Serendipity, or, Art On The Fly

I was only looking for a picture of a woman in a hat, for use in another matter, and one of the images that popped up led me to an exhibition that closed last year of a Scots artist named Fergusson, which is my cat’s name with an extra S so of course I had to look more closely, and how have I missed this?

JD Fergusson Rhythm cover

Majestic, heroic women like Maillol sculptures in rainbow color — and then those fabulous hats.

Pink hat
A spiffy blog entry on the exhibition can be found here.

Yeah, my secret identity has a hat fetish. Everyone’s got something.

Just Aksting, or, George F. Will’s Last Marble

That has to be the rattling sound that I heard when I beheld the Washington Post’s opinion page for today. Seriously, is Will, always quick to leap forward with a sign of the moral and ethical End Times, engaged in a parody of himself?

Certainly the article he’s riffing off — a grumpy screed by Daniel Akst in the Wall Street Journal — falls into the legitimate category of surly spoof. Akst doesn’t like jeans, he thinks they look classless, and he is put off by the whole working-class cachet thing. I don’t wear jeans much myself; you can’t really move in them and nothing actually fits in the pockets, but I am not sure they are actually indicative of the collapse of civilized standards. Chacun a son gout, said the old maid as she kissed the cow. As fashion, they’re no sillier than grey flannel, or the idiocy of neckties, holding on a collar that no longer needs to be held on because nowadays we prefer to launder the whole shirt, for which relief much thanks.

Will, however, seems a little too frenzied for parody. I have missed the target when writing ironically myself, but you have to wonder what provoked such frothing as

Seventy-five percent of American “gamers” — people who play video games — are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote. In their undifferentiated dress, children and their childish parents become undifferentiated audiences for juvenilized movies (the six — so far — “Batman” adventures and “Indiana Jones and the Credit-Default Swaps,” coming soon to a cineplex near you). Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy’s catechism of leveling — thou shalt not dress better than society’s most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism — of believing that appearance matters. That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste.

If it weren’t for that line about the credit-default swaps, I’d be calling an ambulance for the man. There are video gamers older than 18! The horror! This from a man who has written a whole book treating baseball with the fascination some accord to cuisine, great art or religion.  (Disclaimer: I’m also not that thrilled with video games or baseball; but kiss the cow you prefer.)

I swear the man makes my fingers itch for that paddle in my last post. Then again, after all these years, I finally have a gratifying fantasy about him.