Arts History Update for mid July 2016

2 Jul

Arts History Update for mid July 2016 by David Cummins

An exhibit Respiration (2016) by Karen Chekerdjian, a Lebanese-Armenian sculptor and furniture and product designer, is on view at the Paris France Institut du Monde Arabe [Institute of the Arab World] through August 28. It is stunning. Her website is and


Ken Perenyi, Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger (Pegasus Books 2012) 368 pages $20 hardcover $15 paperback $4 e-book Lubbock Public Library 364.163 PERE Adult Nonfiction. It was written by the forger after the statute of limitations had run on his crimes.


Charles Moore et al., The Place of Houses (Holt Rinehart and Winston 1974) reissued (University of California Press 2000) Texas Tech Library NA7125.M66. Charles Moore 1925-1993 an architect whose designs for houses have been followed and expanded upon by many. The book triggers the potential owner’s awareness of what a house is or may be, and what is possible. $30.55 paperback. ABE Books good condition $3.02 incl s&h.

This is the house he designed and built for himself in Orinda California in 1962

Donlyn Lyndon & Jim Alinder, The Sea Ranch: Fifty Years of Architecture, Landscape, Place and Community on the Northern California Coast (Princeton Architectural Press 2004 2d edition 2013) $45 hardcover Texas Tech Library OVERSZ NA735.S437 (2004). Charles Moore was the architect. ABE Books very good condition $30.47 incl s&h.


In a referendum in Great Britain on Thursday June 23 the vote was BREXIT for the British to leave the European Union and it will reduce from 28 member countries to 27. The majority for exiting was 52% and for staying 48%.There are 32 voting areas in Scotland and in every single voting area the majority vote was to stay in the European Union. Such staunch support for the European Union in Scotland raises questions about the Scots revisiting their 2014 referendum on independence from Great Britain.

David Cameron, Great Britain’s Prime Minister, staked his tenuous hold on political leadership, on his campaign to stay in the European Union, and many say his political career is now over. That remains to be seen or unseen. The very next day Cameron spoke from 10 Downing Street and said that he would step down by October just four months hence. The pound sterling is in flux, capital markets are also, and the unexpected event is having repercussions in Great Britain and the world. The continental banking system headquarters in London will probably decamp for Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Over 95% of the Dutch speak English as a second language and it meets other requirements for an English speaking banking system headquarters. It will probably not decamp to Brussels or Strasbourg major European Union cities or Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital city.


An art installation that seeks to capture the color of water in the Hudson River over an 11 hour period of photographing it by Spencer Finch, and then transforming representative pixels into windows at Chelsea Market in Manhattan at the beginning of The High Line is The installation began in 2009 and will come down in Summer 2016. Many will miss it, thinking of it as a permanent feature of this singular area. Spencer Finch, The River That Flows Both Ways, Manhattan (2009)

Here is the New York Times review of May 2009 on the new art installation Carol Vogel, Seeing The Hudson River Through 700 Windows, The New York Times, May 21, 2009.


Texas Taxidermy Association’s annual convention was in Lubbock this year and 150 items were on display in the Banquet Hall at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center through Sunday June 26 A strutting turkey permanently caught in strut was admired.


Santa Fe was founded in 1610 as La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis [The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi]. When the Spanish ruled it on the northern frontier of New Spain, they did not tolerate Americanos dropping by. The English French and Americans in the interior were all regarded as enemies or potential enemies. Americanos were jailed, their possessions taken, and ordered or taken out of the province. Zebulon Montgomery Pike was so treated. He set out in 1806 from Belle Fontaine Missouri with twenty-one men, to the Republican River, then the Arkansas River, then the South Platte River, and then went south to the Rio Grande River where a patrol of 100 Spanish soldiers took them into custody and marched them to Santa Fe. Their expeditionary papers were confiscated. Pike was taken to Chihuahua for questioning, then escorted to Natchitoches Louisiana in 1807 and told not to come west again, having been a prisoner for five months. Natchitoches was the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory, now bounded on the east by the Red River and on the west by Interstate Highway 49 between Alexandria and Shreveport Louisiana .

Not until 1821 when Mexico took over from Spain were Americano traders welcomed at Santa Fe, William Becknell being the first to cross Raton Pass and proceed south to Santa Fe. He traded and returned in 1822 to Franklin Missouri with saddlebags full of Mexican silver. On his next foray with loaded wagons he pursued the Cimarron Cutoff to avoid Raton Pass, heading southwest from far southwest Kansas across panhandle Oklahoma territory to northeast New Mexico and then near Clayton NM toward a crossing of the Canadian River near contemporary Springer then to Watrous or Fort Union and the Old Santa Fe Trail.

