New week on the horizon

scherenschnitte1. Q. Cassetti, pen and ink, 2011Old week coming to a close. Since we spoke last, I have cooked up a storm, visited with people, shopped in Corning and in Waterloo, searched for shoes, and tried to sleep in between. We have had visitors from both sides of the family and lots of wonderful time with our dear girl and darling boy.

So the cooking started late Wednesday afternoon in prep for Kitty’s arrival. It was dinner and a few little things. She arrived around ten at the bus station—so Rob and I went to get her. She came home and ate a phenomenal amount of food…talking and chatting, laughing and opinionizing. Delightful. But it got late and we all had to put our heads down. Alex had friends over, so they listened to music and watched movies (which they always do).

Thursday, it was up and early. We had a dinner to put on the table, “wheels up” by 4. Everything was defrosted. The brined breasts washed, the salad compiled, the maple walnut layer cake iced and decorated. Table was set. Placecards made and placed. All went without a hitch. New refinements to this year’s even were: 1) preheat the premade gravy in advance. Use the hand/emersion blender to froth up before serving. You can add a bit more parsley at that time to freshen things up; 2) Second type of cranberry. I make the raw orange/cranberry/bit of sugar in the food processer so its chunky kind. This year I mulled some cider (about 3 c. cider, 1 seeded orange cut in  half (put 4 cloves in each half (skin side), squeeze the juice into the cider, 2 cinnamon sticks…and boil.) then, I put 2 bags of fresh cranberries into the cider (you can sweeten/ I didnt) and let them pop… What with the pectin in the fruit, it makes a lovely change and alternative to the raw stuff); and 3) prior to the early gravy making with the early stock making (turkey legs and wings from t he cheap parts section of the turkey aisle at the store)—make a TON as you do use it). Stock is key to Thanksgiving. I should have put a number at each placesetting to force people to change partners at dessert…and need to remember this for the next festa. Only downside to the party was that a family member was out of line with his behavior which soured the event for me. Better planning in the future to manage this behavior is needed. Nice thing is that this misbehavior is consistent. It was silly me to expect better. Next time.

I fully engaged the boneyard moments after the Thanksgiving festivities were winding down. The full carcass of the 19 lb. organic, natural, loved turkey, and Mr. Purdue’s fresh natural breast were boiled away after roasting to yield me three enormous containers of stock for the next Turkey fest after the 25th of December. Plans are in place to have a family party of kids and their friends for more of the same…We will see.

Eddys and Cassettis, November 25, 2011Friday, my brother Tom, his wife, Jenny and three wonderful kids came to visit on the way home to Boston. It was great to see them, albeit a bit short as we were just beginning to get warmed up.  They arrived in an enormous truck, something Hagrid from Harry Potter might have driven, the “Raptor” with my nephew who has grown to way over 6’ tall and the girls lovely and chatty. I loved seeing them. What a treat. So we had pizza and gabbed and laughed. I said wicked things to prompt them to join in, but they were so well bred, they snickered but didnt take the bait the way team Cassetti always does. The day was gorgeous…vernal with green grass, bright orange sunlight and a blue sky. It was November in SoCal, not Central New York. But we will take these blessings as they come…hoarding them as jewels. Rob and I did a quick strategic strike at the Black Friday Corning Museum of Glass sale. It was remarkable by 3 p.m. how much merchandise had been cleared out of the museum and the big auditorium with the big ticket items. I bought some drinking glasses, some glass jewelry and a few presents to add to mypile….for a great price. The big things they had were a huge selection of Waterford drinking glasses, example of Iittala Toikka Birdstumblers, wine and water glasses, a huge selection of Riedel glasses, and a huge selection of the Iittala Toikka Birds at very good prices. Everything was 20% off across the board with deeper savings throughout the boutiques. It was amazing…and hopefully it will all bode well for the Museum of Glass financially. High class stuff for good prices is hard to beat and next weekend is the fabulous Studio Sale which I recommend anyone in the area to make a visit for. Well worth the trip. We will not be here, so listen…and you will hear my teeth gnashing from down south! Go and hit the dollar table…the interesting experimental drinking glasses will make your morning orange juice something to celebrate or at least, notice. Latticino spun plates and bowls, some lovely cast glass….and so on. Too fun. All one offs.

We bought new dancing shoes for Kitty and a plaid shirt for Alex at TJMaxx to their delight. Kitty was giddy with her new shoes…for contradancing and the costume shop (her new reference points). Alex, as usual, was “hitting it” and working on the new look for Fall Winter Alexstyle. We are going to take some pix for fun and put in an application for Ford Models for  A. He wants to do it, and I can take the shots…why not? The worst thing would be that nothing would happen. No change from today, right? And in the tradition of our house, you should try and try and try. You never know.

Today, we went to the Waterloo outlets to get pants for Rob. This week is Art Basel Miami and Design Miami. Rob will be speaking at Musecon on Tuesday and doing some business/ meetings this week until  A. and I show up on Thursday and Friday to take in some art and happenings. So we needed to get some things so that Rob could look like the grown up he is. Costuming is complete. Now for the packing for him (Florida and Manhattan, from swimwear to formal wear…sounds almost Miss America-sh). He has lots of work in front of him, but if things happen postively, 2012 will be far more interesting (and diverse/complicated).

