Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, August 13, 2005

Malkin sought to discredit Sheehan by suggesting that her son who was killed in the Iraq war would not approve of her protest.
--Media Matters

As for people like O’Reilly and Hannity and Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh and all the others who are attacking me and parroting the administration line... they don’t have one thing at stake. They don’t suffer through sleepless nights worrying about their loved ones.
--Cindy Sheehan

The right wing attacks on Cindy Sheehan...expose much less about their target than about the attackers... it takes a village to trash a grieving Gold Star Mom.
--Arianna Huffington

Friday, August 12, 2005
It’s Friday and after a morning of errands I have a good book beckoning and dinner to prepare so please accept this hodge-podge posting.

The Governator's Gigi

Hoping that time was on his side, Governator Ah-nold, contrary to yesterday’s post, can’t get no satisfaction.
The LA Times, this morning publishes word that American Media Inc., publishers of the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer and several now Ah-nold-relationship-severed muscle magazines, helped play under assistant west coast promotion man by keeping under their thumb the not yet Governator’s most salacious non-Maria emotional rescue.
Yup, it sounds like hey, get off my elected cloud for our all hands Republican family man.
LA Times story
Some background on Ah-nold’s jumping jack flash.

Hear no evil

If you prefer your salacious governmental tales less sexual check out’s great round up of the Rove leak scandal principals.

Since there are so many cookbooks floating about, it is often difficult to select one for purchase.
May I recommend Lidia’s Bastianich’s spectacular cookbook, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen to your attention?
If you have watched Lidia’s cooking show on PBS you already know this lady is serious about Italian cooking.
This, her latest cookbook, is a triumph!
Rather than book reviewing you to death let me simply say that using this beautifully organized book I’ve made several pasta dishes, a wonderful pizza Margherita, several delicious sauces and Lidia’s killer meatballs.
Tonight, I’ll prepare a rather simple seventh dish from this cookbook, Broccoli Rabe and Sausage.
Tonight’s dish, like the six that have preceded it, will, I know, be wonderful.
Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen is a must for any serious home chef so do yourself, friends and family a favor and get it.

Images:, Reuters, The National Enquirer
Thursday, August 11, 2005
If you can’t afford the Moon and if you haven’t blown all your cash on fancy new boob enhancements like Katherine Harris perhaps you’ll fork over $100,000 for the privilege of sitting in a private box with Governator Ah-nold Schwarzenegger in Boston for the kick-off concert of the Rolling Stones’ “A Bigger Bang” US tour.
As Ah-nold might say, “Fabulous!”
Will there be throngs of sweet Neo-cons swarming the Ah-nold re-election campaign with fists of cash to demand tickets or just the usual array of Ah-nold’s biggest special interest moneymen who also, serendipitously, are sponsoring the Stones US tour?
Is Ah-nold merrily tapping his lifts as he hums an advance release of the Stones’ new press-hyped anti-Bush hymn, “Sweet Neo-con” while he applies his man-tan and adjusts his toupee each morning in his and Maria's tastefully-appointed bathroom?
Or, as in this homey family scene described by Keith Richards to Newsweek, perhaps the Governator will allow concert attendees “to decorate him while he's passed out.”
Whatever the case, the wild and crazy Governator seems to embody the new widely reported lyric phrase from “Sweet Neo-con”:

You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite
You call yourself a patriot; well I think you're full of [a crock of*]shit.

*CNN is reporting this difference in the lyric along with mentions of Halliburton and its subsidiaries Brown and Root.
Jeez, more media errors of fact, who'd a thunk it?

Image: Google, Reuters
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
As the discussion of corporate media’s complicity in the creation and maintenance of the current status quo moves further away from the realm of the tinfoil hats, one need look no further than the front page of today’s New York Times to see that this complicity is leavened with a heaping measure of pure laziness.

Soyuz with unbuilt "logistics module and upper stage" performing a transluner injection burn...Additional images

According to the Times, a private Arlington, Virginia-based company, today, will announce an agreement with Russian officials to send 2 people on a 10 to 21 day, $100 million per ticket voyage around the Moon in a future, equipment-crammed 7.2’ X 8.5’ Soyuz Orbital module.

The Soyuz solid and liquid waste funnels

What a great time to be a billionaire with a limited travel wardrobe and a hankering for cramped sanitary facilities, huh kids?
But, in a report heavy with would’s and could’s, space-faring rich people will have to cool their jets until “as early as 2008” for reasons not altogether specified by the wide-eyed and search engine-incapable Gray Lady.
After two or three finger-tiring Googles, my e-sleuthing unearthed several reports from 2004 detailing pretty much exactly what the Times reported so breathlessly this morning…private company, $100 million, Russians, blah, blah, blah.

