Thursday, May 18, 2017

Marquee Moon continues

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:01 PM

Exit stage right, enter stage center, exit stage left —

A search for "Darkness Doubled" in this journal yields a link 
to a post on "endgame art" which leads in turn to a post with
the following quotation —

"It is proposed that the two structures of grid and target
are the symbolic vehicles par excellence . . . ."

— Review of Rudolf Arnheim's The Power of the Center:
A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts
  (U. of Calif. Press, 1982).
Review by David A. Pariser, Studies in Art Education , Vol. 24, No. 3
(1983), pp. 210-213.

"Darkness Doubled" is a phrase from a song titled "Marquee Moon."

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Just Desserts:

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:20 PM

Meditation  for a  Sunday Dinner

'The Power Of The Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts,' by Rudolf Arnheim

Click images for related material.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

"Joseph Traub: I was born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1932.
As you know, Hitler became chancellor in 1933. Traube is
the German word for grape, and since my family lived in the
grape-growing region of Baden for generations, I assume
that's how my name originated."

Related material:  The Power of the Center .

Monday, July 6, 2015

In Memoriam: Weintraub*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 PM

Scene from 'A Good Year'

'The Power Of The Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts,' by Rudolf Arnheim

* For the title, see Weintraube  in
a German-English dictionary.

This word was suggested by an
obituary in today's online Variety .  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Geometry for Scarlett

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:16 AM

Scarlett Johansson stars in a new film, “Lucy,” due to be
released on August 8, directed by Luc Besson, auteur  of
The Fifth Element  (1997). In other pop culture…

 “There have long been rumors of a mythical Ninth Element
that grants ultimate power to the Wizard who masters it.
The Order of Magick says there is no such thing. But….”

— Website of Magicka: The Ninth Element Novel

See also, in this journal, Holy Field as well as Power of the Center.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Riff Design

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

"Leave a space." — Tom Stoppard, in a play about philosophers


The word "riff" at top in the Times  obits is from an ad for Google's Chrome browser.
The white space is artificial, made by deleting last  year's dead.

Scene from 'A Good Year'

A Good Year

For further details, click on the image below.

'The Power Of The Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts,' by Rudolf Arnheim

Friday, December 11, 2009

Central Ideas

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 AM

Hannukiah: the nine-part candelabra of Hanukkah

David Brooks today on the historical background of Hanukkah:

"The Greeks had one central idea: their aspirations to create an advanced universal culture. And the Jews had their own central idea: the idea of one true God. The reformers wanted to merge these two ideas."

Related material:

The Shamash,

The Power of the Center,

Identity and the rest of March 2008

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday January 10, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:10 AM
A Russian Doll


The 3x3 square

For details of the story,
click on the images.

Chapter I:

'The Power Of The Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts,' by Rudolf Arnheim

Chapter II:

Cover of 'Nine Stories' with 'Dinghy' at center

Chapter III:

Natasha’s Dance

Orson Welles with chessboard

and the following quotation:

There is no landing fee in Avalon,
 or anywhere else in Catalina.”

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday July 2, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Let Noon Be Fair

“The serpent’s eyes shine
As he wraps around the vine”

Scene from 'A Good Year'

A Good Year

Last summer’s journal

Related material:

'The Power Of The Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts,' by Rudolf Arnheim

Cover illustration:

'Spies returning from the land of Canaan with a cluster of grapes,' Biblia Sacra Germanica

Spies returning from the land of
Canaan with a cluster of grapes.

 Colored woodcut from
Biblia Sacra Germanica,
Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, 1483.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday June 30, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 10:04 PM
is God

Frank Rich in
The New York Times

 November 2004–

Desperate Housewives ad on Monday Night Football

"Desperate Housewives"
ad on "Monday
Night Football"

"Desperate Housewives"… ranks No. 5 among all prime-time shows for ages 12-17. ("Monday Night Football" is No. 18.) This may explain in part why its current advertisers include products like Fisher-Price toys, the DVD of "Elf" and the forthcoming Tim Allen holiday vehicle, "Christmas With the Kranks."

Those who cherish the First Amendment can only hope that the Traditional Values Coalition, OneMillionMoms.com, OneMillionDads.com and all the rest send every e-mail they can to the F.C.C. demanding punitive action against the stations that broadcast "Desperate Housewives." A "moral values" crusade that stands between a TV show this popular and its audience will quickly learn the limits of its power in a country where entertainment is god.