The sky is paynes gray grading to cream to light pink to paynes grey again. We have had some spectacular sunrises and sunsets in the past few SoCal days. It would be great for things to quiet down a bit so I can put some ink down and then settle in for an hour or so of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie (who I have loved from his other biographies, particularly that of Nicholas and Alexandra). But just time with my pens would be lovely.

I hope you gave thanks with friends and family…surrounded by the people that get you revved up and going. I love this holiday of gratitude. We should have more of them. The count the blessings holidays. I am thankful we just have the one we have…but a monthly one would be great too. There will be lots to talk about in the next week. Stay tuned!


We woke up to a perfect LA day. Went for a short walk in the neighborhood around the Kimpton, exclaiming like blind people about the plants, the color, the light the things that are unremarkable to those who live here. There were beautiful white roses, plump peace roses, all manners of palms, blue plants, purple plants, trees with berries, another form of bittersweet. The grass is gorgeous, and it must be becoming sping here because the glossy, leathery leaves of magnolias are coming on, and in some of these magnolias,there are buds on the branches.

We hopped in the car with two bouncy, chatty teenagers and headed over to Westwood for breakfast at the Corner Bakery which was delicious and really inexpensive. The baked goods were noteworthy--with the most interesting thing they do (I plan to do at home) is essentially twice bake thinly cut raisin bread and coat it with a layer of sanding sugar..all chunky and glistening. They also had a swiss oatmeal (cold with fresh fruit) that was outstanding and cost less thand $3.00.

Then, off for more walking around their college town. We saw all the famous movie theatres, shops and to my delight something really vernacular for Westwood. Along the side street of the shopping area, there were food stands/shacks set up--much like the stands we saw on Oliveria Street. More very local street food--korean, japanese, burgers with sit down or stand up tables. These stands are back to basics, probably built by the cooks that run these places....and from what I read, these stands are often the starting point for some of the restaurants here in LA. The group broke up for a short time with Rob going off to scout the Hammer Museum and the kids and I going to Urban Outfitters to see what there was to see (and buy). About an hour later, I had bought 2 belts and 2 pairs of pants for A, and 2 tunics, and a pair of metallic silver leggings for K. Off to the Hammer.

The Hammer is noteworthy as it was formerly a dusty, musty museum filled with old masters that was very restrained...(and probably not too popular with the college crowd). However, with a new director and a link to UCLA, the Hammer has upped the ante with their programs, presentation and work to become a beautiful jewel in Westwood. They use their interior and exterior spaces beautifully with fabric, pillows and curtains to define spaces that lead to the galleries and theatre. UCLA has a screening space ; The Billy Wilder Theatre, in which they screen the UCLA film series. The Billy Wilder is a spare area using huge blow ups of portraits of Wilder or select images from Wilder's work. Very black and white with benday dots.

We saw an absolutely rocking show on woodcuts, "Gouge"--woodcuts from 1870 to the present and another on portraits that were extensive and has me kicked in the booty. There was an Eduard Munch that printed a board/wood grain in a warm grey on beige/tan with the main form, sparely printed in black. Others just went to town printing the grain as part of the design of the piece. There were four woodcuts by Spanish artists: Artemio Rodriguez (1962, Mexican) Triumph of Death, 2007; Luiz Penalver Collazo ( Cuba, 1927) Latin American Unite and Carmelo Gonzalez Iglesias (Cuba, 1920-1990) were the show stoppers for me. These pieces were oversized (often as many as 5 panels across and 3 down)and absolutely muscular and vehement in the line, content and expression in black and white. Totally up my alley. The transition from image to image combined with a masterful use of black and white rocked my world. These artists were all working with politically charged content--often shifting scale within their pieces to stress a point or draw the eye... The portrait show was a show with the Grunewald Center at UCLA . HIghlights for me were Kathe Kolowitz's self portrait, a Durer portrait and my new favorite, Kahinde Wiley (remember Art Basel Miami's artist who does portraits of Rap stars??) with two amazing graphite portraits that were spare of line, and a delicate hand. I could go on all day about this stuff, but our day was long.

Then, lunch at The Stand in Westwood. The Stand is probably one of those stands that grew up. We all had burgers (which was what the room was doing) and took in the crowd, the vibe. It was great. We got in the car and did a little "lay of the land" drive through the UCLA, through Beverly Hills to the canyons to end up at an old favorite place of ours, Tree People.

Tree People has changed significantly since we went there last with a lot of new buildings, a nursery, and more groomed trails. It was absolutely amazing (as usual) with the smells from the eucalyptus, bay trees almost overwhelming you in the damp humidity that always seems to be part of the the Tree People environment. Lots of trees in bloom with vistas on our walk, opening up to seeing into the canyon and beyond--with the houses nestled into the valleys. It was the perfect break to the museums and shopping. K and A were laughing and teasing...and loud (as they proudly told us) which made it fun to be almost anywhere.

