Monday, August 18, 2014

Allan Houser Art

Allan Capron Houser or Haozous (1914-1994) was a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter and book illustrator born in Oklahoma. He is one of the most renowned Native American painters and Modernist sculptors of the 20th century.

Houser's work can be found at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. and in numerous major museum collections throughout the North America, Europe, and Japan. Additionally, Houser's Offering of the Sacred Pipe is on display at United States Mission to the United Nations in New York City.

Born in 1914 to Sam and Blossom Haozous on the family farm near Apache, Oklahoma and Fort Sill, Native American artist Allan Houser was the first member of his family from the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache tribe born outside of captivity since Geronimo’s 1886 surrender and the tribe's imprisonment by the U.S. government. The tribe had been led in battle by the legendary spiritual leader Geronimo, who would later rely on his grandnephew Sam Haozous, Allan’s father, to serve as his translator.

In 1934, Houser left Oklahoma at the age of 20 to study at Dorothy Dunn's Art Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dunn's method encouraged working from personal memory, avoiding techniques of perspective or modeling, and stylization of Native iconography. For the latter, Houser made hundreds of drawings and canvasses in Santa Fe and was one of Dunn's top students, but he found the program too constricting.

While Houser's early career was marked by his drawings and paintings, it was for sculpture that he eventually became a world-renowned artist. Beginning in 1940 with simple wood carvings, Houser created his first monumental work in stone in 1949, the iconic piece Comrades in Mourning at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. But it would be quite some time before he had the time and resources to produce his remarkable bronzes.

In 1985, Houser’s monumental bronze, Offering of the Sacred Pipe, was dedicated at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City A year later, he made a bronze bust of Geronimo to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the surrender of the Chiricuhua Apaches. A cast of the bust was later presented to the National Portrait Gallery, where it remains in the permanent collection.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Icons From the Age of Anxiety: Comedian and Actor Robin Williams(1951-2014)

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

From the New Yorker Culture Desk
August 18, 2014

The Man Who Could Be Anyone
By Oliver Sacks

One of the most amazing experiences of my life was working with Robin Williams, watching him become me, in the filming of my book “Awakenings,” in 1989. The patients whose experiences I had recounted in the book—some of them were still alive then—loved him, too. Over the next twenty-five years, Robin and I became good friends, and I grew to appreciate—no less than the brilliance of his wit and his sudden, explosive improvisations—his wide reading, the depth of his intelligence, and his humane concerns.

Once, when I gave a talk in San Francisco, a man in the audience asked me an odd question: “Are you English or are you Jewish?

“Both,” I replied.

“You can’t be both,” he said. “You have to be one or the other.

Robin, who was in the audience, brought this up at dinner afterward, and, using an ultra-English, Cambridge voice laced with Yiddish and Yiddish aphorisms, gave a stunning demonstration of how one could indeed be both. I wish we could have recorded this marvellous flower of the moment.

Robin had thousands of voices, and faces, and personae. He could become Lon Chaney, Hamlet, Dr. Strangelove, Mae West—or all of them in a single sentence. Indeed, he could become any animal. When we had lunch together a few months ago, we got to talking about reptiles—Robin had had a pet iguana—and he combined a zoologist’s knowledge of lizards and turtles with an inner understanding of what it was like to be them, and he could imitate their postures and behavior to perfection. Imitate is too mild a word; he became them as, in “Awakenings,” he became me.

I sometimes joined the Williamses in the summer at Lake Tahoe. I would go for long swims in the lake, with Robin paddling next to me in a kayak. We would chat about neurology and biology, literature, history, biographies—he was startlingly well informed on pretty much everything under the sun, and this was a very different Robin—thoughtful, relaxed, not onstage, not “on.”

In addition to all his gifts, Robin was the kindest and most generous of men. William James, the great nineteenth-century psychologist, was called “that adorable genius.” For me, more than anyone I have ever known, Robin, too, was that adorable genius. It is infinitely sad that this unique human being, who gave so much and so fully of himself to all of us, should have taken his own life.

The Phantom: Wahgi War Shields

Lee Falk's hero, The Phantom, made his comic book debut in February 1936, but he also appears on dozens of traditional war shields made by people from the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea between the 1960s and 1980s. Why?

The Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea have long made enormous shields from tree trunks, and have continued to make these shields as a form of ritual artwork. In the late 20th century, many of these Papua New Guinea highlanders began incorporating "new ideas" into their traditional works, so that shields bore emblems of football teams, beer brands, and, yes, The Phantom. Western comic books became widely available in the region after World War II, and The Phantom became a particularly popular character.

Art educator and dealer Michael Reid notes that two things in particular made The Phantom an ideal subject for a war shield -- he is a hero who protects his home and he is known as "The Man Who Cannot Die." Just as many comic book readers adopt the emblems of their favorite heroes, so too have these artists taken the symbolic power of The Phantom and adapted it to their own traditions.

