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Entries in Oakland Museum of California (5)


La Catrina (The Elegant Lady)

In the early 1900's, the famous Mexican illustrator and engraver José Guadalupe Posada invented La Catrina (The Elegant Lady). She was created to mock the European-influenced ruling class of Mexico during the autocratic reign of Porfirio Díaz, who served seven terms as president of the country. La Catrina has become an iconic symbol of Día de los Muertos and has been re-invented in a number of forms. The life-sized statue of The Elegant Lady shown above is from the Oakland Museum of California. [NOTE: Love the hat, the feather boa, the lit cigarette – and the tiny, tiny waistline].  


Sitting Alone

Christopher Garrett's (2012) charcoal and graphite rubbing from the Oakland Museum of California (see Oakland Museum of California) seemed just about right for today. 

Goes well with these words from Gary Snyder:

"We have to appreciate the Mind that floats our many selves, gives shelter to our hard-won information and word hoards, and yet remains a sea of surprises. Meditation is the problematic art of deliberately staying open as the myriad things experience themselves".


Illustrated History of the Universe

At home the day after a lovely Christmas. To accompany the beautiful sunny day outside and the fact that all of my kids are home for the holidays, I offer the painting shown above, "Illustrated History of the Universe", by Beat generation visual artist, Jay Defeo. I saw this piece in the Oakland Museum of California (see Oakland Museum of California) and spent a long time gazing at it – and thinking about the universe.

From the signage: "The abstract composition has a light gray impasto surface with a dark gray outline of a circle that appears above center and slightly to the left. Small dots of dark gray paint are splattered across the surface in several places, and a gestural gray line appears at upper right. The artist's handprint is visible at bottom left. A small arrow with "up" appears at top center". Just so you know.

Happy holidays.


Redwood Leaves

More from the Oakland Museum of California. Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D.Don) Endl.) leaf on the left is a 50 million year old fossil. Sample on the right shows what the leaves currently look like. I guess once you settle on something that works you stick with it. [NOTE: There is a Gymnosperm, i.e. conifer, "needle" thing versus an Angiosperm, i.e. flowering plant, "leaf" thing dichotomy at play here - but I'm not going there. Museum signage says "Redwood Leaves"].  


Oakland Museum of California

What a great museum. Fantastic collection of art, wonderful special exhibitions, and a whole wing on the natural history of California. All of my favorite things under one roof. Too much to cover in one post, so I'll start with the art.

Image above shows Untitled (1949) by Richard Diebenkorn; below is Untitled (formerly Self-Portrait, 1945) by Clyfford Still. Both painters re-located to the San Francisco Bay area in the 1940's and became leading figures in Abstract expressionism.