From there, R navigated with his new gps on his blackberry to get us to LACMA. LACMA, the LA County Museum of Art, is an uber museum with a huge range of galleries from contemporary to classic which embraces many repurposed buildings on a multiblock campus. There is art inside and out...with a wonderful installation of streetlights between the entrance space and that of the Contemporary building. We saw a great show of Vanity Fair photography with K and I swooning over the Steichen work. We gift shopped (lots of great books and gear...and a lot on sale) . We saw a sports inspired show with the highlights being a video piece with all kinds of levels of information projected with a tweaked soundtrack (overlaid by a person that quietly stated they liked cheese) My hands down favorite were five pieces done by an artist who translated Pacific Northwest ritual masks and totems out of sports gear. The totem was created out of many black and red golf bags with the masks being constructed out of sports shoes cut in half and joined together--with artifical hair (probably from wigs) when needed. Spectacular...

Then off to the Contemporary space to see a wonderful Jeff Koons show (complete with Michael Jackson and Bubbles, an aluminum Balloon dog to name a few). A was very taken with it and it puzzled him. We toured the collection with Ed Ruche, Jasper Johns, Rauschenburg with A adoring it all. He read the side panels and took time with the pieces. The watch word in the contemporary space is warm red. All the vertical architctural members outside of the building were warm red....and upon entrance, you are presented a huge Barbara Kruger installation that frames an enormous elevator (also warm red) that traverses the floors. Truly huge elevator that Rob likened to a container size ( 10' x 30') which was art particularly when it took us to another amazing pair of installations by Richard Serra--much in the same hand and spirit as his pieces at Dia Beacon. This also prompted a lot of very pointed questions from A about why would someone do this sort of work? why would they do it? what was the point? Serra's massive steel (250 tons of molten steel for these pieces) express space, toy with the material and engage the viewer in thinking about outside, inside, and aptly framed up, rooms, by R. Perhaps we can go back to LACMA to see the show on Latin American artists and Indonesian textiles (separate shows--though the fusion would be great).

We met Rob's sister, Gloria, back at the Kimpton after driving through Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive with Christmas going full bore. The best of the best was that Baccarat had created chandeliers (each in a box) which were suspended over the street (two per pole) which were lit in the evening. No way would the luxury glass company we were affiliated be able to do to that extreme for attention. It was great.

Of course, there was more laughing and talking with the teens...We are creating a story line about a woman names Kitty Katz who was married to Bernard, the Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and her liasons with her imported Christmas Decorator, Dimitri (from Russia) and her pool boy, Apollo from Greece. Kitty Katz has a solid gold car that doesnt have an engine. It just looks good. She lives in one of these confabulous houses we drive by...and the imagination goes wild. I think K and I need to do this as an extra credit project and have her publish a chick lit book before she finishes high school. It was very funny and fun for the group.

Dinner with Gloria was at Nanbankan on Sawtelle...a yakatori restaurant with amazing skewers of food from asparagus and ham all roasty to tiny lamb chops, and sushi. Nanbankan is hidden away (you really need someone to take you there) with a door inside a nondescript building that you enter from the back. It has been recognized by all the magazines, and they earned their status. Mr Ono, the owner, has a daughter who rides with Gloria (and sometimes competes) so that is where the link is...and is as extra kind and familial to her. She is lucky.

Today promises rain. We need to collect ourselves and get to Hermosa Beach with a trip to the grocery store for tomorrow. Other than that, we will see what will evolve. I am sure it will be great!

Fairfield Porter ((June 10, 1907 - September 18, 1975)

"The presence in a painting.. is like the presence a child feels and recognizes in things and the way they relate, like a doorknob, the slant of a roof or its flatness, or the personality of a tool. Art does not succeed by compelling you to like it, but by making you feel this presence in it. Is someone there? This someone can be impersonal." Fairfield Porter.

An older artist than either Pearlstein or Welliver, Fairfield Porter was a more reticent realist, and with no link to Abstract Expressionism. He was largely self-taught. From the mid-1950s on he stayed away from Manhattan, preferring to paint on Long Island and on Great Spruce Head Island in Maine, which his family owned. This didn't put him out of touch with "the scene" - Porter was a gifted and lucid art critic as well as a painter - but he needed to be in constant touch with his motifs, especially American light and the still expanses of coastal field and sea. Porter rejected the piety that the empirically painted figure or landscape was dead. It simply didn't accord with his deepest convictions about how art relates to experience and conveys its "density" - a favorite word of his. from artchive>>

Wayne White

We saw Wayne White's work at the Western Project Gallery at Aqua in Miami. Just a little share with you. He is a smartie. Love him.

From Trendy DNA:
Wayne White, a Chattanooga-born artist living and working in Los Angeles, buys mass-produced thrift-store/garage-sale lithographs and paints amazing 3D word-art onto them. His use of typography is stunning, reminiscent of Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library covers.

