August 27, 2016

Summer Musing: Celebrities at the Museum

Sometimes I give guided tours at the museum for exclusive people like the wives of ministers and presidents. It’s the museum director who takes care of the fun celebrities from Hollywood. Once P. from the bookstore saw a guy with a cap flashing by the bookstore going to the director’s office. When you see a cap and somebody speeding at the museum, it’s probably a celebrity. Later P. heard that it was Brad Pitt zooming by. On the TV-screen in the subway on my way home I read that Pitt had been wearing different hats throughout his Berlin trip to misguide the press. Hollywood stars are smarter than the government people, whose arrival at the museum is always so obvious that they seem to be screaming for attention - probably because they know nobody really cares. First the undercover men arrive, dressed as undercover men with the main purpose to create a nervous atmosphere. A little later a line-up of police cars arrives in front of the museum announcing the arrival of the car with the president’s wife, which then arrives a few minutes later. She is mostly accompanied by an entourage of embassy and security people, wearing black sun glasses and grey suits. I like it when reality tries to be a movie. I always try to adapt as a guide and act like I'm a movie star too.

August 25, 2016

Summer Musing: Practical Advice by Ingrid Bergman

In my favourite art bookstore there is a new edition of Isabella Rossellini’s biography Some of Me, published in 1997. Salesperson P. told me that it’s not a good book, but it does have some good insider news on Rossellini’s mother Ingrid Bergman. Apparently Bergman liked the homely life, taking care of the kids, cooking, etc. And there was one advice she gave to Rossellini, so P. told me: “Du kannst immer etwas mit in der K├╝che nehmen.” (You can always take something with you to the kitchen). It means, when you’re on your way to the kitchen, why don't you look around to see if there’s anything that needs washing, like an ash tray or a wine glass, and it’s true that you will always find something, isn't it. Very good practical advice from Ingrid Bergman that can make life if not easier, at least cleaner.

August 24, 2016

Summer Musing: How Beautiful!

Oscar Wilde took in 1881 (he was twenty-seven years old at that time) the boat to the United Stated on his mission to spread beauty in the country of industrialisation. In his Lecture for Art Students he told the students not to copy beauty but to create beauty in their art. He was kind of pre-Duchamp because he told them not to lean on "ready-made beauty." Wilde had also some simple advice for the viewer of art: “All pictures that do no immediately give you such artistic joy as to make you say ‘How beautiful!’ are bad pictures.” In 1964, an equally young Susan Sontag continued along that line in Against Interpretation -  a manifesto against the killing of the art work by wanting to nail it down to a “what does it mean?” It's a simple truth, isn't it, but the level of feeling and experiencing in the understanding of art seems often to be ignored or muffled away. Here, for your convenience, are Oscar Wilde's guidelines to express feelings when looking at pictures:

- for archeological pictures: "How curious!"

- for sentimental pictures: "How sad!"
- for historical pictures: "How interesting!"
- for all pictures: "How beautiful!"