Gender and Art

So if a person were to count up the number of male versus female nudes depicted in museum-quality art, what percentage would you think are female? Aside from naked male statues, and the many depictions of a baby Jesus in all his unclothed glory, male genitalia really gets the short shrift in the art world. Could be because the overwhelmingly male population of painters has more interest in depicting breasts that penises, and who could blame them? Even female painters tend to stay away from them. Some statues were so upsetting to the men in charge that they had to be covered with fig leaves or codpieces or drapery. Pretty drastic.

Giant-Louise-Bourgeois-sp-010There’s one artist, the sculptor Louise Bourgeois, who primarily did gigantic spiders and creepy things like that – but she also did a few penis sculptures that are really something to see. I’m not going to put a photo of one of those in this blog, although it is tempting. Instead, this is a giant spider called “Maman” that was shown all over the world and stands more than nine meters tall. Bourgeois also sculpted figures with multiple breasts (common in ancient sculpture as well), some that look like intestines wrapped outside the body, and lots of eyes peering from within solid structures.

So, what does it all mean? Damned if I know. It’s just messing with the students trying to do their assignments for my class, “Boobs and Dicks All Over the Place.” Turns out, you can spot plenty of boobs in NYC, but a good dick is hard to find.



There’s nothing quite like a nice glass of pink prosecco. It’s better than Champagne, I may venture, because it is so light and fruity. There’s some difference in how each one is processed, which accounts for the difference in flavor as well as price, but I’m not an expert so if you want to know the deets, you’ll need to Google it yourself. I’m also not cheap, but I do think the lower price point makes it easier to have the sparkle of prosecco more often than the special-occasion treat of Champagne. Right? So get yourself a couple of bottles and prepare for the holidays in style. Having just celebrated a birthday myself – I’m a Pearl Harbor baby (the day, not the year, thank you very much!) – I recently had reason to enjoy a glass embellished with a couple of ruby red cranberries. Very festive-looking, and changing the taste not a bit. Consider that part of your decorating scheme, from Cassie, with love.

Is it really me?

The Fool

I used to joke about this being my card: hahaha. I was naive enough to think that I could move to a new city and start over. Be a new “me” and leave all my baggage behind. I managed it for about a year, and then the cracks started to appear – or should I say crackpots. People, things from your past, stuff, it turns out you can’t keep it under your bed or in a storage unit for very long. It grows like a fungus, it ticks like a bomb, it breeds like a bunny…well, you get what I mean. Your baggage can never be left behind, especially when you really want to lose it.

My mother taught me Tarot when I was small, and since this is Card 0, it’s the first one in the deck. I always thought that it would be great to be the Fool – he looks like he’s going on an adventure with his dog, he’s got his lunch tied up on a stick, and he’s got those cute yellow boots. But of course Mother always had to point out that the Fool had his eyes shut and was about to step off a cliff.

How do you know that? I’d argue. Maybe he was going to stop there for lunch. She would shake her head and say that maybe I was going to be a fool, after all. She may have been a little bit right. The second year of my “New Life” in the city has turned into a fool’s paradise. If I’m not jumping off a mountain, I’m stepping in a pile of something warm and squishy.

But, you know, I’m having much more fun now. So it’s worth uncorking the genie’s bottle, opening Miss Pandora’s box, or just paying attention to what’s under the bed. Give it a whirl. (You can read all about my ‘coming out’ year in “Embracing the Fool,” click on the title to see the book.)


Culture clash?

Soho original

How does the proverbial Cigar Store Indian still exist, in modern Manhattan of all places, where we conned the Native Americans out of their homes and killed them off with our foreign diseases? This substantial statue in Soho, a little worse for wear around the nasal area but otherwise in pretty good shape, guards a small cigar shop filled with twenty-somethings pretending to be adults smoking cigars. In the City that practically wets itself (oh, alright, it does wet itself) celebrating Columbus Day with a parade and all the fluffernutter that entails, we forget that there were people living here before the Europeans invaded.

This statue should’ve been moved to Washington DC along with the National Museum of the American Indian back in the 1990s.

I’m sure there must be other Cigar Store Indians left in the City. If anyone spots one, send me a pic.


Glamour, Anyone?

Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe 1967

One thing about Andy Warhol, the guy sure liked repetition. And bright colors. He was like an advertising executive without a specific product to sell. Or maybe he was just selling “Cool.”  How a Campbell’s soup can is cool, I don’t know, but Warhol’s art is instantly recognizable, so obviously he made an impact on the collective consciousness. But it was not painted, it was art created through the manipulation of color on photographs. Photoshop, anyone?

New Cards, New Perspective?

Two of Cups

Someone recently gave me a new set of Tarot Cards. Now, I’m pretty adamant about using the standard Rider-Waite deck that has existed for most of the 20th century. However, I decided to pull today’s card from the new deck, which is called The Golden Tarot, with illustrations by Melissa Launay. I included a shot of the back of the card here, which is also very striking.

The card of the day is the Two of Cups. In the Golden Tarot, the image is very straightforward (as it is for all the Cups): there are two elaborate cups on a simple blue background. If I had drawn from my older deck, the man and woman toasting each other with the large cups would instantly clue you in to the romantic message expressed by this card.  Whether it’s about an existing love or one soon to occur, or a business partnership, this card is an affirmation that all is well in that relationship. There is and will continue to be mutual harmony in this relationship, so make a toast and drink up!

The Magic of Glass and Light

Chihuly glass at Biltmore

Dale Chihuly, well-known for his creative swirls of glass that are transformed into giant sculptures and chandeliers, has outdone himself with this fantastic show at the Biltmore Estate. Illuminated lights within a plethora of shapes, colors, and unexpected locations throughout the grounds provide a spectacle that is brilliant when the skies darken. Even though I have an issue with an artist who uses others to create his work, there’s no escaping the brilliance of this display. Wherever you have a chance to check out a Chihuly show, do it. You’ll be amazed, and the creative side of your brain will thank you.