In his professional life, he’s an acclaimed commercial artist, famously known as the art director for Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time,” the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight Tonight,” and the Snapple bottle puppet commercials. He was also the voice of Mr. Kite and Randy on Pee Wee’s Playhouse, where he was a set designer and puppet maker. ArtForum reviewed his artwork in late 2002. More information, including more images and a bio, is available at the Western Project.

WIKI says>>

Kaikai KiKi

After Red Dot (an aside, at Red Dot they actually posted prices unlike other venues we visited which was educational as the top seemed around $25,000 to a little business card with a drawing on it for $45. with quite a few pieces ranging around $1500-$2000/, we went back to GlassLab and met up with Steve. Grabbing Steve, we went off to Kartel to look at the nice outdoor sofas and side chairs they had and on to see the Takashi Murakami showroom. Well, that crazy Murakami had enormous to small plush balls of the happy flowerface along with a selection of silver jewelry, a sofa set covered in his fabric. It was very simple but very tangible to concieve of his work in your house. The big plush floral balls were a hoot (and I will post some pictures for your viewing pleasure) and outside of the gallery environment (note post last December on the LA Temporary Contemporary show we saw) it works in a cute and warm way. I think this guy is brilliant. More later>>

Friday: Art Basel Miami

Yesterday was filled with art, head spinning art, design, cool stuff and books. It had friends--old and new, friends we bumped into and just being friends (Q&R). It was, as mostly, a perfect Miami day with sun, a bit of humidity and clouds, but few. We started at the Convention Center to be there when the doors opened by noon--and we could only do about 2 and a half hours before both of our heads were buzzing, and eyes ringing. I did a solid five hours last year by myself--where I was going deep, taking notes about everything and not having as social and pleasant as it was with R. It was more like work--looking, seeking, comparing for ideas, approaches and confirmation with the death stuff I was on. It was also my November school get away as I was neither at Hartford or Syracuse. This year, stimulation is not as craved as I have plenty from all I was there to scoop up bits, see some trends, exclaim over the funny, profane or amazing. That was my goal. So, what did we see that was great:

Sparkles. They are everywhere. Applied to 2D stuff. Sequinned and rhinestoned 3 D stuff (I think triggered by Damien Hirst's Diamond encrusted skull)--from antlers, to strings of glittery glimmer to, diamond studded teeth in mink encased in lucite...Everywhere. Somehow signalling the end of the fat times--or maybe just the exclamation point before the fog of recession settles in.

Antlers: Everywhere.

symbols of consumption: Chanel double Cs, golden guns, exotic animal prints, gold plate everything. Very Paris Hilton, or Phat in the styling. I find it repulsive and not funny, but I think some think its funny. I think it is sadly telling about our culture.

Artists I saw and Loved:

R. Crumb drawings of Aline. Funny but somehow poingnant out of the R. Crumb spinning tale graphic novel approached.

Alex Cerveny's watercolors and small paintings using beautiful gradients, a consistent thin warm red border around his works. Lots of floating heads, twisting people and imagery that reflected a real understanding of medieval manuscripts. He used type on his images, sometimes creating halos with words. Beautiful florals. He is represented by Casa Triangulo, Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Alice Neels's painting of James Hunter Black Draftee, 1965 was startling and beautiful. Neel masterfully, and simply sketched the whole seated figure on a light neutral field and then went about painting the face boldly. This piece was breathtaking.

Steven Conroy's work shown through the Marleborough Gallery stopped me dead. His painting of JKIII, 2008 was a strong, simple portrait that was commanding in the confidence Conroy shows in the way he handles his paint--socking in the big stuff and then boldly using a dark line to delineate areas. Felt very Leindecker in its huge scale, simple blocking and tackling, memorable. I need to see more of Conroy's painting as it is masterful and was a teaching image for me.

Big year for Botero in numerous galleries. There was a lovely sculpture of a man astride a horse in a stone that sparked making the sculpture look as if the equestrian and horse were carved crisply out of a block of sugar. Since his work he did on Guantanemo that we saw a few falls back at the Marleborough Gallery, I found I loved him for his work and his thinking. Prior to that, I loved him for his approach, style and sweetness. He is back to sweetness with many new images being chubby acrobats, women riding horses in the circus, clowns (Comedia Del'Arte inspired versus "bring in the clowns" clowns). Very inspired by the work of Picasso. What was intriguing beyond the paintings which are looser...are his simple line drawings he tinted lightly with watercolor. I took notes. I can do this. And it looked good...snapped up some relatively ordinary drawings.

Russian artist, Stas Volyazlovsky's Magic Mirror was drawn on tea stained fabric> some of them looking like old runners with lace on the end, drawn with black and blue ballpoints. The style was very informed by russian tattoos or even street art. Volyazlovsky parodied religious and political theme weaving crowns, and symbols for the devil in with portraits of George Bush and Hitler, linking the Oscars with the Oskars--marrying western and eastern language and type forms....amazing.

Kehinde Wiley's portrait of Luis Carlos Neves Reis Study II,2008--oil wash on paper was outstanding. His portrait was bold, big (head must have easily been 18" tall) with flat fabric patterns behind and in front. Chad G. would have loved.

