The Mainly Male Art of Central Park

DRY WIT? YOU DECIDE

Glad you took the time to read this, I really am. Apparently sarcasm makes you creative so that is what I will be writing about today. Yay. I try very hard not to be sarcastic but sometimes, it just comes out without a thought, and only after it is out do I ask myself the question, "Did I Really Say That Out Loud?"

Some people call it a dry sense of humour, but to be totally honest, it really does appear to come out without any thought. I try, I really try, not to be sarcastic, but sometimes my brain just emits spurious thoughts vocally and loudly, and I seem to have no control over what actually comes out. For the most part, even I stand back in shock.

Now I am sure those of you who read this blog who have a deep interest in human psychology might have picked up the odd cynical tone, it’s not that I am cynical, it’s just that I have been around for a long time. I have seen it, I have worn the Tee-Shirt, hey, and I have even designed the Tee-Shirt.

But sometimes, there is a fine line between what you say, and how you say it. It appears though that it’s not a bad thing if I wish to remain creative. If I wish to retain friends, probably not so great. Thankfully all of my friends know how to take me. Usually it’s by the neck to apologise. I really can’t help myself. I have been told three times this week that I am on the periphery of Asperger’s, and twice that I am on the edge. That came as a total shock because I would have said that I was more on the edge than on the periphery of Asperger’s.

Noun: sarcasm; plural noun: sarcasms

The use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

At least that’s what Google says. Wikipedia however indicates that dry humour is:

"This delivery is also called dry humor or dry wit, when the intent, but not the presentation, is humorous, blunt, oblique, sarcastic, laconic, or apparently unintentional".

Almost the same, but "unintentional" is the bit that concerns me. For the most part, my brain reacts way before I do, my lips follow my brain, and I still haven’t caught up. Deep down it was unintentional, but there must be some other brain that lags behind my primary brain which tells me to ignore my primary brain and to shut up. This secondary brain is always far too late to react, prevent, or provide reason. Sometimes I think it stands well back just for a laugh.

But apparently no one knows when you are being sarcastic in emails. I generally put an asterisk in the part where I am intentionally sarcastic, and explain in the footnote that there may be an element of sarcasm in this sentence*.

But research, that much beloved* topic of mine, has proven that sarcastic comments may actually encourage creativity for both the giver, and the recipient. To create or decode sarcasm, both the expresser and recipient need to overcome the contradiction between the literal and actual meanings of the expression, or so says Francesco Gino. Gino also stated that "This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking"

Participants in the series of studies were randomly assigned to have a conversation that was either sarcastic, sincere, or neutral. After a brief conversation, the participants took a test that measured their creativity. The study found that the people who had sarcastic conversations had more creative solutions to tasks they were given than those who had a nice, sincere chat. Sadly, there’s no suggestion yet on how to handle that boss who can’t take a joke.

MAs Times Square New York
M.A's Times Square New York

You can buy M.As Times Square Fine Art here.

CENTRAL PARK STATUE’S – HAVE YOU NOTICED?

Hans Christian Handerson
Hand Christian Handerson Central Park NY

 

Spend an afternoon in New York’s Central Park and you might just notice that amongst the many monuments you will pass, not a single one of them is of a woman who actually ever lived.

There are some scatterings of fictional women, you can find a bronze Mother Goose, Alice in Wonderland, and a Juliet who comes complete with her Romeo. Of the twenty-two statues of historical figures in the park, every single one of them is a man.

Thanks to a woman named Coline Jenkins who is determined to change the scenery, and as she is also the great-great-granddaughter of suffragist and women’s rights pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she is now on a multi-year quest to get at least one statue of an historical woman in to the park.

Beyond the park only one in eight statues in New York City’s 800 permanent sculptures are of historical figures. The vast majority of them are of men.

In May, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund., Inc., for which Jenkins serves as vice president, received conceptual approval from the New York City Parks Department for a statue of Anthony and Stanton at the 77th St. entrance of the park. However, the statue has quite a way to go before it becomes reality. The organization must raise between $50,000 and $1 million to ensure that the statue is maintained throughout the years.

