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Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Maybe I’m a tourist in my own city, but I always jump at the opportunity to bring visitors to certain places I love– the zoo, the Met, the Natural History Museum, etc. This weekend included both the Bronx Zoo and the Met. The zoo was fantastic– no mollusks, as usual, but excellent sightings of some of my favorite animals who tend to be unconscious when I’m there: the slow loris and the red panda. Super adorable.

Then there was the Met. I love visiting the roof exhibition at the Met in the summer, because there’s a great skyline view over the park, and it’s just a cool place for an installation. This year is Big BambĂș. This was a really fun installation. The summer installation breathes some life and energy into the Met, which can get a little laden down in classics and antiquities for me, as much as I do love that stuff to. Big BambĂș reminded me of the City Museum in St. Louis, one of the best and most fun museums I’ve ever been to, and no doubt the most dangerous.

It’s a big bamboo structure.
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Lashed together.
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There are paths through it into the upper reaches.
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But it also has this wild, birdsnest-like look to it.
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(photos there are from asterix611, marc dalio, Garrett Ziegler, and Rob Zand, respectively)

Because I do keep my eye out for these things, I did spot some mollusks in the art at the Met. First, this is a detail of a piece by Dali, that has some little shells on some sort of blob. Surreal!

Here’s the whole painting, The Accommodations of Desire.

Then in the European Paintings wing, there was this still life with oysters by Willem Claesz Heda.

Speaking of opulent meals, that evening was dinner at wd-50. What a weird, interesting meal! I started off with a cocktail that tasted exactly like Juicy Fruit gum and it was all fun and surprising tastes and textures from there. I want to go back for the 5 course dessert tasting. We also got a tour of the kitchen and met the chef, so it was a special evening. No mollusks were consumed by anyone at my table. This octopus in the bathroom seemed pleased about that. Or maybe surprised.

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Ooh, I’ve been told I can hear the sounds of the sea by putting a seashell up to my ear. What could the ocean be telling me?

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(If you’re not up on your internet memes, let me help you with that)

There was some lovely public art in San Diego, kinetic and colorful and interesting, but only this cheeseball piece had discernible mollusk content.

My mollusk exposure in San Diego was limited to the limpets at La Jolla Cove, as mentioned in my previous post. Next time I’m there, I might be more willing to plunk down the $70 to see what Sea World has to offer me. I did, however, get a chance to spend a full day at the San Diego Zoo. The only invertebrates I saw there were arthropods, including these utterly delightful dung beetles doing their dung beetle thing. I’m sorry to be clogging up my mollusk blog with so many vertebrates as of late, but the San Diego Zoo is a truly exceptional place and I do love all kinds of lifeforms, after all. I especially loved the new elephant exhibit, whose focus was on the extinction of North American megafauna about 10,000 years ago and what extant species are related to those extinct ones. A very cool idea I’ve never seen before in zoos, which usually seem to organize by geographic area, cladistics, or by climate, e.g. the Rainforest house.

I do love seeing animals from far flung branches on the tree of life– I was very fortunate to see tuatara “in the wild” in New Zealand (the wild was an urban wildlife preserve; that kind of counts, right?) At the San Diego Zoo, I met my first monotreme friend, this here echidna.

I made some other friends, too.

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Please watch this video:

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

I can’t even decide what my favorite part is. Maybe the lint dog.

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I learned about gyotaku recently at a street fair in Somerville, Mass, where someone had a stall selling gyotaku pieces. It’s basically making a print directly from some sort of sea life you ostensibly caught, to keep as a trophy. If I caught a squid while fishing (probability of that is nigh zero considering it’s been, oh, twenty-ish years since I’ve fished, and even then, I’d have to have caught one of those elusive freshwater squids), I would give this a try. Also, it’s unlikely I’ll give it a try with store-bought fish or mollusks, I must admit, because it’s hard for me to reconcile not eating animals with buying them for fun art projects. In any case, I sure appreciate the outcome. I may be biased, but I think the mollusks are more evocative than the fish for the purposes of this art form. The following are all details from pieces gyotaku artist Nancy Gorr had on display at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores in 2009. Stunning.

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