Much Ado About a Cat or Two.

If the measure of the greatness of a get-away is how disgruntled you feel when you have to leave Vacationland and return to your regular life. . .

. . . then last week’s trip to New Orleans was très, très bien. Top Cat and I made our annual pilgrimage to our favorite American city for a five-day examination of how much better life would be if we spent more time laissez les bons temps rouler and less time being cold and worrying about the economy.

It’s been a cold Spring here on the north shore of Long Island, and we are at the age when we obsess over the resale value of the house.

I’m a better person when I’m warm. I bet that’s true of most people.

There are three New Orleans buttons under the “Categories” list for this blog, so if you are interested you can click onto one of them and square it (as in times-two it; this year’s trip was the best ever) which will save me from boring you with a re-cap EXCEPT FOR THIS AWESOME CAT PHOTO:

Photo taken at the open door of an antiques shop on Royal Street in the French Quarter.

In case you can’t read the message on the white pieces of paper taped into the objects on the table and bureau, it says:

Please Do Not Pet The Cats.

But I did anyway because the orange guy strolled over to me and obviously expected homage.

Speaking of homage . .

. . . in my on-going watchfulness of der Drumpf’s latest stupidity, I have to say that I am surprised that I am the only reporter, so far, who has noticed that our POSus has revealed his ignorance of English as a spoken language in his announcement of his appointment of Mike Pompeo as the new Sect’y of State, saying that Mike will be “one of the greatest secretary of states” ever.

Maybe I am too delicate for this world, but: even I know that the plural of Secretary of State is on the first noun. . . not the second. To me — the original Princess and the Pea — I find it as grating as when people use the improper past participle of “to go”.

Funny story about that (the proper conjugation of “to go”): when I was a mere lass in the middle 1970s struggling my way out of the working class into the low-middle bourgeoisie by taking courses at the local community college, I exchanged chit chat with a rather pompous young man who informed me that he was only amusing himself with night classes amount the proletariat because, and I will never forget this, he said: “I have already went to college.

I wonder what that guy is doing now, besides voting for der Drumpf.

You might have missed the news that assemblage artist La Wilson died on March 30. You can read an excellent and short account of er life and career here.

I became aware of La Wison’s work in the early 1990s, when she was quite the thing in the art world, especially as she was a woman who had come into her own at a rather late date (she was 62 when her career took off).

John Davis Gallery

I respect her for staying true to her instincts, year after year; and for her expeditious shuffling off of this mortal coil (that’s how I want to go).

John Davis Gallery

But her work makes me want to turn all little sister in Strictly Ballroom and chide her for a bit of musicality, please!

Akron Art Museum

I cannot say what lifts La Wilson’s work over all the other Joseph Cornell imitators, but then I am quite the dunce when it comes to deducing museum-quality art. But to my eye, Joseph Cornell’s work conveys a sense of a personal mythology at work, which is to say that his boxes seem (to me) to contain stories that are told all at once, in a whispered language that we can’t quite hear, which gives them their powerful mystery and appeal.

Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell

La Wilson is quite clear that the objects that she uses are purposely devoid of meaning to her. They are formal elements only, pure shape or color — and you can see that her work is more mathematical and emotionless. Oh well.

I’ve never done an “assemblage”, but I wonder, seriously, How hard can it be?

I have sent my fully completed, 48-page dummy book to my agent . . .

. . . so I have time on my hands while I await her feedback. I might give “assemblage” a go. I did some 3-D collages a long time ago . . .

1996; the quote is from W. B. Yeats.

. . . so I think I can handle the “thing-ness” nature of the art form.

If you have done “assemblage”, please let me know about the experience. How hard was it?

And that’s all I got this week, which is yet another cold, gray, harsh see of days on the north shore of Long Island. I have (in the vault) a watercolor quasi-rescue that I have not yet gotten around to showing you which is on schedule for next Friday so be warned.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

And may there be a huge-ass assemblage of sex scandal and dope deal gone wrong and Planned Parenthood affiliation in Sean Hannity’s past that his non-lawyer Michael Cohen will be obligated to testify about in all our near futures.


Australians: Sean Hannity spews false and evil propaganda on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.I know Rupert is not your fault but, still . . . please send your surplus of flesh-eating ulcers his way.

Jeanie, this is for you:

Taffy and Bibs, who can not stand each other but cannot stand to be out of sight of one another. Is this love?

15 Comments, RSS

  1. Book looks splendid.
    If only Hannity was truly fucked.
    Best NY Times comment…..if Hannity and Trump were to go down together it would be like the writer’s birthday and Christmas all rolled into one….

    Grammar is not our great leader’s strong point; cruelty and idiocy vie for top billing.

  2. Casey

    Love the book cover! It looks delicious.

