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White light has something that coloured light doesn’t.  For one thing, it contains all the other colours, as some of us remember from science class.  It’s the mother light, it’s got it all.  The trio above are maybe thinking about this as they hang out near a wonderful piece by artist Doug Wheeler found here.

It was learning about Mr Wheeler’s work (for above, go here) that got us looking at white light and wondering about it. We’re none the wiser, really, but it sure feels good–and not just on the eyes.

Doug Wheeler has been conjuring up moving encounters with white light all over the place for about 40 years. He had a solo show in New York in January/February 2012, and the lovely thing above is showing in France this summer and beyond, it says here.

Artist Robert Irwin has also been busy for years and years exploring the wonders of white light. Above (seen here) is a recent installation of a 1971 work now called slant/light/volume. Another view below, found at the site of the Walker Gallery–for whose opening back then the piece was originally commissioned–shows the scale of it.

And the above view, from the Walker as well, shows the work alone at last beaming like a slice of the moon.

James Turrell seems to have become the best known American artist working with light his primary medium.  While he has not limited himself to white light (he does things with blue that will make you forget who you are and why it mattered), when he does take on the mother light, he does a nice job.  Of course.

Top Turrell piece is called ALTA, find it here.  Lower is Afrum, presented recently in a group light show at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and picked up here.

It’s time to back slowly away from the white light before you find you can’t.  Let’s retreat in stages, by way of three more doses of Doug Wheeler’s light work.  All of these are found at the David Zwirner gallery.

Pssst–time to go now.  You can come back.  Meanwhile, there’s always the moon.

When we get dressed for the day, they are probably the last thing (well 2 things) we think about, even when we want to make a big impression. But socks, it turns out, can say quite a lot about us.

The lower-limb fashion-forward group above is way ahead in the sock-as-statement game–they even give the left foot something different to say than the right. These sockstars spotted here.

But don’t go thinking that sock fanciers are something faddishly new. Check out fashionable people in photos from the near past and paintings from farther back, and you’ll see plenty of foot candy on guys and gals of virtually any era. The silk slip-ons above date from 1750 and are in the collection of  the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. 

But most of us don’t live in museums do we. If you need that bit of extra confidence for the Monday morning meeting, how about a pair of genuine super hero socks under the flannel trousers. Found here

But don’t stop there–you can have happy feet all week long.  See here

Now, if you encounter extreme conditions in your work week, you may need some technology in your socks like these electric heated dandies, available here.

Look, someone has paid tribute to various countries of the world with socks–these represent the colours and patterns of soccer teams playing in the World Cup. Does your country have a national sock?

Socks and the City. Not sure if these long socks on these long fashion models represent the official sock of the respective cities, but until we’re told “no, they aren’t”, let’s just say they are. See here

In any city just about anywhere, you can find a sock-o-rama going on somewhere. Including here.

Irish Dancing socks so you can do your full Riverdance routine and not disturb the neighbours below. Get yours here

The latest news from Tokyo right there on your feet, spotted here.

But we all know that socks, like these all good things, do not last forever. Fortunately, some go on to enjoy a second life as sock monkeys. This one, from sock monkey dreams, is particularly happy and gainfully employed.

Remember, even in sockmonkeyland, the forces of darkness are lurking.  Beware blood-sucking sock monkeys.

But please don’t turn all your socks into monkeys.  Socks have a serious job to do serving and protecting your heels and toes as you go about your work and life. Wherever your tootsies take you.

Whether thundering down the field in front of a crowd of delirious thousands.

Sliding under the family car in your best skirt to fetch that sandwich you tucked away for emergencies as seen here.

Or heading out on the town with $27 cash and some bold ideas.  Step into here first.

Walk on.

Genoa is very old and very new.  The layout of the city and the famous harbour are said to be fundamentally unchanged since Christopher Columbus was a boy here in the 1440′s.  But if you stop and look, you will see modern life at its best thriving, proudly, in Genoa today.  Above is the breakfast room at a hotel in Genoa called Palazzo Cicala, which overlooks a very nifty cathedral, San Lorenzo.

If you stepped outside the hotel–and tilted your head a bit–this is what you’d see.  Photo from here.

 

The architect, Renzo Piano still works from his native Genoa, and he has been busy for more than 20 years adding ideas, structures, and life to the city, especially on the old harbour.  He designed one of the world’s largest aquariums there, along with a biosphere (above), seen here.

This is a structure/sculpture called Bigo,  designed by Mr P to celebrate the hardworking cranes of the Genoan docks that, along with thick-backed shore workers, have loaded and unloaded the world’s heavy goods for a long, long time.  One of the arms of the Bigo now lifts tourists above the harbour for a gull’s eye view.  Photo above here.

This painting of the harbour, done more than 400 years ago by a man called Grassi, shows the busy-ness of the place back in the age of wooden boats and sails.  More here

The above image is of the harbour about a hundred years earlier, around the time that Genoa’s own C. Columbus set out (with Spanish boats and hopes) for America.  It shows the fortifications necessary to keep a harbour secure for its customers.

The lighthouse on the left in the above ancient print still stands at the entrance to the Genoa harbour, and people say it’s the oldest anywhere. Its red cross on a white background is the emblem of Genoa and has come to symbolize “help available” all over the place.

