Japanese dragonfly scroll by Kinoshita Itsuun and Ichikawa Beian

Last week after work I took advantage of the Seattle Art Museum’s “First Thursdays” free admission and treated myself to its current exhibit, Luminous: The Art of Asia.  I found the exhibit to be a serene, but inspiring, oasis during this busiest of holiday shopping seasons.

Quiet gallery on Thursday evening at the Seattle Art Museum

I will be featuring a few of my favorite pieces in the next couple of days.  Today I wanted to showcase this lovely Dragonfly scroll, one of a pair from the Japanese Edo period (the other one featured butterflies).  I can understand why so many Western artists have been inspired by Japanese drawings and paintings.  These dragonflies are exquisite!

The Dragonfly
by Louise Bogan

You are made of almost nothing
But of enough
To be great eyes
And diaphanous double vans;
To be ceaseless movement,
Unending hunger
Grappling love.

Link between water and air,
Earth repels you.
Light touches you only to shift into iridescence
Upon your body and wings.

Twice-born, predator,
You split into the heat.
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.

You rocket into the day.
But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,
For you, the design and purpose stop.

And you fall
With the other husks of summer.

(You can listen to Bogan reciting this poem at this link.)

It Takes Two to Tango

July 10, 2011

“Dancing is the poetry of the foot.”
— John Dryden

Tango lesson in Pioneer Square

I went to Pioneer Square for First Thursday and stumbled upon an outdoor dance floor.  Thursday was the final day of a Dancing Hats event, and one of the evening activities was a free tango lesson.  It looked like a lot of fun!

Demonstrating tango steps

One of tango's sexy moves

Free tango lesson in Pioneer Square

The romance of the dance


Fancy-Free Thursday

April 2, 2010

Yesterday was the first Thursday of the month, and my friend Carol and I took advantage of  free admission to the Seattle Art Museum and other offerings in downtown Seattle. 

Our bus got us downtown half an hour before the Art Museum opened, so we indulged in lattes at Fran’s Chocolates across the street.  We were treated to two complimentary chocolates.  What a great start to the day! 

Latte and complimentary chocolates at Fran's Chocolates

Carol and I had already seen the Calder Exhibit, but we enjoyed an encore visit.  We were again delighted by the paintings, sculptures, mobiles and jewelry.  We took a quick walk through some of the permanent exhibits as well.

Some/One sculpture by Do-Ho Suh, a robe constructed of 40,000 dog tags

 Carol and I then took a bus to Pioneer Square in the ride-free zone to enjoy free pizzas at Pizzeria Napoletana, which was celebrating its grand opening.  We waited in line for 30 minutes, and were treated to a free coffee from Cafe Vita while we waited.  The pizzas were delicious!

Crew assembles and cooks individual pizzas for a never-ending line of customers

My free pizza from Pizzeria Napoletana

 I then made my way by bus to the Seattle Asian Art Museum to see a new exhibit of Japanese woodblock prints.  Another exceptional exhibit and well worth a visit even for paying customers.

Woman Sewing while Man Watches by Eishosai Choki, the exterior sign for the current exhibit

First Thursdays

January 8, 2010

Seattle Art Museum and the Hammering Man

Fascinated by masks, Yellow Terror Exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum

Several museums in Seattle and Tacoma offer free admission on the first Thursday of every month.  I decided to take advantage of this offer yesterday.  My work schedule will be changing in February, and I will no longer have Thursdays off work.  So I packed in a lot of culture with three museum visits.

My friend Carol and I met at the Seattle Art Museum to see the Alexander Calder Exhibit, A Balancing Act.  We found much of his work — mobiles, small sculptures, jewelry — simply delightful.  I was particularly fascinated by the shadows cast by the moving pieces of his mobiles.  I greatly admire Calder’s playfulness, whimsy, and imagination. 

Then I checked out the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle’s International District.  There was a thought-provoking exhibit about racial prejudice called “The Yellow Terror.”  Among the permanent exhibits, I was drawn to some exquisitely embroidered wedding gowns from Japan and China.

Embroidered wedding apparel

Embroidered peacock feathers

And finally, I went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum and got reacquainted with three photos by Johsel Namkung.  I had seen an exhibit of his photos in 2006, and I found his images of nature, the close-ups and patterns, a real inspiration.  The Seattle Asian Art Museum owns a few of his photographs and now has three on display including this one:

Johsel Namkung photograph owned by the Seattle Asian Art Museum