Marina Bay Sands in Singapore taken earlier this year. Camille Diola
Rereading old posts on this blog reminds me that I had a life, and had ample time to visit galleries and exhibits.

But this is my life now: Making sure we release the most important news early in the morning till late at night, getting up early even on weekends to attend or give classes, finding spaces of silence for (very, very) brief periods of time. Not to mention there are bills to pay and those plans to draw.

This is my life now. No turning back.

"If people would just look at paintings, I don’t think they would have any trouble enjoying them."
 Squiggly lines, drips, splashes, indistinct subjects. Jackson Pollack’s works might pose an enigma to art lovers, but this is also what makes them both polarizing and captivating at the same time.

The first I learned of Pollock - or more accurately, the first time I saw his “Autumn Rhythm Number 30” (1950) in a book -- I admit I felt alienated for not being able to appreciate his work at the most basic, sensible level. And what it means, I could not even guess.

Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm
What I was only sure of is that I was caught in its improbability as art and as an event. But soon after learning more about Pollock, I got finally the point.

“If people would just look at paintings, I don’t think they would have any trouble enjoying them. It’s like looking at a bed of flowers, you don’t tear your hair out over what it means,” Ed Harris playing as Pollock says in an eponymous 2000 film about his life.

And this vision is what made him “revolutionary,” no matter which critical perspective one comes from. Some deride him for creating questionable art bordering on insanity, while others hailed him as a towering icon of previously uncharted artistic territories as action painting and abstract expressionism. There were also those who further mystified his art by using psychoanalysis to peer into his subconscious. (Really, now?)

But most important perhaps was what he represented: America’s own modern artist of pure form. Fazed by the role, he channelled it through alcoholism and died in a car crash in 1956.

On January 28, 2011 immortal through his works, Pollock reached 100 years old. Various tributes have been drawn up. One is a collection of his photos, letters and personal effects by the Archives of American Art. Time Magazine prepared a photo essay of his life, while the foundation behind his house at the Hamptons also launched a huge fundraising benefit to continually preserve the paint-spattered floors.

As for this (next great) generation, we recognize the Big Dripper’s legend in our characteristically Gen-Y way--a list of top 5 reasons why Pollock is the ultimate art rock star:

  1. His was the most expensive painting ever sold. In 2006, “No. 5, 1948” was reportedly bought by a guy named David Martinez for $140 million.
  2. He lived fast, died young, and made a mess of things.”
  3. Having introduced action painting, Jackson Pollock’s moves are to American art as Michael Jackson’s grooves are to American pop.
  4. His work can be simulated using Internet browser technologies. Visit to create your very own Pollock.
  5. He had the guts to say: “I don’t paint nature, I am nature.”

It's unfortunate that this generation has to put a label on people who appreciate and pursue beauty and music and images and fashion and film and silence beyond the mainstream and the obscene—HIPSTER.

We would never have to call anyone a hipster if everyone tries to explore their own humanity at its very core--the transcendent reached through sense inputs (see list of things above).

Art works photographed during my last trip to BenCab Museum in Tuba, Benguet province (not Baguio, mind you) last December.

Thought I'd just bare my heart a little bit. And a reminder to myself:

It's March and it has been three months since I renewed and paid for the domain name and space on which this blog sits. And I haven't posted anything. It's like paying the servants for a vacation house one only gets to visit for the stretch of a summer week and never again all year.

Sometimes it seems we look for spaces that are new and yet will strike you as something familiar. For time we spend but can really not afford to spare. For people we're eager to be with but end up just spending a few hundreds for a couple of dishes and three hours in a talked-about restaurant. For sleep try to catch but will never be enough. For occasions that we look forward to but promise to drain us at the end of the day.

But sometimes it's in the old spaces, with old faces and the old duties we can actually find the teeny bit of joy from.

Like this blog.

Found this nifty little thing at Ugu Bigyan's Pottery Shop and Restaurant in Tiang, Quezon. It's not one of the artist's creations but it does catch visitors' eyes. 

"Gawa ito ng mga madre (These are made by nuns)," Ugu tells us. 

Nuns join other artisans who sell their crafts occasionally in the venue. Ugu says the bamboo lamp inspired some guests from an Iloilo town with an abundance of bamboo just lying around. 

The product does seem a little backward for a developing country, but villages here in the Philippines still experience cyclones knocking out power. And when that happens, those battery powered flashlights are called to duty.  

In 1937, Nazi fighter pilots bombed Guernica, a Basque town in northern Spain, murdering and maiming 3,000 people.

Years later, "a Gestapo officer holds a reproduction of Guernica and asks Picasso, 'You did that, didn't you?' Picasso replies, 'No, you did'."

Pablo Picasso. Oil on canvas. 137.4 in × 305.5 in. Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain.

This is why I don't get works and pieces that alienate the viewer or the audience or the listener. Do artists really just create for themselves?

A page from the book When Art Really Works given to me by a good friend.

Art is not produced solely for intellectuals ...

Subjectivity will - and indeed must - always play a role in the appreciation of art. 'Well, I don't know about art, but I know what I like' is a remark that is often heard at galleries and museums, but it is as valid as the high-faulting claims by professional art critics in the newspapers.

"Punctured" (2013) by Roen Capuli, resin. One of my favorite works the past year.
Everyone can appreciate art--whether they feel 'qualified' to do so or not. Equally, everyone can feel a sense of awe when standing before a great work of art: we can recognize that there is something magnificent about a certain work, and that feeling is universal because that is art's job.
— Andy Pankhurst and Lucinda Hawksley

The best snacks and desserts I had the past few weeks.

1. L'Opera cake from La Petit Chéri

2. Edamame Hummus with Spiced Pita from Nomama

3. Chocolate soufflé from Piazza Privato

4. French Kiss slabwich of corned lengua, sauerkraut and garlicky horseradish spread from Chuck's Deli.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...