Friday, November 26, 2010


Doug and I had Thanksgiving with his family this year out in the country. It was super low key and I got to try a few new recipes, which is always exciting. I was able to find fresh, locally grown green beans, sweet potatoes, and pecans. Yum! For the green beans, I just sauteed them with butter and garlic, and added some chopped pecans and a touch of Worcestershire sauce about halfway through. The sweet potatoes turned out to be the best sweet potato dish EVER. I used a recipe from Food Network's Guy Fieri that included Agave Syrup (found at our friendly neighborhood Publix), whiskey (we used Bulleit bourbon), pecans, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, butter, and apples. Incredibly delicious. Next time I think I will add more apples.

Our local health food store had free range turkeys for sale and I really, REALLY wanted to get one, but they were $50-$60. Not outrageous, in my opinion, but still more than we could pay. Maybe one day we'll either be rich or have more access to local food and can buy a smaller free range turkey. Or maybe both of those things will happen.

Hope everybody enjoyed their time off from work and time spent with family and friends. And I hope everyone will participate in the required kick-off-the-christmas-season tradition of watching Home Alone. It's not a real holiday season without some John Hughes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What is with Damien Hirst?

Damien Hirst is one of the most famous (if not the most famous) contemporary artists in the world. His art is highly controversial, and lots of people think it's total bullshit (myself included). Hirst's most well-known pieces are the giant formaldehyde-filled tanks with dead animals inside. He won the fancy-pants Turner Prize for new contemporary art for the piece below, entitled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. Ha.

This piece was done way back in 1992 and people still talk about it. Here's another animal-in-a-tank piece, called Mother and Child Divided. It's lovely.

Yes, the cow and calf are divided, as in cut in half and placed in separate tanks. What is this? What does he want us to take from this? No wonder average joe doesn't want to go to the art museum. Who can be impressed by this other than people just like Damien Hirst, artists who talk about themselves and make art to shine light on their own divinely bestowed intellect, rather than to say something about the world.

So, I think this type of contemporary "art" is total hogwash, nonsense, bullshit. I'm not alone in that. But art and literature, films, etc. are what we use to learn about a particular culture in a particular time. So was does the presence of this type of artwork in our most prestigious museums say about our culture? What does it mean that there is a huge disconnect between the world of "important" artists and the world of everybody else, that art has become so lopsided on the side of intellect and concept that no one can really take anything from it without reading about the artist's intentions, and are then still left feeling confused and inferior? And who are we that we can't seem to articulate why we don't like this artwork or why most of us don't really consider it art at all? Does it mean something that while we can't seem to sufficiently describe what makes art good or bad, many of us can't decide what truth is, or explain why we disagree with war or why we hold the religious or moral beliefs that we do? Hell, many of us can't even tell each other why we like the music and movies that we do. And of course it means something.

More for your reading pleasure: Trash, Violence, and Versace: But Is It Art? by Theodore Dalrymple
Group of artists with a strong distaste for art like Damien Hirst's: Try to disregard the hideous website design (or lack thereof). The content is interesting, I promise.

And, on a happy note, one painting I do love. It's called Chop Suey and was painted by Edward Hopper in 1929.