Let’s put it this way. I am an art fanatic. This is mostly confined to looking, of course, and admiring others’ work. I actually spent my first three days in London inside the National Portrait Gallery (and almost got picked up by a charming old Scotsman) but I’ve not seen the usual London tourist spots like the Tower of London etc. Even my MBA thesis–which one would expect to be as far from art as possible–was based on the management issues of a Scottish art gallery.
I have eclectic tastes in art, as in the books I read. And I think that is great not to be able to be easily stereotyped. I really do not know much about art appreciation. Nor can I tell you much about art, artists, art history or different periods and styles. I just know what I like. Its all to do with emotions and little to do with anything else…
Sometimes I like things that just draw my eye. These are not the kind of things I’d go after, seeking out an exhibition or even visit a website for. But this piece, by Mel Bochner, which I saw in a NY Times slideshow really took my eye. So here I am sharing it with you.
It piqued my interest. This is why I visited the artist’s own website. That is even more interesting. Here are some visuals you will see… But I do recommend a visit, when you have a few minutes to spare.
Mindculture is about giving new experiences to our minds. And imagining what an artist was trying to convey, what was going though their mind, what made them come up with one piece or another is really something I enjoy. Giving flight to imagination is great for anyone’s mind.
Here’s an article from the New York Times about a current exhibition–Mel Bochner: Strong Language–at the Jewish Museum in New York.
Words have been the subjects and primary constituents of the enigmatic yet acerbically provocative paintings Mel Bochner has been creating over the past 12 years. “Mel Bochner: Strong Language,” an elegantly produced exhibition at the Jewish Museum, gives them their due and traces their roots back to text-based works that Mr. Bochner created in the ’60s and early ’70s, when he was one of New York’s pre-eminent Conceptual artists.
There is a great slideshow of a few works, including Amazing above.
Here are some other Mel Bochner works from different periods.
“H. Sebastian Seung is a prophet of the connectome, the wiring diagram of the brain.” Thus begins a New York Times science article. “In a popular book, debates and public talks he has argued that in that wiring lies each person’s identity.”
Its an interesting book. And as expected prompting more questions than answers, and making me bold about asking ones of my own.
The author, Warren Berger quotes Joi Ito of MIT’s Media Lab saying “You don’t learn unless you question”.
And it matters how we question. We are likely to get different answers depending on whether we frame our questions as open ended ones or close ended ones.
Here’s some mind food on questions and questioning:
“Questions are infinitely superior to answers.”
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“To get answers of life, ask questions”
~Sukant Ratnakar, Open the Windows
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“Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.”
~Milan Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being
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“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.”
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“Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”
~L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables
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“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
~John Fowles in The Magus
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“To ask the ‘right’ question is far more important than to receive the answer. The solution of a problem lies in the understanding of the problem; the answer is not outside the problem, it is in the problem.”
~Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Flight of the Eagle
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“An empowered life begins with serious personal questions about oneself. Those answers bare the seeds of success.”
~Steve Maraboli in Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
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“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.”
* * *
“How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask-half our great theological and metaphysical problems-are like that.”
* * *
“No where in ‘humpty dumpty’ did it say he was an egg. Maybe your inability to think outside of what others have taught you is what’s keeping you from putting him together again.”
― Darnell Lamont Walker
Now ask yourself this: Why are questions infinitely better than answers? Why do questions feel like open doors while answers feel like closed ones?
You don’t think its a good idea? Okay. Remember this then:
“Children are the research and development division of the human species”
~Psychologist Alison Gopnik
Don’t send your kids to a preschool where teaching is the priority.
Kids should be allowed to explore and experiment and ask questions in preschool, not burdened with instruction. teaching things too early is harmful for their natural development and future progress.
Just like closing down the R&D division. Only short-sighted companies do that, right?
This move towards teaching too early comes from two things: Parental pressure (why aren’t they teaching my kids stuff?) and government policy towards more structured instruction.
In Sri Lanka, where the government schools do not expect kids to enter grade one knowing their alphabet and counting, too much teaching comes from over zealous parents demanding preschools to teach stuff… and preschools who actually listen to the parents and their ignorant requests.
“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.” ~Margaret Thatcher
So very true. Nothing better to make me focus than a line from the Iron Lady herself!
I like randomness. It is always more interesting than routine. So today, I decided to check out quotations on ‘challenge’. The above really stuck me as relevant for my daily life. And indeed for everyone’s daily life.
When I was editing the Athwela Business Journal, the Sinhala business magazine, we used the serialize the Sinhala translations by Daya Rohana Atukorala, of great personal development classics, by the likes of Dale Carnegie, Paul Parker and others. Each month a few pages from a chapter.
And I know personally, however dismal the day may have been, reading those few pages were immensely uplifting, not just to me but to all my staff who took the time to read it… It would just take a few minutes, but there was definite value added to our lives, and instant mood improvements. [You can read some First Chapters of Sinhala books by Daya Rohana Atukorala on SriLankaBookChapters blog.
This is why I like quotations so much. I know they make a real difference to the prepared mind. And hopefully, can pull in a few not-so-prepared minds as well.
Here are some other interesting quotes I found on challenge:
“Rejection is a challenge.” ~Veronica Purcell
“A trap is only a trap if you don’t know about it. If you know about it, it’s a challenge.” ~China Miéville in King Rat
“Life keeps throwing me curve balls and I don’t even own a bat. At least my dodging skills are improving.” ~Jayleigh Cape
“It has never been my goal to impress anyone but myself. That has proven challenging enough.” ~Richelle E. Goodrich in Smile Anyway
“That is the challenge Companion. To take what has happened to you and learn from it. Nothing is quite so destructive as pity, especially self-pity. No event in life is so terrible that one cannot rise above it.” ~Robin Hobb in Ship of Destiny
“When faced with two equally tough choices, most people choose the third choice: to not choose. ” ~Jarod Kintz in This Book Title is Invisible
“These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.” ~Abigail Adams
“Spending time with people without ambition is a self-destruction.” ~Amen Muffler
Wow, that last one smacks a trace of Buddhism in it. I’ll get back to mindculture’s Buddhism roots some time. If you like this, check out my oldest posts.