Katie’s Here!

December 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

…which means… good times, good food, and awesome historical musings. Before I launch into my little historical reverie I just want to take note of all the little magical things that have happened since ma amie has arrived… first she unloaded 1kg of grey salt, a small pot of duck ‘rillons’ and a darling vat of noisette et chocolat, what Katie refers to as “hazlenut chocolate sexy”… an awesomer adult version of nutella. Then we took the train down to Chelsea to see her friend’s show at the Sikkema Jenkins gallery, amazing work by Josephine Halvorson,

This particular image wasn’t in the show, but I love paintings of books and bookcentric artwork in general (like Candida Hofer’s Libraries). Anyway, after that we then we strolled up to the Paul Kasmin gallery to check out Walton Ford, whose work I can only really describe as a violent Audobon dystopia, with a dash of romantic landscape—think baboons in heat with a sort of Guérinesque ruiny background, disturbing pink phalluses, blood, pathos. Hmmm hard to describe… but beautiful stuff. Below is an image of “pigeons.”

Then we walked down the highline and got off at the Chelsea Market where we ate a variety of oysters on the half shell and bought oysters for our Saturday Bo Ssam. Then we hopped in a cab headed for the Madison Square Park Shake Shack… when a traffic jam found us smack dab in front of the Doughnut Plant. This was clearly an auspicious sign, so we debarked and procured doughnuts of an excelsior variety… the coconut cream and crème brûlée doughnuts YUMMMMMMM. Then we made our merry way to our awaiting shack stacks and demi bouteille of cabernet franc. We are awesome.

Anyway, Katie is doing some work on panoramas… her dissertation, which I eventually have to read is on representations of war. Though I know nothing about 18th c. French war panoramas this did get me to thinking about Karl Friedrich Schinkel (master of the German panorama)… and his technically aided views. This one… one of my favorites is called “Dresden Telescope”

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Schinkel’s work was painted with a sense of historical longing (a typically German pathos, yes), but this view seems, in light of actual history, even more haunting. Actually now Katie tells me that all the Romantic Germans were obsessed with Dresden… Germany’s “jewel box” of baroque and rococo  architecture.

In other news… I’m starting to do preparatory reading for my qualifying exams… and one of my ‘fields’ which I’m calling “Architecture and the Nation State” has got me thinking alot about Germany… and the architecture of national identity… the following entry… Pieter Behren’s Dombauhütte.

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In any case, as the inimitable Zoë Prillinger has taught me, the moments of historical crisis are far more interesting than the ‘high’ moments of decadent decline. Unless you think of those high moments as such. This was Behren’s turn away from modernist objectivity, a shunning of the Neue Sachlikeit in favor of an expression of primal German Christianity… a move of historical romance inspired, in large part by Nietzsche. I will write more about this later.

Oh yeah… and did I mention? We’re making Bo Ssam tonight… as soon as we lumber out of bed we’re going to get bagels at H & H, then lunchy at Sullivan and then Korean provisions in K town.

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