This painting of a ceremony that may never have happened is weird and beautiful, from here. It is among the many many treasures of the swell Maritime Museum in Genoa.

 

       

Another example of old Genoa meets new Genoa is the street called via Garibaldi (pic above left found here), whose amazing palaces (along with those of an adjacent street)  were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.  Outside, these buildings tell you a lot about what people fancied in the 1500′s.  Like great heavy doors and great scary doorknockers.

They also cared about eye catching colours combined with the kind of craftsmanship we are unlikely to see again.  Seen at Wapedia here

 

Inside, past the (heavy, scary) doors of these places, you might see almost anything (these neat chairs in Palazzo Bianco, photo here)

 

Silence and solitude and arches gently hued.  And this is a public building!  Nice image and more from here.

 

Or you’ll find a swish contemporary furniture store called  via garibaldi 12, which is its address.  See more

Hungry???

Genoa claims both Pesto sauce and Focaccia as its own, .

And there is seafood in endless variety, some of it spooky, all of it tasty, wherever you turn.

Above, dinner for two, outdoors, in a plain but life filled Genoan piazza, yummy to the end.

 

Just go, when you get a chance.

and go back often.

Two pics above from here.

Above is part of an exhibit of important 20th century design established at the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris in 1993.  These pieces of furniture were all designed by Pierre Chareau, born 1883, died 1950.  In between, he rose to the top of his profession in France, and then, after being forced to leave his country, he found himself in America, in New York, unknown and mostly unsuccessful in finding opportunities to deploy his remarkable talent. Image above found here.

Today, his furniture pieces sell for $50,000 and more, sometimes much more (above from Christies, here), and a house he designed in Paris, La Maison de Verre, is among the most highly regarded examples of residential design in the 20th century.

Designed for a physician and his wife and completed in 1932, La Maison de Verre is a mind spinning display of creative talent–miles ahead of its time, completely unprecedented, and still capable of causing jaws to drop in 2011.  Everything in the house was designed by M Chareau, everything (including the piano, we think).  It was purchased in 2006 and has been very respectfully restored.  Great story and slide show in the New York Times here.  Beautiful photos by Mark Lyon above and below.

Another recent view of La Maison de Verre.

Pierre Chareau began his professional life as a cabinet maker, and he has left us with a wonderful (and much prized) collection of small household objects like tables, chairs, stools, mirrors, and cupboards.

Pierre Chareau Stool in mahogany and patinated wrought iron ca. 1927 from Artnet

Umbrella stand at La Maison de Verre (Wikipedia!).

This wall mirror above sold recently at Christie’s for €91,000 or about $130,00 seen here.

Cupboard–how cute is that–seen here

There are, nowadays, companies reproducing his designs, so people can own something approximating a brand new Pierre Chareau, such as this lamp:

Based on the original below.

Despite the chilly reception he received in America, Pierre Chareau did receive one commission of significance–a studio house for the artist Robert Motherwell in the Hamptons, outside New York.  Once again he produced something joyously original: a low-cost structure employing materials and ideas based on military Quonset huts.

Wonderful photograph of Motherwell in his little Chareau house by the wonderful Hans Namuth in 1944, gratefully found here. The house was demolished in 1985.

Above interior of the Motherwell house from here

The story of Pierre is both inspiring and demoralizing.  His was a talent that seemed to know no boundaries, one of the great design talents of the last 100 years, and yet it was a talent that was allowed to go largely unused and even unnoticed in a place that prides itself, above all, on its ability to know the real thing when it sees it.  The lesson is, apparently, that talent is no guarantee to success, not then, not now.

Many books have been produced about Pierre Chareau and his work.  Here is one:

If you you find that true and deep inspiration is sometimes hard to find these days in the wonderful world of design, give yourself over to a feast of Pierre Chareau.  You won’t go away hungry.

A hat is not necessary for survival.  Unlike shoes or a sweater, we can get along in life without it. Which means a hat can be ART, a beautiful thing just for what it is, not for what it does.  The hat makers  are a breed apart in the world of fashion design.

Above piece of art by Jacques Fath found here

This is just very very appealing and totally useless as a protective head covering.  It’s from Borsalino, here.

A company called Fynehats makes lots of them, like the above.  Go here

A hat made of the parts of an exotic bird.  It may still become a bird.  Who knows?

A little company called lilliput makes nice little strange hats, visit here

One of the superstars among current hat artists is England’s Philip Treacy. He designed this butterfly head piece for a swanky showing of work designed by Alexander McQueen.  Wild, free, the planet’s best loved insect. The butterflies seen here, along with the one below, and many more.

Philip Treacy above.  Hands down.

Another little one from Lilliput, caled  ivana. Go here.

Heading…back to England, we find Stephen Jones

Amazing that two hat artists like Mr Jones and Mr Treacy should be alive in the same country at the same time. But it is not a competition.  You don’t have to choose sides, you can and should choose both. Mr Jones had a big show at the V and A, more here

Wear more hats, you’ll see what they do.  More than anything you wear.

See more hats at Miss Janeys, here

and in New York, of course, here.

And in Vancouver, at our own Edie Hats here

It’s your head–give it a party.

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