Thursday, December 19, 2019

Brain-Teaser Addictions

In case you get to any point at the end of this year when you need SOMETHING TO DO and can't figure out what it should be, do I have something for you...if it's up your alley.

Where has this been all my life???  Seriously.  Have you known about binary puzzles all this time and you never mentioned it???

OMG.  I'm addicted.

You can check out the link to get all the particulars but basically the rules are easy and you're only dealing with 0's and 1's.  How hard can that be, right?  I'm playing it on my laptop and my iPad and find it to be quite challenging, no matter how small or large the grid or how difficult the level.

Speaking of challenging, you've heard it said that we need to exercise our brains with these teasers to reduce the risk of dementia...which is why I also play Spider Solitaire, Mahjong, etc.  I believe it's true, even though my brainiac mom, who died of Alzheimer's, challenged herself daily with such things like solitaire Scrabble, making a goal of breaking 1,000 points each time.  She'd have a heyday with what's available now on our internet devices...and maybe still get Alzheimer's!

Whatever the brain exercises you do or don't do, I can guarantee that with this one, you'll be challenged to the hilt, if it is in fact up your alley.

Enjoy.  (But don't blame me!)

to all of you who celebrate it.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Gorcums Museum: Dreaming of Trees, 2019

Let's just call this a post that's been languishing in the wings since August 10, when we finally took the time to visit our Gorcum's Museum to see the Dromen van Bomen (Dreaming of Trees), before the exhibit closed on September 15.

Ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, people have lived in awe and
 admiration for the tree.  Whether it is a solitary spruce, a giant forest or an immeasurable jungle,
we dream away with their shapes, colors or immense size.  Trees symbolize life itself.
They even remove CO₂ from the air and are thus indispensable allies in this time of climate change.

As exhibitions go, it wasn't big but it had several note-worthy entries that made it worth seeing, most of which are shown below:

These swamp trees are a tapestry wall hanging...

...which you can see better in these two details.
Can you find them in the tapestry?

If you're a fan of triptych wall groups, I bet you'd love this polyptych.
Of course, you'd need a wall big enough!

You could even have a pretend tree in the middle of your house, right?
At least you'd never have to water it.

Far away you'd never know this is another tapestry...

...but once you're up close and personal, you see it.

I wish I knew how big this setting of Photographs is, but, trust me, it's big.
My guess is that each photo is at least 5x7 inches, maybe even 8x10.
You'd need another huge wall to display it.

If you're more a touchy-feely kind of person,
here are some twigs for you.

It was hard to show the depth but they stood about 2 inches from the wall, casting the shadow.

In that same room with the twigs were hanging pieces at eye level in the middle.
This is one of them from the front and back.
If you can enlarge it, you'll see a guy up in the tree (reading a newspaper?)!

See what I mean about eye level?

But this one took the cake, though a bit higher than eye level.

I wanted to look down on it to see it better, but you get the point.

Actually, on this tile, you DO look down on it, though a different scene.

At the end of the exhibit, I found this very large painting quite appealing because of the colors.

This was done by the same artist, I assume.

Now for two wall hangings that were, yes, you guessed it, videos in the frame (how did they do that?):

How about this as a way for trees to lose their leaves in Autumn!

And a time-lapsed video of an evergreen...
framed and hanging on the wall!

It really was a lovely exhibition and worth the run-through on our annual museum card.
Now it's time to see the new exhibit, The Secret of the Master, before it ends on February 19!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Before leaving this post, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Dame Judi Dench's "My Passion for Trees," since we're on the subject.  If you want to be thoroughly inspired by and educated about trees, make sure you take the time to see this documentary one day, if you haven't already done so:

It also helps, of course, if you adore Judi Dench, which I do.
Because of her passion (and our Gorcums exhibition) I love trees now more than I ever did before!

Thursday, December 05, 2019

The "Laugh Now" Banksy Exhibition at the Moco Museum

When it was exactly that I learned about Banksy, the "anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director, active since the 1990s," I don't know.  But once I discovered his art, probably once I moved here to the Netherlands 10 years ago today (!), I immediately recognize him wherever we're lucky enough to see him.

This is in Bristol back in 2014 on one of our walks.
It's where Banksy started his graffiti art, in 1990-94.

Here's another one, in Passau, Germany, while on our Viking River Cruise, 2013.

So, yes, I pay attention, wanting to see as much of his work as possible.

When Astrid and I first saw there was a "Laugh Now" Banksy exhibition at the Moco Museum in Amsterdam, we knew it would be a must-see one day.  That "one day" was last Thursday, America's Thanksgiving Day, when we also had reservations for a traditional Thanksgiving meal at Hard Rock Café, just a 5-minute walk away from the museum (which you can see at the bottom of this post).

But, back to Banksy.  We are so glad we we got to see this Laugh Now exhibition, even though not authorized by Banksy or curated in collaboration with him.  Lucky for us, photos were allowed, without flash.

The Moco Museum, opened in 2016, is on Amsterdam's Museumplein, facing the Rijksmuseum.

