Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, May 16, 2003
A pleasant discovery happened on a recent visit to a terrific local paper conserver.
I recently acquired, at auction, an excellent engraving by Rookwood artist, engraver and unappreciated urban documentarian Edward Timothy Hurley. The engraving, quite uncharacteristically for Hurley, is a portrait of American Impressionist and Covington, Kentucky native Frank Duveneck. Prior to the sale I saw that this was a superb acid washed as opposed to dri point engraving with an excellent plate mark, a good pencil signature and signed in the plate and a date (1916) in pencil.
The image was also a very good study of Duveneck, made in his lifetime and by a student and contemporary. The image, also, was in obvious need of restoration. None of this prevented a stiff bidding war for ownership.
As I awaited a meeting with the conserver, my study of the frame, matte and backing suggested that the artwork was reframed and resold by a toney local design house in the mid to late 60’s. This local design house was not known for the best archival work in that period and my wait for the conserver was a nervous one.
As it turns out the conservation work is only moderately complicated…some remnants of glue from its first framing and brown paper tape affixed to either side of the document for some forgotten reason long ago will be removed. The document will be acid neutralized, flattened, bleached and humidified to restore its original 1916 appearance and to prolong its life.
Sometimes, when the matting is removed, pleasant surprises can be observed with the niggling damage. You might notice that the paper is hand-crafted. This isn’t the case with Hurley but can happen with the work of an engraving protégé and fellow Rookwood artist Lorinda Epply. Some plates had very limited runs on medium to OK paper, other plates had larger runs on medium to bad (heavy acid content) paper and other plates were almost mass produced with Hurley, needing money, signing some of these in pencil.
This was an engraving of the best quality and when the matte board was removed a lengthy pencil inscription by Hurley was visable for the first time in several decades:
Portrait of Frank Duveneck
By E.T. Hurley-Etcher of Cincinnati, Ohio 1916
Pupil and Friend of Duveneck
Suddenly the years seem to melt away and people dead 50 years and longer, in a brief pencil inscription, flash vividly to life again.
People couldn’t understand my concern with the objects in the Iraq National Museum. Just some old junk, some said, that will show up on Ebay anyway.
Oh if only life were that easy and time and humanity’s passage less corrosive to artistic ephemera. I choose to value our shared past and to do my part to preserve a tiny portion of it as a duty and for the well being of my soul.
Col. Bogdanos says the Iruk head,
3,000 BC, is still missing
I was pleased to watch a press conference about the Iraq National Museum earlier today on C-SPAN with a US soldier whose name has populated past postings, Colonel Matthew Bogdanos. There has been a shortage of information in the world press about the Museum in the last few days and, according to the Colonel’s report, little has happened that would have required reporting. As usual, excepting the Reuters representative, the reporters asking questions evidenced little familiarity with issues regarding the Museum and the missing or stolen pieces of its collection. I would have appreciated a question about restoration of any recovered but damaged items like the broken Golden Harp of Ur but the majority of reporters seemed more interested in an unknowable number value for missing and recovered items.
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Kentucky has a primary vote this coming Tuesday for Governor and a host of State offices but you wouldn’t know that by reading the local papers or watching the local network affiliates. The turnout is expected to be extremely low with local county officials expecting less than 15% of registered voters to exercise their right.
Of course this confusion at a hometown level meshes beautifully with all the confusion observed through the dirty lenses of the national press.
Recent headlines in the big east coast papers, in stories usually pegged to a daily aggressively post-triumphal upbeat Presidential quote, have suggested, indirectly of course, that alQaeda has been damaged beyond repair.
Poor Florida Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bob Graham, as ignored as ancient Troy’s Cassandra, has been aggressively forthcoming with warnings that the President’s Iraqi side trip, or “battle” as Mr. Rove likes to call it, has given dangerous breathing room to an evolved alQaeda and ignored the clear and present danger of Saudi involvement with the terror operation.
Monday evening’s triple bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the Islamic fundamentalist suicide bombings today and Monday in Chechnya would seem now to support the Senator’s predictive skills though his success isn’t rewarded with increased press attention. Only the Los Angeles Times referenced the Senator in the final paragraphs of a story headlined, US Fears “Wave of Attacks”:
…The attacks also renewed criticism from some Democrats that the Bush administration's efforts against international terrorism have gone astray.
Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, a Democratic presidential hopeful, charged that such attacks "could have been avoided if you had actually crushed the basic infrastructure of alQaeda."
For months, Graham has claimed the war in Iraq diverted U.S. military and intelligence resources from their ongoing battle against terrorist threats, allowing alQaeda to regenerate…The former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee…told reporters that alQaeda is stronger now than it was a year ago.
"We've been engaged in a manhunt to find their past leadership," Graham said. "But what we're also finding is that alQaeda has a deep farm team and they're able to replace those who are killed or detained."
Senator Graham is one of a handful of leaders, including John Kerry and the United States Marines, to publically suggest, to very little fanfair, that aspects of our battle plan in Afghanistan allowed an alQaeda “Diaspora” or a dispersal of trained terrorists to the four corners of the Earth.
I know that there are so called Liberals, including myself, who agree whole-heartedly with the position of this White House as stated yesterday by the Vice President:
…The only way to deal with this threat ultimately is to destroy it.
Most of the traditional Democratic opposition that the Vice President and his ilk deride so often as unpatriotic have supported Mr. Cheney’s basic destructive sentiment for almost two long years now. Yes, Mr. Cheney, please do, destroy alQaeda before the country is forced into another costly and successful show “battle” against another obviously inhumane, weaker and more exploitable foe. Tick, tick, tick.
