Little Miracles: the Thorne Gallery

April 21, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | ART, CRAFT, HISTORY, USA History |

English Roman Catholic Church model, portraying a standard of its type as at the late 13th Century (recent addition)

Art Institute Chicago, April 2018 – The Thorne Miniature Rooms were painstakingly built, on a scale of one inch to one foot, according to models conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940.  They are presented in framed booths in the Thorne Gallery in the lower level of the Chicago Art Institute, which have, in addition, superb, tasteful and realistic back-lighting. These are wonderful in their detail, whether we are offered a paper-walled Japanese room: …or early American interiors, in all their homely glory, whether kitchens: …or this Virginia parlour: French style is also beautifully presented,…

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“Magnificent Distances”

April 13, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, TRAVEL, USA History |

Washington DC, April 2018 – TVC arrived in time for the lovely pink and white cherry blossoms and a balmy, breezy day, which turned sharply wintry again (must be that global warming). Washington is a strange mix of Adelaide and Canberra (the latter was designed by American Walter Burley Griffin, with D.C. in mind), the massive edifices a meld of strong Neo-Classical (White House, old Treasury, National Archives, Supreme Court) and New Brutalism* (new Treasury, State Department, FBI Building). In Burr, Gore Vidal quotes a visiting English diplomat in the early 1800s, tactfully referring to the city’s “magnificent distances.” But the place has filled-up…

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Let’s Improve on Gilbert!

April 12, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, USA History |

Gilbert Stuart helped deify that most carnal of Gods, George Washington

This artist at the Met in NYC on Wednesday 4 April, 2018, was having a darn good try:

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911 Memorial

April 8, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, HISTORY, TRAVEL, USA History |

April 2018 At Ground Zero, after much hand-wringing and kvetching, the powers that be have achieved a pretty decent edifice to commemorate the infamous acts of 9 September 2001.  Conspiracy theorists aside, for most attendees there is balance in the museum exhibits and an overly pious attitude has thankfully been stowed. The most powerful aspects are the remembrance wall, containing the names of those who perished, in clear graven font, and two enormous infinity pools, cut deep into the sites of the twin towers, oddly recalling the gashed landscape of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. While the Pentagon and…

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Playing With Fire

(by Lawrence O’Donnell) (2017) Our favourite book on the incredible 1968 Presidential election remains the superb and impartial work by visiting British journalists, An American Melodrama. But this work by leftie Lawrence is a terrific read, once you learn to shut-out the partisan noise swirling about every chapter.  There’s nothing new here except the charge of treason by Nixon over the Anna Chennault affair, which O’Donnell mines from a book by the almost equally, but less noisily, partial John A. Farrell. [For his Book Richard Nixon: The Life, Farrell has read Haldeman’s notes of conversations with Tricky Dick and implies…

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