Monday, October 08, 2007

I’ve added a new link to the Fine Art Erotica list on the left--Studio 1088: The Art of Michael Breyette. I found it the other night and was very taken by his work--beautifully executed, of course, but truly erotic, not merely pornographic. The men, painted singly, as couples or threesomes, are very sexy but Breyette doesn’t put all their cards on the table--a lot is left to be explored, speculated upon and reserved to savor for another time.

There’s a blog on the site in which Breyette speaks about his creative process. He accepts commissions for portraits and obviously tries hard to get into the particular mind and tastes of his clients. They’re not seen sitting formally, but in action or other situations characteristic of their lifestyles and personal relationships. One couple is seen at the end of a night out on the town, discarding formalwear, just at the moment when simple undressing is transformed by desire into any scenario the viewer may wish to imagine.

Visit Studio 1088 at

We ended the visit with our Danish friends in Boston, showing them Frank Gehry’s Stata Building at MIT, the Mapparium at the Christian Science Center, and the Institute of Contemporary Art at its spectacular site thrust into Boston Harbor opposite Logan Airport. It was a first visit to the ICA for all of us.

All the galleries are on the fourth floor and are very white in the manner of galleries of a half century ago but seeming newly modern here. There were three major exhibits.

The sculpture of Louise Bourgeois springs mostly from images and experiences from her childhood in France. One eloquent figure of a naked man with a crutch, one leg gone below the knee and replaced by a wooden pegleg, is made from rough dark cloth, the seams crudely stitched, but with genitals large and proud. She made the figure in memory of the shattered World War I veterans she new in Paris when she was first old enough to work.

One bronze, filling all of a small room, was a gigantic spider that we had first encountered at Louisiana, not the state but the great modern art museum on the far east coast of Denmark that’s named after that country’s art-loving Queen Louisa Ulrika.

There was a review of the best--or at least the most visible--in modern design, everything from electronic gear to jewelry, architecture and industrial design. One standout was a dining room table made of four pieces of plywood, the pieces locking together by simple slots cut into the pieces. The artist developed a line of furniture that could be knocked down and stored flat in response to living in tiny urban apartments.

The final exhibit was of new acquisitions to the ICA’s collection and included what I thought the best and most exciting piece we saw all day, Cornelia Parker’s “Hanging Fire.”

Parker is an English artist who took charred wood from a workshop that had been burned in a fire of suspicious origin and suspended it from a square grid. Displayed in an otherwise empty white space, the work was both elegant and unexpectedly kinetic. The picture doesn’t hint at the presence of the “Hanging Fire,”, but as you walk by it, it appears to move with the look of a hologram. Parker says in the notes on the wall that when lying in a pile on the ground, the charred bits suggested a morgue; when suspended, they found a new life and vitality.

After late afternoon coffee and raspberry pastry in the museum café, we dropped E and F at Icelandair’s terminal at Logan and said good-bye until next September when we’ll meet them for a riverboat trip on the Saône and Rhône Rivers in Burgundy and Provence in the south of France, followed by time back with them in Denmark exploring the islands that make up the central area of the country called Fyn.

We’re moving into a new phase of the house’s construction. Inevitably, the framing crew with whom we’ve been having such a great time will finish their part of the work and move on to other jobs. If all goes as planned, and it may not because it’s raining heavily today and may continue to do so all week, they could be out of here in as little as ten days. Then there will come roofers, and the house will finally be weatherproof and can be fitted out with its electrical and plumbing infrastructure, all of which could be in place by the end of the month.

With our guests returned to Denmark, Fritz and I will be back to work on the place close to full time. We have to choose upstairs flooring, tile for both the downstairs shower and possibly for the upstairs bathroom walls, color and texture to be applied to the concrete floors downstairs, and get established with shops that can rewire old lighting fixtures, and reupholster and/or refinish furniture.

I want a virtually indestructible floor in my studio. I have a great layout planned for the space but the floor has to be tough and easily cleaned, and it has to have a great color and texture. The upstairs bathroom will, like the guest bedroom, be very 1930s. I remember the great tiling effects I’ve seen for years in New York City bathrooms with hexagonal tile in simple black and white, combined with the proper base tiles and running bands. The guest bedroom may well be the only room in the house with conventional hard wood flooring.

We’ll also be making the trek down to IKEA in Stoughton just south of Boston to purchase our kitchen cabinetry and closet storage system late in the week. Whenever we go, we’ll bring coolers filled with freezer pacs because we’ll want to bring back a lot of their food—everything from the frozen Swedish meatballs to the big round packages of Norwegian flatbread and boxes of Swedish bread mix.