But the lack of female statues isn’t the only issue of inequality that overshadows the city. In 2012, a statue depicting "civic virtue" trampling on two women was removed from its location in Queens and transferred to a cemetery in Brooklyn. Let’s hope that Coline can raise the much needed funds. No doubt there will be some that say that the Statue of Liberty is the Lady of New York, and having others will detract from her importance. The response is this is also the 21st Century. Women are here, they are important. Recognise it.

IN OTHER NEW YORK NEWS

Times Square New York
Times Square - Legal Issues

 

Times Square, bright flashing lights, huge billboards, loved by tourists and hated by locals. Well, it appears that they may be illegal under Federal Law. In something known as the "Highway Beautification Act of 1965."

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson mentioned a program to beautify America’s highways in the State of the Union address that the existing program keeping advertisements from swamping the roads had about six months before it expired and Johnson was concerned that ad men would go wild. The law was created to prevent billboard adverts becoming too large, distracting, or ugly while preserving and promoting the nations natural beauty. According to the law, the size of billboards is limited to 1,200 square-feet, indeed much smaller than many of the adverts clustered in the centre of Times Square.

Neither Broadway nor 7th Avenue that run through Times Square are classed as highways. This you might think is clear cut and that the law is not applicable to Times Square, but in 2012, the U.S Government passed a law originally intended to transform the National Highway System. Part of that transformation was to also include "urban principle arterial routes". Routes just like 7th and Broadway.

But neither Broadway nor 7th Avenue (the roads that go through Times Square) are highways. So what’s the big deal? In May of 2012, the U.S. government passed a law intended to transform the National Highway System, writes Lewis. Part of that transformation was to include "urban principal arterial routes" under the law — routes like Broadway and 7th Avenue.

The billboards in Times Square might just be affected. Whether you love them or hate them, there is no denying that for infrequent visitors like me, it is like walking into a living art gallery. They also net billions of dollars in advertising revenue for the building owners, this 2012 law could be their downfall. The government is threatening to dock New York State for 10% of its Federal Highway funding unless the billboards comply with the Highway Beautification Act. State and Federal officials are currently trying to figure out a way to make the ads work without losing Federal funding.

I am confident a deal can be reached, but I also think there might just be something in calling Times Square a living art gallery. Then perhaps, other funding might be available. If not, then please do the people of New York a favour and tax anyone carrying a Selfie stick to make up for the shortfall.

TOP GEAR

Probably one of the greatest ever British exports of modern time is the BBC show Top Gear. Just four months after host Jeremy Clarkson got sacked for an altercation over catering facilities or lack of. Richard Hammond and James May followed Jeremy, refusing to carry on working on the show without him. This was then followed by the resignation of Top Gear Executive Producer Andy Wilman.

But news is wide reaching that Amazon have finally won the battle and the new show will air from next year on Amazon Prime.

Netflix was the favourite to win the battle and bring in the presenters, but it appears that they lost out to Amazon in the bidding war. Clarkson’s last appearance on the show pulled in 5.3 million viewers, with a large proportion watching for the presenters rather than the cars.

"I feel like I've climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship," was the official press comment offered up by Jeremy Clarkson, a telling comment on the battle between old and new media institutions, or just a convenient soundbite? The Top Gear name will stay with the BBC, Chris Evans will be their next presenter. Who knows what the new show will be called, but maybe Drive2Prime is a contender. I hope not, it needs to have gear included somewhere!

THE WORLD’S FASTEST COMPUTER

USA Super Computer
USA Super Computer To Be Built Soon

 

President Obama has signed an executive order calling for the U.S to build the World’s fastest computer by 2025. This supercomputer would be an astonishing twenty-times faster than the current fastest machine which resides in China.

Amongst its capabilities would be the technical prowess making it capable of making one quintillion (or a billion, billion, or lots of zeros) calculations per second. More commonly this figure is known as an exaflop. Let’s hope that it isn’t a flop, but now that word is out, you can bet the Chinese will be working day and night to make something even bigger.

The U.S is seeking this beast of a machine to assist with far more complex calculations and to aid scientific research. Who knows if that includes the search for extraterrestrial life?

A blog post on the Whitehouse website also suggests that it could allow NASA scientists to model turbulence, which might enable the design of a more streamlined aircraft without the need for extensive wind tunnel testing.

Certainly an interesting concept, although I cannot find any expected costs, it will be expensive. Such a computer would be called an exascale machine.

