10.0 on the Richter scale

I really was “out of it” when I wrote my last entry; I got sidetracked and totally forgot to mention that we went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art after the DAT, courtesy of Jen (and Bain & Company). It was a mixed bag. Some pieces I “get”, and it’s fun to explore them for a while. Others I just don’t get, and it’s easy to get frustrated with them. Imagine that you’re staring at a huge, uniform gray canvas, conveniently called Untitled. What does that say to you? It doesn’t say much to me, I’ll tell you that. Another work consisted of random pen-and-pencil scribblings on a piece of wax paper. I know that a lot of art is in the eye of the beholder and blah blah, but the artist has got to get you started somehow — otherwise I could skip the trip to San Francisco, and just sit in my room with my lights off. Anyway, even the bad pieces were fun, courtesy of some wacky, hilarious “interpretations” given by my companions. And there was a stunning exhibition of Gerhard Richter paintings that made the whole trip worthwhile. Here’s what sfmoma.com has to say about him:

Richter’s body of work calls into question many widely held attitudes about the inherent importance of stylistic consistency, the “organic” evolution of individual artistic sensibility, the spontaneous nature of creativity, and the relationships of technology and mass media imagery to traditional studio methods and formats. While many contemporary Postmodernists have explored these issues by circumventing or dismissing painting as a viable artistic option, Richter has challenged painting to meet the demands posed by new forms of conceptual art, in the process confirming the vitality of painting as a mode of expression.

Um…. okay. I’m glad he likes painting, because he’s really good at it. I don’t think I can do a very good job describing his style, so I won’t try. This painting (yes, it is a painting) is one of his. If you’re intrigued by it, search on the web for more :).

The last few days have been quite pleasurable: tennis, ping pong, watching football, reading, playing guitar, hanging out with people as they drift back in from vacation, and doing a bit of work. I feel like an old man, though: I need at least one, usually two naps a day just to make it through. For instance, today I got up at 10, had a nap from 1-1:30, and then another nap from 3-4:45 (yes, nearly two hours). And I was all ready to call it a night at 10 pm! Next thing I know I’ll have to start getting some adult-sized diapers.

I’m reading this really brilliant book, Life on Earth by David Attenborough. It’s a general overview of the history of life, eminently readable, full of fascinating examples, and loaded with gorgeous full-color pictures. The good thing is that Attenborough doesn’t cut any corners; he describes everything from an evolutionary standpoint. For instance if he’s talking about a specific adaptation, he’ll delve into both the proximate and ultimate explanations for it, and will also cite exactly how scientists have arrived at those reasons — hints by design or fossils found in Madagascar or whatever. And, believe it or not, all of this is done in fluid, entertaining fashion. I’m loving it, and just ordered several of his other books on Half.com. If they’re anywhere as good I’ll be thrilled.

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One Response to 10.0 on the Richter scale

  1. Anonymous says:

    Attenborough

    Hells yeah, David Attenborough rocks my world. You’ve got to get Life of Mammals now. And please read Machine Dreams (and all who read this) a fantastic and devasting novel that will sort you out re: Iraq though is completely unrelated to old David. Beth x