Saraswati shows up at the Cincinnati Art Museum

by Christopher Agostino

In Cincinnati for the National Storytelling Network Conference, I got a chance to go to the Cincinnati Art Museum. A special exhibit on musical instruments included a “Mayuri” from India, a stringed instrument fashioned in the shape of a peacock in reference to the goddess Saraswati — combining two of her iconic representations. Nice to see her again, so soon after painting her.

At the museum, a minor kerfuffle. I had particularly wanted to see the current exhibit “The Collections: 6,000 Years of Art“, displayed in an old-fashioned cabinet style, with lots of unlabeled stuff side by side in jammed glass cabinets. Towards the end I saw a piece of painted pottery from ancient Greece depicting Heracles Continue reading

A Day Too Nice for Photoshop

I should have spent a few hours today on the computer selecting and processing the photos from my bodypainting at IMATS this past Saturday, but the day was too nice. I am conflicted every Spring. All week the weather has been wonderful and when I wasn’t at a school performing, or in a meeting, or returning a phone call, it’s been very hard not to just go outside and garden.

Yesterday and the day before I turned over and prepped about half my vegetable garden, and today I put in escarole, swiss chard, Roma bush beans, a second planting of broccoli-raab, red leaf lettuce. The weather has been so ridiculously warm that I also put in 3 tomato plants, about a month earlier than I have ever planted tomatoes or beans. (If it gets cold and they fail I can always replace them.) Already in (for a few weeks) are broccoli, broccoli-raab, bok choy, kale, arugala and couple types of lettuce  (we are already picking the lettuce and arugala). I had some collard plants that survived the winter, but it’s been so warm that they already bolted (flowered), and I had to take them out and cook them.

So the photos of Watanbe vs. the Demon will have to wait. Here’s the section of garden I worked on today:

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Moche Warrior Pottery — Today’s History of the World in 100 Objects

Warrior, ceramic vessel, Moche culture, Peru

Another fascinating episode from the BBC/British Museum History of the World in 100 Objects series today on WNYC radio: Moche Warrior Pot fascinating being defined as connecting to the images and art that have informed my work.

Moche vessels

The Moche were a large, complex civilization in Peru 100-800 ad (pre-Inca), which had established cities with architecture and facilities that the Romans would have been envious of (according to the radio episode). Hearing they’d be talking about a Moche object my ears perked up. Moche masks have inspired faces I paint, and their ceramic portrait vessels, with spouts coming out of the tops of people’s heads, were some of the first objects I imitated, way back in High School ceramics class. In the BBC episode they spoke to a contemporary potter who analyzed the warrior pot and said they made hundreds and hundreds of these types of vessels, combining the use of molds and hand-building to mass produce them but give them individual qualities. Continue reading

Ceramics – Coffee Cups

The most recent class I took with John Fink was in 2009 at Nassau Community College. They’ve got a great studio set up there, and are very supportive of artists like myself that take the course to work on their own projects rather than to earn credits. In that class, Professor Fink showed us how to make coffee cups.  And when I told him I sometimes sit with my coffee or tea while I’m working and get annoyed that it gets cold, he suggested making lids—a very positive evolution in the coffee drinking experience in my house. These are 5 of the ones I made.

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