    I did not know of either Joseph Cornell or La Wilson so I am happy to be educated on this. “Assemblage”, you say? It looks to me that Joseph Cornell did more to manipulate his material than La Wilson, which is like the difference between a guy who chisels figures from stone and a guy who makes really good stone walls. Some stone walls are very inspiring. Depends on the stones.

    It also looks to me that Joseph Cornell made his own boxes. So I give him extra points for that.

    Yes!!! Strictly Ballroom!!!

  3. Kirra

    Vivian – c’est super que to as passé des très bonne vacances à New Orleans! I can’t imagine how crazy it would send me to have such continually cold weather. Down here we can’t say goodbye to summer with 31/87 degrees here today, and it’s supposed to be autumn. I think your book looks great, good luck with all the publishing people.

    Yesterday there was a great interview with James Comey on Australian TV, it’s called the 7.30 Report and hosted by Leigh Sales. Maybe this link will work if you want to watch it:

    I apologise profusely for anything Rupert Murdoch as he started out in my home city of Adelaide with the local newspaper and went from there (it is a shit newspaper just like Fox News). I like your news headline!

    I agree, I think Joseph Cornell’s work is a bit more thoughtful and imaginative. As a teacher I do appreciate La Wilson’s organisation skills.

    Your cats are hilarious and awesome. If only I liked the people I hate that much!

  4. Thank you, Vivian! Loving Taffy and Bibs today. Sigh… And loving your book cover, too — I cannot wait. Tell them to hurry up with this. Christmas is coming and I shop ahead!

    I love Joseph Cornell’s work (la Wilson, nope). I guess I’ve done assemblage. But not like that! (Cornell) — and I think you nailed it well with the difference between the two and the relationship of the objects to the artist. It isn’t just piling it on.

    I’m with you on the grammar. Especially from someone who should know. Oh wait — look who we are dealing with here…

  5. Janna

    I’ll be in New Orleans on Sunday for a week. First time I’ve been back in over thirty years! I have nothing planned, but I have a list of places I want to see. I have no expectations, but how has it changed from when I was there before? Will I see if with fresh eyes and perspective or will I be comparing it to my younger self and the ‘sloth’* I was traveling with?

    So many questions? So much anxiety? So many beignets that I will have to eat 🙂 So. Much. Fun!

    *Not worried. He doesn’t read your blog . . . actually, I’m not sure he even knows how to read. Never saw him with a book . . . Hmmm?

  6. Leslie

    Re: Last Week’s Post
    I want to commend you on your whistleblower efforts. It is a challenge to do the right thing.
    “Nothing hard is ever easy.” Possum of Knoxville,Tennessee

  7. Megan

    I wonder why you are not allowed to pat the cats, especially if they so want to interact…? Mysterious. Taffy and Bibs are a conundrum. English can be tricky… I have a pet hate, oh actually many… one is knit, I knit a jumper, no you knitted one. Argh, too much for me I am a pedant I guess. I still have friends so maybe I am not yet unbearable. Rupert Murdoch is such a disappointment. His mother was a fine person and I find it hard to reconcile the difference in how he leads his life and how she conducted hers. Sad. I actually like those assemblage pieces of La Wilson, especially the felt one. It’s the quilter coming out in me I suspect. Glad to hear you had a nice holiday and warmed up, I am hoping to cool down, roll on winter.

    • Kirra

      Hi Megan – I agree Dame Elisabeth Murdoch was such a good person and did a lot for Australia and he is terrible. Kirra

  8. Becky

    Drumpf must have slept through all of his grammar classes. Too bad he didn’t take refresher courses at his prestigious college. He does have the best mind and the best words …..
    Lets hope he has a chance to use it in the best jail and take that scum Hannity with him. I loved the picture of Hannity ‘s show.
    Taffy and Bibs are so sweet. Their dislike must be a show. They look pretty cozy.
    Can’t wait for the new book. It is a must for my collection. I love Monet’s soft dreamy style.
    My friend did assemblages, and I was always fascinated how she put them together. It always looked pretty difficult to me. Cornell’s work looked very interesting. Thank you for sharing this.
    We in PA. are waiting for spring. It has been too cold and wet here these days.

  9. Judy Jennings

    Well I know that Beth spent hours on hers…didn’t just throw them together. I can’t say how “hard” that was, but I k ow she put thought into the process and had fun, too.
    Cannot wait to see your new book.
    By the way, your old New Orleans post with the bookshops and cats was one of my favorite EVER. ?

  10. I’m glad the trip to New Orleans went well. N’Awlins is one of those towns that polarizes people — they either love it or don’t. I’ve never been a fan, personally, but that might be because I went as a fairly young person and spent a lot of my time there on and around Bourbon Street. Maybe I needed to get out of the French Quarter more and really see the sights. Congrats on submitting the book! Whew!

  11. Yes, I would say it is love in that last picture. Thanks for the T update of the week. I always love your insights. Love more, the cover to your new book. Good luck with that for sure.

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