The Soyuz descent module and the spacecraft's tiny porthole window

An August 2, 2004 story on says the Soyuz Moon flight hinges on a yet unbuilt “logistics module and an upper stage” placed into a near International Space Station orbit by a yet unbuilt or unmodified launch vehicle:

The linchpin…is…a spacecraft that doesn’t yet exist…the logistics module would be a simple cylindrical module with docking interfaces at either end…equipped with a docking radar and communications system…food, water, and other supplies needed for a manned circumlunar mission, and provide additional habitation volume…[including] a new toilet.

I’m wondering if the Times, our paper of record for imaginary front-page facts, simply chose not to include this dry but relevant information or if, as with Judy Miller-style reporting, they just gullibly took the statements of an obvious self-promoter at face value?
Of course, I’m hardly suggesting that an exaggerated Moon flight for billionaires packs the same Constitution-threatening wallop as the Times’ complicity in Mr. Bush’s phony drive to war.
I for one enjoy the idea of a billionaire paying through the nose for the privilege of crapping in a funnel while seated in a shoebox, observing the Moon through a tiny fogged window and absorbing large doses of radiation.
However, with all imaginary Moon flights aside, it seems that hyped, fake or poorly researched hard news and feature stories, while having no legitimate use in traditional, non-compromised journalism and in some cases a direct threat to our national security, will grow more and more common thanks to the spearheading efforts of the New York Times.
It is, without doubt, a tragic state of affairs.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

That 2002 Art Newspaper story, mentioned in the two most previous posts, on the American Council for Cultural Policy has this interesting paragraph:

Art collectors and dealers including Ashton Hawkins, former counsel to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, have formed the American Council for Cultural Policy…The inaugural meeting of its 45-person Board of Advisers on 9 October [2002], at the Fifth Avenue apartment of Guido Goldman, a collector of Uzbek textiles, drew the antiquities collector Shelby White, the former Getty curator Arthur Houghton (a vice-president), the former Kimbell Art Museum director Edmund Pillsbury, and the legal scholar Professor John Merryman. Lawyers from major museums were also there.

Who are these people, you ask?

Shelby White, President Clinton nominated Shelby White to the government's Cultural Property Advisory Committee, she, according to, “is known for being too willing to acquire objects with a dubious provenance or ownership history."

Edmund Pillsbury, former director of the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth, at age 30, he became the curator of European art at Yale University Art Gallery and later director of the Yale Center for British Art in London. He earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from Yale.
Dr. Pillsbury, as my previous posts describe, has a new job.

John Merryman, Nelson Bowman Sweitzer and Marie B. Sweitzer Professor of Law (Emeritus), affiliated Professor in the Department of Art, Stanford University, leading expert in cultural property and art law.

Arthur Houghton, International Policy Analyst, US Government (White House) 1989-1995, President Arthur Houghton Associates, 1995-present, specialist in Seleucid coins, author or editor of four books on numismatics, 40+ articles, his 2 volume Part 1 Seleucid Coins, a Comprehensive Catalog Part 1: Seleucus I – Antiochus III sells for 240EU.

Ashton Hawkins, former executive vice-president and Counsel to the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he, according to, “was a founding board member of the World Monuments Fund and a close friend of Jackie Onassis's, he's a longtime society fixture who rarely steps out without an entourage.”

Guido Goldman, son of Nachum Goldman, former president of the World Zionist Organization, Dr. Goldman has amassed, according to, the world’s largest and finest private collection of Central Asian Ikat wall hangings along with Central Asian silk and velvet garments.

Images: Reuters, New York Social Diary,, Denver Art Museum,, Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers
Monday, August 08, 2005
More Googling, this morning, in the matter of Dr. Edmund Pillsbury's curious new association with a Dallas art house, resulted in finding an archived copy of one of the 2003 European news reports mentioned here yesterday on the American Council for Cultural Policy, an April 6, 2003 story in Scotland’s Sunday Herald, and a 2003 Art Forum column referencing the other European news account of the ACCP in an April 2003 edition of Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung.
According to the Sunday Herald’s Liam McDougall:

It has emerged that a coalition of antiquities collectors and arts lawyers, calling itself the American Council for Cultural Policy (ACCP), met with US defense and state department officials prior to the start of military action [in Iraq]…News of the group's meeting with the government has alarmed scientists and archaeologists who fear the ACCP is working to a hidden agenda that will see the US authorities ease restrictions on the movement of Iraqi artifacts after a coalition victory in Iraq…Among its main members are collectors and lawyers with chequered histories in collecting valuable artifacts, including alleged exhibitions of Nazi loot.

