Category Archives: Venezuela

Bidding Adieux to the Old Year

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As we bid ‘adieux’ to the Old Year, 2014, we may reflect on this past

year and see some great things happened in the world, along with

our personal lives. This post won’t dwell on the many negative news

items that took place across the world. My recent conversation I had

with my good friend, Patrice, where we discussed the economy was

full of hope. She is a moderate Republican but found Pres. Obama

has “helped the economy,” citing some personal ways it improved.

Especially for the businesses of her family, who saw an upswing in

purchasing pizzas at her brother in law’s pizza chain, along with her

sister’s Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan having much continued

success. Pat shared good news with her family’s investments in stocks

and bonds, showing profitable and significant increases. The U.S. stock

exchange and business world has not been this secure since Clinton’s

administration. (This can be confirmed in the business pages of the

New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch.)

 

I don’t really wish to quote statistics, just the positive slow, gradual

upswing in the economy as something good to report.

 

While talking with members of our warehouse, several mentioned

the Obamacare (health care and insurance) situation seems to have

‘finally straightened out.’

 

While talking with my artistic brother, Randy, we were on the ‘same

page’ thinking that the renewal of ties with Cuba is a positive way to

bring trade. Also, influencing the political climate of country south of

us, which we have had past problems with. Hoping this will lead to a

better future connection. While this may be ‘common knowledge’ I

found the fact the leader of Cuba is one who has chosen to lead a ‘gay

lifestyle’ hopeful,  since this may mean that there will be less civil unrest

and hateful reactions to people of different life choices.

 

It also seems to reflect a ‘gentler’ means of controlling his country, less

than we had from Fidel Castro. Back in 1963, Fidel Castro had made

quite a mean statement about Cuba’s gay community and their ‘tight

pants’ and wishing to display ‘girlie’ acts in public. Since 2012, there

have been annual Cuban “Kiss-In’s” which is the gay community’s way

of standing up to the controlling leadership in a non-violent way. Even

getting a positive ‘nod’ from the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro,

for the United States reaching out to Cuba with an olive branch.

This was all compiled by myself: having attempted to confirm various

sources of information.

 

I will hope Fidel’s brother, President Raul Castro, will help lead his

country from communism into socialism. They may label themselves

‘socialistic,’ but the cruel army regime exists there still. I can ‘dream’

of Cuba’s someday becoming a Democratic country, where people’s

votes will be counted.

 

It is totally fine with me, if this positive outlook is challenged with

big doses of reality. I am “open for debate” in my comments section!

 

Thomas Kinkade, 2001:

“I believe that adding light to the canvas of our daily existence is a

simpler process than we often make it out to be. I believe it really is

possible to think and act in ways that shine more radiant joy in our

lives and the lives of those around us.”

 

From my old Children’s Anthology, which featured ‘brownies’ who are

like little sprites in the night:

“In January, when the snow

Lies on the hills and valleys low

And from the north the chilly breeze

Comes whistling through the naked trees

Upon toboggans long they ride,

Until the broadening light of day

Compels them all to quiet their play.”

(Written and Illustrated by Palmer Cox.)

 

My post-Christmas special memories of this year, 2014:

*~ I loved having my Mom be happy and healthy in body

and spirit. She was entranced by the Elf doll which was

a bright and cute girl, with red ‘velvet’ skirt with white

trim, with green and white striped hose and red pointy

shoes, with bells on each toe. She exclaimed each time

she spied it up on the edge of a rocking chair back.

*~ I found the most giving souls were the two six year old

Kindergarteners, among my grandies.

Little Marley could not open her gift before I opened her

purchase of a white painted sleigh bell with its top hat and

cheery face, making it a cute little snowman ornament.

Marley slipped a bracelet into my coat pocket, which she

had made from a craft kit given to her by Santa. I did not

‘discover’ this string of red, black, pink and yellow stars until

I got home, putting my mittens back into my pockets.

 

Micah had used his Secret Santa school “pocket savings”

from his home piggy bank to purchase a wide variety of

little dollar gifts. Mine was a head band which had a pair

of reindeers on the ‘antennae.’ This was the first time I had

seen this head adornment; usually the two ‘antennae’ are

antlers! I wore it proudly around to both families’ Christmas

events. I also had two children request a photo taken with

them on. Quite a thoughtful and fun gift, Micah!

 

The ‘true spirit’ of giving was in both these little ones’ hearts.

 

Do you have any thoughts about the political climate or post-

holiday memories you wish to share?

 

Bad Art!

