• Tag Archives Mark Odegard
  • Good News, Good Art

    Beltane                                               New Last Frost Moon

    Good news from the vet.  Vega’s kidneys are ok, so a round of doxycycline should set her right.  She’s so lovable, a goofy, intelligent, sweet animal, a joy to be around.

    Then another death related incident.  A friend called for thoughts about a service he was conducting for a deceased friend.  This guy suffered from bi-polar disorder and was found two weeks ago in his house, a suicide.  He had killed himself in 2008.  Friends and relatives thought he was in Mexico.cropped3

    Mark says he was a dog person in Bangkok and I can see that here.  He finds our dogs a real help, sort of a therapy pack.  That’s one reason we keep dogs, because their presence cheers up the house and adds loving beings to our day.  What’s not good about that?  Well, ok, there is that death thing, but that’s the price of love.

    I wanted to show one more of Mark Odegard’s designs, all of them wonderful.  This one has its fans among my docent colleagues, too.

  • Lunch

    Lughnasa                                      Waxing Artemis Moon

    Slept well past 6:30 this morning, then a very long nap.  The body still marshalling its resources.  I’m ready to be done with this, but it does not seem ready to be done with me.

    In between I went into the MIA to have lunch with Mark Odegard.  Mark’s a Woolly, a friend, an artist and a damned fine jazz piano player.  He has very interesting friends.  One friend of his is on a two-month journey in Peru working on developing a complete catalog of all, underline all, the plants in the Amazon.  Sounds like a crazy task, but he’s found somebody who’s already done a lot of the work.

    This was a thank you lunch, in part, for the bang-up design work he’s done for Artemis Honey.  As we have before, we wandered through the museum, looking at various things, talking about them.  The Ricci map.  The Minnesota Artists Gallery works by two young Asian women.  Ceramics and glass and wood bowls by women artists.

    In talking about my work I told him something I realized last week.  The museum work grabs my heart; I think about things there, mull them over, look forward to going in, get excited about new collections, new artists, encounter objects that pierce my soul.  Even the Sierra Club, which is important and I do it because it’s important, doesn’t grab my heart the way the art does.  I wish it did, but it doesn’t.

    Spent most of the day without internet service.  I tried to alter the way my router plugs into the internet and it worked for a while, then the router just went all kablooey.  An hour and a half of reading the manual, trying this, then that and I got the connection back but I lost the alterations I’d made.  I’ll try’em again tomorrow.

    Oh.  The Wolfman.  I spoke too soon.  As I watched the end, I found it gained texture and strength.  The cinematography was wonderful and the pathos of the altered conclusion–altered from the Chaney original–made the story more emotionally gripping.

  • Contemporaries and Art

    Imbolc                                        Waxing Wild Moon

    Into the Walker today to pick up doggie meds from Mark O. who brought them back from Mexico last week.  He’s a wounded traveler, struck down by a bug and a bum knee.

    Mark went with us on the first round of our tour.  Grace Jiang-Goggins gave us a tour of the Walker’s new installation of its permanent collection.  Ginny Wheeler, Morry, Allison, Bill, Jane McKenzie and Merritt were along.

    Grace has such a nice, unassuming way of treating the art, her knowledge and the participants in her tours.  We began with a multi-colored object that looked like wooden cylinders 4-5″ high strung on a long central shaft.  Which, it turns out, was essentially what they were.  What a great story Grace told about them.  This guy, I forget his name, couldn’t break into the art world.  He was self taught and made these walking sticks, working the patterns in permutation after permutation, always putting in a mistake, just like the ancient Greeks and their architecture.  Anyhow, he’d wander around with these sticks through various cities in Europe, go into museums and then leave one behind.  You gotta love this guy.

    Next we saw a German artist who loved white and nails.  Loved them so much that he pounded many nails into a board and painted the board and the nails white.  Trust me it looks better than I’ve made it sound.  Somehow there are patterns, waves, fields of grain, motion in this mass of nails.

    Onto Andy Warhol’s Jackie.  16 portraits of Jackie Kennedy, related either to the immediacy of the assassination or the funeral.  When I looked at them, I didn’t reference the whole grassy knoll death of camelot moment, but the Marilyn Monroe multiples or the Mao Tse Tung’s portraits brightly colored.  When we got into the specificity of it, there were those layers there, but I didn’t see it at first, nor did I feel it was the most important visual aspect of the piece.

    A shattered mirror, a circular mirror divided into long thin slivers all broken and replaced.  Broken images, like pixels.  A play off a vanity mirror in which the reflections are more distorted fun house than Vogue.

    A Fool’s House by jasper johns.  An old broom hung on a hook.  A cup from his studio.  A canvas stretcher marked stretcher.  A towel marked towel.  The broom.  The cup.  Words and references.  Playing with proverbs?  A new broom sweeps clean.  Merritt pointed out that the hook was not named.

    A complex piece by a Thai artist who taught himself English by each morning taking a marker and blacking out the words he already knew.  Then he pasted strips from these newspapers on an old bed sheet and painted over all but the a’s and p’s with a blue field.  The a’s and p’s he filled in with an orange paint. A luminous work, like stars in the heavens or Australian aborigines.

    We stopped, too, at a work by an Iranian artist who lives in the twin cities.  He wrote excerpts from Rumi and Hafiz all over a large canvas, at various angles and in various shapes.  A Prayer, he called it.