From 1824 that Cutoff was the primary route of the Santa Fe Trail. Kit Carson arrived in Santa Fe in 1826, a runaway from a Franklin Missouri saddle maker David Workman to whom Carson was indentured. He was sixteen years of age. On May 27, 1831 famous mountain man-fur trapper-explorer Jedediah Smith was killed by Comanche traveling on this Cimarron Cutoff headed for Santa Fe

The city of Los Angeles was founded in the 1770s by Spanish explorers, its name El Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles meant The Town of the Queen of Angels. The church at that historic plaza in the 1770s was La Iglesia Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles meaning Church of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels. These are of course references to the Virgin Mary mother of Jesus the Christ. She was often referred to as Queen of the Angels.

Newly founded places by the Spanish in North America usually had three basic locations, a presidio or fort for military protection, a mission or church from which the residents and natives could be ministered and taught, and a pueblo/ville or town in which the residents would live and conduct commerce. The comandante would lead the presidio, the Fray Superior or Friar Minor in Charge [superior brother or superior padre at a location] would lead the mission, and the alcalde would lead the pueblo/ville. There were 146 Franciscan Friars Minor in alta [upper] California during the Spanish viceroy [royal] control period prior to 1821.

A friar is a member of a religious order, especially of the four mendicant [uncloistered members who live out with the people to whom they minister] orders Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans and Franciscans.They were never allowed to congregate alone but always at least in pairs if not more. The Father-Presidente of all the mission clergy in alta California was the overall leader of the mission program. Junipero Serra was the first Father-Presidente from 1769-1784 over fifteen years and is widely credited with the commencement of the mission program. He took direction from the Franciscan leadership in Spain, it having secured a royal blessing for the endeavor.

The Spanish settlement from 1792 if not before, that would later become San Francisco, was originally named Yerba Buena [good herb] Pueblo referring to the yerba buena or hierba buena aromatic herb plants that grew wild in that area. It wasn’t until after Mexico ceded alta California in 1846 that the area at the mouth of San Francisco Bay was named San Francisco. Later other things were named Yerba Buena such as an island in San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland through which Interstate Highway 80 passes. On Yerba Buena Island is Treasure Island Road that leads across an isthmus to Treasure Island, a larger island in the Bay.


Juanita Pahdopony and her husband Harry Mithlo were in Burnet, Texas recently for a presentation. Both Juanita and Harry are active artists.

Harry Mithlo and Juanita Pahdopony-Mithlo spoke about their lives as Chiricahua Apache and Comanche educators and artists on May 12th in Burnet. The free event began with refreshments at 1:30 PM. The presentation began at 2:00 PM. The program was part of the Herman Brown Free Library’s author series, Coffee Talks.

In the talk the couple explored how their art is rooted in the life of their families and tribes. A poet, storyteller, artist, filmmaker and a citizen of the Comanche nation, Pahdopony combines tribal traditions with contemporary artistic approaches. Pahdopony is a member of Quanah Parker’s band of the Comanche, the Kwahadi [antelope-eaters]. Mithlo’s mother was Peneteka [honey-eaters] Comanche and his father Chiricahua Apache, a young member of Geronimo’s band. Mithlo paints traditionally, tells stories, and has written a memoir of his father’s life as an Apache prisoner of war in Florida and Oklahoma.

Through their lives Pahdopony and Mithlo have combined other careers with their art. An art educator, Pahdopony taught in public schools and universities and at the first tribal college in Oklahoma, Comanche Nation College a two year community college in Lawton Oklahoma where she served first as faculty and later as Dean of Academic Affairs and interim president. Maintaining a high profile as an artist, she exhibits in galleries regionally and nationally. She frequently presents or tells stories for schools and community groups.

As part of Pahdopony’s museum work, she served as a trustee for the U.S.Department of the Interior Southern Plains Indian Museum at Anadarko Oklahoma . She has curated or been part of exhibits on the lives of Comanche women and children at several museums. She brought copies of a book created for an exhibit on cradle making at the University of Oklahoma, which includes her writing. Making a cradle for a child, she explains, was a way of “honoring a new individual coming into the family.” Her family design, a bird pattern outlined in colors, appeared in the exhibit, and she was happy to share it because the exhibit gave “a name to these people who are long gone…a name to our artists.” Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles was available for signing and purchase at the talk, as were some of Pahdopony’s painting.

Pahdopony’s art merges the traditional with the contemporary. She creates modern-day equivalents of Plains shields from polished hub caps and dangling springs, paints a history of the Comanche tribe in images on a buffalo hide, uses bold colors to paint a acrylic portrait of a Comanche elder in a bright green vest and subdued oils to recreate the historic feel of photographs of her great-grandmother Wehrehre Parker Tahmakera and of her great-great grandfather Quanah Parker.

The poetry in her thought is evident in her painting When Comanche Women Could Fly, which shows a woman floating over mountains under the moon. Her writing sometimes shows this same light-hearted fantasy. Stories may come, she says, “from questions and dreams.”