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I am fascinated by this story about an art museum that

displays ‘bad art!’ As my Grandmother Oldrieve had an

uncle, so he would be my Great Grand Uncle, with the

well known name of Alexander Calder. I am often asked

about this truly simple, huge, ‘numbered print’ on one

of my apartment walls. I mean, it takes up a lot of

space. It is the size of a movie theater poster.

Almost everyone thinks,

“A child could have drawn that!”

or

“Why on earth, Robin, do you have that ugly thing on

your wall?”

If you will please imagine six circles, black, red and

blue, with long straight lines coming from each of them,

some straight and a couple crooked. That is the fine

art print, worth over $1000.00 (at last checking in the

70’s) of my distant relative, Alexander Calder. It is

the size of a movie theater poster. Huge!

You may know that Calder ‘invented’ or ‘created’ the

idea or concept of statues and mobiles blended together

to become, ‘stabiles.’

Many famous examples of this are displayed outside of

museums and in downtowns in cities across America and

internationally. The cities of Stuttgard, Germany and

the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art have fine

examples of these combination statues and mobiles.

The other international museums that feature Calder

are in Venezuela, the Netherlands, Paris, France,

and Madrid, Spain.

Closer to home, can be found in the city of Grand

Rapids, Michigan and Montreal, Quebec. Our National

Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C., has a whole room

of Calder’s creations. I don’t feel his paintings or

prints are really interesting but the larger pieces

are very exciting and unique. My family saw the one

in Chicago, Illinois when I was in middle school. My

artist brother, Randy Oldrieve, has made a living

creating sculptures, paintings, murals, logos and

prints.

My oldest daughter, Carrie Crain, is also a gifted

artist.

I have my own style of ‘dinky art,’ which I am hoping

would not make it into the MOBA.

The idea or thought behind the Calder print, I have no

clue.

I have told people that my numbered print may increase

in value or not. I think it looks like circular balloons.

I wish they were ovals. I wish there were squiggly

lines instead of those odd straight lines! If it has

to be simple, let it be ‘cute,’ I think!

Anyway, the Museum of Bad Art, or MOBA, may have wished

to include this print, since unless you saw the ‘Calder’

signature at the bottom, you would think it was ready to

go into a dumpster.

Which the curator, Michael Frank, of MOBA, says many of

their displays came about from trash pickers saving the

homemade art pieces. Others came from donations, garage

and yard sales and thrift stores. The critique or type

of verification for ‘bad art’ is all rather depending

on the viewer. After all, “Beauty is in the eye of the

beholder.”

Where is this MOBA to be found? In a sunny-sounding

place called, Summerville, Massachusetts. There is a

movie theatre on top of this museum of art. Yes, makes

sense to delegate the artworks considered ‘bad’ or ugly,

to the basement!

Most people would not want to buy or look at these

paintings or other pieces of artwork regularly.

In fact, the museum’s reason for existing, since 1994,

is given as:

“To celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be

displayed or appreciated in no other forum.”

A tour guide or ‘docent’ gives further explanation:

“Bad art is still art. It is sincere. It is one of a

kind.”

They will not accept the mass-produced artwork, such

as paintings on black velvet, no attempts to reproduce

famous artists’ pieces, and no dogs playing poker!

There is a display of diverse subject matters, unique

perspectives and really strange depictions.

Why do they feel this art is valid? Because artists

are trying to communicate. This MOBA is to celebrate

the expression of people who are yearning to be artists.

They may even pour their hearts out on their creations,

not realizing they are not attractive.

Sometimes: Not to anyone!

When people try to donate paintings or pieces to the

museum, the ones who are in charge, including Michael

Frank, determine whether it is a ‘fake.’ If it is

intentionally produced to be ‘bad,’ they feel they can

‘see right through those.’

Interestingly, their stored art pieces are quite large,

enough to share the wealth of bad art, sending exhibits

as farflung as Taipei, Taiwan. The circulating exhibits

are quite popular. Murals, collages, some that need

repaired, adding Christmas lights that have burned out,

all can be part of someone’s idea of a fun day at a

museum.

In my own mind, I came up with an explanation for why

I would be interested in going to Summerville, or if

a visiting exhibit came to the Columbus Museum of Art.

I think we all are like ‘deers in the headlights’ or

viewers of accidents on the side of the road, we just

cannot tear our eyes away. The art may be like a “train

wreck” but we may still be curious to see the contents.

The bad products of sincere people, may just be your

‘cup of tea.’

At the very least, you may wish to view the strange

and imaginative pieces online…