January 27, 2008

Fun with mirrors.

We go to the Austin Museum of Art to see the Roy Lichstenstein show — which we loved — and get sidetracked into the hands-on kid's area where we take a lot of pictures in a tunnel of mirrors (and stick a few plastic dots on the white walls):





Okay, now stop that and tell me what dots and mirrors have to do with Roy Lichtenstein? Seems more like Wonder Bread and the funhouse.

The dots are the dots from newspaper printing that he enlarges and emphasizes for distinctive effect. Don't you think our children need to get more excited about dots so they can appreciate pop art? I do! I dot!

The mirrors relate to some of the prints on display, especially a series called "Reflections" that has as its subject matter works of art partly obscured by reflections, like this one called "Reflections on Minerva." I'm thinking Roy went to museums and got annoyed — and then inspired — by the glass that covers so many works of art and makes them hard to see.

Roy Lichtenstein seems to have a mania for processing images. You get the feeling he might look at anything — good or bad — Monet's haystacks, a stock photo of 1970s interior decoration — and want to work his set of artistic tricks on it just for the pure delight of taking one thing and making it into something else.




Ruth Anne Adams said...

Alternative title: Let's take a closer look at the Wonder Bread...

ricpic said...

The most fun you can have in front of a funhouse mirror is to stand then crouch then stand again and watch your image go whoowheewhooup!

There's a great scene in East Of Eden where the Julie Harris character and the James Dean character who are sorta kinda falling in love do just that.

George said...

Sadly, his '68 Time covers 'pop.'

The Robert Kennedy cover appeared before his assassination.

The gun cover (#17) came as a result.

rhhardin said...


Editors' introduction to the ``Sociology of Literature'' issue of _Critical Inquiry_ v.14 n.3 (Spring 1988) p.428-429

A metaphor that cannot be avoided deserves closer attention. If we examine the mirror more closely, we may find that the metaphor actually serves the sociology of literature in unexpected ways. The marvelously revealing mirror in Hans Christian Andersen's ``The Snow Queen'' offers a case in point. In this tale a demon invents a unique mirror : it does not reflect, it systematically misreflects. Andersen's mirror shrinks and distorts every good and beautiful thing, and it magnifies everything evil or ugly. In this glass pleasant landscapes look like boiled spinach, normal people appear hideous, and kind thoughts become wicked grins.

The demon creator appears mildly amused by his invention, but his students, simple reflectionists, take it very seriously :

[quoting The Snow Queen]

All the pupils in the demon's school - for he kept a school - reported that a miracle had taken place : now for the first time, they said, it was possible to see what the world and mankind were really like. They ran about everywhere with the mirror, till at last there was not a country or a person which had not been seen in this distorting mirror.

Eventually the mirror breaks. Shards of glass fly through the world and lodge in people's eyes and hearts. These shards retain the peculiarities of the mirror, so that everyone sees the world through bent, distorted, and misshapen images.

rightwingprof said...

I thought the relevance of dots to Lichtenstein was obvious. Like this:


peter hoh said...

I remember a special exhibit at the Walker where the (sort of) children's space was a lot more interesting than the rest of the exhibit.

somefeller said...

I told you the Lichtenstein show was a good one. The Austin Museum of Art is a very nice space, with consistently interesting and good programs. The kids' area is well-done and AMOA knows how to treat its patrons who want to bring children to the museum, unlike some museums (like that white box mausoleum called the Blanton Museum at UT-Austin, for example).

I have no problem with museums or other arts venues having rules against bringing small children (even though I have a three year old whom I take to museums and art galleries all the time), and in many cases that's just the way I like it myself, but if you are going to let children come to the museum, you should at least try to have something set aside for them so they can amuse themselves and make their parents feel welcome. AMOA does a good job with that.

bearing said...

I love RL too, but "Reflections on Minerva" looks so much like a migraine headache that I had to close the window to avoid feeling sick!

Looks like a fun exhibit. I saw one in Columbus, OH years ago that still ranks as one of my favorite art exhibits ever.

Maxine Weiss said...

What about staying home and sittin' around the hearth telling stories, roasting marshmellows and what-not...

Must the Althouse family constantly be out doing and going....

Don't they ever just stay home and chill ?

Where are the photos of Althouse domestic life?

John Stodder said...

These photos look like still from the opening credits of a 1970s sitcom: "Althouse and Me," or "My Mother the Blogger." I bet someone here could write some great lyrics for the theme song.

Anyway... My parents collected lithographs and somehow wound up with a triptych by Lichtenstein that involved an air battle. Because this art made them think of kids' stuff (my parents sneered at comic books, hated animated films), they put the triptych up in my bedroom. When I was about 14, I was practicing my violin and got frustrated at some passage I couldn't play. So I got pissed off and pushed my music stand -- into one of the Lichtensteins. One of those cheap metal folding music stands. The lithograph was not covered by glass -- my Mom is Scottish and and the ability to go very cheap at the oddest times -- so the painting got scraped by my flying music stand.

