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The matter what is the size of our houses, art is something that we should incorporate into our houses. We should definitely find a place for art in our homes. There are so many different kinds of art that we can incorporate. Let us take a minute and think about all the places that you have visited. Now, think about the places without art. It would definitely not be the same. It would be depressingly boring without the many different kinds of art. Art is something that is everywhere. We should definitely be happy about that. Art has become a means as to how one person expresses oneself. Thousands of years ago, human beings used to draw in caves and that is how, we know a lot of things about our far off ancestors. Those cave paintings were impressive too. Do you remember reading about these drawings and paintings that have been discovered in caves? Humans have been using art so that they can express themselves for thousands of years. Art is something that speaks for the person without the help of any words. You can tell exactly what a person is like, by the kind of art they like. Art is something that you can hang on your walls. Art is something that you can display anywhere in your home. Apart from defining people, art has been playing a significant role in the décor of a place. It can also serve as a very focal point for your house. By focal point, what I exactly mean is that it will automatically drop focus and all the attention when you enter a particular room. The power of art is incredible. Choosing hard for your home is very easy. Firstly, you should consider the scale. You need to know what size you want it to be. It would completely depend on the size of the room and how much space is remaining. Next, you should follow your instinct. Art is definitely a personal choice. Then, buy something in black and white. Always make sure that you follow mixing and matching patterns. Mixing and matching is definitely important. Having some bold choices is alright. It is your house, decorative however you want. There are many different kinds of art that you can try. Firstly, you can try fine art. Fine art as a form of art that is very aesthetically pleasing and very beautiful as well. It has great value indeed. Next, you can try decorative art. This is the kind of art that would involve the design and the ornamentation of any kind of functional items which are aesthetically pleasing. I would like to end by saying that abstract art has been around for hundreds of years, and it is definitely something that should be in addition to your house. Consider modern art as well.
So begins Somerset Maugham’s bestselling twentieth century novel The Razor’s Edge (1944), whose main character gives up a life of privilege in search of spiritual Enlightenment. Maugham himself visited Ramana ashram where he had a direct interaction with Ramana Maharshi in Tamil Nadu, India in 1938. But, it is said that Maugham received his inspiration and direct translation for this epigraph from Christopher Isherwood, with whom he had become acquainted through The Vedanta Society’s Hollywood Hills center. This reading by Isherwood of the Katha Upanishad is of special note. It is translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester. From the CD liner notes: “We used to listen to Chris read this scripture in the early morning in the temple of the Vedanta Society on Vivekananda’s birthday. Needless to say, this translation is our favorite.” The Katha Upanishad and Yoga. The Upanishads represent a shift from the early Vedic texts, whose thinkers focused on rituals formulas, prayer and song, sacrifice and ceremony and those connections to the cosmic spheres. By placing its emphasis on the physiological make up of man, esoteric knowledge, and ontological inquiries into cosmic realities, the Upanishads and in particular the Katha Upanishad set the stage for the self-transformative alchemy that becomes the practice of Yoga. The Katha Upanishad (commonly assigned to the forth or fifth century B.C.E.) is the first instance when we see a recognizable tradition of Yoga emerge. Within this poetic text there lies the first descriptions of the fundamentals of a yoga practice; the preparation of the body and the cultivation of stability in the mind that steel the aspirant for the discoveries of consciousness. The story unfolds as a conversation between a young, but spiritually endowed Naciketas and Yama the God of Death. Seeking the knowledge of the mysteries of life after death, Naciketas is initiated by the God Yama onto the path of emancipation. He is instructed in the practice of involution, the climbing of consciousness to ever higher levels of being, the transcendental self and the psychospiritual work that prepares the yogi for the event of grace. Reminiscent of the Baghavada Gita’s (500-200 B.C.E.) classic dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna that occurs in a chariot, so the poetic metaphor of the charioteer is used by Yama to instruct Naciketas of man’s relationship to the Higher Self.
