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2009/11/19

Wow, I’ve already written 2 poems today.  I had just showered so I wrote them on the back of Tim’s ‘Accounting Today’ magazine.  I’ll put them up here, I guess.  It’s a little scary.

We went to the Kalospectra event at the A-Loft last night.  Tim even got Barrett to come.  We didn’t stay long.  There were some kids outside doing BMX Bike tricks with a ramp, which was kind of fun to watch.  The DJ was good, but it was too pretty loud.  Tim had never seen the lounge there before and I wanted to show it to him.  The art was interesting.  A lot of testosterone-fueled angst in the art, and some disturbing female imagery in some of it.  But, it’s art, and we all have a dark side that has to be expressed in some manner.  There was some decent photography.  The painting I liked the most was downstairs.   It was of 2 African (I think) women, and it had a sort of Picasso/Dali energy to it.

Very excited about lunch w/ whiz-bang Donna Highfill tomorrow (yes that’s her in the photo on the front page),  then the preview at VMFA.  Sat. I’m having lunch at Kitchen 64 with my friend, Susan, then we are going to this art sale.  In the evening hopefully my friend, Mandy and her precious kids Jackson & Merdith & I are doing the suburban Short Pump Cinema movie and chain restaurant dinner!  They live in the city, so they have to get out to the ‘burbs sometimes! 

Sunday Tim and I are going to the Craft+Design Show at the Science Museum.  I just linked to the Science Museum and they are running what looks a like a very cool film on caves in their IMAX theatre.  Maybe we’ll check that out, too!  And regarding the Craft+Design show, it is a must see.  It’s around this time every year, and it is the nicest show of this type in the Richmond area.  It’s amazing what these artisans create.

Okay, weird to have something going on all weekend, but it will be good for me.  Like I said, I’ve been reading way too much.  I did start The Mustache last night, but I won’t read it obsessively.  I promise myself, it will take… at least 5 days, if not more.  The link is actually to the film that the author made of the book, which I will have to see!

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I think I told you I joined Vis Arts when I started my writing class.  It was called The Hand Workshop in the past.  Last night they had a nice reception for new members.  The President of Vis Arts, Jo Kennedy, is a fine person.  She taught art at VCU and Richmond, and she is a poet.  Our hosts, Alex and Kathryn, were very gracious.  I thought the home was interesting, probably because of my interest in 18th and 19th century decorative arts.  It was apparently built in the 18th or early 19th century, and the furniture was period, with period style fabrics and wall coverings.  At that time this would have been a rural area, perhaps part of the old Rio Vista, but that was more Three Chopt/Grove area.

I want to know more about it, because while the front hall and parlor to the right seemed very typical in terms of the period, the room to the left, which is used as the dining room, was very interesting.  Compared to other parts of the house I saw, this room’s architecture was very primitive.  There was an unpainted, primitive chair rail with unpainted paneling beneath.  The unpainted mantel was very large, and nicely carved out of yellow pine, I think.  It was definitely a pine.  The mantel, chair rail and paneling had very old finishes.  There was a nice patina on the mantel and, especially, the wood paneling.   When I looked at the wall panels closely, which didn’t have molding, I noticed their construction from one piece of wood.  I concluded the wood used to make these interior architectural pieces was old growth and probably original to the property. 

I love old houses and old furniture.  I could have spent all day just examining the interior and exterior architecture on that house.  It was dark when I arrived, but it appeared  Georgian in style.  It was old Virginia brick, such a nice color.   Now I’m going to do a little research on Wilton House, because this house reminded me of Wilton House in the Rio Vista area, and a mile or 2 west of this home.  I think what I’d like to study more is art history with an emphasis on architecture.  I love history in terms of geography.  What used to be on this spot where I’m standing?

Met a lot of nice folks, and I’ll probably see some of them at the preview for VMFA members on the 20th.  I urge you to join the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts now and attend this preview.  It is probably the most extensive preview of the galleries before the grand re-opening next May.  Also next weekend the Visual Arts Craft and Design Show is a must go-to event.  It is the best craft show you will see in the Richmond area.  It is more than crafts.  There are true artisans at this show.  Become a patron at Vis Arts and you can attend a preview of the Craft + Design show on Thursday night.  It’s not that expensive, and you receive 2 free tickets to the show preview.

Ok, it’s taken me forever to get through this post.  I am not focused very well today.  I want to go over to Ellen’s blog for my (minimum) daily dose of entertainment and fun convo.   Her blog is  Fired n’ Fabulous!

Art Patrons

2009/10/16

I spoke earlier about The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA).  I love that place.  I used to live almost across the street from it and I’ve been a member off  & on for my entire adult life.  It is undergoing a massive expansion (add’l 100,000 sq. ft. to its 250,000 sq ft).  I can’t wait for it to reopen 2010/5.  My favorite art patrons are Frances & Sydney Lewis.  A well educated couple, they started the Best Products catalog stores, which made them very wealthy.  They were able to build a substantial collection of contemporary works such as Pop Art and Photo Realism and later  Art Nouveau and French Art Deco works.  They donated many pieces to VMFA, as well as funds to add to the museum’s modern art collection.  It was always my favorite gallery there, and here is a picture of one of my favorite pieces, a sculpture by photo-realist Duane Hansonhanson

I had the good fortune to tour the Lewis home on Monument Avenue back in the 80’s.  Richmond’s Monument Avenue is pretty much its signature.  When I tell people I’m from Richmond, the first thing they usually mention is Monument Avenue.   The Washington Post has satirically referred to Monument Avenue as “Richmond’s Happy Median”.   Among its monuments are 4 Confederate generals, 1 or 2 other military luminaries, and Arthur Ashe.  When a monument in memory of tennis great Arthur Ashe, who was from Richmond, was proposed, there was much squabbling regarding its location.  Some people felt Monument’s monuments should be preserved for military figures (or white people?).  Like Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s monument in Jackson Ward, some felt Ashe’s monument should be located at the Byrd Park tennis courts where he played.  Was he even allowed to play at the Byrd Park courts?  I’m not sure.  I think it was a black neighborhood when he was growing up.  In the end, as the Post said, Richmond had “proven its resilience” with the monument’s prominent location on Monument Avenue.

Arthur Ashe

Back to the Lewis home.  It is a stately Georgian home situated at Robinson and Monument, and modern sculpture adorns its small landscape.  The composition of the traditional home and modern art is pleasing.   The modern art collection in it was, well, awesome, even though they had gifted most of it to VMFA by then.  Andy Warhol’s painting of Frances Lewis was still there.  I’m not a detail person, so I couldn’t say what other pieces I saw there, but it was thrilling to tour their home.  I don’t feel like I’ve given the Lewis justice in this post.  They were generous people who ventured with uncertainty among many pieces of contempory art, before some of these artists were well known. 

Realizing that architecture is art, they invested in some of their stores when they built them, and the result was startling to many, and precious also.  After Best Products went out of business, some of these brilliant buildings were destroyed, and others were transformed into other businesses.  Here’s a link to an article on one of them.  http://www.texaschapbookpress.com/magellanslog54/indeterminatefacadeintro.htm.  Here is a link to pictures of all of these historic Best Products stores.  http://www.siteenvirodesign.com/proj.best.php 

Well, that’s it for now.  I hope I can be more eloquent very soon, but I’ve been thinking about the museum, the Lewises, and the store architecture all day, and I wanted you to know a little bit about it.