A new type of stylish imagery-'pictures of the floating world'
(ukiyo-e)-quickly evolved that captured and stimulated the buoyant
cultural self-confidence of the 'townsman' (chonin) class of merchants
and artisans ...'
Oliver Byrne's Euclid.
'An unusual and attractive edition of Euclid was published in 1847 in
England, edited by an otherwise unknown mathematician named Oliver
Byrne. It covers the first 6 books of Euclid, which range through most
of elementary plane geometry and the theory of proportions. What
distinguishes Byrne's edition is that he attempts to present Euclid's
proofs in terms of pictures, using as little text - and in particular as
few labels - as possible. What makes the book especially striking is his
use of colour ... '
Frederic Remington: The Color of Night.
'Frederic Remington (1861-1909) has long been celebrated as one of the
most gifted interpreters of the American West. Initially, his western
images appeared as illustrations in popular journals. As he matured,
however, Remington turned his attention away from illustration,
concentrating instead on painting and sculpture. About 1900 he began a
series of paintings that took as their subject the color of night.
Before his premature death in 1909 at age forty-eight, Remington
completed more than seventy paintings in which he explored the technical
and aesthetic difficulties of painting darkness. '
'Surprisingly, Remington's nocturnes are filled with color and light-
moonlight, firelight, and candlelight. These complex paintings testify
to the artist's interest in modern technological innovations, including
flash photography and the advent of electricity, which was rapidly
transforming the character of night. The paintings are also elegiac, for
they reflect Remington's lament that the West he had known as a young
man had, by the turn of the century, largely disappeared. Although
immediately recognized as extraordinary works, Remington's late
nocturnes have never before been the subject of an exhibition. Frederic
Remington: The Color of Night gathers together for the first time the
finest of these mysterious, often deeply personal paintings. '
'This is a picture filled with wonderful observations of beach
activity: people hugging towels around themselves for warmth, and
standing gingerly at the water's edge. But Degas boasted that he'd
created this convincing beach scene by spreading his jacket on the
floor of his studio, and carefully posing paid models. Why did he
choose to do this, when his fellow artists were eagerly painting out
of doors? Find out more about Degas' aims and working practices in our
Special Online Feature.'
Akseli Gallen-Kallela: Lake Keitele.
'The Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela made a hauntingly beautiful
painting of silvery light on the waters of Lake Keitele, where he
spent the summer of 1904. It draws on ancient poems about the mythic
origins of Finland, as well as using the silent emptiness of the
landscape itself to full evocative effect.'
Arts of Lanna.
'Arts of Lanna presents fine antiques and crafts from Thailand, Burma,
Laos, Cambodia, and India. We offer seven years of living in Asia and
collecting "Sacred Arts" to our scholar-collector clients. '
'We offer a selection of fine Indonesian textiles. Connoisseurs of the
Indonesian textile arts know the spell these rich earthy colors and
scintillating patterns can cast. '
The Wall. Photographs of Israel's 'security
wall' and the surrounding area.
' "For security reasons" Jusuf Ramzi has lost about 40 dunums of his
land. I met him in his truncated orchard removing the weeds from a newly
planted citrus tree, already in the shadow of the 8 meter high concrete
wall which has transformed the town of Qalqilya into a veritable prison.
The residents of Qalqylia (40,000 pop.) can come into and leave this
agricultural community through only one point which is controlled by the
Israeli military. The old man explained to me that not only had a
considerable amount of land been confiscated (40% according to the
Palestinian NGO Pengon) but also most of the artesian wells. Indeed,
Qalqilya is considered to possess the largest amount of ground waters in
the western region of the West Bank. "Once you lose control of the
water...then you lose the land." The battle for water has never been far
behind the battle for land in this part of the world ... '
'Linda Troeller, the photographer for this book, first
visited a spa twenty years ago. "I was going through this awful breakup
and I went to Mexico to do black-and-white photography -- I was a
student of Ansel Adams and that was what all the art photographers were
doing at the time," she says. Once there, Linda's mind was still
centered on her relationship, trying to fathom why it wasn't working. "I
met the great surrealist painter Leonora Carrington and she said to me,
'You can't be sad in Mexico. You should try some magic mushrooms or
visit some hot spring.'" Linda decided to pass on the mushrooms, but she
did go to a spa in Ixtapan, Mexico. There a local Indian healer led her
to a treatment room in which little jars of mud lined the walls. The
healer told her to cover her body with the mud. "It will draw all your
sins from you," she said. "And the water from the hot springs will wash
them all away." ... '
New York in the 70s. Photography.