    The tour ended in a room with about 75 paintings hung salon style, a large portion apparently of the Walker’s holdings.  Paintings make up 20% of the Walker’s collection.  This is a great collection of works from the well-known to the obscure:  Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keefe, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Morris Louis, Mark Rothko, DeKooning….and on and on and on.

    Seeing art with friends is a rich experience.  A valuable experience.  Reminds me of my seminary years when I would come to the MIA every Sunday with my friend David Grotrian, himself an abstract expressionist and his wife, Carol, an art historian.  It was fun then and it’s fun now.

  • Floating Away to Blue Cloud Abbey

    Imbolc                              Waning Cold Moon’

    Last day at home until Sunday.  Headed out to Blue Cloud Abbey, where Kathleen Norris wrote at least two books.  The Abbey’s buildings are 1960’s modernist, most like public elementary schools, save for the Abbey church which has some panache.  The Abbey church, the guest house and the monastic facilities sit on the highest point for miles.  After sundown, the lights of small towns faraway twinkle.

    I’m looking forward to an actual retreat with some quiet time spent on meditation and my own spiritual path.  I haven’t done one of those in a long time, too long.  Love is on my mind, right now, so I’ll plan to spend some contemplative time with how it is in my life and how I offer it to others.  This Valentine’s Day, my 63rd birthday, feels like a spur to thinking about love, a bit unusual for me since I’m normally focused on my birthday.  Anyhow, I have a new Parabola focused on love that I’m taking with me.

    Woolly Brother Mark Odegard has taken his magic bus to the shores of the  Pacific Ocean outside Puerto Vallarta.  His journey, a pilgrim’s really, takes him where his vision beckons.  I admire his willingness to open himself to the world and to others, a life lived embracing life.  Very Zorba.  And Zorba is one of my heroes.

  • The Archaeology of Snow

    Winter                                                   Waning Cold Moon

    As the Cold Moon begins to wane, so will the bitterness of our winter,  sliding toward warmer averages, probably more snow, certainly no green for another month plus anyhow.  This winter, like winters of yore, we still have November snow Add Newlayered like archaeological remains below December and those below January.  Even with increased temps we will, most likely, bury these further under a February layer and March until we have five months here, mingled compressed, all vulnerable to the sun that rises higher concentrating its blessing until we discover once again that things still grow here.

    Preached this morning at Groveland.  A repeat of Roots of Liberalism.  I wrote this piece originally for Groveland, but ended up presenting it in Wayzata last Labor Day Sunday.  My October date with Groveland, when I would have given it there, they asked me to do some consulting, help them get on top of their disintegrating community.  Too much work for too few volunteers, an old churchbane.  No easy answers, but they’re still at it.

    When I presented Roots in Wayzata, it went over so well I felt brilliant for an entire afternoon.  Even then, though, I felt near the end I had reached beyond the patience level of the average listener and I felt the same way today.  The reaction today was less effusive and the discussion less rich, but I felt heard again.  Now I can move forward and get to work on Liberalism, part II:  the present.  Due near the end of March.

    Buddy Mark Odegard writes about reading on the beaches of Puerto Vallerta.  He believes we should all emulate the small birds who have the good sense to emigrate during the bleak season to warmer climes.  When I grip the steering wheel with white knuckles while driving on ice, I agree with him.

  • So Cold I Forgot to Post This

    Winter                              Waning Moon of Long Nights                   -18

    Since it is -18 now, at 11:15 p.m. it will get cold by morning.  Don’t know whether it will reach -25 as it did this a.m., but it would not surprise me.

    Kate has been reading and reading and reading.  Ever since we got her a Kindle for her birthday back in August, she’s used it a lot.  Over the last few days she’s gone on a real tear.

    I’ve been reading a good bit, too.  Current book, The Glass Devil, by Helen Tursten, a Swedish mystery writer.  Almost done.  A bleak book in many ways.  Put alongside the Girl Who Played With Fire and the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, however, it paints a consistent picture of Sweden.   Clean, minimalist, family oriented with a certain sexual candor.  Educated, but somewhat insular.  (peninsular?) Also heir to all the vices that plague us all:  sex, drugs, violence, gangs, family dysfunction.

    Well, ok.  I’m also reading Descarte’s Bones, a great read from Mark Odegard.  A Short History of Daoism.  Those are my main efforts right now.

  • Bio-Char and the After-Life

    Lughnasa                             Waxing Blood Moon

    The Woolly’s met at the old Cenacle in a new retreat center.  We’ve met there three or four times this year.

    The focus was views on the afterlife.  The conversation revealed a surprisingly conservative undertone with several Woollys hedging their metaphysical bets.  Immanuel Swedenborg got a mention as did reincarnation as a proven reality.

    Some, like me, took a more existential stance.  “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”  I believe that was Carl Sagan.  The questions death raises have confounded humanity since at least the time of the Neanderthals.  There is something about a void after death, an extinctionist perspective I saw it called recently, that unsettles many people.

    It is, as much as anything else, I imagine, such a stark contrast with the vitality and hereness of life.  That this magical adventure, this ancient trail might end in nothingness seems like a cheat.  But by whose perspective?

    To me the wonder is this life, this one chance we have to experience whatever we can, to do what we can.  To be who we are.

    On another note Mark Odegard had two words for today’s graduates:  bio-char.  New to you?  Me, too.  It’s worth a look though and here’s a website that will help you get up to speed.