Alain Neffe launched his first tape label at home in Belgium in 1981. He called it Insane Music Contact and his first installment was called Insane Music for Insane People. Thus began a nearly thirty year foray into home-made, visionary and utterly unfashionable electronic music that has hardly made anyone involved a household name. Insane Music released 55 titles in its most prolific years (1981-87). Five of these were vinyl records and the rest were cassettes tapes. Why cassettes tapes? Magnetic tape was the obvious solution to the problem facing many artists working without record contracts in those days. Cassettes could be recorded at home, produced at home, dubbed at home, and sold or traded by mail. No need for tasteless outside producers and marketing mojo—one needed only leave home to buy more tapes. Says Neffe, “I could copy the tapes on demand. Releasing an LP required that you print 500 copies and 1000 copies of the cover sleeve, and everything had to be paid up front … if the buyer didn’t like the music, he or she could wipe it out and record something else on it.” Mr. Neffe was not the only one out there recording, selling and trading tapes by mail. On both sides of the Atlantic, home cassette technology was permitting the release of much groundbreaking and breathlessly beautiful work, as well as some noxious and otherwise self-indulgent wanking—that coat of many colors we call the DIY (do-it-yourself) Revolution. As early as 1974, Albrecht/d. self-released a cassette entitled Amsterdam Op De Dam in Germany. In 1976, Throbbing Gristle was distributing tapes of their infamous live recordings, and in 1977, the French electro-industrial unit Die Form began releasing tapes on their own Bain Total label. 1980 saw the release of two monumental self-released cassettes, The Storm Bugs’ A Safe Substitute and Colin Potter’s The Ghost Office. In Japan, 1980 saw the release of Merzbow’s first two cassettes, Remblandt Assemblage and Fuckexercise. And in the USA, 1981 saw John Bender’s Plaster: The Prototypes, a laconic and mysterious series of tone and vocal poems. Home taping was not limited to electronic music. R. Stevie Moore, one of the elder living ancestors of the lo-fi rock aesthetic, began releasing distributing home-made tapes via the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club sometime in the 1970s. And tapes of live punk shows from the era continue to trade hands. Soon, cassettes were coming from everywhere: mysterious PO boxes in the Midwest, to which you sent a blank tape and three dollars and received the tape back with something on it. The Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine was a Fluxus-inspired subscription audio-journal dedicated to music as well as poetry and drama and other forms of audio-art. Zines like Factsheet Five and Unsound devoted entire columns to the material they received from bands on home-made cassette, and demo tapes began leaking to radio stations prior to official record release dates. It was a grassroots movement that marched in association with the self-publication of zines, comics, chapbooks, and other media. The medium had begun to become the message. Insane Music for Insane People (which eventually reached 25 volumes) was a series compiling all home-made electronic music made by artists from across the globe. By including in the liner notes the contact address for each artist featured, Neffe helped pioneer a snail-mail network for those interested in more of what they heard. Artists from all over Europe and the USA, from Japan, New Zealand, and beyond contributed over the years. One could send a few dollars to Insane Music Contact, receive tapes in the mail, write to artists involved and receive more cassettes.
It may be 2016 but it is still surprising to be confronted by the medium-less methodology of truly conceptual artists. Even today, as the lines between art and culture blur daily, artists who define themselves by concept rather than medium, continue to be unique. The latest installation at the Park Avenue Armory by the conceptual British artist Martin Creed (b. 1968), teases viewers with every form of art imaginable. There are videos, wandering minstrels, paintings and drawings, “sculptural interventions,” installations, balloons, metronomes, and woven textiles, making the exhibition seem like a surrealist carnival. Within this massive body of disparate works are as many compelling pieces as there are throwaway gestures, and as a viewer Creed’s work commands a level of attention akin to multitasking. Martin Creed: The Back Door, aptly titled after an installation that involves the literal opening and closing of the back door, is the largest survey of Creed’s work in the US to date. Known for using existing materials and spaces to create “modifications” rather new artworks, Creed utilizes the entire first floor of the Armory in unexpected ways. Acting almost like a city map, the program guides viewers though the space, from the “Mary Divver Room” to the “Board of Officers.” Though it’s hard to tell if the building is recontextualizing the art or if the art is recontextualizing the building, Creed’s installations overtake the space in an inviting but challenging manner. Like most site-specific installations, the tension between the site and the artwork becomes inseparable, and however foreign or familiar Creed’s artwork might be, it takes on a new dimensionality in this particular retrospective.
A lot has been happening in North Dakota since the Standing Rock Sioux tribe first stood up against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that threatens the 174,00 sq mile Ogallala Aquifer. At least 76 law enforcement agencies have been called in to protect corporate interests, against the peaceful water protectors who oppose them. Representatives from an estimated 280 groups of indigenous peoples (a first in U.S. history) as well as 5,000 veterans have showed up in solidarity with the tribe. Peaceful water protectors have been charged with rioting and attempted murder, while laws are being proposed that would make it legal to run over and kill protestors. Water protectors have lost toes and fingers to the brutal cold. One protector nearly lost an eye to so-called non-lethal police another may lose an arm. Camps have been set up and torn down for “trespassing” on land that was ceded to the native people in 1851. And photography stars have risen. One of them is Ryan Vizzions, an independent journalist who doesn’t use real name but goes by either Vizzions or “Redhawk,” the name they gave him at camp. When I asked him the reason, he told me that when he first started the FB page, journalists were being targeted. Vizzions has been more committed to the Standing Rock cause than to making a name for himself since he first arrived at camp in September, returning permanently in October. He has given up his apartment to spend all of his time on site photographing the conflict and its surrounds. His photographs delve profoundly into the both the conflict and setting, exposing official lies in the process. To press time garnering 279,413 Facebook likes (to Bismarck Tribune’s 41,050). I met him in early September at Standing Rock when the grass was still jewel box green with occasional purple flowers. It is a beautiful piece of land that hosts this epic, environmental battle.