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Great Chinese State Circus – SWAN LAKE

October 26, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba

Since its premiere in Shanghai in 2005, the SWAN LAKE Acrobatic Ballet has performed more than 150 shows in China, Russia, Japan and Europe. This performance of Swan Lake is one like you have never seen before.


“Historical records, ancient carvings and decorative patterns on utensils show the origin of Chinese acrobatics more than two thousands years ago in the period of the Warring States. During the Quin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C. – 220 A.D.) acrobatic artistes developed a wide repertoire, and acrobatics was thus called “the show of a hundred tricks.” It reached a high level as a performing art by the Han Dynasty.” (Source: wikipedia)


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James Joyce Live! James Joyce Reads ‘Anna Livia Plurabelle’ from Finnegans Wake

October 19, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday, by Jack Dziamba.

James Joyce Reads ‘Anna Livia Plurabelle’ from Finnegans Wake

Many of us have gone to an author’s “reading,” only to feel that the author “just read it,” many times  in a monotone, without inflection or character. Not so with this reading by James Joyce from Finnegans Wake:

“[In] an August 1929 recording of Joyce reading a melodious passage from the “Anna Livia Plurabelle” chapter of his Work in Progress, which would be published ten years later as Finnegans Wake.

The recording was made in Cambridge, England, at the arrangement of Joyce’s friend and publisher Sylvia Beach.

“’How beautiful the ‘Anna Livia’ recording is,”’ wrote Beach in her memoir, Shakespeare and Company, “’and how amusing Joyce’s rendering of an Irish washerwoman’s brogue!”. (Source: Open Culture.)


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Beyond Words – Whither the Book c. 1400?

The "Divine Comedy." Printed by Bonino De Bonini, (1487).

The Divine Comedy. Printed by Bonino De Bonini, 1487

Whither the Book in the 1400s?

Just as we, today wonder about the continued existence of the Print Book, ” Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books,” at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, Boston, deftly puts this “new” wonder into perspective,

“Just as we question today whether printed books will become extinct in the digital age, this exhibition invites you to revisit the era when the advent of printing made hand-painted manuscripts obsolete.”

“In the 1400s book production witnessed groundbreaking advances in design and technology that transformed pages from parchment (animal skin) to paper, script to font, and vividly colored illuminations to black and white prints.”


                                                                                             Divine Comedy (Detail)

    “A surge in literacy and demand for books drove innovation. These radical changes did not occur instantly but through a gradual process of experimentation marked by notable leaps in achievement. ” (Source: Gardner Museum)

The Exhibition

The exhibition explores “how the ancestor of the modern book was perfected around 1500, thanks to innovations of the previous century.” (Source: Gardner Museum).

It includes “the first copy to enter an American collection of the Botticelli- illustrated edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy.” (Source: “At the Gardner,” Museum publication, Fall 2016)

What We Can See From Here

The Purpose of this blog is to review how museum and publishers use the tools of the New Media to make Art accessible to everyone, everywhere.  There is an impressive Exhibition Catalog, 378 pages with 325 color plates, $58.00), which ” documents one of the most ambitious exhibitions of medieval and Renaissance,” and illustrates the depth and richness of the exhibition.

At present, it doesn’t appear that an e-copy or a PDF copy is available, and the museum’s website provides access to only 3 of the 325 color plates. It is hoped that before the exhibition closes in January, these will become available. The museum may well consider archiving the exhibition so that is is accessible to everyone, everywhere, and for all time. However, if ever in Boston, a  visit to the Gardner is a must.

Gardner Museum Cortyard

Courtyard Gardner Museum

Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016–JANUARY 16, 2017– Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115.

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Surrealism – More Than a Prank?

September 28, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba
 Dali, Persistence Of Memory

Dali, Persistence Of Memory

Surrealism – More Than a Prank?
Surrealism “drew upon the private world of the mind, traditionally restricted by reason and societal limitations, to produce surprising, unexpected imagery.” (Source: The MET)

“Surrealism originated in the late 1910s and early ’20s as a literary movement that experimented with a new mode of expression called automatic writing, or automatism, which sought to release the unbridled imagination of the subconscious. Officially consecrated in Paris in 1924 with the publication of the Manifesto of Surrealism by the poet and critic André Breton (1896–1966), Surrealism became an international intellectual and political movement.