— "The Great Indecency Hoax," a New York Times column by Frank Rich quoted in Log24 on Nov. 26, 2004

The entertainment continues.  A rabbi's obituary in today's New York Times (see previous entry) served as ad-bait for "Joshua," a Fox Searchlight film opening July 6.

A search for a less sacrilegious memorial to the rabbi yields the following:

Project MUSE link on Rabbi Abraham Klausner

The "Project MUSE" link above
works only at
subscribing libraries.

  It seems that here, too,
the rabbi is being
used as bait.

  For a perhaps preferable
 reference to bait, in the
context of St. Peter as
a "fisher of men," see
the Christian "mandorla"
or "vesica piscis,"
a figure hidden within
the geometry of Rome's
St. Peter's Square–
which, despite its name,
is an oval:

Mandorla and ovator tondo in St. Peter's Square” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For the geometric
construction of the
 Roman oval, see
"ovato tondo" in
Rudolf Arnheim's
The Power of the Center.

For a less theoretical account
of the religious significance
of the mandorla, see
the 2001 film
The Center of the World.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday June 15, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:00 PM
A Study in
Art Education

Rudolf Arnheim, a student of Gestalt psychology (which, an obituary notes, emphasizes "the perception of forms as organized wholes") was the first Professor of the Psychology of Art at Harvard.  He died at 102 on Saturday, June 9, 2007.

The conclusion of yesterday's New York Times obituary of Arnheim:

"… in The New York Times Book Review in 1986, Celia McGee called Professor Arnheim 'the best kind of romantic,' adding, 'His wisdom, his patient explanations and lyrical enthusiasm are those of a teacher.'"

A related quotation:

"And you are teaching them a thing or two about yourself. They are learning that you are the living embodiment of two timeless characterizations of a teacher: 'I say what I mean, and I mean what I say' and 'We are going to keep doing this until we get it right.'"

Tools for Teaching

Here, yet again, is an illustration that has often appeared in Log24– notably, on the date of Arnheim's death:

The 3x3 square

Related quotations:

"We have had a gutful of fast art and fast food. What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn't merely sensational, that doesn't get its message across in 10 seconds, that isn't falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures. In a word, art that is the very opposite of mass media. For no spiritually authentic art can beat mass media at their own game."

Robert Hughes, speech of June 2, 2004

"Whether the 3×3 square grid is fast art or slow art, truly or falsely iconic, perhaps depends upon the eye of the beholder."

Log24, June 5, 2004

If the beholder is Rudolf Arnheim, whom we may now suppose to be viewing the above figure in the afterlife, the 3×3 square is apparently slow art.  Consider the following review of his 1982 book The Power of the Center:

"Arnheim deals with the significance of two kinds of visual organization, the concentric arrangement (as exemplified in a bull's-eye target) and the grid (as exemplified in a Cartesian coordinate system)….

It is proposed that the two structures of grid and target are the symbolic vehicles par excellence for two metaphysical/psychological stances.  The concentric configuration is the visual/structural equivalent of an egocentric view of the world.  The self is the center, and all distances exist in relation to the focal spectator.  The concentric arrangement is a hermetic, impregnable pattern suited to conveying the idea of unity and other-worldly completeness.  By contrast, the grid structure has no clear center, and suggests an infinite, featureless extension…. Taking these two ideal types of structural scaffold and their symbolic potential (cosmic, egocentric vs. terrestrial, uncentered) as given, Arnheim reveals how their underlying presence organizes works of art."

— Review of Rudolf Arnheim's The Power of the Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts (Univ. of Calif. Press, 1982). Review by David A. Pariser, Studies in Art Education, Vol. 24, No. 3 (1983), pp. 210-213

Arnheim himself says in this book (pp. viii-ix) that "With all its virtues, the framework of verticals and horizontals has one grave defect.  It has no center, and therefore it has no way of defining any particular location.  Taken by itself, it is an endless expanse in which no one place can be distinguished from the next.  This renders it incomplete for any mathematical, scientific, and artistic purpose.  For his geometrical analysis, Descartes had to impose a center, the point where a pair of coordinates [sic] crossed.  In doing so he borrowed from the other spatial system, the centric and cosmic one."

Students of art theory should, having read the above passages, discuss in what way the 3×3 square embodies both "ideal types of structural scaffold and their symbolic potential."

We may imagine such a discussion in an afterlife art class– in, perhaps, Purgatory rather than Heaven– that now includes Arnheim as well as Ernst Gombrich and Kirk Varnedoe.

Such a class would be one prerequisite for a more advanced course– Finite geometry of the square and cube.

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