14 May 2007

Hello St. Louis

We're back. Not much art to blog about yet, but there will be eventually.

04 May 2007

Bye Bye, Beirut

This is my last blogging day in Lebanon until September, which frankly is so far away that I feel like I'm never coming back. And let's face it. I might not come back. Ever. Over the past two-ish years I often wondered if I'd ever miss Beirut at some distant future point. For quite a while it didn't look promising. I was sick of everything broken, everything dirty, everything disorganized, everything Lebanon. Then there was the war, the horribly mismanaged evacuation, the gut-wrenching uncertainty and powerlessness, the aching sense of loss. Loss. There are the people that I became attached to in spite of myself and hopes that I never managed to let go of. There are places that have become the wallpaper of my existence. There are smells, sounds, flavors that I found here and have learned to rely on. This has become my home. Love it, hate it, want to see it leveled to the ground but don't you dare change it.

That's my Lebanon.

03 May 2007

Thesis Update

. . . as if there haven't been enough of those already. There have been. No, I'm not finished yet. Why? Who knows?

But I do have a really good idea where I'm headed with it at least. That makes a difference. But I feel sick inside just thinking about it. Yuck. I think I need to go do some positive visualizations and affirmations and then maybe . . . if I'm lucky . . . I'll have it in me to finish it. How I would love to deal it a deadly blow.

02 May 2007

Don't Jump on the Art

One of our favorite public parks in Beirut has a bit of a sculpture garden along its southern ridge. We were there recently and the girls were doing their thing.

Look! I caught Dandelion mid-jump!

Star discovered the joys of jumping on this "thing" two years ago, and once Dandelion learned to jump she joined her. It's actually quite springy.

Not that I usually advocate jumping on art, but I have never seen anything wrong with this. The other sculptures in the park are equally accessible for climbing and indeed are climbed upon.

I've always wondered about the shape, and recently I figured out why it looked familiar. It looks familiar because it is familiar. Duh. It's the drawing of an elephant that has been swallowed by a snake in The Little Prince. The Prince would have been disappointed in my ability to spot snake-swallowed elephants.

I was right about the elephant-inside-a-snake thing too. If you look carefully you can just barely read HOMMAGE A ST. EXUPERY on the end where Star is jumping. I wish I could tell you more about this. Who made it? When? What else are they up to now? No idea. Maybe if I clear away some of the scrub growing around the edges I'll find more clues.

Oh, and I intend to let my kids keep on jumping. I doubt the Prince would mind.

01 May 2007

Arman Beirut

A long, long time ago, Del put up a picture of Arman's 1995 Espoir de Paix.

Her picture is a good deal better. Its hard to get a good picture of it, and anyway, I wasn't really trying. Go see hers. It shows it from a different angle.

Anyway, ever since her post, I've been wondering exactly where to find it. Since directions are impossible here and basically don't exist I was so pleased to happen upon it by chance one day as I was driving home from my husband's ancestral village in the valley. With the pesky location problem solved I'd been waiting for the right day to go visit it. And today was the day.

If you click over to Del's blog, you'll see that there's some negative sentiment about this monument to the Lebanese Army. It's ugly, sure, but that's not really a problem for contemporary art. Ugly is our old standby.

It it has an important flaw and this is it: the Espoir de Paix in an ineffective memorial. This was comissioned for the 50th anniversary of the Lebanese Army. So, lets ask ourselves what an army ought to be. Well, at the very least it should not be stuck, encumbered, weighed down, static, literally made up of obsolete equipment that is trapped in cement anyway. None of the associations are good.

Well, Arman's reputation is a good association, but only for the art-obsessed. They know that it is significant that something like this is here in Beirut. But that's something for the culture crowd to cheer about, not the army.