G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Goya @270...Even in India, He Seems So Close to Our Reach ...

Today March 30 2016 is 270th Birth Anniversary of Francisco Goya


Robert Hughes writes in his much lauded book 'Goya', 2003:

"...The main reason that I started thinking about Goya with some regularity lay in the peculiar culture whose tail end I encountered when I went to live and work in America in 1970. It had almost been eviscerated of all human depiction. Of course it had plenty of human presence, but that was another matter. Here was America, riven to the point of utter desolation over the most bitterly resented conflict it had embarked on since the Civil War. Vietnam was tearing the country apart, and where was the art that recorded America’s anguish? Well, there was art—most of it, with a few honorable exceptions like Leon Golub, of a mediocre sort, the kind of “protest” art more notable for its polemics than its esthetic qualities. But in general there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that came near the achievement of Goya’s Desastres de la guerra, those heartrending prints in which the artist bore witness to the almost unspeakable facts of death in the Spanish rising against Napoleon, and in doing so became the first modern visual reporter on warfare. Nor did there seem to be any painting (and still less, any sculpture) produced by an American that could have sustained comparison with Goya’s painting of the execution of the Spanish patriots on the third of May, 1808. Clearly, there were some things that moral indignation could not do on its own..."

Now imagine what all we missed by not having our own Goya in India....


...imagine him painting cruelty of the practice of Sutti...Indian Rebellion of 1857...Jalianwala Bagh....hanging of Bhagat Singh....exploitation of Dalits....decadence and opulence in Indian palaces...romance of Indian railways...light and colours of Diwali/Holi...Nautch girls...first showers of monsoon...

(By the way- I have already fantasized about his presence at an important political event in India here: "
शनिवारवाड्यात गोया!")



 Goya’s ‘Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga’ (1788)

"...Even while he was following the protocols of aristocratic portraiture, Goya just couldn’t stop himself noticing — and depicting — all sorts of extraneous and revealing sights. Cats, their eyes bulging with ferocious greed, wait to pounce on the pet bird held on a string by the dandified toddler, ‘Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga’ (1788). There are such subversive undertones and notes of sardonic comedy to many of his pictures..."
(The Spectator, UK, October 10 2015)



Robert Hughes again:

“...Goya was a mighty celebrant of pleasure. You know he loved everything that was sensuous: the smell of an orange or a girl’s armpit; the whiff of tobacco and the aftertaste of wine; the twanging rhythms of a street dance; the play of light on taffeta, watered silk, plain cotton; the afterglow expanding in a summer evening’s sky or the dull gleam of a shotgun’s well-carved walnut butt. You do not need to look far for his images of pleasure; they pervade his work, from the early tapestry designs he did for the Spanish royal family—the majas and majos picnicking and dancing on the green banks of the Manzanares outside Madrid, the children playing toreadors, the excited crowds—right through to the challenging sexuality of The Naked Maja.
But he was also one of the few great describers of physical pain, outrage, insult to the body... Goya truly was a realist, one of the first and greatest in European art...
 

...Most of the Spanish artists who were Goya’s contemporaries—Agustín Esteve, Joaquín Inza, Antonio Carnicero, and others—left no trace of opinions about society and politics in their work. They were craftsmen; they made their likenesses, did the job expected of them, and that was all. Goya was a very different creature; he could see and experience nothing without forming some opinion about it, and this opinion showed in his work, often in terms of the utmost passion. This, too, was part of his modernity, and another reason why he still seems so close to our reach, though we are separated by so much time..." 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Poker Night Never Ends: Tennessee Williams @105

Today March 26 2016 is 105th Birth Anniversary of Tennessee Williams

 John Lahr, ‘Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh’, 2014:

“…Sexuality brought Williams down to earth and into life. “What do you expect to get from this sort of life?” Stanley asks Blanche about her promiscuity, in the first version of Streetcar. “Just life,” she says. Sexuality also called all absolutes into question. “The truth of the matter is that all human ideals have been hats too big for the human head,” Williams wrote in his diary in 1942. “Chivalry—democracy—christianity—The Hellenic ideal of Intellectual purity (the one I find most appealing)—all too big a hat!”…”

I feel Marathi stage owes a  debt to Mr. Williams.

Without  his plays 'A Streetcar Named Desire',  1947 and  'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ', 1955, there would perhaps be no Marathi plays like Vijay Tendulkar's  (विजय तेंडुलकर) 'Sakharam Binder', 1972 & Jaywant Dalvi's (जयवंत  दळवी ) 'Barrister' (बॅरिस्टर ), 1977 , 'Purush' (पुरुष), 1982.


Poker Night ('A Streetcar Named Desire'), 1948  by Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), the Whitney Museum NYC

"Poker Night captures the sexual tension and violent undertones in the relationships between Blanche DuBois, a down-and-out Southern belle (holding up a mirror), her sister, Stella (leaning over the armchair), and Stella’s husband, the hot-tempered, childlike Stanley Kowalski (wearing a white undershirt). It documents one of the play’s most dramatic and memorable moments, when Blanche taunts a drunk and angry Stanley with her petty provocations and refined airs."

This picture makes me wonder why, in India, we don't have paintings capturing a slice of a great play or a movie from 20th century. We have such paintings for Indian mythology drawn by the likes of  Raja Ravi Varma or Bhawanrao Shriniwasrao Pant Pratinidhi or T.V. Subramaniam (Maniam).

For instance staging of 'Samyukta Manapman' (संयुक्त मानापमान) on July 8 1921,  featuring two greats Keshavrao Bhosale (केशवराव भोसले) and Bal Gandharva (बाल गंधर्व),  was one of the greatest events on the cultural map of 20th century Maharashtra. It can only be compared to the rock star concerts in today's era. It's said that if the play were to be performed in open air, the ticket collection could been as much as Rs. 1 lac.   

