Arts History Update for mid March 2016

9 Mar

Arts History Update for mid March 2016 by David Cummins

On Thursday March 3 it was announced that there are now 18 confirmed cases of Vika virus infection in Texas. As mosquito season begins in a couple of months there will be many more cases. The Governor’s Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response meets March 9 in Austin. Texas Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act of 1989, codified at Texas Health & Safety Code Annotated Title 2 Subtitle D Chapter 81, was amended by the Texas Legislature in 2015 to provide for this advisory task force. Texas Health & Safety Code Sections 81.401-81.409 (2016). 


DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency within the U.S. Department of Defense is developing emerging technologies for use by the military. Are you ready for this? Here is a Robotics Challenge


The Armory Show in 1913 showcased avant-garde works of art by European artists previously unseen in America. Most would say it brought Modern Art to New York, the art capital of America. The location was the New York Army National Guard 69th Regiment Armory (1906) at 68 Lexington Avenue between E. 25th and E. 26th Streets in the Rose Hill district of midtown. It was later the home of the 165th Infantry Regiment so that name is chiseled above the main entrance to the building. It would seem odd to visitors that the 69th Regiment Armory had 165th Regiment chiseled above the main entrance if one didn’t know the military history of the place. Military units are still headquartered there today. Here is a picture of the interior of the Armory as it looks today It’s a Beaux-Arts style with mansard top story and roof line so popular in Paris France since the 1870s.

Today the location would be in the northeast part of the Flatiron District, to the west is the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company building, then west of that is Madison Square Park that is just north of the fabled Flatiron Building, a landmark triangular 22 story building whose address is 175 5th Avenue at 23rd Street between 5th Avenue and Broadway. Daniel Burnham was the architect of that building completed in 1902.

New Yorkers take their buildings and the maelstrom of life lived within them, quite seriously. Many buildings including the Armory have so much history that real estate developers and their dangling of bags of cash are simply ignored. Where else will you find a top story to the Armory building that is the French mansard style of the 1870s in Paris? Hunt & Hunt architects in New York City had studied at the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris France. A 1929 addition to the building added a second top story blended into the mansard style.

The 2016 Armory Show March 3-6, 2016 was in two venues, both on the city’s west side at Pier 92 hosting the Modern Art pieces and Pier 94 hosting the contemporary pieces by living artists. Piers 92 and 94 are located at West 55th Street and the West Side Highway

Hudson River Park now extends from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan to West 59th Street so Piers 92/94 are within the northern section of the River Park.


On Saturday March 5 Nick C. Parker, Ph.D. gave a talk in Lubbock about The Hydrogen Highway. He told about the ability to reform pure hydrogen from natural materials like water, biomass, etc. Then he told about introducing pure hydrogen into an energy cell with an inside plate in between the spaces to which oxygen on the other side of the plate interacts to produce energy when hydrogen is introduced, a fascinating example of producing electrical power. That hydrogen energy cell can then be placed into a car, a forklift in a warehouse, a furnace to heat a building, or a power line to provide electricity to a building, etc.

It’s simpler to get hydrogen from water than from biomass, but what is yielded when biomass is heated without oxygen [the gasification process] is basically biological oil [a liquid] that can then be separated into several usable products one of which is pure hydrogen [a gas] but the others are usable and salable and either use or a sale would offset the cost of the biomass reduction process. A local busybody David Cummins recommended to Lubbock Power & Light that it acquire its desired additional 600,000 megawatts of power by opening several well-positioned biomass reduction process plants across the South Plains, thus revitalizing small communities in the area and using the nearby ground for growing Johnson grass or switch grass or other weeds as the biomass raw material, another cash crop for area farmers, then upload the electrical energy into the already existing power grid and sell the other produced products like hydrogen for energy cell use or other uses. Incidentally there is a constant market locally for propane which is liquefied petroleum gas. Hydrogen gas is more efficient, cleaner, and would be less costly if produced from biomass reduction plants in the area. It would be a win-win substitute for propane users.

The executive director of LP&L and the Mayor did not respond to me. A member of the Board of Directors and a Councilman told me a natural gas powered plant had been decided upon but not yet announced to the public. To date all LP&L has done publicly is to join the statewide power grid supplier cooperative ERCOT Electric Reliability Council of Texas that will definitely increase the cost of power to users in the LP&L service area. Austin recently went just the opposite way needing the same amount of additional power and constructed a solar collection plant.

We recall the 1970s when NASA launched rockets and then manned space ships on the tip of a rocket, with liguid hydrogen as the rocket fuel. Later on in the flight, the pure hydrogen gas was used to power the console equipment and aerospace-technology devices inside the space ship and then mixed with oxygen, i.e. reformed, to produce the water that spaceship occupants used to drink and clean. The basic science of reforming pure hydrogen and reforming water H2O from hydrogen and oxygen, has been known for a long time.

The electrical properties of an energy cell to which pure hydrogen and oxygen are introduced at opposite poles, was not well discussed on March 5, but the outcome, an energy cell that holds its constant flow of electrical power long enough and strong enough to propel a car for 250 or more miles, was clear enough.

