Anne and Evelyn

Here are the girls at the Slammer’s current Rachel Whiteread exhibit. Anne is doing her best imitation of Gerhard Richter’s Betty, while Evelyn spotted me trying to surreptitiously take their photograph. After too many years, we hooked up with her again, when business brought her through town. Last night, we ate Italian at Mama’s on the Hill and this morning we dined at Southwest Diner, but mainly we talked, catching up on so many things.

Anne and Evelyn met in junior high and I met her in high school. She stood at our wedding and her witnessing signature is still on that bidding contract that is our marriage license. Like us, she has two boys. She is living in Richmond. She is now working for the CDC as an interviewer, part of a decades long survey of American health. Her job takes her all over the country. She had just finished a session in Alabama and was on her way to Iowa and had a one night layover in Saint Louis, which we stretched into the next day.

Today was supposed to be the Cardinal’s home opener, but rain has postponed that until tomorrow. A rainy day made for the perfect venue to go to the art museum though. Pictured below is the signature work in the Whiteread show. It is composed of twenty-five resin casts of the underside of chairs. Much of her work is devoted to the exploration of such negative spaces. We also had time to explore much of the museum’s permanent collection, including Chris’s Spanish doors. Evelyn was suitably impressed. I should mention that in Chicago we saw an analogous pair of doors, but their condition was in such a state of disrepair that any comparison with the ones here is almost insulting. 

Twenty-Five Spaces, Rachel Whiteread, 1995


Private Parking X

Private Parking X, Don Eddy, 1971

Private Parking X, Don Eddy, 1971

In this painting, I especially like the throwback signage, Blue Chip Stamps and Bank Americard, and the classic yellow-orange California license plates. My first car was a VW Bug with plates like those. I understand that California is reissuing this iconic license plate scheme as sort of a vanity plate. Here is the Saint Louis Art Museum’s write-up on this painting:

A chain link fence extends across this composition, preventing access to the lot where a gleaming red Volkswagen is parked. Don Eddy, known for his paintings of automobile show rooms and parking lots, masterfully portrays reflective surfaces and employs traditional techniques of depth perspective. His visually complex work is built from layers of imagery and text from American car and consumer culture. In Private Parking X the patterned overlay of metal fencing adds an element of abstraction to an otherwise realistic depiction.

It rained this morning, spoiling our planned organized bicycle ride. It was one of Trailnet’s community rides. This one was called Bicrobrews and as the name implies constituted a combination bike ride and tours of several microbreweries. Yes, beer drinking would have been involved and since the ride started in the morning that old adage, “beer’s not just for breakfast anymore”, would have rung true. alas it was not to be, because of the rain. Later, in the afternoon, Anne and I did mange to squeeze in a wee bit of a ride, between the morning and afternoon thunder-boomers. I’m willing to accept all this rain on the weekend, because of the low temperatures that they bring. It is humid though.  


Portrait of a Woman, Roman, Imperial period, 2nd century, gouache on wood

Portrait of a Woman, Roman, Imperial period, 2nd century, gouache on wood

As per usual, the highlight of SNL last weekend was the Lonely Island digital short. This time the show’s host Adam Levine and musical guest Kendrick Lamar pitched in to help out. The target of their derision was the most annoying 2012 neologism, YOLO. This acronym is shorthand for you only live once. Here is a link to SNL’s YOLO short. YOLO was voted in a Time Magazine poll, the word or phrase that most people thought should be banned in 2013. So, if we only live once and if life is so short, why am I still wasting precious breath on this annoying phrase?

The picture with this post is a portrait of an Egyptian woman who lived almost two-thousand years ago. Nothing remains of her except for this painting in the Saint Louis Art Museum. Her eyes make this a striking image, but was that really her or was it an artifact of the artist’s style? The text that follows is the museums description of this artwork.

Large, almond-shaped eyes dominate this striking portrait of a well-to-do Egyptian woman (note her gold and pearl earrings). Created using gouache paint on wood, this portrait was likely commissioned while she was still alive, capturing her in middle age with gray-streaked hair and deep forehead creases. Gouache paint is similar to watercolor but modified to make it an opaque painting medium. At her death, it would have been placed on her coffin. Unlike the idealized faces from dynastic Egypt, this portrait from Egypt’s Roman period portrays the subject as she looked during her life.

Carpe diem – seize the day has a similar connotation as YOLO, except that YOLO has been engulfed as an Internet meme that is probably the main reason that so many people are sick of this acronym. There are far too many pictures on the web that show people yelling YOLO, just before they do something stupid. Life is both short and uncertain. All to soon any one of us will be considered lucky to have a bit of painted wood, to be remembered with.

In the spirit of YOLO, I took the afternoon off from work today. Most of my office had already bailed, by the time that I left work. This afternoon was a gorgeous 73 °F day. It was a great day for a bicycle ride, because you know, YOLO. 😉