'Dirty, dangerous, and destitute. This was New York City in the 1970s.
The 1960s were not yet over, and war still raged in Viet Nam, fueling
resentment against the government. Nixon and the Watergate scandal
created even more resentment, cynicism, and skepticism. Economically,
stagnation coupled with inflation created a sense of malaise. The Arab
Oil Embargo of 1973 delivered another blow to the U.S. economy, and
brought the misery of long lines to buy gasoline. Conditions in Harlem
and Bed-Stuy were horrendous, with abandoned buildings and widespread
poverty. The subways were covered everywhere with ugly graffiti and they
were unreliable. It seemed as if the entire infrastructure was in decay.
Political corruption, sloppy accounting, and the cost of the war were
killing the city. Times Square, the crossroads of the world, was seedy
and sleazy. Pimps, hookers, and drug dealers owned the night there.
Crime was rampant, and the police were powerless to stop it. Random
killings by the "Son of Sam" made New Yorkers even more fearful. The
parks were in decay, with and litter and bare lawns, and it was home to
muggers and rapists. When the proud City of New York had to beg the
Federal Government for a financial bail-out, the President said no. The
Daily News headline said it all: "Ford to City - Drop Dead." ... '
The I Ching, translated by James Legge, 1899.
'An I Ching interpretation is performed by making six binary decisions
(a hexagram). This is called 'casting the I Ching'. These are written
down as a stack of six solid or broken lines. This was traditionally
done either by tossing yarrow stalks or coins, although there is no
reason why the hexagrams can't be generated by some other means (such as
a computer program).'
Mandela Cartoons. Cartoon strip from
South Africa. Not updated in a while but well
worth a browse.
Vermeer in Washington. Great Art.
'The exhibition "Johannes Vermeer", on display at the National Gallery
of Art in Washington, D.C. November 12, 1995 through February 11, 1996
before moving to The Hague's Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, was
the first ever exclusively dedicated to the paintings of the celebrated
seventeenth-century master of Delft. This show brought together twenty-
three of the thirty-six works attributed to Vermeer, presenting a once-
in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a thorough survey of his
stunning work ... '
'He was both a visionary and a manipulator, a brilliant orator and a
pompous autocrat. In just ten years following his emigration to the
United States as a laborer in 1917, Marcus Garvey rose to lead the
largest black organization in history, was taken to prison in handcuffs,
and was eventually deported. Marcus Garvey is the dramatic story of the
rise and fall of an African American leader who influenced politics and
culture around the world.'
Group weblog about Iranian politics and culture (along the same lines
as Metafilter and Monkeyfilter). Many great posts.
Books, Printers and the Information Revolution in
Early Modern Europe.
'The invention in the mid-fifteenth century of a practical method for
mechanically reproducing books was a transforming event in western
society. On one level, printing changed the physical and intellectual
structure of the book, making its contents and circumstances of
production more readily apparent to the reader than had been true when
all books were manuscripts and most readers were specialists. On a
deeper level, the immense increase in the number of books that printing
made possible altered the intellectual, political and religious climate
of Europe. Because of printing, progressively wider and wider circles of
people gained access to books and the ideas they expounded about the
human past and present, about peoples of other lands, and about the
natural and metaphysical worlds ... '
Border Cultures: Conjunto Music.
'The music of the Mexico/United States border region is one of the most
vibrant expressions of this unique culture. The links on this page
provide starting points for learning about the conjunto musical style,
its history, cultural significance, and artistry,;'
Books That Were New When We Were New:
An Exhibit Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the
Founding of the Florida State University.
'In putting together this exhibit, we selected books from the Florida
State University Libraries' collections published in 1851, the year of
the legislative act that established the Seminary West of the Suwannee.
