Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mom Gets Some Culture

Before I can talk about culture, I have to tell you the latest doggy news, which is that Barry has a broken tooth, so he has to go get it pulled on Monday.  Except that at the vet's office, they don't say "pulled," they say "extracted." By using this fancier word for taking out a tooth, they can make it sound scarier and can also charge more for doing it.  Or at least that's my theory.  Barry doesn't have all that many teeth anyway because of that time when he ripped a bunch of them out during a thunderstorm.  But he really likes to chew on stuff, so he would probably still find something to chew on even if he didn't have any teeth at all!

Gabe had to go to Dr. Patricia's office yesterday morning so that the nurses could stick a needle in his bladder and get some of his pee out.  They did this so they could make sure he doesn't have any infection anymore.  Mom was afraid that Nurse Debbie wouldn't be able to get any pee, because Gabe went out in the yard and peed a whole bunch not long before he had to go to the vet's office.  But luckily he still had some pee left inside him, so everything came out fine.

Mom went to the blood center yesterday and gave them some of her blood.  This was to help any sick people who need some extra blood.  After Mom gave blood, she went to the Art Gallery to get some culture.  I thought Mom would bring a bag of culture home with her, but she said that culture is not something you can carry around in a bag.

So here's what Mom did to get culture.  First of all, she ate lunch at the gallery.  Then she went and looked at some of the European artists from early in the 20th Century.  She saw one whole gallery of paintings that she had never seen before, and they were called Expressionist paintings.  Mom read all the signs, and she learned that Expressionists used bright colors to express themselves, and sometimes they liked to outline things with big, black lines.  Here's a painting that Mom saw, and it's called "Masks."  A German named Emil Nolde painted it.

Mom also looked at some Impressionists and Post-Impressionists and Cubists and Realists some other "ists" that she can't remember right now.  Mom never studied Art in school because she was busy studying English, so she doesn't know too much about Art, but she does know what she likes!  Ha!  And what she likes a lot is the Impressionists.

Here's a painting by Vincent Van Gogh that is called "Olive Orchard."  Mom really likes this painting, but I think it would be much better if it had a dog in it.  Mr. Van Gogh did not put dogs in his paintings, and we don't know why he didn't.  Maybe he didn't like dogs.

Another good Impressionist painter is named Claude Monet.  He painted this really huge picture of a pond in his back yard, and the painting is called "Water Lilies."  You can't really tell much about the lilies by looking at the painting.  It's just kind of the impression of water lilies, which I guess is why Mr. Monet is called an Impressionist.  He didn't paint many dogs either, by the way.

But now I will tell you about some brand-new culture that Mom got.  She saw this really, really pretty vase made out of glass, and it was made by a man named Emile Gallé.  The vase was shaped like the one in this photo.

But it had more brownish colors like the one in this other photo.

Also Mom saw a piece of furniture that was made by this same artist, and it had all kinds of designs that were made by sticking pieces of one kind of wood inside another kind of wood, which is called inlay.  The furniture piece looked a little like this one.

So when Mom got home, we started doing research on Mr. Emile Gallé, and we learned that he was born in 1846 in a town in France that is named Nancy, which I think is a funny name for a town.  Mr. Gallé went to college and learned a bunch of stuff like botany and chemistry and philosophy.  Then he started making glass and ceramics and furniture and all kinds of beautiful things.  And after a while, he started a workshop and had lots of people helping him make all this pretty stuff.

One thing that's very important about Emile Gallé is that he was a Big Wheel in the Art Nouveau movement.  "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art," which is kind of a silly thing to call it because every artist makes art that is new.  But that's what they called it, and the name stuck.  The way you can tell if you are looking at Art Nouveau art is that it has lots of curvy lines and flowers and plants and it's stylized, which means it doesn't really look like it would in real life.

So anyway, that's the story of how Mom got culture, and how she brought it home to share with us dogs.  I just keep thinking that those artists in the gallery should make more pictures of dogs.


  1. Dear Piper-

    My mom also believes in culture! She often tells me I'm a "real piece of work" which I think means I'm cultured and artistic. Right?

    One of mom's favorite glass artists is a guy named Dale Chihuly whose work mom always enjoys seeing in person. While finding a link, so you too could see Chihuly's stuff, mom found out that he's going to have an exhibit in Denver next year, which is really only next month. Mom says she'll go. If you can't come to Denver, you can see Chihuly stuff here:
    Mom and I agree that if Dr Seuss blew glass, it would looke like Chihuly's. Mom still likes Dr Seuss even though most of the books she reads now don't have pictures in them.

    But one book mom did read that had pictures in them was a book about stuff at a school called Harvard. And she found out about a glass artist named Leopold Blaschka. You can see some of his stuff here:

    I don't think it really looks like glass, but mom says it is. She also says that if you put his name into the google search engine and click on images, you can see lots of stuff. She'd like to go to that Harvard place and see his stuff in person, but it's way far away. She also likes to look at dead things in museums, but she's not to thrilled when I bring her dead things. I don't know why. My stuff is freshly dead, the stuff in museums have been dead a real long time.

    Your friend,
    Zest, the superstar in training

  2. Dear Zest,
    My mom has seen some of Dale Chihuly's glass stuff because he had an exhibit here a few years ago at Powell Gardens, which is our local botanical garden. I didn't get to go see it because dogs aren't allowed there. We had not heard of Leopold Blaschka, though. His glass flowers look good enough to eat, or at least to pee on! Your mom is silly not to like the dead things you bring her. Maybe you should just eat the dead things instead of taking them to your mom, since she doesn't appreciate them. That would be my suggestion.
    Your friend, Piper