Greyson Perry's Map to Nowhere at the Paragon Press is a showstopper. It is a big engraving (pieced together), an edition of 15 with all sorts of religious, anatomical, political, geographic symbology with wonderful hand lettering saying the funniest and sobering things all together chock full of meanings and messages that only viewing it can accomplish.

Book Notes:
Taschen was there. These are keepers by Taschen:
Illustration Now (people to research later>>Ben Goss, Olaf Hajek, Christoph Nieman, Jordin Isip, Jody Hewgill, Melinda Beck, Craig Frazier)
Graphic Design Now
Wiener Werstatte
Guidelines for Online Success

Visionaire was there. Visionnaire does art projects with artists. To see more>>

Art Metro was there with books on Matt Leines (of Juxtapoz fame) for one. Also hade a series of books written by Hans Ulricch Obrist on artists (R Crumb interview for one.)

Art a tremendous resource.

Then we went back to Design Miami and walked the Design Miami Pavillion. I need to take a moment and talk about the real hit of the show, the lighting. There is this very intense highly focused lighting that is the rage. I went into a gallery with a bunch of Hans Arp drawings and small paintings and the talk in the room after the gasps was not about the art, but the framing projectors used and the intensity of the light used. Same in the Design Miami Pavillion that featured an opulent Audi with these impressive lights focused on it. Made 3 D seem dull.

There was a ton to see at Design Miami--actually surprisingly refreshing from the din and sheer volume of art from the Convention Center. Standouts were books, a splashy single chandelier that changed color from Swarovski--very Las Vegas, very Celebrity Cruises--and in the context of a big white space, kind of funny and sweet in the showgirl brazeness it has.

designer: Studio Job
manufacturer: Studio Job, The Netherlands
marquetry in natural Indian Rosewood with iconography in dyed African Koto, Pama, Tulipwood, Ash, Bird's Eye Maple, Aningeria, Madrona Burl, Birch and Red Gum
exclusive to Moss produced in a limited edition of 6 pieces

However, I almost passed out from the "Bavaria" collection of work Murray Moss had on show from Studio Job. It was the battlecry for all of us decorative illustrators waiting for new things to do! Marquetry on simple benches, tables, cabinets, mirrors using imagery near and dear to the members of Studio Job, the dutch life of farming. Symmetry, color, flat tones, a sweet story that any grown up or child would embrace. Among all the sophistry and chic, these whimsical illustrations were in your face, demanding (as with the Sheik of Chic) you pay attention, and while you are at it, be charmed. This collection of furniture came out of bigger farm based project called, "Farm". Now, could I live with this stuff? probably not. But, its a wonderful world that we can know that this sort of work is commissioned and sold to those who are as charmed as I am.

We had a nice sit and a drink in the HSBC lounge (for those with the right badges)--in an environment created by the Campana brothers, sort of a tiki chic thing with winding benches with rattan knit pillows and the Campanas loopy red chairs. There was a video extolling the Campanas and there as we were sipping or cool ones, strode the men themselves, the Campanas, celebs there to meet friends and have their pictures taken. We later saw the Campanas at Al-Sabah 's posing with the al Sabah himself. Al Sabah had moved some furniture as many of the pieces we saw on Friday were replaced with new ones...and he had lovely women in arab garb, more men in the same with plates of falafel, and inlaid boxes open with pieces of baklavah and other treats being offered about. More gigantic pyramids of dates, and dishes of pistachios.

It was fun seeing Tim Dubitsky work on with the GlassLab team to create 2 tattoos three dimensionally (one a flaming heart with a dagger, the other a sword with a rose) that were truly tour de forces to create on site (from blowing to at bench flameworking) to putting a significant number of truly developed forms onto one piece without thermal shock. Impressive. And, the pieces were remarkable too. This all ended around 9:30.

We strolled down the street (amazingly developed since last year this time) walking by Genius Jones (a great kids store) and no end to kitchen supply, tile supply, furniture and gallery shops to Pacific Time, a restaurant you need to pencil in for dinner the next time you come to Miami. Chef and owner, Jonathan Eismann is married to an old friend of the Cassettis so we needed to go and support the team and see this wonderous place. Pacific Time was a buzz--every table filled, all ages, sizes and shapes...turning tables and taking another seating even at ten. We had fish and wonderful sides of eggplant and another of swiss chard which made me consider being a vegan might not be the hardest thing to do. The real deal is to do as our knowlegable neighbors did which was to have the "whole shebang"-- one of every "small plate" offering that have to share for the table. Watching this go down was like really getting a visual and smell based review of the menu. From what I saw and sniffed...everything was beautiful, imaginative and distinct not to mention amazing.

Must go, the day is getting away from me.

Thursday: Miami touchdown

Got into Miami and met the airport in a very nice white rental Kia. We zipped into town famished, and decided to have lunch in the Design District and check in on the team. And So we did. They were all in fine form and after a great deal of hi-ing and helloing we had a lunch of yellowtail grilled and this wonderful escarole. Off to the new celeb's shop, "the Sheik of Chic", Majed J Al-Sabah's shop who was debuting two collections of furniture art which was enough for me just to say that I had seen the best and I could go home.