CHINA

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will travel to London for a landmark exhibition of his work after Chinese authorities granted him a passport. The artist, best known for designing Beijing's Olympic stadium and filling Tate Modern's Turbine Hall with ceramic sunflower seeds, is an outspoken critic of China's human rights record.

He was arrested and imprisoned in April 2011 as he boarded a Beijing flight bound for Hong Kong, prompting a global campaign leading to his release.

In other news from China, In an audacious heist worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, a librarian at a leading Chinese fine arts gallery stands accused of stealing 143 paintings by grandmasters over the course of two years and replacing them with his own forgeries.

Xiao Yuan, 57, told a court in southern China this week that he had substituted the famous works while overseeing a gallery within the library of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts between 2004 and 2006. The substituted art included landscapes and calligraphies by some of China’s most vaunted artists, including a work by Bada Shanren, "Rocks and Birds", which is worth an estimated 45 million yuan (£4.7 million). In his defense Xiao told Guangzhou People’s Intermediate Court that the theft and forgery of art predated his employment and was commonplace at the library.

This will be a case worthy of a follow up, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the trial. I am reasonably confident that one day we will also see the Hollywood film.

NEWS FROM BEECHHOUSE MEDIA

I will be writing a feature for print on demand artists and if you would like to be featured on this blog with some of your work, please do contact me. All you need to do is let me have a very short biography, what inspires you, and a link to your work. I will do the rest for you!

Some good news if you're in the market for a new mobile phone case and you live in the UK. When you purchase one of my mobile phone case designs in the UK or Europe, the order is fulfilled by Fine Art America from a UK distribution centre.

This means that all orders for phone cases will ship to any address in the UK within one business day, and to any address in Europe within 2 - 5 business days!

You can see the entire range on my Artist Website, or of course you can still purchase them through Pixels.com and Zazzle, and a limited range from RedBubble. If you really want your phone wrapped in a piece of my art, now you can cut the shipping time. The cases really are astonishingly good quality. They will make the ideal gift and well worth putting one or two up for special Christmas presents.

Remember also that you can buy my work from a wider range of online stores, and in over 150 retail locations across the U.S and Canada. http://10-mark-taylor.artistwebsites.com/

QUIDDITCH

France didn't surrender, they beat the Brits. Well they did in the the first final of the European Quidditch Games. Yes people, Quidditch is a thing, and it's taken pretty seriously. The win came even after the French keeper broke his shoulder. This game is tough, and this game was invented by J.K Rowling in her Harry Potter series.

No doubt you have all seen the films, and no doubt you probably thought wow, that looks like a laugh, if only I had a broomstick that could fly. Await no more young Muggle's because this version of the game requires no witchcraft or jet engine powered brooms, although that would be fun.

Of course modifications were needed. There was no way that the game could be played in the non-fantasy world or real life. In Rowling's version, two teams of seven were pitted against each other, zooming around on broomsticks, dodging and batting bludgers in the search for the elusive snitch. All this while trying to score through three hoops with a quaffle.

In Muggle Quidditch, Muggle being the Potter word for human, players hold a broomstick between their legs. The Snitch is attached to the shorts of one player who tries to avoid being captured. He's probably also trying to avoid being locked up forever more in a place where the truly crazy people go. Trying to avoid capture by the sneekers, this is full on, full contact at its best.

Beaters on each team throw dodgeballs in order to knock their opponents from their brooms. While all this seems a little bizarre, the sport has an official governing body. A governing body that's way cleaner than FIFA. The International Quidditch Association or IQA, who have reported that there are more than 300 teams in 20 countries that play the game.

Whilst the players are all very serious about the legitimacy of the game, they still run around the field with a broomstick between their legs. Really, you can't make this stuff up. Here's the video!

 

AND ON THAT BOMBSHELL

So that is another week’s line up from the world of art and technology. It has been an interesting week in the news to say the least. My vacation on a cruise ship is looming nearer thankfully, and I will be taking two weeks away. I will keep busy while on-board the ship and I have just taken delivery of an iPhone 6. I will be putting the camera through its paces, and I will be creating a few paintings and of course, writing a few blog posts inspired by my visits to various destinations. I am really looking forward to visiting the onboard art auctions and seeing the beautiful works of art on the ship itself. My vacation doesn’t start for a few more weeks, so there is plenty to do beforehand!

 

 

 

 

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