The following 35 pieces are Banksy's less-exposed mostly indoor pieces on loan from collectors around the world and are presented here in the order in which I saw them, with captions to give their titles and dates.  Some have write-ups which I condensed from placards next to the piece.

[Note:  most of the black frames I have added myself.]

Nola (Orange Rain), 2008
New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA), is still recovering after 2 hurricanes since 2005.
In this mural Banksy shows an innocent young girl seeking protection from the rain,
only to realize the umbrella is the source of the problem.
Banksy says that some of the things meant to protect us end up harming us.

Rude Copper, 2002

Home Sweet Home, 2006

Cardinal Sin, 2006
Wrath, sloth, gluttony, greed, envy, pride and lust are the 7 deadly sins
as taught by Christian tradition, referred to as cardinal sins.
Banksy uses the bust of a Cardinal with it's face blurred with tiles like a criminal, 
reflecting the numerous sex offenses committed by members of the church against children.

Kate Moss, 2005
In 2011 Banksy created an edition of this work as a wedding gift to Kate Moss,
which was hanging in her bathroom when she returned from her honeymoon.
Banksy's Kate Moss Collection is based on Andy Warhol's iconic Marilyn Monroe Series.

Angry Crows, 2003

Kids on Guns, 2003

Monkey Poison, 2004

Crude Oil Jerry, 2004
Banksy "corrupts" oil paintings he finds as a defiant act of painterly intervention, to undermine
the hallowed traditions of the Western art canon, "transforming the cultural markers of a wealthy
 and privileged elite into visually immediate puns accessible to the widest possible audience."

Picasso Quote, 2009

Gasmask Boy, 2009

Di Faced Tenner, 2004
Banksy printed one million pounds of Di Faced tenners as a play on "defaced,"
substituting the Queen's face with that of Princess Diana.
The altered bill also features the words "Banksy of England."

Raising the Steaks, 2001

Love is in the Air (Flower Thrower), 2005
The subject, who appears to be involved in a riot, is throwing a bouquet of flowers
instead of a Molotov cocktail.  The flowers, replacing a weapon, 
portray peace and hope instead of destruction.

Girl with Balloon (on metal), 2003

Smiling Copper, 2002
The face of the riot policeman is hidden behind an acid-bright yellow smiley face.
He doesn't have ears to hear the voice of the crowd; he faces their problems with a smile.
Banksy wants us to listen to the message of the angry crowd, 
and think about the mask we're wearing in this capitalistic system. 

Battle of the Beanfield, 2009
The Battle of the Beanfield took place on June 1, 1985, in Wiltshire, England, when police
prevented a convoy of 600 New Age travelers from setting up the Stonehenge Free Festival.
1,300 police were involved in several attacks, clubbing anyone they could reach,
including pregnant women and those holding children.
It was one of the largest mass arrests of civilians since WWII.

Graffiti Quote, 2011

Forgive us our Trespassing, 2010
"Forgive us our trespasses" is the 7th sentence of the Lord's Prayer/Our Father.
Trespassing is strongly associated with graffiti and street art,
when street artists often have to trespass on private property to tag certain walls.

Rude Copper, 2009
Banksy sheds light on his view of the power of the establishment.
Does this cop care about the people he is supposed to protect?

David Bullet Hole Bust, 2006

"Keep it Real" Monkey, 2003
This is a unique paste-up, with assistant Chu, of a series of 4 pieces interrupted by the police.
This piece is the most exclusive of the 4 because this monkey has wings and has the Banksy red tag.

Laugh Now Panel A, 2002

Laugh Now wall mural, 2003

Monkey Detonator, 2002

Watchtower (olive wood), 2007

Family Target, 2003

Graff, 2002
[excuse the window reflections, which I didn't try to remove]

Che Guevara, 2000

Silence of the Lamb, 2002

Barcode Leopard, 2002
Banksy wants us to ask questions about what this Barcode Leopard means.
Is it about the capitalist industry taking over our natural habitat?
Is he protesting illegal leopard trading?
Are we all just numbers?

Christ with Shopping Bags, 2004
A satire on values, perception and the transformation of the Christmas holiday, 
this work reflects an outrage at the level of consumerism during a time meant
for focusing on Christian values, charity and giving.

Double Monkey, 2002

Leonardo DaVinci's "Mona Lisa Pink," 2001
This mash-up is of the classic Leonardo DaVinci and the pop style of Andy Warhol.

Girl with Balloon (on canvas), 2003
This continues to be one of Banksy's most iconic artworks in multiple variations.
In one variation, the words "there is always hope" features behind the girl.
The girl is reaching for the balloon, which symbolizes love.
Hope is essential for living in bleak circumstances, when love seems out of reach.

It was the perfect piece to end our Banksy education!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

From the Moco Museum we walked 5 minutes to the Hard Rock Café for our Thanksgiving meal, which was every bit as good, if not better than we expected:

Everything was seasoned perfectly and good enough to do again next year.

We even had leftovers for a meal the next day!