Japan Society’s “Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection”

catFri, Mar 13 – Sun, Jun 7, 2015
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017

Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection illustrates the depth of this mutual attraction by mining the wealth of bravura depictions of cats to be found in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1615-1867).

Roughly 50 items will be replaced with new works halfway through Life of Cats—Rotation 1 will be on view from March 13 until April 26; Rotation 2 will be on view from April 29 until June 7.

http://www.japansociety.org/page/programs/gallery/life-of-cats

Jackie Robinson: January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972

robinsonLIFE With Jackie Robinson: Rare and Classic Photos of an American Icon

When Jack Roosevelt Robinson stepped onto Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, he not only changed the face of professional baseball in America. In ways subtle and profound — ways that have been debated, dissected and celebrated in books, films, popular songs, academic circles and casual conversations in the long decades since — he changed the nation itself.

Here, LIFE.com offers a selection of both classic and, in some cases, rare pictures that paint a portrait of a man whose dignity, competitive fire and grace under pressure set him indelibly and inevitably apart from his peers and his rivals.

http://time.com/3813840/life-with-jackie-robinson-rare-and-classic-photos-of-an-american-icon/

“Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea”

Art Exhibit in Washington Explores the Madonna as Woman, Mother, and Idea
Portraits of the Virgin Mary are on show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts until April 2015.

She’s the most recognizable woman in the world. Her image spans a wide range of centuries and styles, from reverential portraits by old masters like Michelangelo to cheap plaster statues to the controversial collage by Chris Ofili of a black Madonna studded with elephant dung that caused an uproar when exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999.
But who is the Virgin Mary, and what do we see when we gaze at her portrait? On December 5, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., opens “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea”—an exhibit of 70 artworks, from the 14th through the 19th centuries, lent by the Vatican Museums, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Louvre, among others.   http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/12/141204-madonna-art-religion-catholicism-virgin-mary-women-museum-culture/

madonna

Monsignor Timothy Verdon, canon of the Florence Cathedral, is guest curator of the exhibition. “Mary is one of the main themes in Western art for more than 1,000 years,” Verdon explains. “Not only are there more images of her than of anyone else — including her son — her son is often part of the image, but the interest of the image is normally more focused on Mary, who is the adult, than on the Christ child.”   http://www.npr.org/2014/12/24/372731460/mother-empress-virgin-faith-picturing-mary-and-her-many-meanings

Codex Mendoza

Thanks to the always interesting Hyperallergic website, today I learned about a manuscript known as the Codex Mendoza which has been digitized and put online in high resolution. Totally unfamiliar with Mexican codices, I was grateful to see that the http://codice.manuvo.com site has a succinct explanation of what they are and what their significance is.

Mexican codices are pictorial and iconic documents that pre-Hispanic cultures (primarily the Mexicas, Mayas, and Mixtecs) used to preserve and transmit their knowledge. They were produced on different types of surfaces, mainly on deerskin or bark paper. Gordon Brotherston (1992) describes the essential characteristics of codices as non-phonetic, although some might record concept-sounds, such as those produced by the Mayas. They are highly flexible in terms of presentation, for they can be structured as a chronicle told through historical events, a map, or a tribute list. This holistic integration of writing, images, and mathematics, clearly breaks with Western notions of writing.

One of the principal characteristics of codices, according to Brotherston, is that the knowledge contained in most of them is not actually recorded in a language that represents a language, as in the case of modern languages. Codices are part of a different communication system that also invoked oral tradition and other semantic elements no longer used today. They are composed of images and icons that work in tandem with the memory, voice, and knowledge of individuals able to read them:

http://codice.manuvo.com/html/acerca.php?lang=english

cm

The illustrations in the codex are beautiful in their own right, above and beyond their educational value. The Hyperallergic article is a good introduction to this document and worth checking out before heading over to the Codex Mendoza site. Read it here:  http://hyperallergic.com/177110/a-historic-manuscript-on-aztec-life-is-virtually-repatriated/