According to the madness that has seduced you

Portrait of the Marchesa Casati by Augustus John

Favourite line so far in the latest AnOther, from a reference to Peggy Guggenheim’s museum  in Venice:

“The palazzo had once been home to another rare bird, the Marchesa Casati, who was a tourist attraction in Venice in the 1910s, walking her pet cheetahs on jewel-encrusted leads nightly throughout the city, nude but for a leopard skin.”

Unbearably intriguing.

You can read more at the Casati Archives, some gems:

“Accompanied by her pet boa constrictor, she checked into the Ritz Hotel in Paris where it escaped….”

“Bizarre wax mannequins sat as guests at her dining table, some of them even rumoured to contain the ashes of past lovers…”

“Nude servants gilded in gold leaf attended her…”

Marchesa Luisa Casati with a Greyhound by Giovanni Boldini

Both the paintings I’ve included here are terribly lovely, but maybe not entirely representative.  Casati was a muse and patron of many avant garde artists, a bit of searching reveals some very dramatic and strange portraits and photographs.

May 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . art, history. Leave a comment.

Marina Abramovic Made Them Cry

Another great reason to be in New York right now – MoMA’s retrospective of performance artist Marina Abramovic. These portraits (by Marco Anelli) are of museum visitors taking part in “The Artist is Present” – in which Abramovic sits at a table in silence, and museum guests can sit across from her and stare. The exhibition runs from 14 March to 31 May (intense!).

April 29, 2010. Tags: , , . art. Leave a comment.

Monet Refuses the Operation

The Walk, Woman with a Parasol (1875)

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say that there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

– by Lisel Mueller

via something changed

February 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , . art, poetry. 2 comments.

Lost Art Of The Letter

From Mick Jagger

February 3, 2010. Tags: , , , . art. 7 comments.

Watch out, my diamonds are reckless!

I love sculptural jewelry, hefty rings and mountains of bracelets all piled up and clashing.  Pearls worn next to perspex.  Delicate chain bangles and spikey chokers.  Mostly on other people!  My collection is small and unassuming, but I love seeing pictures of girls who keep piles of precious things on flowery china plates on their dressing tables.

Wing of Desire

Wing of Desire

I found out about Jessica McCormack via the perenially lovely somuchtotellyou. Her shop is (understandably!) appointment only, and in London, but you can see some of her breathtaking pieces on her website.



Isn’t it all just to die for?  The collections and pieces all have such romantic names  – Messenger of the Gods, Jewels of the Urban Night, Death Star, Bird Bones.  Her blog has extras-for-experts photos too, of the pieces in gorgeous and unexpected display – like the first earring above tucked in a tiny monkey skull.

The Guardian

The Guardian

I know I’ll never afford these in a million years, but because it’s such cleverly designed and finely crafted art, I get so much pleasure from looking that there isn’t really a pain from lack of having.  (Isn’t it TERRIBLY VIRTUOUS of me to say that??)

September 7, 2009. Tags: , , , , . art. 4 comments.

Happily Ever After is so Once Upon A Time

Snowy - Dina Goldstein

For some reason, I am really happy about being single right now.  Spring is in the air and birds are tweeting at each other, the wind keeps changing.  I’ve got a spring in my step and I’m facebookin’ boys, letting myself get distracted.  Listening to Jay-Z and painting my nails blackblackred and buying up floral dresses because you can take turns at being whoever you want, and noone’s keeping track.

Picture by Dina Goldstein

August 31, 2009. Tags: , , . art, boys. 4 comments.

It Hurts To Look At You

The Internet is so exciting right now I don’t want to talk about my own life at all! Because how can late night laundry compete with this amazing Jon Rafman picture essay, The Nine Eyes of Google Street View? It just can’t.

Google Street View in Italy

Google Street View in Italy

The essay’s full of amazing and crazy pictures, scenes that just happened to be caught as the driver did his rounds, houses on fire and people in gutters and beautiful quiet moments that happen every day. Rafman’s commentary is really thoughtful too, about how we’ve become used to this kind of surveillence, how we project stories onto the people caught in the camera, and the detachment of a gaze that wide and silent.

My favourite Google Street view experience was when it first came to New Zealand. After checking out my place, I headed down the road to the Prime Minister’s official residence. And there she was! Standing outside in familiar red jacket, our (now no longer) PM, Helen Clark. Noone’s immune.

It doesn't count as stalking if she doesn't live there anymore

It doesn't count as stalking if she doesn't live there anymore

August 16, 2009. Tags: , , , . art, life is strange. 2 comments.

The Second Hand Unwinds

I’m starting to begrudge every second I spend asleep or inside or doing anything that isn’t incredible.

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

Charles Baudelaire

Oh, Baudelaire. Would that I could be drunk on virtue!

Tim Walker for Swarovski

Tim Walker for Swarovski

July 5, 2009. Tags: , , , . art, writing. 2 comments.

And… We’re Back

I went to Toys-R-Us in Times Square today.   Like everything else in that part of the city, it was a total sensory overload and I had to leave after five minutes before I went into a coma.

Just in case you forget you're in NY

Just in case you forget you're in NY - Lego versions of the Stat of Lib & Empire State Building

It did remind me of the awesomeness of Lego though.  When I was a kid, my brothers used to have epic Lego battles between their teams of cowboys and astronauts.  I played with them of course… running a bipartisan hospital where their troups could recover once injured.  Stereotypical gender roles, yay!?

In a slightly different context, Jan Vormann’s Dispatchment project uses Lego to fill holes in walls, recently in Berlin – where most of the plugging was into gaps made from bullets in WWII.

Jan Vormann Dispatchment Berlin

via todayand tomorrow

It’s a versatile brick.

May 24, 2009. Tags: , , , . art. 6 comments.

The best endeavour waiting in the lion’s mane


Look up. This is the season of shooting stars. Light, two thousand years old, still dazzling. Let me see your face. Your face lit up by twenty centuries. Who told me you had stars in your eyes? Let me see your heavenly body. Star-proof I am not.

Jeanette Winterson, Art & Lies
Photo by Olivia Bee

May 3, 2009. Tags: , , , , . art, writing. 6 comments.

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