40+ years later, I still don't know what they did or whether it ever got fixed. It stayed hanging in my bedroom in a wounded state until one day long after I'd moved out, it vanished to make way for my mother's own paintings.

Maxine Weiss said...

These family day-trips feel very forced.

The Sons aren't smiling.

Failure to smile in photographs = extreme discontent.

John Stodder said...

Perfect setup for the sitcom:

Cheery, brilliant but eccentric mom with a nationally-known blog drops in on the lives of her oh-so-serious sons, shows them how to enjoy life and documents it on her blog. Like Auntie Mame, but blonder and with more computers.

Maxine Weiss said...

The sneakers in the very top photo.

Does Mom have time to take the one Son to a shoe store?

It seems as if Son is wearing the exact same pair of sneakers from last April:


(You knew that I'd point that out, now, right? You had to have known!)


Maxine Weiss said...

We are having a field day on the AOL Chat Boards. Everyone unanimously agrees that Mom is completely responsible for the fashions choices of the Sons.

Everything you see the Sons wearing....Mom has absolutely encouraged.

I've said this a thousand times: Mothers govern the fashions of their Sons. Fashion and style is a Mother's domain.

Dad had nothin' to do with it.

Mom thinks it's cute and encourages the whole thing.

walter neff said...

Whose that guy in the first photo?
Did you take a field trip with Scott Baio?

Maxine Weiss said...

Advice: Dress as if you were going on the Howard Stern show.

If your attire looks as though Howard Stern could rip into you and take you apart....then you know you aren't dressing right.

If you really want to be cool, ignore Mom, and her dippy ideas, and adopt Howard Stern as your Guru/Hero .

Forget Madonna, and forget Hillary as your idols.....let Stern be your mentor.

walter neff said...

I hate to agree with Maxine, but are those elephant bell bottoms or a funhouse mirror effect?

Maxine Weiss said...

I've never seen anybody wear their jeans like that.

Of course I come from the Jordache, Sasson, Sergio Valente school....where jeans are a crisp dark indigo, fully dry-cleaned (to keep their shape) and perfectly pressed with the crease down the front.

We never cuffed, or rolled, our pant legs either. The heavy designer denim was taken to a tailors for alterations.....or simply get a big scissors and chop them off yourself.

$500.00 alterations and hemming, that you can do in minutes with your own scissors.

Looks a lot neater, and spiffier than roll-ups.

MOM......where are you?

Maxine Weiss said...

Here's the correct way to wear your jeans:


You need a darker denim, and pair it with some good boots. And, no rolling the cuffs, please !

It's just a classier look.

I don't like the look of faded, old beat-up jeans with dirty sneakers. Maybe that's ok when you are flopping around the house.

But, when Mom's coming to visit, you'll want to do yourself up a bit more.


Maxine Weiss said...

"And did you, my dear reader, even notice that my December Christmas got ruined?"---January 25, 2008

"All I'm getting is people bragging about how good the weather is where they are. No one want to talk about the bad things that happened? Well, I know I don't. But I was trying to send out a subtle signal of empathy."--December 25, 2007

(Newsflash: That's why Christmas begins E-A-R-L-Y, and that way you are prepared for anything ! )

(Do you like my pedantic tone?)

Maxine Weiss said...

"I need the changing seasons to feel alive. It's a primal struggle. It's exciting. But it totally screwed up my Christmas this year. I'm trying to find the true meaning of Christmas, because my pat understanding -- i.e., my plan -- was destroyed."---December 25

("ruined", "destroyed", I don't understand you. Last Christmas, 2006, you read the NYT. That was your Christmas post for 2006. So, it seemed to me you just aren't interested, in the Holiday, period. If you were truly interested in the Holiday, you'd get started much sooner.)

Maxine Weiss said...

Let's look closer:

"I'm trying to find the true meaning of Christmas, because my pat understanding -- i.e., my plan "---Althouse, 12/25/07

Oh, I see. The true meaning of Christmas, you'd always thought....was that things are supposed to go your way.

Funny, it's just the opposite with me. I always felt that the true meaning of Christmas was all the disasters and calamities. The mishaps, the illnesses, (someone's always sick!) people coughing all over each other, crowds pushing and shoving, everything going awry, not enough hours in the day.

But the nice thing is you have the tree, and you have all the twinkling lights, and special music....which blunts the effects of all the other disasters which are guaranteed to occur.

Maxine Weiss said...

"My problem had to do with multiple cancelled flights and the alternative of jumping in the car at the last minute for a mad 1000+ mile drive."---Althouse, 12/25/07

If Santa can come from the North Pole by reindeer, then you can drive to your kids in a warm car 1000+ miles.

I'd have rented a big SUV, tossed with chains, tossed the kids' presents in the back, put on some Christmas music and settled in for the drive.

peter hoh said...

Theme song for "My Mother the Blogger"

I don't have to tell you what happened to me,
Mom's already posted it to her blog, you see.

