From the Journal of Steven H. Cullinane:
Notes on Hans-Georg
Gadamer's philosophy of art as applied to the
Sunday, February 8, 2004 2:00 PM
The Quality of Diamond
On February 3, 2004, archivist and abstract painter Ward Jackson died at 75. From today's New York Times:
"Inspired by painters like Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers, Mr. Jackson made austere, hard-edged geometric compositions, typically on diamond-shaped canvases."
On a 2003 exhibit by Pablo Helguera
Parallel Lives recounts and recontextualizes real
episodes from the lives of five disparate individuals including
Florence Foster Jenkins, arguably the world's worst opera singer;
Giulio Camillo, a Renaissance mystic who aimed to build a memory
container for all things; Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of the
kindergarten education system, the members of the last existing
Shaker community, and Ward Jackson, the lifelong archivist of the
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
On February 3, the day that Jackson died, there were five different log24.net entries:
Parallels with the Helguera exhibit:
Florence Foster Jenkins: Janet Jackson in (2) above.
Giulio Camillo: Myself as compiler of the synchronistic excerpts in (5).
Friedrich Froebel: David Wade in (4).
The last Shakers: Christopher Alexander and his acolytes in (1).
Ward Jackson: On Feb. 3, Jackson became a permanent part of
Some thoughts of Hans-Georg
relevant to Jackson's death:
by G.T. Karnezis
The pleasure it [art] elicits "is the joy of knowledge." It does not operate as an enchantment but "a transformation into the true." Art, then, would seem to be an essentializing agent insofar as it reveals what is essential. Gadamer asks us to see reality as a horizon of "still undecided possibilities," of unfulfilled expectations, of contingency. If, in a particular case, however, "a meaningful whole completes and fulfills itself in reality," it is like a drama. If someone sees the whole of reality as a closed circle of meaning" he will be able to speak "of the comedy and tragedy of life" (genres becoming ways of conceiving reality). In such cases where reality "is understood as a play, there emerges the reality of what play is, which we call the play of art." As such, art is a realization: "By means of it everyone recognizes that that is how things are." Reality, in this viewpoint, is what has not been transformed. Art is defined as "the raising up of this reality to its truth."
As noted in entry (3) above
on the day that Jackson died,
"All the world's a stage."
-- William Shakespeare
The Five Entries of February 3, 2004:
Tuesday, February 3, 2004 11:11 AM
The Quality with No Name
And what is good, Phædrus,
and what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?
-- Epigraph to
Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance
Brad Appleton discusses a phrase of Christopher Alexander:
"The 'Quality Without A Name' (abbreviated as the acronym QWAN) is the quality that imparts incommunicable beauty and immeasurable value to a structure....
Alexander proposes the existence of an objective quality of aesthetic beauty that is universally recognizable. He claims there are certain timeless attributes and properties which are considered beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to all people in all cultures (not just 'in the eye of the beholder'). It is these fundamental properties which combine to generate the QWAN...."
See, too, The Alexander-Pirsig Connection.
Tuesday, February 3, 2004 1:35 PM
On Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl:
"I don’t expect much but I am hoping that the whole episode rekindles a discussion in the country about the incredible double standard there is in the popular culture. Adults complain about the prevalence of teen sex, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and lack of respect for appropriate authority but then place those very behaviors in front of children in the form of talented, attractive and highly paid role models. This is not a sensible approach. Speaking globally, this culture is asking for its own demise."
-- Warren Throckmorton, 2/3/04
Tuesday, February 3, 2004 1:44 PM
Robert M. Pirsig, Lila, 1991 Bantam hardcover, p. 111:
"... Quality 'is' morality. Make no mistake about it. They're 'identical.' And if Quality is the primary reality of the world then that means morality is also the primary reality of the world."
-- Quoted at
The Alexander-Pirsig Connection.
"This creative activity of the Divine is called lila, the play of God, and the world is seen as the stage of the divine play."
-- Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, Third Edition, Updated, 1991, Shambhala paperback, pp. 87-88, quoted here
"All the world's a stage."
-- William Shakespeare
Tuesday, February 3, 2004 6:16 PM
Theory of Design
For an introduction, see
Pattern in Islamic Art, by David Wade.
For a deeper look that is related to the previous three log24 entries, see Goppold's
Prolegomena to an Art Theory.
Tuesday, February 3, 2004 7:11 PM
The following is related
today's previous four log24 entries.
From my paper journal, a Xeroxed note,
composed entirely of cut copies of various documents,
from July 11, 1990....
Harvard Alumni Gazette June 1990
Retiring Faculty Continue their Love of Learning, Creativity
Thought for today: "He who tells the truth must have one foot in the stirrup." -- Armenian Proverb
Preserve me from the enemy
-- T. S. Eliot, Choruses from the Rock -- 1934
Pattern in Islamic Art is the most thorough study yet published of the structure of the art.
Sources: Harvard Alumni Gazette, local newspaper, a volume of the poems of T. S. Eliot, David Wade's Pattern in Islamic Art, and a paperback novelization of Pale Rider
Updates of February 19, 2004:
Thursday, February 19, 2004 12:00 PM
for Lee Marvin's Birthday
"EVERYTHING'S a story.
"You see that sign, sir?"
