Category Archives: Art

Heart Of Glass

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but over the past few years I’ve developed a strong interest in a particular style of glassware. It all started several years ago when I set up my cocktail cabinet (See “Hey Manhattan”). I bought six of each of the required glass styles and thought  myself pretty well set up. My then girlfriend then convinced me to ditch the standard stuff in favour of something a bit more impressive. You see, she was very much of the opinion that what you drink out of is as much a part of the experience as what you drink, and suggested I invest in something else.

As a result of some digging around on Etsy, I came across the work of Georges Briard. He was unknown to me at the time, but I could see that his work really stood out and so I bought three sets of his glasses, all in the same style. For those of you who don’t know, Briard was a a mid century modern (MCM) designer who produced glassware from the 1950’s until the 1970’s which was sold at such outlets as Neiman Marcus.

All was well and good, and I derived a great deal of satisfaction from using them. As cash has been rather tight over the past few years I haven’t added to my collection, but that all changed a few weeks ago.

Just before the whole world turned to shit, my sweetheart flew down to Palm Springs to visit her cousin. Being the incredibly generous soul that she is, she wanted to bring something back for me that was better than a tee shirt. I understand that Palm Springs has more than it’s fair share of antique stores, and while browsing she found what she assumed would be the perfect present for me. Without telling me too much, she asked about “The guy whose glasses you like”, so I could tell where her mind was going, so I told her and left it at that.

She later sent me a picture of a set of glasses and asked me what I thought. Take a look for yourself.

 

As she was on a tight schedule I answered her immediately and she snapped them up. Only later did I learn the full story. In addition to buying me eight of these glasses, she also bought me six of these:

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Just so you know, this is a Double Old Fashioned, so it holds twice as much as a regular glass. Naturally, I was blown away by them, as I just love Briard’s use of gold in his work. Bringing them back on the plane was a bit of a hassle for my sweetheart, especially as the bag broke just as she got to the airport. Such was her plight that upon disembarking, she went straight to the Coach shop to see if she could buy a bag from them. As small acts of kindness go, giving someone a bag isn’t a big deal, but I do appreciate them for just giving my sweetheart a very sturdy paper shopping bag in which to put all the glasses.

You can imagine my delight when she got home, not just because I hadn’t seen her for five days, but the fact that I now had more glasses than I knew what to do with, resulting in me reorganising my sideboard to make room.

But wait, there’s more. We’d been looking on Etsy and she’d seen a set of glasses that she thought might appeal to me, and she was right. The problem was that the shipping was more than the glasses, so I passed up the opportunity but still left them in my cart, as did she, just in case. Guess what?  Last week she asked if I was still interested in the glasses, largely due to the fact that they’d caught her eye as well. I said yes, and so she ordered them. I asked her how much I owed her, but she just waved it away, saying that she’d pay as it was her idea. She’s a wine drinker and has no use for Lowballs, Highballs, Collins’s or Old Fashioneds, so it was doubly heartening that she would do this for me. As a result, I now have another six Double Old Fashioned glasses in my collection.

 

Yeah. I know. I understand now how people end up dying surrounded by thousands of commemorative Victorian teaspoons, match books or toy robots, but least I can use the glasses. You see, I don’t regard myself as a collector, but as a appreciator, if there is such a thing. I don’t buy them just to have them and look at them, but to use them for their stated purpose. I really don’t see the point of having something and not being able to use it. And I have to admit that my former girlfriend was correct. What you drink out of DOES matter as much as what you drink.

In a way, I’m glad I don’t have the money to indulge my love for Briard’s work, as I would need an aircraft hanger to store them all, and maybe that’s for the best, mind  you, I have a pretty good idea where my stimulus check money will be going…

 

 

 

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Pictures At An Exhibition

It will come as no surprise to you to learn that I am not a great art lover. Don’t get me wrong, I love art, but it’s that I don’t have a great deal of education in the subject, nor have I taken any art appreciation classes, although I did watch Sister Wendy Beckett’s history of art T.V. series, so I’m not completely uncultured. Several years ago I did see the Rembrandt exhibition when the tour passed through town, as well as the contents of a British stately home that were on the road while the building was being refurbished. However, the name of the home escapes me. I also saw an exhibition of Peruvian art covering the period from before contact with Europeans up to the present day.

I will also admit that Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” is my favourite painting of all time, and I have a deep appreciation for the work of the Pre – Raphaelite Brotherhood, although that may have more than a little to do with my appreciation for tall, curvy redheads. Just in case you think I don’t have a point, I do, and it is this:

I attended an exhibition a couple of weeks ago. Actually, it was an installation, and I just loved it. You see, my daughters’ school has a year long project involving the eighth graders. They work all year on a project with a single subject, and this year it was “What are we made of ?” I was able to finagle an early finish so I could get to the school in time for the start. This involved all the parents filing into what passes for an auditorium/theatre at the school while the art teacher enlightened us as to the nature of the project, what it had involved, and a brief overview of the work. Then, each kid stood up and gave a one sentence definition of what we are made of. So far, so good.

Of course, the room was packed, and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the stench of preciousness, white privilege and petit bourgeoise entitlement. I had to listen through grated teeth as a father behind me bleated on about his charity work in Rwanda, and I couldn’t help but notice all the high end labels on the coats and handbags used to reserve chairs as the chattering classes chattered amongst themselves. Just to give you an example of how twee the whole thing was, the art teacher made a comment to the effect of “How wonderful your children are, and thank you for sharing them with us”. Yeah, I nearly puked.

After this, we were split into three groups according to the colour of our entry ticket and thankfully I was in the group that was first to see the finished installation. I know the other two parts, seeing the “Making Of” video and reading the timeline wall would have been interesting, but let’s be honest: I was only there to see my daughters’ contribution, as, I’m sure where most parents. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pretty sure it would be impressive. All the kids had worked very hard over the year for this day, and of course, you know how much I admire my daughter’s artistic ability.

To be honest, it was all very impressive, and there is a lot of talent among the grade, and I was particularly impressed by the piece that mimicked the Sistine Chapel, with God stretching out his hand to Adam. It involved a figure leaning down from the ceiling with one arm outstretched towards the viewer whose foot placement was marked on the floor. Of course, the figure was far enough away that even with arm outstretched, the viewer couldn’t reach the pointing finger of the figure. Not a good description, I know, bu I’m sure you get the picture.

I thought the interactive headsets were a very clever idea, but of course, I made a bee line for my daughters’ piece.

 

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She is nothing if not a perfectionist, and she was working on it right up to the last minute. The outer shield represents how people try not to think of themselves as being the same as other animals and wall themselves off from thinking about what they actually are, while the skull lays bare the reality. And yes, those are horse teeth in the skull. I was impressed but by no means surprised that she’d put so much thought into her piece and that she had such a strong insight into human nature. Let’s be honest, we all like to think of ourselves as being more than other members of the animal kingdom, we all try to deny our own mortality and cling on to some vestige of our youth.

I will admit that I bailed after my daughter had shown me the other pieces that impressed her, but I could see how much effort and thought each artist had put into their work. I doubt that any of them will put Damien Hirst out of work, but at least they are being given a chance to explore how to represent their worldview through art. I’m just glad none of them produced a piece involving a dead shark or a tank full of urine.

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