In January of 1851, four schools advertised for students in the
Tallahassee paper The Floridian: the Leon Female Academy, the Quincy
Male and Female Academy, the Atheneum Classical Institute at Bradford,
and Tallahassee High School. From territorial days until 1857 when the
West Florida Seminary was finally located in Tallahassee, a series of
private schools, tutors, and governesses educated the local white
children. Schools for boys came and went until 1850, when the City
Council established a Free School for the education of boys. The Free
School evolved into the Florida Institute whose lands and buildings were
deeded to the State as part of the arrangement for the establishement of
the West Florida Seminary at Tallahassee. The education of girls during
the same period was more stable due to the existence of the Leon Female
Academy which was founded in 1844 and absorbed by the Seminary in 1858,
when instruction was opened to girls as well as boys. In that year, the
City Council agreed to pay $6.26 per quarter for every child in the city
over the age of seven to be taught at the Seminary. The education
offered was typical of the times. For boys, classes in mathematics, the
classics, Greek and Latin, natural history (the biological sciences) and
natural philosophy (the physical sciences), history, English (which
included rhetoric, composition, declamation, and literature), and logic.
For girls, a modern language (generally French), arithmetic, English,
history, piano, and the ornamental arts (drawing, painting, needlework,
and wax work)
New blog :-
plep's puzzles. Just a bit of fun. I will try and update
weekly as I used to do this sort of thing on a MUD I used to
frequent. The current puzzle is an old one (I'm sure
you could find the answer if you searched the Internet, and
I won't pretend to
make these all up by myself, although I may use some of the better
ones I created for the MUD).
Also - NePlep has been
updated. If time allows, I may turn this into a sort of
political and cultural blog about Nepal.
Yedwabne, Poland: History and Memorial Book.
'This book is dedicated entirely to the remembrance of the brethren of
our town, Yedwabne. '
'One of the main goals in publishing it, is to acquaint our "landsleit",
their children and friends with the horrible facts of wholesale murder,
immolation, and slaughter committed by the Nazis and Poles against our
sisters and brothers ... '
'This site presents Chinese, pinyin and English texts of poems by some
of the greatest Chinese poets. Most of the featured authors are from the
Tang dynasty, when culture in China was at its peak, but writers from
other periods are also included.'
Hugo Brehme: Postcards from Mexico.
'German photographer Hugo Brehme is considered one of the outstanding
photographers of Mexico. He was born in Germany in 1882 and died in
Mexico in 1954. For over 40 years Brehme celebrated Mexico's natural
beauty in his scenic landscapes. More importantly, he portrayed with
considerable sensitivity and artistry the rich ethnic mixture of the
Mexican people and their built environment -- a testimony to the
converging of diverse cultures and influences in an intriguing country
that became his own.'
The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s:
An Oral History Project.
'The 1930s saw the flowering of a unique mathematical community
at Princeton University with the construction of a luxurious new
building Fine Hall (now Jones Hall) dedicated to the mathematician
and Dean Harry Fine and designed to facilitate a real community of
mathematicians engaged in research and closely linked with mathematical
physicists in the attached Palmer physics laboratory to which it was
connected and shared a joint math-physics library. This community was
unlike any other in America before that time and perhaps afterwards,
and had important consequences for American mathematics. With the
planning and founding of the Institute for Advanced Study at the
beginning of the decade, originally having only a mathematics department,
which then shared Fine Hall with the university mathematics department as
a single institute during the period 1933 to 1939, starting with three of
the university's leading mathematicians joined by Einstein and Gödel and
attracting many visitors, a very exciting environment developed which
many students and faculty were loath to leave ... '
Lao Tzu's Tao and Wu Wei, 1919.
'Why post yet another translation of the Tao te Ching? This one
is by Dwight Goddard, the author of A Buddhist Bible, and it is a
very transparent and readable version. This translation was the
predecessor of one which Goddard slipped into later editions of the
Buddhist Bible, one of the few explicitly non-Buddhist texts in that
collection. The versions of the Tao te Ching already online are by 19th
century scholars who, although very capable, tend to be a bit pedantic.
The concepts of Taoism are very lucid, and wrapping them in too much
verbiage, as Legge et al did, add an unneeded layer of obscurity. Goddard,
who was a Zen Buddhist and studied eastern philosophy extensively, comes
much closer to the essence of the text, even if he occasionally moves
portions of it around. This book also includes a translation of an extended
essay by Henri Borel on Taoist philosophy and aesthetics.'
A weblog about the southern African nation.