Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fritz loves to have flowering plants indoors during the depths of winter. He forces paperwhite narcissus bulbs that fill the house with an intense, heady perfume. A big amaryllis is about to burst open sometime this week. This one of his Christmas cactus that’s now the centerpiece on our kitchen island.


Brandeis University’s reluctant decision to sell off its art collection isn’t unique. Thom from Thoughts Made Bald commented today that a college in his home state of Virginia did the same thing for the same reason. Simultaneously, important members of the Brandeis community, including some of the donors of the art work involved, are moving toward legal action to stop the sale. Edited from today’s Boston Globe:

Museum backers seek halt to selloff

Say art should stay at Brandeis

Donors and longtime supporters of the Rose Art Museum are exploring whether they can block Brandeis University's stunning decision to close the museum and sell an art collection that had been valued at $350 million.

Jonathan Lee, chairman of the museum's board of overseers, said yesterday that he intends to meet with officials in the state attorney general's Public Charity Division to see if there is anything he can do to stop the university from shutting down the 48-year-old museum at the end of the summer.

Brandeis's announcement that it would sell the collection to help shore up the university's finances raises a thicket of legal questions about what the university can do with money and art donated to the Rose, especially pieces given with the restriction that they be displayed publicly.

"We can be angry, but the question is, can we save it?" said Jonathan Novak, a museum overseer and a Los Angeles art dealer who graduated from Brandeis in 1975 and has given art works and money over the years. "Had I had any idea when I donated work that there was a chance they would be sold to benefit the university, I never would have donated them."

Among those joining the chorus of outrage yesterday was Lois Foster, the widow of a former Brandeis trustee, for whom a new museum wing is named.

In an interview, Foster said university trustees raised the idea of closing the Rose a decade ago, recognizing the potential millions that could be raised by selling off a collection that includes works by Warhol, Lichtenstein, and de Kooning.

Her late husband, Henry, "talked for hours to get them to change their minds, and they did," Lois Foster recalled yesterday. Eventually, the Fosters gave more than $5 million to the school for the museum's Lois Foster Wing, which opened in 2001. Of the Rose closing, Foster said: "It's like a death."

Officials in the museum world continued to criticize the Brandeis administration yesterday. In a statement made on the eve of its midwinter conference, the Association of Art Museum Directors said it was shocked and dismayed to learn of the university's "regrettable" plans.

Meanwhile, a pair of petitions to save the Rose were posted online, and Brandeis students were planning a sit-in protest tomorrow.

Brandeis spokesman Dennis Nealon said yesterday that many alumni and donors had called to support the university's decision. While dismayed about the closing, Nealon said, the alumni recognized that Brandeis was making hard choices to undergird its core educational mission. And, he said, they recognized as well that the building will be used as a campuswide fine arts center.

It remains unclear how complicated any art sale will be. Much will depend on what arrangements donors made when giving the museum art. In some cases, Brandeis would need to file papers with the Supreme Judicial Court and seek approval.

Opened in 1961, the Rose was long one of the only places for art lovers in the Boston area to see contemporary works. This was before the Institute of Contemporary Art had a permanent home and prior to the opening of MIT's List Visual Arts Center.


This is the new upholstery tapestry on our dining set. I had the table and chairs restored and refinished for the new house.


So, we’re in the Year of the Ox according to the Asian calendar and horoscope. There’s a cycle of twelve animals but unlike the “western” horoscope, which is one zodiac sign per month, the Asian system features one sign per year for a cycle of twelve years:

2000 Dragon
2001 Snake
2002 Horse
2003 Sheep
2004 Monkey
2005 Cock (sometimes discretely called rooster)
2006 Dog
2007 Pig
2008 Rat
2009 Ox
2010 Tiger
2011 Rabbit

Not to brag, but I’m a cock myself.

Some years ago I had a friend and co-worker who was known for his success with women. He wasn’t used to being shot down and became obsessed with one young woman who did her washing at the same laundromat he used. No matter what he said and did, he could never score with her.

It was the era when being introduced to someone ran like this:
My name’s Steve—what’s your sign?
I’m Heather, I’m a Libra—what’s YOUR sign?

Well, he tried signs but got nowhere. She knew them all and told him that their signs were completely incompatible so, no nookie. Everything he tried waqs unsuccessful. The man was becoming desperate.

Then one day when he was eating in a Chinese restaurant, he looked down at his paper placemat and voila! There it was—-the Chinese Zodiac.

He checked out her year and animal, his year and animal and discovered that in the far east they were a perfect match. Not only that, the Beatles had recently made Asian religions and mysticism totally cool.

He started doing the same laundry over and over daily to make sure he’d run into her as soon as possible. And when he did he oh, so suavely mentioned his recent reading in eastern religion and, by the way, there was a different zodiac in Asia—did she know that? No? Oh, well there’s this system of animals for each year and your year and my year are the most compatible combination of all.

They had sex back at his place between putting in the bleach and the final rinse.

Happy New Year. I, too am a cock.
sex is good for any signs of zodiac
i know for I am A Tiger!
I love flowers inside the house, and that is a gorgeous Christmas cactus.

I did a little more research on the college. It was Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Women's College) in Lynchburg, and I know they definitely sold one painting and planned to sell three more. Don't know how far they've gotten with that, though. I think I was a little inaccurate in my original comment.

And, oh, yeah - it seems I'm a pig. :-(
i'm a dragon. now do i get lucky? hehehe.

Beautiful christmas cactus.
I wish sex was still so easy to come by. Or maybe it's because I'm in Kentucky. :(

I'm a rabbit, which in the French version of the Chinese Zodiac is also a cat.
Beautiful Christmas cactus. Yeah, we have had Paper White flowers twice this year. As you said, it was very strong, intense of the first batch. Now I have some bought from our farm's market. The gentleman imported them from China(ZhangZhong City, famous for its Narcissi). That is the Narcissi I remembered when I was a kid. It is very light fragrant.
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