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
In a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I asked the participants in my informal media class if they were surprised to have noted no local Cincinnati or national, excepting the LA Times, coverage of Senator Graham’s claim on CBS’ Face the Nation that President Bush is engaged in a cover up of 9/11. Everyone was surprised and sobered that such a bold and direct statement by a man of such unquestioned repute would go almost completely unreported.
I have heard several former military pilots say that the elastic straps that so snugly framed President Bush’s, as G. Gordon Liddy described it, “manly characteristic” should have been loosened upon exiting the aircraft. If one examines the videotape and observes the crotches surrounding the President you will clearly see that the other flight suited men had loosened their straps. These former military pilots said that walking with these straps still snug would have been “painful”. Funny, isn’t it? I mean, I actually laughed out loud when I heard this. Poor President Bush and his “manly characteristic” must have either suffered or thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
A couple of nonsensical right wing shibboleths currently mouthed by the hopeless punditry:
1-The Opposition should drop the carrier visit as an issue because any viewing of the costumed President is good for GOP
2-Adoring servicemen “swarmed” the President
3-Other Presidents did it
What total hokum!
1-When I see the costumed and crotch-enhanced Leader of Portions of the Western World I only see a man who did not honorably complete his military service.
2-As far as the pundit-described adoring swarm, I really can understand the chickenhawks misapprehension of that blanket term “the military”. The military, excepting Newt Gingrich, are not like Star Trek’s evil Borg group mind (though the VP comes mighty close). The military, all services, is comprised of free men who voluntarily swear to serve and obey the orders of superior officers within the context of the Uniform Code, period. Any military installation expecting the arrival of any President is going to be on its best behavior and any Commanding Officer is going to order his Command to be as “squared away” as is humanly possible. I actually heard some draft-dodging loon of a pundit say of the sailors on the Abe Lincoln’s deck, “…Look at those adoring looks…they love our President!” To confuse a troop’s duty and respect for the Commander in Chief with adoration is, in our democratic system, either stupidity or a perversion of the highest order.
3-While the odious cant about other Presidents visiting aircraft carriers and briefly wearing jackets or hats is certainly true, any amateur historian could quickly discover that the problem with the Bush version is a civilian Commander in Chief wearing a complete military costume (for the 1st time in American history) and exiting a jet with his name stenciled under the pilot’s cockpit window.
Monday, May 12, 2003
I’m teaching a lesson in modern media to a few select friends.
To begin everyone had to watch Florida Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bob Graham on yesterday’s Face the Nation on CBS.
After the program we discussed the Senator’s remarks. Most were very surprised by Senator Graham's allegations of a 9/11 cover up by the Bush administration.
I told the group that the Senator has hinted about these beliefs prior to his Face the Nation appearance but that his remarks to Bob Schieffer marked a newsworthy first.
The homework assignment was to observe the media, radio, TV, local papers and big boys, for the next 24 hours to detect coverage of Senator Graham.
I predicted that the Senator’s remarks would receive little to no coverage.
As of this writing I found only two sources mentioning Senator Graham’s appearance on Sunday’s Face the Nation.
The CBS site has a story about Senator Graham but fails to mention the charge of a cover up against the Bush administration. The CBS post only reports the Senator saying:
“Significant numbers of people” from inside the government were coming forward with new information on U.S. intelligence failures.
The only straight forward news report about Senator Graham’s Face the Nation appearance was this story in the Los Angeles Times:
Sen. Bob Graham on Sunday accused the Bush administration of engaging in a "cover-up" of intelligence failures before and after the Sept. 11 attacks to shield it from embarrassment, and said the war with Iraq has allowed Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to become a greater threat to Americans than ever before…Sunday's remarks appeared to be the first time that Graham has publicly accused the White House of trying to cover up such ongoing threats — and its own intelligence failures — by refusing to declassify information about them.
Not one word about the former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee's charges in the New York Times, the Washington Post or on the cable networks.
So, nothing about Colonel Dowdy or the President's own military record, very little on the looting of the Iraqi nuclear facilities, very little on the ham-stringing of the Congressional 9/11 Committee and buried as the third to last sentence in an AP feature on the reappeared Colonel Bogdanos of the Iraq Museum investigation:
…Finding the golden harp from the ancient Sumerian city of Ur in pieces on the floor of the museum's restoration room was ``heart-rending,'' he says.
Photo: CBS Early Show
Sunday, May 11, 2003
The Duveneck Show
After several very wet days of severe weather and a flooded 120 year-old basement this Sunday proved to be a beautiful spring day and perfect weather for the 35th Annual Duveneck Memorial Art Show along Riverside Drive in Covington, Kentucky.
The growing national reputation of Ken Landon Buck was evident in the superb work displayed including several of his swimming paintings, a new male nude and a series of floral studies with some executed in a new ink and acrylic technique. Ken, who teaches at the Cincinnati Art Academy and who exhibits his work nationally, received the Best in Show award from the Duveneck judges.
I have been fortunate in my life to know many superb artists and I am grateful I can call Ken a friend. Ken is having some minor difficulty with his web page but can be reached through the Cincinnati Art Academy. I promise to post a visit to his studio in the near future.
Interesting paper mache work from Tracy at Borrowed From The Earth caught my eye as a new exhibitor this year. In addition to this charming hog there were several cows, horses, sheep and dogs beautifully crafted by this very friendly young woman. Traci can be reached at (513) 797-7239.