Al-Sabah in his brochure in his tribute says about his collections:

To deliver my Middle Eastern design message to the world. Being faced with a lot of ignorance til this date, I wanted again to show the world how beautiful our region is.

Highlighted were selected works by Huda Baroudi and Maria Hibri and Pieke Bergmans. Baroudi and Hibri started Bokja taking artisanal ttraditions and sensibilites of the east in crating contemporatry furniture and fusing them with a medley/patchwork of iconic middle eastern fabrics. Fabulous. Bergmans collected middle eastern furniture, decorated with a riot of mother of pearl and inlay and laid hot glass forms on the surface of these pieces, scorching the furniture and fusing the organic glass shapes with the rigid decorative pieces to wonderful results. To top it off, if the work wasnt great enough, they perfumed the air with spicy incense and had trays of enormous dates and nuts offering generous hospitality and warmth to all of us who visited. I highly recommend visiting.

Back to the glasslab, a little time to relax and do emmail and then dinner with the team at Garcias. Early night. I hope the convention center this morning.

making a list

All ancillary, move aside. Its Christmas insanity today along with prep for my trip and then a healthy dose of redo work (rescaling the holiday card for a client for the Chairman's exclusive 250 piece order) and a RFQ (Request for Quotation) on a big, wiggly photography project that we need to get funds for, but no one has wrapped their head around it. We will need to get this RFQ out tomorrow so as to have numbers early (Mon) next week so as to be able to roll that into a big budget request by Wednesday. Didn't I say it was the end of the year? So, no House of Health as I need the time for laundry,dishes, writing schedules, getting money and working. No rest for the wicked.

Did I mention how much I love Facebook? I joined Facebook for the same reasons I joined MySpace (and promptly quit MySpace)--to see how it works, to see the tone and feel to better understand and monitor my kids, the world they are living in, the attitudes and talk amongst the friends etc. And, because of that, I love Facebook as much as they do, have a better appreciation of what and how they are communicating and catching up with people I had lost touch with. I am jealous of my kids as the friends they have now, will continue to be friends with the ability to always catch up, snippets of chat, the hi howyadoin' being something easy and fun with community sites like Facebook, cellphones and the computer, email and gmail and snail mail. And to be honest, there is a lot of stupid talk amongst that set, but least they are talking, writing and reading (which is all good). Now, why do I love Facebook?

Well, I can do all the same things my kids can do--meet new people (or people you kind of met, and now you have a friendly jokey relationship), look at people's pictures etc, and actually use the chat function to talk live with pals like I did with the illustrious, illustrator and all round nice guy, Don Kilpatrick, Syracuse MA Illustration alumni (a class ahead of me). Don, as usual, was full of bounce and wasn't going to get a chance to see his piece in the KNOW show that Mark Murphy was sponsoring at Art Basel Miami in one of the satellite shows. (Note: if we get there, take a snap for Don). He is working very hard with teaching in Michigan but says the climate of the Big Three (Car companies) not doing well really makes the environment quite tough, quite tough indeed that the tenor and tone is hard at this time.

Well, the tribe is here. David Burke and John Whiting are opening up the door from the old historic kitchen into the current (1940) kitchen which was formerly the servant's dining room. We are opening the area to make way for a new kitchen which right now has the lovely hot cricket, the tiny woodstove that packs a punch that will help both rooms stay warm/warmer. There are projects to do, stains to touch, suitcases to empty, letters to write. More later.

a selection from Laylah Ali

"I’m thinking about formal portraits, but the portraiture that I’m thinking of when I’m making these encompasses a much bigger range than I’m thinking about right now. I’m thinking of them as distinct individuals who exist or who have existed. The idea is for the distinctness of that individual to come through and to speak in some way about a narrative that is not readily apparent. So something about the way the person is dressed or their setting or the weathering of their face tells you a story. The look in their eyes speaks of something larger. Think of society portraiture in the late 1800s, like a [John Singer] Sargent painting. He commissioned portraits of very wealthy individuals and you’re looking at the individual as much as you are at their dress, what they’re holding, what the setting is—the whole picture. With really amazing portraits, the painting of them also plays a role. The quality of paint and something about the eyes, those sorts of artistic decisions become an active part of really good portraits.

The idea of portraiture is a kind of storytelling—a distilled storytelling. I am interested in distilled narratives so the idea of trying to tell a story or hint at something larger than the individual—through the individual—became interesting to me. It’s new for me to do this and I’m not sure where it’s going to go from here. I think this is the first step at looking at these individual characters and blowing them up large. I’ve had individual figures before in my work, but they have been more distant, more distant, more deep into the picture." Laylah Ali from Art 21, PBS

a patchwork of disconnected pieces

Giant Planet, 2007 Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem (PIA08358) Photograph courtesy of NASA/JPL/SSI/Cornell

From the Johnson Museum website:
Spectacular Saturn: Images from the Cassini-Huygens MissionSeptember 20–January 4

This exhibit displays over fifty images of the planet Saturn, its rings, and its satellites. This selection, by Cornell members of the Cassini project, was made from almost two hundred thousand images that have been transmitted to Earth since the Cassini spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004. It also includes a few images taken by Huygens, a companion lander that parachuted through the dense atmosphere to the surface of Saturn’s intriguing moon, Titan. The stunningly beautiful images were chosen to emphasize the dynamic nature of the system and the interactions of moons and rings, as well as to explore Titan and Enceladus, two satellites with environments that might be hospitable to life. A spacecraft model will also be on view as well as historical books about Saturn from the Kroch Rare and Manuscript Collection.