Jon Mann, In an Artsy Magazine editorial titled , “How the Surrealist Movement Shaped the Course of Art History,” relates a story about Salvador Dali which, perhaps, captures our popular conception of Surrealism,

“During the 1936 International Surrealist Exposition, held in London, guest speaker Salvador Dalí addressed his audience costumed head-to-toe in an old-fashioned scuba suit, with two dogs on leashes in one hand and a billiard cue in the other. Mid-lecture, constrained by the scuba mask, the Spanish artist began to suffocate and flailed his arms for help.

The audience, unfazed, assumed his gesticulations were all part of the performance. As art legend has it, the Surrealist poet David Gascoyne eventually rescued Dalí, who upon recovery remarked, “I just wanted to show that I was plunging deeply into the human mind.” Dalí then finished his speech—and his accompanying slides, to no one’s surprise, were all presented upside down.”

Surrealism, however, is much more than comic pranks and has its intellectual origin as a reaction to 17th and 18th century rationalism, and emphasized the superior qualities of the subconscious mind. As Jon Mann writes, Surrealism

Surrealism “proposed that the Enlightenment—the influential 17th- and 18th-century intellectual movement that championed reason and individualism—had suppressed the superior qualities of the irrational, unconscious mind. Surrealism’s goal was to liberate thought, language, and human experience from the oppressive boundaries of rationalism.”

What Does Surrealism Look Like?

Since Art is visual, the best way to appreciate the intellectual depth and creativity of Surrealism is to view a few examples. While the names of the artists may be well-known , the works shown are not the ones generally associated with their names.



Dali, Dali, Mae West's Face which May be Used as a Surrealist Apartment, 1934-1935

Dali, Mae West’s Face which May be Used as a Surrealist Apartment, 1934-1935


Frida Kalo, La venadita (little deer), 1946

René Magritte, The Magriet, Menaced Assassin (L'Assassin menacé), 1927

             René Magritte, The Magriet, Menaced Assassin (L’Assassin menacé), 1927


Man Ray, Dust Man Breeding (Dust over work by Marcel Duchamp), ca. 1920

        Man Ray, Dust Man Breeding (Dust over work by Marcel Duchamp), ca. 1920

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Every Exhibition Held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Presented in a New Web Site: 1929 to Present

September 21, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday, by Jack Dziamba
The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

Every Exhibition Held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Presented in a New Web Site: 1929 to Present

As written by Open Culture on September 19, 2016  :

“We all hate it when we hear of an exciting exhibition, only to find out that it closed last week — or 80 years ago. New York’s Museum of Modern Art has made great strides toward taking the sting out of such narrowly or widely-missed cultural opportunities with their new digital exhibition archive.”

Fine Art in the New Media

“The archive offers, in the words of Chief of Archives Michelle Elligott, “free and unprecedented access to The Museum of Modern Art’s ever-evolving exhibition history” in the form of “thousands of unique and vital materials including installation photographs, out-of-print exhibition catalogues, and more, beginning with MoMA’s very first exhibition in 1929…”

Easy to Use

As explained in the MoMA  Press Release:

“The digital archive can be freely searched, or browsed in a more structured way by time period or exhibition type.

“Each entry includes a list of all known artists featured in the exhibition.

“Artist pages likewise list all of the exhibitions that have included that artist, along with any of their works in MoMA’s collection online.

 “The index of artists participating in Museum exhibitions now includes more than 20,000 unique names”.

Miss That Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, van Gogh Exhibition in 1929?

The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

The MoMA Archive  begins with its very first show of post-Impressionist paintings by Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, and Van Gogh in 1929. So, even if, perchance, you missed it, you can see it now. (Click on the above, scroll down, and click on each of the “Installation  Views.

Films and Performance

You can also see materials archived from the various film series and performance programs they’ve put on over the years. Check this out:

Hanna Schygulla in The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978). Film Stills Archives, The Museum of Modern Art.

Hanna Schygulla in The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978). Film Stills Archives, The Museum of Modern Art.

 Rainer Werner Fassbinder January 27–March 20, 1997

 “On January 23, 1997, when The Museum of Modern Art presented Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a complete retrospective of the director’s work.”