The Art Forum’s summarization of the April 2003 Süddeutsche Zeitung story is the last item in the column and says:

A group of sixty American art dealers, lawyers, researchers, and museum directors formed the American Council for Cultural Policy last year… Their goal is to loosen up the Iraqi antiquities laws under an American-controlled postwar regime.

To guard against imperfect memories and memories colored by incorrect or poorly reported mainstream press accounts of the Iraq Museum looting it is worthwhile to consider this May 2003 web posting on

The Iraq Museum in Baghdad was one of the three or four most important archeological museums in the world, a treasure house of objects included in every standard art history text book, housing the earliest narrative reliefs and the oldest written works in world history… The looters used professional glass-cutting tools, cranes and trucks over a period of forty-eight hours, as a US tank stood idly outside. At one point a few soldiers strolled into the museum, watched for a while and then left.

A Dallas Morning News account on a Dallas-Fort Worth TV web site from Saturday July 23 reports Dr. Pillsbury’s recent association with a new Dallas employer and quotes the former ACCP member as saying:

"It's [Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers] a dynamic young company that's done very well, particularly in the area of coins and currency and collectibles," Dr. Pillsbury said. "They have convinced me they are serious about developing in the area of fine arts as well, and think I might be of some use in that regard."

As the good doctor surely imagines this new association to be profitable, it might be worth noting that Pillsbury’s previous salary at the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth, TX was, according to art investigator Michel vanRijn, over $450,000 per year.

Photo: Nan Coulter
Sunday, August 07, 2005
A rather curious little announcement in the national section of this week’s Antique Week (unavailable on line) caught my attention yesterday evening.

Dr. Pillsbury photo-shopped at the Baghdad Museum

Several Google searches deepened my curiosity.
The Antique Week announcement concerned the appointment of Dr. Edmund P. Pillsbury, great grandson of the cake mix founder, Yale graduate, former Yale University curator and 18 year Kimbell Art Museum Director in Fort Worth, TX, as the “Senior Fine Arts Expert” at the Dallas based Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers where "his expertise will be a significant factor in Heritage's expansion”.
Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers “is the third largest auction house in the United States with over $400 million in sales the past year in art, antiques, rare coins and currency, books and manuscripts”.
The Heritage Galleries press release describes Dr. Pillsbury as having a variety of antiquarian and cultural associations but neglects to mention his founding association with the Iraq War-tainted American Council for Cultural Policy.
According to a cached copy of a 2002 Art Newspaper article:

Art collectors and dealers…have formed the American Council for Cultural Policy to help defend and preserve Iraq's cultural sites and artifacts. They met with U.S. Defense and State officials in early January…the Council seeks to revamp the Cultural Property Implementation Act so that the U.S. cannot be as easily blocked from importing foreign antiquities…Another aim is to discourage the use of the 1977 US v McClain decision as a judicial precedent to target the trade and collectors by means of the National Stolen Property Act.

The 2002 Art Newspaper article continues:

The inaugural meeting of its 45-person Board of Advisers on 9 October [2002], at the Fifth Avenue apartment of Guido Goldman, a collector of Uzbek textiles, drew the antiquities collector Shelby White, the former Getty curator Arthur Houghton (a vice-president), the former Kimbell Art Museum director Edmund Pillsbury, and the legal scholar Professor John Merryman. Lawyers from major museums were also there.

A Google of the American Council for Cultural Policy results in a spanking new web site, unavailable in searches made in 2003 and 2004, cleansed of Dr. Pillsbury’s name and all but the most wholesomely politically correct Iraq war associations.
According to the ACCP’s wholesome Statement of Purpose and contrary to the 2002 Art Newspaper description:

The American Council for Cultural Policy, a public charity created in 2002 is dedicated to enhancing knowledge and understanding of issues and policies affecting the collecting of works of art.

An April, 14, 2003-dated statement, on the new ACCP web site, by President Ashton Hawkins regarding the looting of the Baghdad Museum passively says:

The ACCP will seek to involve national and international cultural institutions…to find ways to shut off the import of objects that may have been taken from Iraq.

Without making any negative assumption whatsoever, it does seem most curious to me that Dr. Pillsbury, with his array of Yale and Texas associations, neglects to mention the ACCP involvement in his lengthy press release.
It also seems most curious that the Pillsbury-less and expensively-designed ACCP web site, unresponsive to Google searches in 2003 and 2004, is filled with duration-enhancing 1998 and 2002-dated papers and contradicts, with its Statement of Purpose, the reporting found in the 2002 Art Newspaper story, the no longer available, except for a quoted excerpt in my April 23, 2003 posting, April 15, 2003 weblog of a University of Virginia professor and several no longer available European newspapers.
Time might not wait for man but it can certainly assist in the blurred provenance of certain auctionable commodities.

Image: Reuters,

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