Monthly Archives: July 2005

Photomuse

The New York Times writes about the partnership between the George Eastman House and the International Center of Photography to make almost 200,000 photographs accessible over the web. See the currently available exhibitions at Photomuse.org.

Many iconic images, the kind long found on posters and greeting cards – Stieglitz’s shot of a spindly tree framed by New York office towers on a rainy spring day; Weegee’s teeming Coney Island hordes; Lewis Hine’s “Icarus Atop Empire State Building” – will be joined by thousands of other works by eminent artists that the general public has rarely had an opportunity to see. There will also be collections of lesser-known photographers like Roman Vishniac, James VanDerZee and Ralph Eugene Meatyard.

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Oprah’s Faulkner Tour

J.M. Tyree of The Nation praises TV celebrity Oprah Winfrey’s decision to promote three novels by William Faulkner.

By proposing to read not one but three works by a dead white male whose
prose laid siege to the conventions of narrative fiction, and whose
furiously lyrical exploration of race and the American South still
manages to unsettle readers, Oprah is taking a major gamble on her
audience’s attention span and political sensitivities. Once again,
she has proved she is a more serious reader than many people–that is,
anybody besides her millions of fans–reckoned. The woman Forbes
magazine recently dubbed the most powerful celebrity in America seems
intent on using some of her cultural capital for the brave if improbable
purpose of a Faulkner revival–a project that reflects her belief in
uplift through education.

[…]

Everybody agrees that the market for literary fiction has been gradually collapsing over the past few years. […] The temptation to blame the reader must be strong. The Big Five think they merely reflect taste rather than shape it, and pundits add to this bad feedback loop by pandering to a dumber-than-thou audience they help perpetuate, while at the same time lording it over popular culture with snarky reviews. By reviving the classics, the much-maligned Oprah’s Book Club has become a thorn in the side of this blinkered vision of Middle America, holding out the hope that a great many readers are hungry for something more substantial than the usual fare of celebrity and ephemeral sensation.

Eye Dream

Finally made it downtown to the Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum to see Eye Dream: Multiple Realities in Taiwan Contemporary Photography and Painting, an exhibit that features artists such as Chin Cheng-Tsai (金成財) and Lin Pei-Hsun (林珮熏). Seeing the Six Continents of Quilts exhibit, comprised largely of works by American artists who have raised quilting to an art form, was a bonus. I was also fortunate to meet art archivist Chiang Te-Hua (江德華), who works for the Taichung Fine Arts Museum; he specializes in digitalizing art.

Since I was already downtown, I also visited an Eslite bookstore, where I made off with a good haul: a DVD copy of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Cafe Lumiere (珈琲時光); a collection of poems called Dear Epoch edited by Lee Chin-wen (李進文), and bilingual copies of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and a collection of selected poems from Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth and Byron.

North to South

Wrap Up: Back in southern Taiwan after a trip to Taipei for my brother’s wedding. Good to see Lance Armstrong with a strong lead after putting on a devastating attack in the tenth stage of the Tour de France. The Guardian describes the attack well.

At eight miles to go
came the coup de grace: Armstrong gestured to his Ukrainian team-mate
Yaroslav Popovych and saw off Alexandr Vinokourov, Jan Ullrich and
Andreas Klöden all at once. T-Mobile’s trio de choc looked suitably
shocked. To underline his physical superiority, like a boxer whistling at the
count, Armstrong immediately began to perform stretching exercises on
the bike […]

With my family personally battling cancer, Lance’s performance becomes even more poignant to me.

One of my favorite photography bloggers Stacy Oborn is back after a hiatus with an entry about Miwa Yanagi. Maury Gortenmiller, Won Ha, Michael Turton, Naruwangirl, Dan Suit are among those who have added links to this blog (thanks!).

Dear Blog

The New York Times describes how writers John Battelle, Aaron Hamburger, Poppy Z. Brite, David Weinberger and Chris Anderson are using their blogs to help them write their nonfiction books and novels.

Instead of simply being a relief from writerly solitude, these blogs
have turned into part of the process. Mr. Battelle said that he was
surprised by the number of people who read his journal and offered
feedback, correcting mistakes, making suggestions of people to
interview or articles to read and contributing ideas that are finding
their way into his finished manuscript. Authors’ blogs also
change the solitary mission of writing into something more closely
resembling open-source software. Mistakes are corrected before they are
eternalized in printed pages, and readers can take satisfaction that
they contributed to a book’s creation. The blogs can also confer some
authority: Aside from drawing on the collective intelligence of its
readers, Mr. Battelle’s site has become a compendium of Google- and
search-related issues.