Thursday, February 19, 2004 9:22 PM
What is Poetry, Part II --
Gombrich vs. Gadamer
Tetsuhiro Kato on
Gombrich and the
Hermeneutics of Art
Kato on Gombrich
"... according to Gombrich, an image is susceptible to become a target for 'symbol detectives'.... But the hidden authorial intention... ([for example]... astrology, recalling the famous warning of Panofsky[1955: 32]), almost always tends to become a reproduction of the interpreter's own ideological prejudice. Not to give into the irrationalism such psychological overinterpretation might invite.... we have to look for the origin of meaning... in... the social context.... The event of image making is not the faithful transcription of the outside world by an innocent eye, but it is the result of the artist's act of selecting the 'nearest equivalence'... based on social convention...."
Kato on Gadamer
"For [Gadamer], picture reading is a process where a beholder encounters a picture as addressing him or her with a kind of personal question, and the understanding develops in the form of its answer (Gadamer 1981: 23-24; Gadamer 1985: 97,102-103). But, it must be noted that by this Gadamer does not mean to identify the understanding of an image with some sort of 'subsumption'of the image into its meaning (Gadamer 1985: 100). He insists rather that we can understand an image only by actualizing what is implied in the work, and engage in a dialogue with it. This process is ideally repeated again and again, and implies different relations than the original conditions that gave birth to the work in the beginning (Gadamer 1985: 100).
What matters here for Gadamer is to let the aesthetic aspect of image take its own 'Zeitgestalt' (Gadamer 1985: 101)."
Example (?) -- the Zeitgestalt
of today's previous entry:
Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1981. "Philosophie und Literatur: Was ist die Literatur?," Phänomenologische Forschungen 11 (1981): 18-45.
Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1985. "Über das Lesen von Bauten und Bildern." Modernität und Tradition: Festschrift für Max Imdahl zum 60. Geburtstag. Ed. Gottfried Boehm, Karlheinz Stierle, Gundorf Winter. Munchen: Wilhelm Fink. 97-103.
Panofsky, Erwin. 1955. Meaning in the Visual Arts: Papers in and on Art History. New York: Anchor.
"There is no competition in true art,
-- Lorna Thayer
From The Los Angeles Times of June 17, 2005:
Lorna Thayer, 85;
Character Actress Played Memorable Waitress
in 'Five Easy Pieces'
As a film and television character actress with more than 40 years in front of the camera, Lorna Thayer largely flew under the show-business radar — with one notable exception that made film history.
Thayer was the roadside cafe waitress who memorably refused to bend the rules for Jack Nicholson in the 1970 film drama "Five Easy Pieces."
Thayer, who died June 4 at age 85 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement home in Woodland Hills after battling Alzheimer's disease for five years, had a long and varied career.
She appeared on stage in Los Angeles and New York, made guest appearances on countless television shows and had small parts in movies such as "The Lusty Men," "Texas City" and "Frankie and Johnny." She even co-starred in the 1956 horror film "The Beast With a Million Eyes," a low-budget cult favorite.
But then came "Five Easy Pieces," directed by Bob Rafelson with a script by Carole Eastman under the name Adrien Joyce: a small but high-profile role that earned Thayer a prominent position in the pantheon of memorable movie waitresses.
As the voice of authority opposite Nicholson's rebellious Bobby Dupea, a classical pianist turned oil rigger, the middle-aged Thayer proved to be a formidable foil for the young Nicholson in what has come to be known as the "chicken salad scene."
Dupea: "I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes, tomatoes instead. A cup of coffee and toast."
Waitress, pointing to his menu: "No substitutions."
And so it goes as Nicholson tries to get around the "no substitutions" policy and creatively come up with a way to get a side order of wheat toast.
"I don't make the rules," the increasingly annoyed waitress says at one point.
Dupea: "OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelet, plain. And a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast. No mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee."
Waitress: "A No. 2, chicken sal sand. Hold the butter, the lettuce and the mayonnaise. And a cup of coffee. Anything else?"
Dupea: "Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules."
Waitress: "You want me to hold the chicken, huh?"
Dupea: "I want you to hold it between your knees."
Waitress, pointing to the right-to-serve sign: "Do you see that sign, sir? I guess you'll all have to leave. I'm not taking any more of your smartness and sarcasm."
Dupea, having calmly put on his sunglasses and picked up his gloves: "Do you see this sign?"
In a sudden burst, he sweeps his arm across the table, sending the water glasses, silverware and menus flying.
The scene, which is considered quintessential Nicholson, has had a long afterlife — no Nicholson tribute or compilation of memorable Hollywood lines does without it.
"She was tickled by it," Thayer's daughter, Adrienne Cataldo, said of the scene's longevity in the minds of moviegoers.
In playing the part, Cataldo told The Times this week, her mother tapped into some of the waitresses she had encountered on the road as an actress.
"Most waitresses are wonderful, but we've all encountered a waitress that kind of grates on you," Cataldo said. "She just kind of went in with that attitude."
The reason the scene was so popular, Cataldo said, was that it was a reflection of the generational conflict of the '60s, Nicholson's anti-authoritarian Dupea and Thayer's by-the-rules waitress representing "the rift and the anger that was going on between the generations."
At one point in the scene, Cataldo recalled, her mother seemed to snarl when she said, "You want me to hold the chicken."
"I remember how horrible I felt when she did that," said Cataldo, who was 25 when the movie came out: "You didn't like that woman immediately."
Although the name of the character actress who played the waitress is overlooked when clips of the famous scene air on television, Cataldo said her mother was never bitter about being overlooked.
"She told me, 'There is no competition in true art, only contributions.' "
Thayer, who was once married to the late character actor George Neise, was born in Boston in 1919.
In 1924, she moved with her family to Hollywood, where her mother became silent film actress Louise Gibney.
In addition to Cataldo, Thayer is survived by another daughter, Nikki Savitsky; five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren; and a sister, Anne Budzisz.