Art Walkabout: Street Textures and Stress Patterns

Man was built to walk and hunt. So, when I walk, I hunt -- for interesting photo subjects. I like to search out complicated light and shadow patterns, odd visual textures, and scenes with striking landscape moods. One area of interest is the way road stresses and natural elements challenge the man-made geometry and order of streets and sidewalks -- to note how the surfaces crack, erode, and are degraded by chaos. The scenes can appear as rich, ready-made abstract paintings, especially after the smart phone snaps are cropped and converted into black and white images. I find this little creative pastime adds to the relaxing benefits of my brisk exercise walks and makes them even more fun -- it's the Art Walkabout. Try it yourself some time and see.

Don Mangus, Richmond Ave. Art Walkabout 1, i-Phone photo, 2014

Don MangusRichmond Ave. Art Walkabout 2, i-Phone photo, 2014

Don MangusRichmond Ave. Art Walkabout 3, i-Phone photo, 2014

Don MangusRichmond Ave. Art Walkabout 4, i-Phone photo, 2014

Don MangusRichmond Ave. Art Walkabout 5, i-Phone photo, 2014

Don MangusRichmond Ave. Art Walkabout 6, i-Phone photo, 2014

Don MangusRichmond Ave. Art Walkabout 7, i-Phone photo, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

On the Blogs: Teen Creates Science Project That Could Help Stop Cyberbullying

By Rebecca Klein for The Huffington Post 

A 13-year-old has created a project that could actually stop cyberbullying.

Trisha Prabhu, an Illinois middle schooler, was recently selected as a finalist for the 2014 Google Science Fair, according to Business Insider. Her project sought to reduce rates of cyberbullying among teens by creating an alert system that would ask teens to rethink their actions before posting anything harmful online. After testing her project with hundreds of trials, it appeared to achieve its aim.

I hypothesized that if adolescents (ages 12-18) were provided an alert mechanism that suggested them to re-think their decision if they expressed willingness to post a mean/hurtful message on social media, the number of mean/hurtful messages that adolescents will be willing to post would be lesser than adolescents that are not provided with such an alert mechanism,” wrote Prabhu when submitting her Google science fair application.

When study participants were given an alert asking them to rethink their actions before potentially posting something hurtful, there was a 93.43 percent reduction in the number of adolescents willing to post abusive messages.

Prabhu’s science project was based on the idea that adolescent’s brains are not fully developed, which causes them to act more impulsively. She hypothesized that if they were forced to further consider their actions with a cyber alert mechanism, it could make a big difference.

The ambitious teen went on to create a prototype of what this system would look like as an actual product.

"I am looking forward to a future where we have conquered cyber-bullying!" she wrote when describing the project online.

The Google Science Fair is an online competition for teens from ages 13 to 18. The Grand Prize includes a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions and a $50,000 scholarship. Winners of the competition will be announced in late September.

According to, nearly 43 percent of kids today have experienced online harassment and cyberbullying.

Charles Loloma Jewelry: "From the Stone Age to the Space Age"

From yee Wiki:

Charles Loloma (1921-1991) was born in Hopi Third Mesa to Rex and Rachael Loloma. He served in the military in 1941 to 1945, where he was stationed in the Aleutian Islands. Thanks to the G. I. Bill, Loloma was able to go the Alfred University in New York. In 1954 he opened a pottery shop in Scottsdale, Arizona. He called his line of pottery Lolomaware.

Although he was an excellent potter and painter, he found his true passion in jewelry making. Some of Loloma’s designs were of outside influences. This brought harsh judgment on his art. Comments made about his art included, “It’s nice but it’s not Indian.Loloma’s work was rejected from the Gallup Intertribal Art Show three times.

Most Native American jewelers use traditional materials such as turquoise, silver and occasionally accented with some coral. Loloma used unconventional materials like sugilite, lapis, ivory, gold, pearls, diamonds and even wood. He used turquoise as an accent to his pieces. He got much of his inspirations from other cultures. Loloma created Hopi interpretations of Egyptian figures.

Loloma won first prize in the Scottsdale National Indian Art Exhibition seven years in a row. He had two shows in Paris. He was featured on NET and PBS in 1972. In Japan he was the artist in residence in 1974. He was also commissioned to make a piece for the Queen of Denmark. He visited many countries; France, Egypt and Colombia to name a few. His achievements have inspired other Native American jewelers such Jesse Monongye.

Laloma's work was explored in a series on American Indian artists for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). Other artists in the series included R. C. Gorman, Helen Hardin, Allan Houser, Joseph Lonewolf, and Fritz Scholder.

Although Loloma died in 1991, he remains an inspiration to Native artists. “We are a very serious people and have tried hard to elevate ourselves, but in order to create valid art you have to be true to your health and your heritage”.