I have way too many tabs open once again, and I think it’s about damn time that I post about them, and thus get rid of them.
*Newly discovered papyrus fragment mentions Jesus’ wife – A professor at Harvard Divinity School has revealed a 4th century scrap of papyrus that had been brought to her attention which reads, in ancient Coptic, in part, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…'” Scholars seem convinced that it is not a forgery, though of course, who knows the context this comes from, or how apocryphal the text it comes from… Courtesy of io9 and the Gothamist and the Mary Sue.
*The Seven Deadly Sins of Public Library Architecture, a slightly old, but nevertheless valid, article describing in neat, clean bullet-points, a number of (well, seven) basic, but very serious, failings in how many public libraries are laid out. Much thanks to the indomitable Jasspears (and a professional librarian herself!) for sharing this with me. Personally, I would argue for the value of ornamentation and historical architectural styles and all of that, creating an enjoyable and/or inspirational atmosphere for the library or museum, surpassing practical concerns about maximum efficiency of space or whatever. But, most of the other points here are quite valid, quite interesting, and, I think, equally applicable to issues of museum architecture as well.
*There’s apparently an exhibition of Okinawan bingata robes up at the Osaka City Museum of Art, and the blog 遊行七恵の日々是遊行 has written a quite nice blog post about it (in Japanese). It’s wonderful to see a mainland Japanese museum, or, indeed, any museum outside Okinawa, featuring Okinawan art/culture in such a big way. And, if I were in the Kansai area, I absolutely would make sure to go see the exhibit, and would probably enjoy it very much. Still, while my interest in textiles has begun gradually to grow over the last year or so, still, I really am growing a bit tired of textiles, pottery, and lacquerware (and music & musical instruments) being so constantly shown and talked about as the shining examples of Okinawan art. I know that the division between art and craft, or “fine arts” and “decorative arts” is old hat, but, still, this whole thing only goes to reinforce age-old stereotypes of Okinawa as a folk art, hillbilly, backwater. Since ancient times, painting – not lacquer, not pottery, not textiles, but painting – has been regarded throughout East Asia as one of the finest of elite pursuits, along with calligraphy. And, surprise surprise, Okinawans produced plenty of paintings and calligraphy. Perhaps not too many survive, but, I really would love to see an exhibit highlighting these, and in doing so, highlighting Ryukyu’s *elite* artistic tradition, and not only its folk tradition. *Asterisk – bingata, though often discussed in the context of “folk arts” or something because they’re textiles, were actually historically, traditionally, exclusive to the royalty & aristocracy.
*On a related note, an article in the Japan Times about traditional Japanese stencil art. I clicked this article because I was recently thinking about stencil print artist Takahashi Hiromitsu. Turns out the article is about stencil-dyeing, known in Japanese as katazome (among other terms? I’m not sure?) and quite similar in technique and process and everything to that used to make Okinawan bingata.
*An amazing webpage full of information on Ryukyu-related historical sites in (mainland) Japan by Prof. Watanabe Miki of Kanagawa University. He has a page for Ryukyu-related sites in China as well, and links to a bunch of other great resources too. If these pages were citable sources, wow, they’d be amazing resources. Alas.
*Resobox, a art gallery and event space in Long Island City (Queens, NYC) that I just recently heard about. Sadly, I never did get around to actually visiting, but it would seem that they very frequently have exhibits, events, workshops, lessons and the like related to Japanese and Okinawan arts. Next time I’m home in New York I’m going to have to check this out.
*There have been a lot of blog posts lately on, what should we call it, the fundamental flaws in the American university system, how we got here, where it’s going to lead us if we don’t fix it, etc. This is one of the better ones I’ve seen, though there certainly are plenty out there. Google something like “why not to get a PhD” or “scarcity of tenure positions,” and you’ll find plenty, I’m sure. It worries me, to be sure, as I am myself starting a PhD right now, but, I remain optimistic that things’ll work out for me in the end, whether as an academic, or otherwise, maybe in the museum world.
*EDIT: One more thing added since this post was originally put together. The latest installment of “I’m missing out because I’m not in New York” brings us the bizarrely controversial Tatzu Nishi’s “Discovering Columbus” installation in which the artist surrounds a statue of Columbus at Columbus Circle with a living room so that visitors can experience the statue in a whole new way.
Maybe it’s just because I’m not Italian, but I’ve never really understood why Italian-Americans get so offended when anything happens to Columbus. I mean, it’s not as if Italians (and Italian-Americans) aren’t known, and beloved, for all sorts of other things. I mean, for god’s sake, you’ve got Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello, for starters (and I’m not talking about the turtles). Western civilization owes so much to the Italians it’s almost unfathomable. You really don’t need Columbus, specifically, to remain un-besmirched or whatever, in order to maintain your pride in being Italian. It’s okay. We still love you even if some people have begun to take issue with Columbus Day; and, it’s not even as if Nishi’s installation is anti-Columbus at all to begin with…