Art in Occluded Light

I’m back in town again after a short trip to San Antonio to do some on-site work for a client. I can always use a few more frequent flyer miles.

Susan and I managed to get to the Dallas Museum of Art this weekend without incident (the last time we tried, my car self-destructed before we could get there). The exhibit we saw was entitled Degas to Picasso, Painters, Sculpters, and The Camera. It was a collection of paintings and sculptures by Degas, Gauguin, Mucha, Rodin, Picasso, and assorted other turn-of-the-century artists along with photographs taken by them or their assistants. The idea was to show how the new technology of photography influenced their work. In some cases the artists took immediate advantage of the technology by, for example, photographing models as studies for paintings. Others collected photographs of ancient artifacts and imitated the style or form in their own art. Oddly a few claimed publicly that photography had no place in art (even more oddly, after their death, large numbers of photographs were found in their studios and it turned out they were using them secretly in much the same way other artists were). In many cases photographs were displayed beside the paintings they had influenced.

Overall it was interesting but less so than some exhibits. And, as usual, the Dallas Museum of Art did a terrible job of lighting the works – in most cases you could only view a piece by standing between the light source and the work, thus casting a shadow on whatever you were trying to look at. If you haven’t seen it yet, you missed your last chance as the exhibit ended on May 7th and Dallas was the last stop in the US.

Music and Sea Disasters

Now that I’ve finally finished hacking on newslog for a while, I’m going to post my weekend update and then get some sleep. I decided not to post the freshmeat annoucement tonight as it looks like freshmeat is having some sort of problems – each post is appearing about 5 times. Probably best to wait until tomorrow.

Saturday I did a much needed software upgrade to the NCC phone system. In the evening Susan and I went to the DSO. The program consisted of Don Juan by Richard Strauss (ok if you like Strauss), Concert de Gaudi for Guitar and Orchestra by Christopher Rouse (sorry, classical Guitar is just not my kind of music – I found Adam Seymour’s guitar work at the Pretenders concert earlier this month much more to my liking), and finally Symphony No. 4 in E minor by Johannes Brahms (quite good – made the program worth going to).

Sunday we went to the Titanic artifact exhibit at Fair Park. It was really intersting and the only complaint I had about the exhibit was that the lighting was really bad. Everything was in dark rooms with black walls and only a few spot lights that seemed to have been carefully placed so that there was no way to view a display case without standing between the light and the case, thus casting a shadow over whatever you were trying to see. But there was lots of cool stuff there including a huge section of an actual hull plate, the steam-powered whistles, life-vests, and an assortment of personal items such as jewelery, money, and letters. There were a couple of models of the original ship as well as really big (about 40 feet long!) model of the front section of the hull as it exists today on the ocean floor. There was also the ever-present gift shop as you leave the exhibit: Titanic shirts, hats, mugs, shot glasses, spoons, posters, puzzles, books, you name it. There were CDs of the music heard on the Titanic, a batter-powered, inflatable Titanic, a Titanic computer game, complete sets of china with the Titanic and White Star Line logo, key chains, ash trays, cigar cases, and zillion other things I can’t even remember.