A façade projection of images from Saturn will be seen on the east side of the Museum from sunset until 11:00 p.m. between October 2 to 26.

We saw this show along with a lovely collection of Surimono images collected by the Becker family at the Johnson Museum at Cornell prior to our going to see a movie, changed from proclaimed to "happy go lucky". These Saturn images were much so that it really raises the bar for our friends the science fiction illustrators as now so much that had to be imagined, reconstructed or modelled is now reality in these images. It was a small collection of photographs produced by a collaboration of people and groups from NASA, to the leadership of Steve Squires (Mars Rover Project) and his team, to University Photography to sit at Cornell to raise our sights and imaginations. The images were very fine, not a lot of pixelation which portrayed Saturn's rings in some with detail and measurements in the captions that really made me take a step back. Additionally there were images of some of Saturn's moons, images of methane and the methane cycle (which K clearly detailled for me>> methane moving in a cycle much the way we have water>> gas> liquid> solid and then gas again...). If you are near the Johnson, it is worth the trip.

Totoya Hokkei
Japanese, 1780–1850
Kintoki Exorcising a Demon at the New Year, ca. 1820s
Woodblock print
Collection of Gloria and Horace Becker
Colored in the Year’s New Light:
Japanese Surimono from the Becker Collection
November 8–January 4

This collection of prints from a NYS family was prompted by a show in recent past of different Surinomo prints. I have the book of the the former show and was very excited and pleased that the Johnson Museum considered another show furthering our understanding and interest in this very specific area of Japanese prints.

These Surinomo woodcuts were amazing in their sheer size and technical prowess. These Surinomo images were produced and collected in the mid 1700s-- with many of them being about 8" x 8" in size. With the affordability and size, you can imagine the popularity they had with topics ranging from food, to religion, to everyday scenes, landscapes--the range. These small images twinkle with strong design (of course, silly, they are Japanese prints!), the somber but lively palette, the fine-ness of the line and gradients pulled with a woodcut, and the use of blind embossing as another color/texture to take these prints beyond the expected. I had seen images from this show as photographs before, but this change in the architecture of the paper, this quiet detail to put emphasis in an image, to add hair to a seemingly white dog, to enrich the pattern and drawing of water is the reason to see the show. This caught me off guard to my delight. According to their registrar (who had late Thanksgiving with us), in a few weeks, those images on display will be changed out of their frames and a new set of around 100 images will also be shown. Another reason to go back.

One of my favorite things at the Johnson is their works on paper section which often has current work of emerging artists. That's where the real jolt comes beside the wonderful video installations that they sometimes have. The is the stuff that you can just gulp down without rhyme or reason, without history or sociology,just imbibe and integrate. There were quite a few thoughtful images from big linoleum cuts (36"x 48") to digital output with added/glued detail. I am so happy that giclees were happily at home with these other print media as, for me, it justifies it as a fine media/ fine image making approach. My favorite image was a black and white ink drawing from Laylah Ali "...the exhibition will include a recent ink drawing by Buffalo native Laylah Ali, part of her ongoing Typology series, in which she examines the many ways identity is manifested while referencing issues of race, class, gender, and power." I first saw Ali's work at Art Basel Miami last year and flipped. Her imagery is strong, her messages extrodinary and her decorative approach speaks to this novice. Need to learn more about this fine artist. PBS did a documentary (and their usual great job of writing bios/ getting sidebar information) on her as part of their Art 21 series.

Its snow raining. Everyone is working on their own thing from eating and movie watching to planning for the week. I am predictably blogging by the stove (on minime) with hope to whale a bit more on my paper and get back to some drawings...We need to get back to Tburg from the grey lake to pack Rob, do laundry and unload the pile of leftovers we will chug through this week to K and A's disappointment. Turkey may not look so good after three days! I am roasting turkey carcasses with a chop of celery, carrots, onions and a few soft turnips which smells pretty great and then will boil with water to make a very nice rich stock. The roasting is key.

More later. Maybe a picture?


Whenever possible, delay. Put off, procrastinate, dawdle (like I am now), consciously ignore those deadline driven things until the pain or lack of sleep drives you to them. I have a paper due on the 15th of December. Christmas is half wrapped. Cards are ordered. Lists need to be updated (maybe the teenagers can help with the list updating for cash). Thanksgiving was pushed off to today (I must admit, everything is done except the turkey breasts (4--3 to serve, one for show), the gravy, snipping off the ends of the green beans and peeling potatoes (I have teenagers--they are getting pressed into the peeling and snipping brigade if I offer them delights for lunch or scones for tea?).