It’s now widely accepted that being gay has genetic roots; it now appears that political orientation may also be influenced by inborn biological brain activity patterns:

Even in humdrum nonpolitical decisions, liberals and conservatives literally think differently, researchers show.
By Denise Gellene, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 10, 2007

Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.

In a simple experiment reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show
that political orientation is related to differences in how the
brain processes information.

Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments
whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. The latest study found those traits are not confined to political situations but also influence everyday decisions.

"There are two cognitive styles --a liberal style and a conservative style," said UCLA neurologist Dr. Marco Iacoboni, who was not connected to the latest research.

Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." They were instructed to tap a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer monitor and to
refrain from tapping when they saw a W. M appeared four times more frequently than W, conditioning participants to press a key in knee-jerk fashion whenever they saw a letter.

Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph that recorded activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency (pressing a key) and a more appropriate response (not pressing the key). Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said. Liberals and conservatives were equally accurate in recognizing M.

Researchers got the same results when they repeated the experiment in reverse, asking another set of participants to tap when a W appeared.

Frank J. Sulloway, a researcher at UC Berkeley's Institute of Personality and Social Research who was not connected to the study, said the results "provided an elegant demonstration that
individual differences on a conservative-liberal dimension are
strongly related to brain activity."

Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

Sulloway said the results could explain why President Bush demonstrated a single-minded commitment to the Iraq war and why some people perceived Sen. John F. Kerry, the liberal Massachusetts Democrat who opposed Bush in the 2004 presidential race, as a "flip-flopper" for changing his mind
about the conflict.

Based on the results, he said, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

"There is ample data from the history of science showing that social and political liberals indeed do tend to support major
revolutions in science," said Sulloway, who has written about the
history of science and has studied behavioral differences between
conservatives and liberals.

Lead author David Amodio, an assistant professor of
psychology at New York University, cautioned that the study looked at a narrow range of human behavior and that it would be a mistake to conclude that one political orientation was better. The tendency of conservatives to block distracting information could be a good thing depending on the situation, he said.

Political orientation, he noted, occurs along a spectrum, and positions on specific issues, such as taxes, are influenced by many factors, including education and wealth. Some liberals oppose higher taxes and some conservatives favor abortion rights.

Still, he acknowledged that a meeting of the minds between conservatives and liberals looked difficult given the study results.
"Does this mean liberals and conservatives are never going to agree?" Amodio asked. "Maybe it suggests one reason why they tend not to get along."

I am sure you have you seen Cornelia Parker's "Dark Matter" which is an exploded shed. Very very cool indeed!

Fascinating stuff on the brain scan studies. If the results hold up under further examination, I wonder if this might not shed light on why some people seem to become more conservative as they age. Perhaps it's one consequence of age-related changes in brain structure or chemistry.
I love the hanging fire pictures!

Stoughton is where I was born and grew up, before I set myself loose on NH.

I thought it was a fairly obvious, well known, fact that conservatives were inclined to illogically [vote for] click "W."
There is something wrong with that study, obviously and patently. Statistically, such findings would not be possible.

"4.9 times as likely to show brain activity"; "2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy"--totally laughable claims. Variances that large are impossible on their face.

I have taught political science at Georgetown University since the 1970's. When I began teaching, the student breakdown was roughly 70% liberal, 30% conservative. That ratio began to change in the early 1980's, and the breakdown is now the reverse: 70% conservative, 30% liberal.

That trend is not exclusive to Georgetown. It is a nationwide trend, and that trend is constantly discussed in the university community.

More significantly, in the last twenty years, what has happened, nationwide, is that the conservative students go on to professional schools in massive numbers while the liberal students do not. The liberal students tend to go into education, or accept low-paying, dead-end jobs, while their conservative counterparts invariably go to law school and medical school and business school.

It is clear what the nation will look like twenty and thirty years from now. We will live in a nation of Ronald Reagan's children.

It will be interesting!

And I have no idea, truly, whether that will be a good or a bad thing.
And I hate to say this, because it makes me gag, but for the last twenty years the conservative students have been distinctly brighter than the liberal students.

They come to us with much higher test scores, and they leave us with much higher grades and much higher professional school scores than their liberal counterparts.

As a group, the conservative students are also more devoted to their studies and, out of self-interest, they will hide their conservative views in classrooms known to feature liberal profesors.

In the case of extremely liberal professors, conservative students do not even sign up for their classes. They avoid them like the plague.
house looks amazing

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