10 Birthdays and A Funeral

'We have to make a birthday tea for 10 and a funeral tea...'

20 March – a big day in cultural history: 43 BC – Ovid “Take your fill of amusement, but cast the veil of modesty over your peccadilloes. Never make a parade of your good fortune, and never give a woman a present that another woman will recognise.” [The Art of Love] “Death is not accustomed to injure genius, and greater fame arrives after we have become ashes…” [Epistle to an Envious Man]. 1828 – Henrik Ibsen “SOLNESS: Human beings haven’t any use for these homes of theirs. Not for being happy in. And I shouldn’t have had use for a…

Continue Reading →

In Our Nature

March 9, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, March 2018 With the mosquito-like turbines of ‘Supercars‘ ringing in our ears, The Varnished Culture sought solace in the Gardens, and found this temple of unguents and ointments, a showcase for the interaction twixt people and plants, open for once. This was to exhibit a series of highly-stylised photographs by Tamara Dean, but first, we took-in the rather Belle Époque interior of the Museum, with its wonderful ceiling and the busts of several of the great botanists (Banks, Humboldt) lit atop various display cabinets. It was worth a visit for the magic mushrooms alone……

Continue Reading →

Venetian Voices

Photo by Jörg Bittner (Unna)

(by Christine V. Courtney) (2017) Venice is of a set, in that it is a Great City, but it is also sui generis, a brilliant bauble set amid a swamp, a rococo castle in the air, an ornate pagoda floating on water. Venice and its inhabitants, whether citizens or arrivistes, spell romance on a myriad levels, and pose a historical jigsaw of massive scope and complexity, so it makes sense to wander its narrow streets and sail its intricate waterways clutching some sort of evocative Baedeker.  Our favourite Venetian history is the massive Folio tome (merging two volumes) by John Julius Norwich…

Continue Reading →

Where Art At?

February 19, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, ART, POLITICS |

We have to say that we didn’t (totally) mind Kehinde Wiley’s cartoonish, faux-classical official portrait of President Obama – though it is frankly braver of the 44th President than of the artist. Better State flora than wallpaper, we guess, but the most vivid image the portrait evokes is of a fairy at the bottom of the garden. On the other hand, Amy Sherald’s offering for posterity of Michelle Obama (below) renders the former First Lady as a cross between Godzilla and one of those Olympic swimmers on steroids. The Last Refuge (online) commented: “The portraits are just plain goofy.” Diego…

Continue Reading →

Hylas and the Nymphs – BBQ Stopper

February 3, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Ulalume |

The Manchester Art Gallery has recently removed the superb John William Waterhouse painting, Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) from display.  Depicting a moment from the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, when Hylas, sent to fetch water for the crew, stared into a pool of limpid water and beheld a gathering of lovely nymphs, never to be seen again, its great fusion of neo-classical romanticism is deemed inappropriate for its pandering to “Victorian fantasy” and the canvas requires extensive indoctrination and tuition before it can ever return, hopefully “contextualised quite differently.” Ah yes, let us by all means mock the…

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.