Must buckle down in the next few days and shed some of this personally driven stuff. Another looming deadline is the ever fun, end of year, prep for taxes, project end of year sales, losses etc. And did I mention the push pull of what transfers to the next year and what doesn't? Should we lease a piece of equipment December 24th or January 2? And, I almost forgot, sign up for the SATs in Biology and French for K. Oh, and what about long term care insurance? Need to get on that too. Tick Tock it gets more expensive as we wait. Get on it, girl.

So,if I can knock off the paper (and edit next week) that would be great. Also, with Christmas half wrapped, I can finish that Sunday and get in the mail. Work is ramping up with end of year "whoops, it's December" or "we need this first week of January" (forgetting the printing world stops around December 15th)--that sort of shenanigans.

But, the frivolity continues. I am off to Miami this Thursday through Monday to go to Art Basel Miami and Design Miami. I am, of course, Mrs. Cassetti (wife of Mr. Cassetti, who is with the Corning Museum of Glass). The Museum is involved in a project with friends from the Vitra Design Museum, in developing an interest in designing, using and helping leading edge designers get comfortable in the world of hot glass and hot glass making. This project is called GlassLab (logotype designed by yours truly). The Museum takes their portable shop down to Art Basel Miami(and has done the Sofa Show in Chicago, Art Basel as well as the Vitra Museum, the Design program at Boisbuchet etc), they set up the stop, put up the fly/tent and work with some of the leading lights (young and old) to bring glass to the forefront as a wonderful material to work with.

Here is what the Museum says about GlassLab along with their schedule:

GlassLab @ Design Miami/Art Basel Miami
Oak Plaza, across from the Design Miami Pavilion
December 3 – 6, 2008

GlassLab is an innovative program from The Corning Museum of Glass that pairs the Museum’s master glassmakers with some of the most creative minds in design, using a unique mobile hot glass studio.

Schedule of Design Performances

Tuesday, December 2
1:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Michele Oka Doner
4:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Ladd Brothers
7:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. Tim Dubitsky

Wednesday, December 3
11:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Miami Design and Architecture Senior High
2:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Tim Dubitsky
5:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Guest Artist (TBD)

Thursday, December 4
11:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Michele Oka Doner
2:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Ladd Brothers
5:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Yves Béhar

Friday, December 5
11:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
2:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Ladd Brothers
5:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Tim Dubitsky

Saturday, December 6
11:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Yves Béhar
2:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Michele Oka Doner
5:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Guest Artist (TBD)

So, there will be art and illustration (posing as art) to be seen. Mark Murphy has a space in one of the smaller venues and has a show he has developed and curated, "KNOW" exhibition. Here is what Mark says about his show:

“KNOW” featured at this year’s Gen Art Vanguard Fair is an exhibition comprised of many inspired artisans that represent a diverse cross section of the fine art world. All of the work has been created specifically for the “KNOW” exhibition and hopes to introduce you to emerging and known talent who have no fear when incorporating digital painting, mixed media, comics, traditional painting, rendering and photographic styles into their work.

I made a point to see Mark last year and was surprised at the smallness of the works but the extrordinary quality of the paintings all at a very reasonable price.

I hope to visit Aqua, a very funny and cute, totally Miami Beach hotel which (as many of these quirky places have happen) have the rooms emptied, and galleries move their work into each room and set up shop. Aqua often has some nice, Juxtapos-y type galleries with often interesting new artists (check out the link--I see that Billy Shire from Culver City will be there...and actually, Aqua was where, last December, I saw Adam Baumgold Gallery (he reps Chris Ware, Steinberg, Charles Burns, Jules Feiffer etc. check him out) I adore going to the Convention Center which is jammed with galleries with everything from Picassos to films, from works on paper to works on canvas. Enormous C prints. An installation of enormous foil wrapped santa chocolates (real chocolate and everything). Funny made over cars, furniture and interesting lighting. Buildings made out of guide wires and agricultural fiberglass panels. Free drinks to get you to try certain liquors or wine. Maybe we will have the time to really go deep in the Taschen Store. Or sit in on some of the "Art Conversations" which are engrossing conversations that an artist and interviewer have on a topic. And, as I am Mrs. Cassetti, free passes into the VIP cool places. As you know, I will have my camera and the silver powerbook. Minime is staying home as I can park the computer and do not need to schlep it. So, maybe, just maybe, there might be some undercover photographs posted just for us.

So, it will be fun. Really fun. There will be swimming, art and hanging out with the glass guys (home team is the best) along with packing a bunch of stuff into the grey matter and seeing what sticks. Something better. I cannot wait!

Time to stop procrastinating.


Know Exhibition

"Know" featured at this year's Gen Art Vanguard Fair is going to happen real soon. Mark Murphy, Murphy Fine Art Editions is working hard to post information prior to the show dates of December 4th through the 7th. Syracuse Alumni, Don Kilpatrick is one of the artists in this show. To find out more, here it is from Mark Murphy's Scribble 08 Blog>>

> Image is Don Kilpatrick's entry for the Know show.