Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sight seeing

We're taking Spring Break -- my academic partner gets a week holiday so we're in New York City getting our minds expanded by art.

Yesterday's highlight was Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China at the Met.

Not surprisingly, those billion Chinese have a lot going on.

What appears a fairly traditional landscape ....

... turned out on closer inspection to hide a forest of people and buildings. (Click any of these images to enlarge.)

This industrial scene was one of several hanging sets of scrolls titled "Crying Landscapes." It reminded me vividly of the oil refinery I would drive past as a child along with my mother on the main route between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Towers burned off gases night and day. The place both sparkled and stank. Just a few miles further on was the Hooker Chemical Company, years later made notorious by its poisoning of the Love Canal neighborhood.

What I remember about seeing the refinery and Hooker was that these facilities were sources of pride to my mother. Hadn't such scientific and modern facilities won the war against Hitler? She looked at them with delight and satisfaction. They were not yet emblematic of ugliness, of blight.

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