Fascinating stuff. Nick Parker Ph.D. was the presenter. His website is Nick Parker Consulting

Nick Parker Consulting

Nick Parker’s website

Nick is encouraging farmers in the area to consider using their groundwater supply in the manner of placing water into an electrolyzer six pack machine from which three things will be produced; viz. hydrogen gas, oxygen gas, and heat. He proposes using the heat to operate a greenhouse in which the farmer would grow crops, and to place the two gases into their respective tanks. Hooked up to energy cells they produce constant thrust reliable electrical energy to power whatever machine into which the hydrogen fuel cells are emplaced.

Now shift your attention to the state of California that has four automakers Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai that are commercializing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. FirstElement Fuel received a grant in 2014 from a state agency California Energy Commission and received a grant from Toyota to build 19 hydrogen fuel cell refueling stations in the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles areas and at remote locations to those areas so that vehicles can drive the length and breadth of the state.!why-we-exist/c22mj Black & Veatch is doing the engineering and construction design work. Air Products is supplying the hydrogen and dispensing equipment. Bennett Pump Company is providing the dispenser station units. Here is the map of FirstElement Fuel’s hydrogen fuel cell refueling stations as of March 2016!maps/c103q Contact for more information is FirstElement Fuel
Dr. Shane Stephens, 949-922-3456
Chief Development Officer

If you lived in California you could go ahead and purchase an all electric hydrogen fuel cell powered car for in-state driving. However, the next fueling station east of the Golden Bear state is in Columbia South Carolina and the next is up the east coast in Connecticut and another in Massachusetts.

By comparison Elon Musk’s Tesla cars are all electric battery powered cars and there are recharging and battery exchange stations in California and elsewhere to service those vehicles. There is an eight unit recharging station in Amarillo and a six unit recharging station in Shamrock Texas so driving across the Panhandle of Texas on Interstate Highway 40 is supported. From Oklahoma City one can drive south to a recharging station at Ardmore Oklahoma, and Denton, Corsicana, Bellmead, San Marcos, Victoria, Columbus, Huntsville and Houston Texas. Of course the car can be plugged in to a normal alternating current electrical connection and recharged but it’s slow, very slow, and essentially ends the trip in the car for that day. Long-distance driving in west Texas isn’t possible right now for a Tesla owner. I would imagine one could purchase a high output portable generator, carry it in the car, and one could travel anywhere and plug the generator into an electrical outlet and attach it to the car and get a quick recharge. That would permit driving without long stops for recharging despite lack of a “supercharger” recharging station.

The future of clean, renewable energy, low carbon footprint motoring, is now. The question we need to ask is, are we ready to get on board?

If one’s building roof or side yard had solar panels, they could be connected to a wall-mounted Tesla Battery called a Power Wall and it would store energy produced by the sun during the day for usage at evening or over-night. Small buildings could go off the grid entirely. The Power Wall is currently available for $3,500 but the price will come down as Tesla’s Gigafactory version 1 in Nevada is finished and comes online.

Hannover Messe Group exhibit on Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Batteries is April 25-29, 2016 at Hannover Germany

In March 2016 the state of Oregon passed a statute that phases out coal as a power generation source in stages  by the year 2030 and requires utilities to provide half of their generated power by renewable energy sources by the year 2040.




Burt and Elizabeth “Lucy” Harwood moved from Paris France to Taos New Mexico in 1916 fleeing from The Great War. He was a wealthy American expatriate and an excellent photographer and painter albeit not in the style of the Taos Society of Artists that was forming. Burt died in 1922 and his widow Lucy converted the local estate into The Harwood Foundation that persisted from 1923-1935 when it was donated to the University of New Mexico that operated it to the end of World War II as a foundation and thereafter as The Harwood Museum of Art

Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West is an exhibit that opens May 22 through September 11, 2016 at The Harwood If one misses the exhibit at Taos, it travels to Albuquerque October 29 – January 22, 2017, and then to Buffalo New York March 10 – May 28, 2017 at the city from which Mabel Dodge Luhan emigrated to Taos. The catalogue publication will be available in late April before the opening of the exhibit.


Here is a picture of the interior at Musee D’Orsay in Paris France A mini-revolt is brewing there as six of the 30 curators wrote a letter to the daily newspaper Le Monde and claimed that the museum president’s management would bring it to collapse.

Approaching the end of his second three-year term and about to begin his third, Guy Cogeval, current president of the Musée D’Orsay, is facing resistance from his own staff, reports Le Monde. After suffering a stroke in 2014, Cogeval has seen his capability to fulfill his responsibilities questioned, predominantly by museum employees. Earlier this year, six out of thirty of the museum’s curators anonymously contacted the French newspaper Le Monde, claiming that his presidency would bring the museum to the edge of collapse. Cogeval responded to this attack by defending his achievements in a letter addressed to the newspaper. In past years the president organized a series of successful exhibitions and recently announced a donation of 141 works by Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard from the estate of the recently deceased collector Jean-Pierre Marcie-Rivière.

According to a museum spokesperson, the criticism of Cogeval’s presidency represents only a small minority of the museum’s staff. As an example of overall internal stress faced by the institution, the spokesperson points out that the institution has also had to contend with the loss of other important staff, such as Sylvie Patry, the former head of the department of Impressionism and post-Impressionism who recently became chief curator at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Most would say it’s never a good thing to take intra-institutional quarrels to the city’s newspaper, even if one is willing to brush off the resume and move. It’s hard to remove a new stain on old gloss. Whatever was awry internally seems to exponentially go catawampus in the hands of the press, ever alert to cats that are lost but indifferent to the many cats thriving in loco parentis of their human masters.



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