Category Archives: art

Art off the Block


Urban Street Pirate and I headed off to an auction today at the local art academy.  R Man’s parting words to the Pirate were “Don’t let him buy anything.”  Thus when I spied a big ass black and white print I realized I could buy it and it would be the Pirate’s fault.  What could be more ideal?

Artsy B&W mounted print: $300
Pinning the blame on your friend: priceless.
It looks rather smashing in our living room, R Man seems to like it, and the Pirate went out for drinks with his friends, so now we’re all happy.



John Singer Sargent, the 19th century portraitist, is an artist I’ve always liked. In Wikipedia’s bio of him (Wikipedia is my source of all information – true, untrue, gossip, blather: who cares as long as it’s stated with conviction?) I just discovered this fabulous quote about him:

Jacques-Émile Blanche, who was one of his early sitters, said after his death that Sargent’s sex life “was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.” A frenzied bugger. Please note that I request here officially that that be inscribed on my tombstone.

This is his portrait of one Thomas E. McKeller. Tasty. If he was frenzied, I can see why.

Gorey Mania


Mean Dirty Pirate regularly features the brilliant art of Edward Gorey. I love Gorey for the cheerful perversity he embraces in his work. For all I know he embraced in his private life as well, but that’s none of my bees wax.

As I mentioned on MDP’s latest Gorey post, when San Francisco’s new main library opened, they did away with their card catalogue in order to go to strictly computer searches.The cards were all taken out and volunteers wrote quotes from their favorite books on them, after which the cards were plastered to the walls of several floors. Someone wrote out all of “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” (B is for Basil Assaulted by bears. etc…) on several different cards. They’re placed randomly and you can spend a very amusing afternoon tracking them all down.

My favorite? N is for Neville who died of ennui.

You can see the whole The Gashlycrumb Tinies here

Rag and Bone


We went out to the underwhelming de Young Museum with the Divine Diane to see the show on Nan Kempner’s clothes. The press release on the exhibit identifies Kempner as “the inspiration for the term ‘social X-ray’ in Tom Wolfe’s novel Bonfire of the Vanities,” apparently believing that was a good thing and sufficient identifying information.

Nan’s closet rolled out Valentino, Saint Laurent, Gautier, all the big boys, from the 70’s through the turn of the century. Big shoulder pads made a bold appearance, to the point that they made me uneasy. Nan, I wanted to ask, what’s with the Joan Crawford fetish? It was as fun as a trip to the finer ladies wear department at Saks.

It’s appropriate that the de Young should have a society lady’s schmata as their featured show. The museum is all about its exterior, a copper clad behemoth athwart Golden Gate Park. Inside it’s all gray with odd, dull lighting and a frumpy collection that leans strongly towards a high-end china closet.