I'll let Trooper York finish it off.

Maxine Weiss said...

And another thing.....

There is no way to make it up to your kids. ---Except to do a better job next year, and get started sooner. Maybe take the one son to the shoe store, and the other to get a shave. (That'd be fun, a blog of that one son undergoing one of those old-fashioned razor shaves with the hot towels and whatever else they use)

The true meaning of Christmas ...is that you start in August, because you already know everything is gonna go wrong, especially if you try to begin the night before.

Trying to make it all up to them now....a bit stale...

reader_iam said...

Hey, Althouse: Daniel Day-Lewis just got an "Actor" (SAG) for Lead Actor (There Will Be Blood).

Maxine Weiss said...

If my parents wrecked my Christmas.....they wouldn't be my parents anymore.

reader_iam said...

... and Julie Christie just received the one on the female side.

reader_iam said...

... and she gives a big, huge gracious nod to the writer/director.

reader_iam said...


Maxine Weiss said...

Too bad I wasn't here to advise her at that time. I didn't realize just how bad things actually were.

Nobody tells me nothin' around here.

Maxine Weiss said...

Christmas memories last your whole life long, and if Santa didn't arrive on schedule, (no matter what it took to get her there!).....

...those kids are never gonna forget that.

Maxine Weiss said...

"...my pat understanding..."---Althouse, 12/25/07

I love how it becomes a legal thing.

As if, there must be some remedy.

And you know, if Althouse cried her eyes out over the whole thing, she'd never reveal that.

She'd rather us believe that she spend the day searching for legal remedies.

Paddy O. said...

I think it's only fair since I reveled in our beautiful California weather on Christmas to add here that we're completely snowed in. We've had about five storms this past week, one right after another. I had to use my snowshoes to walk the dog, and the snowplow has made a berm my height in front of my driveway, that is now being pounded away by a raging thunderstorm.

If we had January Christmas it would have been canceled and I would have been stuck at home.

It is utterly beautiful though, so that's something.

Ann Althouse said...

1. The mirrors made the pants look like big bell bottoms. That was my favorite thing about that photograph.

2. I did consider jumping in the car at 5 pm and starting a 1200 mile drive after the airline canceled my flight and then canceled my rescheduled flight and had absolutely nothing that would get me to Austin for Christmas. I even made coffee and put it in the travel mug and printed out the directions, but the news of the ice storm and multiple cars sliding off the road made me think "January Christmas" was a better idea.

Maxine Weiss said...

Ahem. Cars won't slide when you put chains on the tires. With your blonde hair, and it being Christmas Eve, you'd have had a variety of Suitors showing you how to do it.

A rented Dodge Ram, or a Chevy Tahoe can drive through anything, and with chains, they are virtually indestructible.

If you had really wanted to, you could have found a way to get there.

Bad show.

Maxine Weiss said...

I'm looking at your Thanksgiving Vlog, and you had a very cavalier attitude about that Holiday.

I think it's the same with Christmas.

I suspect you just didn't care, and simply couldn't be inconvenienced.

Prove me wrong: Go on a crying jag. Do a vlog where you do nothing but cry. But there has to be real tears. Non-waterproof mascara, with the black tears running down in rivulets.

That might get you absolution.

Maxine Weiss said...

Mirrors, huh? Very transparent!

What happened on Christmas was nothing more than your passive-aggressive attempt to get them to leave Austin and move to New York, and/or Wisconson.

And so, you cooked up this whole little ruse----and your kids know you, they know you were trying to send a subtle message.

The whole thing was designed to show them the error of their ways and how they need to move closer to Mom.

But, Mom's a pushover, she can't lead, and children always end up following their Father.

Maybe it's the Father that you need to induce to move, and then the kids will follow.

Dad's the leader, and he'll decide where the kids reside. Although, Mom does control fashion and style----all the really important things!

GranvilleUnitedFC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maxine Weiss said...

You should have had girls. Girls always stay with their mother. They never leave.


Boys tend to wander. They don't stay with Mommy. Although, I'm sure they would come back to change bed pans and perform custodial care----or at least one of 'em would. The Other ain't gonna be doin' that, no way, now how....

I guess Mom's not quite ready to fake (feign) old-age yet?

That interferes with the Blog and her need to seem healthy and vigorous to young people, who make up the majority of readers.

Readers just won't read an elderly sickly Blogger, eh? Even if it mean the Sons, or at least one Son, came racing back to the fold....

nansealinks said...

Anyway you can recreate holidays whenever.

But you know there is such a thing as zeitgeist which I am sure you can't bring up in January because he is taking a rest and revving up for Valentine's day.

Are they any in-laws, grandchildren involved? Because I assure you for grandchildren, ice and snow sleet and hail may stop the mailmen nowadays, but not grandmothers.

scott davidson said...

Do some Sydneysiders look like these guys after dark? I believe it. Rene Magritte is indulging in something surrealistic here as well: http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-5ZKELZ, at wahooart.com.