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Berenice Abbott, Photographs At Martin Gropius-Bau Museum, Berlin

September 14, 2016. NEW POST GOES UP EVERY WEDNESDAY, by Jack Dziamba
Abbott- New York

Abbott- New York


As Anne Morin, the curator of Berenice Abbott, Photographs writes in the September 14, 2016 issue of L’Oeil de la Photographie,

“The work of Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) played a decisive role in the history of photography and offered a new way to understand its language. She helped to relieve the medium of any comparison to painting; photography started to exist independently and according to its own characteristics.”

“Furthermore, Berenice Abbott left her mark in the history of photography in another way. Her name is inseparable from that of French photographer Eugène Atget (1857-1927), whose work she promoted in Europe and the United States.”

She discovered it in Paris, where she lived in the 1920’s before returning to New York in 1929, and Atget remained an important reference for Abbott throughout her life.”

Abbott- Grand Central Station


   Abbott- Grand Central Station


“Known in the 1920s and ‘30s in the avant-garde circles of Paris and New York as an activist in favor of recognizing documentary photography as art, Abbott never ceased to examine aspects of realism and modernism through her work, as in Changing New York (1935 – 1939), an attempt at “documentary interpretation” of the architectural transformation that New York underwent in the 1930s.”


In Paris,

Abbott-joyce“In Paris, she “worked first, as an assistant for Man Ray in his studio in Montparnasse; then, as a portrait photographer. Celebrities of all kinds and nationalities passed through her studio: the writers André Gide, Jean Cocteau and James Joyce; Sylvia Beach, owner of the famous Parisian English-language bookstore Shakespeare & Company; Jane Heap and Margaret C. Anderson, editors of the literary magazine The Little Review; the American composer George Antheil or the Japanese painter Foujita.”








“The notion of documentary would become prominent in the America in the mid-1930s. We find in the scientific work that Abbott developed later, in the 1940s and ‘50s, the same idea of documenting the invisible by photographing the wave motion of matter and light, and their many emanations.”


The work of artists such as Berenice Abbott, Eugène Atget, and Man Ray shows that their way of “seeing the world” is timeless. This view of the world Their images will be cherished by everyone, everywhere, and for all time.

Martin Gropius-Bau Museum,Niederkirchnerstraße 7,10963 Berlin, Germany http://www.museumsportal-berlin.de/
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Majority of Americans are still reading print books | Pew Research Center Report

September 7, 2016, by Jack Dziamba – New Post Every Wednesday.
"No, I'm not texting - I'm reading "War and Peace."

“No, I’m not texting – I’m reading “‘War and Peace.'”


On September 1, 2016, the Pew Research Center released a Surevy Report titled “Book Reading 2016,” by


“The share of Americans who have read a book in the last year is largely unchanged since 2012; more Americans read print books than either read e-books or listen to audio books.”


“Following a slight overall decline in book readership between 2011 and 2012, the share of American adults who read books in any format has remained largely unchanged over the last four years. Some 73% of Americans report that they have read at least one book in the last year. That is nearly identical to the 74% who reported doing so in a survey conducted in 2012, although lower than the 79% who reported doing so in 2011.”

“Roughly two-thirds of Americans (65%) have read a print book in the last year, which is identical to the share of Americans who reported doing so in 2012 (although down slightly from the 71% who reported reading a print book in 2011).”

“E-book readership increased by 11-percentage points between 2011 and 2014 (from 17% to 28%) but has seen no change in the last two years. ”

“Relatively few Americans are “digital-only” book readers regardless of their demographic characteristics.”

More Americans are reading books on tablets and cellphones, even as dedicated e-reader use has remained stable

“Americans under the age of 50 are especially likely to consume e-book content on cell phones: one-in-five (19%) do so, compared with 9% of 50- to 64-year-olds and just 4% of those 65 and older.”

"I have a feeling we're not on the same page"

“‘War and Peace, ‘” but I have a feeling we’re not on the same page, anymore.”


The technology of the new media has developed to such a degree of creativity and innovation that Alice Rawsthorn commented in the New York Times of November 28, 2010 that,

“These devices offer thrilling possibilities for us to do much more than read words on a screen, and it is deeply disappointing that so few designers and publishers are embracing them.”

See our post, “E-BOOKS: WHAT CAN AN ENHANCED E-BOOK, “E +,” DO FOR JACK KEROUAC’S ON THE ROAD?” to see where we think The Book should be going.



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