Subject of a documentary film and a film maker herself, Pahdopony is a technical advisor for an upcoming AMC television series based on Phillip Meyer’s book The Son. The series is in active production, and she says, “We are already receiving prep schedules.”

A Viet Nam veteran who served in the Army and Navy, Harry Mithlo is retired from high school teaching and coaching at Riverside Indian School and from his work as a radiologic technologist at the Anadarko Indian Clinic. He presently raises cattle and serves the Comanche Nation as a member of the Comanche Business Committee. Mithlo’s paintings draw directly on Apache tradition, as does his role as a singer in the family’s annual Mountain Spirit dance, held in honor of his father Watson Mithlo. Mithlo’s biography of his father’s experience as a P.O.W. with others of Geronimo’s band, is being considered for publication.

The biography tells how members of the Chiricahua band—Geronimo and his fighters and families with ties to them–were imprisoned by the U.S. military. Originally promised a two-year internment, they were held for 27 years, first in Fort Marion in Florida, then in Alabama, and eventually at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Mithlo’s father was one of the youngest members of the group.

Coffee Talks take place the second Thursday of each month in the meeting room of the library. The event starts at 1:30 PM with refreshments, followed at 2:00 PM by an hour-long presentation and questions.

This was the final talk of the season. Coffee Talks will begin again in the fall. The series is made possible by support from The Friends of the Library and the Coffee Talks hostesses and volunteers. Coffee was provided by Michelle Devaney of Hey Diddle Diddle Catering

Henry Chappell, Bone of Conciliation, Orion Magazine (2008) is a wonderful essay establishing the connection made between scholars at Texas Tech University and Comanche Nation College at Lawton Oklahoma. Vivid discussion of the Tule Creek campaign of Colonel Ranald Mackenzie in 1874 during which more than a thousand Comanche horses were taken and most slaughtered. The cache of food and supplies at the winter lodges in Palo Duro Canyon were destroyed and the Kwahadi Comanche were rendered horseless wandereres without provisions who eventually made their way in 1875 to Fort Sill and the Indian Reservation reserved for them.





Seattle Art Fair is August 4-7, 2016 at CenturyLink Field Event Center. The Fair was founded by Paul G. Allen, Microsoft co-founder with Bill Gates. Operated by an Allen corporation Vulcan Inc. the Fair is a seminal event in the American art world.

Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection is a traveling exhibit of 39 pieces in Allen’s collection It will be at the Minneapolis Institute of Art from July 10-September 18, 2016


Texas Contemporary Art Fair is September 29-October 2, 2016 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston Texas


The exhibit at Texas Tech Museum Photographic Artifacts of Rick Dingus has been extended to July 31, 2016. It’s appealing, remarkably original, distinctive photography worth exploring and ruminating about.


Garrison Keillor’s last Prairie Home Companion show is “in the can” live at Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Saturday July 2. He’s retired. This is what he has to say for himself and all those years

“Dear Friends,

I come from serious taciturn people and grew up in a separatist religious sect that believed that every word and deed should be to the glory of God and here I am winding up forty-two years of talking my head off, much of it silliness, and portraying a private eye and a cowboy. This was not supposed to happen. As Robert Frost did not write:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And, sorry I could not travel both,
I chose the one with the galloping hooves and the barking spiders
And now I’m trying to figure out why.

I am a writer who got tangled up with Minnesota Public Radio and A Prairie Home Companion and not because I was ambitious or had aptitude, but simply through a series of coincidences. I was like a kid in Port-au-Prince who’s never seen ice and whose family is too poor to travel but he reads a book about Antarctica and is fascinated and eventually becomes captain of the Haitian Olympic hockey team. He’s not a great player but he’s pretty good for a Haitian. That’s my story. And now, as retirement nears, it’s a revelation to be accosted by people who want to say: Your show has meant a lot to me. Some of them have been tuned in for most of their lives. It’s very sweet. Also confusing, since I never was a big fan of the show myself. I enjoyed doing the show — it was the only social life I had — but the show was never as good as I wanted it to be, and that’s just a fact.

I’m 73, in good shape for a writer, working on a memoir and a Lake Wobegon screenplay, writing a weekly column for the Washington Post, planning to take brisk walks and start reading books again and rediscover the pleasures of the Weekend. Meanwhile, I am grateful beyond grateful for the people I’ve met along the way, Richard Dworsky, Tim and Sue and Fred, the ladies I’m singing with, Sara and Sarah and Aoife and Heather, and Suzanne Weil who was the first person to ever put me on a stage. She is here tonight and it is all her fault, every bit of it. Had it not been for Suzanne, I would be preaching every night at the Union Gospel Mission on Skid Row and all my friends would be old drunks. Millions of people would never know about Lake Wobegon or Powdermilk Biscuits or the power of rhubarb to ease shame and humiliation. But in the course of fifty years of preaching, I would’ve brought three, possibly four, men to eternal salvation. I will have to make peace with this myself. Meanwhile, thank you for listening to the show.”



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