(Gold price was $20.67 per ounce at the end of 1921, in March 2016 it's $1218.7...Therefore Rs. 1 lac then would be about Rs. 60 lac today...for just one performance of a Marathi play!)

And yet there is no great painting based on that performance!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My First Decade With Wikipedia

Today March 20 2016,  I complete 10 years of my association with Wikipedia: one of the best things to have come out of World Wide Web. Find me on it here.



courtesy: Wikipedia

I am just grateful to Wiki for all it has done to educate and entertain me. I

I also feel good that I have given back a little to it-  not monetarily but contribution wise.

I have created these pages on it:

Vasant Sarwate,
T S Shejwalkar,
 M V Dhond,
D G Godse,
Y D Phadke,
Richard decker
S D Phadnis,

and edited following pages:

Vilas Sarang,Setu Madhavrao Pagdi, Govindrao Tembe, Raghunath Karve, Thomas Daniell, Chon Day, Peter Arno, Helen E. Hokinson, Pandurang Sadashiv Sane, Mastani, Ibrahim Khan Gardi, Bal Sitaram (B. S.) Mardhekar...

I also had created a page on my father: Gopal Dutt Kulkarni who deserves it considering his contribution to journalism and literature but the page was deleted because of conflict of interest....

These days I keep visiting it every day but don't do any editing or creating. It's largely because I spend all my energy on the Facebook pages I have created.

 courtesy: Facebook

छोट्या जीवाची साखळी...Anatomical Venus: B S Mardhekar After 60 Years

Today March 20 2016 is 60th Death Anniversary of B S Mardhekar (बा.सी.मर्ढेकर)

The following poem of BSM has appeared on this blog earlier.

"पोरसवदा होतीस
कालपरवांपावेतों;
होता पायांतही वारा
कालपरवांपावेतों.

आज टपोरले पोट,
जैसी मोगरीची कळी;
पडे कुशीँतून पायीं
छोट्या जीवाची साखळी.


पोरसवदा होतीस
कालपरवांपावेतों;
थांब उद्याचे माऊली,
तीर्थ पायांचे घेईतों."

(courtesy: current copyright owner-  the late poet's family)

[Poem no 27 from 'Kanhee Kavita' (कांही कविता)]


"पडे कुशीँतून पायीं
छोट्या जीवाची साखळी."


I remembered the poem above when I saw Dangerous Minds'  published essay ''Anatomical Venus: The gory idealized beauty of wax medical models" in June 2014.

                                                
  Artist/ Sculptor: Clemente Susini (1754-1814)  La Specola museum, Florence, Italy

Note the tiny fetus: छोट्या जीवाची साखळी!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shyam Joshi's Philip K. Dickensian PRECOG: वाङ्मय-शोभा, Diwali 1965

Gaff, 'Blade Runner', 1982:
"It's too bad she won't live, but then again who does?"



Artist: Shyam Joshi (श्याम जोशी) , 'Vangmay Shobha' (वाङ्मय-शोभा), Diwali 1965

I was completely puzzled by the picture above.  I refuse to see her a day-dreaming pretty woman. I wonder what the artist was trying to do.

First I thought she was dead.

And that thought is not that ludicrous because the late Mr. Joshi was almost obsessed with the subject of death. I already have one of his marvelous cartoons on the subject, on this blog,  here.

But considering that Mr. Joshi was drawing for a Diwali issue of the magazine, I dismissed my thought. So what else was possible?


If Mr. Joshi had drawn her sitting, she would go on to make another pretty cover of "Vangmay Shobha" (वाङ्मय-शोभा). For instance, what he created a year later.


But he did NOT do that in 1965.

The lady in 1965 cover looked to me like a Precog from movie "Minority Report", 2002 which is based on Philip K. Dick's book published in 1956 of the same name.

Had Joshi read the book? Was he inspired by it? 


"Precog" 



Saturday, March 12, 2016

जी. एंचा पहिला यात्रिक अनुल्लेखित दुसर्‍याचा...Henry van Dyke's 'The Story of the Other Wise Man', 1895


Henry Van Dyke:

“Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul,

May keep the path, but will not reach the goal;

While he who walks in love may wander far,

Yet God will bring him where the blessed are.”


On this blog, G A Kulkarni's (जी ए कुलकर्णी) story 'Yatrik' (यात्रिक) has been mentioned a few times earler.

That story was first published in Marathi literary magazine, now defunct,  'Satyakatha' (सत्यकथा) in August 1975. It then became part of his book 'Pinglavel' (पिंगळावेळ), 1977.

But I did not know that it was not the first story GA published with the title of 'Yatrik'.

His first "Yatrik' was published in October 1960 issue of another Marathi magazine, now defunct, 'Vangmay Shobha' (वाङ्मय शोभा).

This is how the story was introduced by the editor Mr. M. M. Kelkar:


After little research I found out that,  GA's Marathi story is a translation of Henry van Dyke's (1852-1933) short novel 'The Story of the Other Wise Man', 1895. 

Sadly and surprisingly, Henry van Dyke is not even mentioned any where! The credit is normally given like this: 'Original novella : Henry van Dyke, Translator: G. A. Kulkarni' ( 'मूळ लघुकादंबरी: हेन्री व्हॅन डाईक, अनुवादक: जी ए कुलकर्णी)

Also note that van Dyke died in 1933. Therefore, his story was not in public domain in India in October 1960!

courtesy: current copyright holders of the late G A Kulkarni's work,'Vangmay Shobha' and Bookganga.com

 Artist: Unknown to me and name not found in the book itself on Project Gutenberg