3,000 Feet of Bubble Wrap, Please

Bunny Mellon was a collector. Yes, and that is like saying Shakespeare did a bit of writing. Now that Mrs. Mellon has passed on at the ripe old age of 103, the world will see part of her collection — oh, around 4,000 objects give or take a few. Moving the collection out of her Virginia home required 3,000 feet of bubble wrap and 500 packing boxes. It will take up the entire 10 floors of Sotheby’s before it goes on auction.  You might want to watch the slide show that you can find from the above link. Mrs. Mellon had exquisite taste and while a very private person, she lived well. Here she is with her friend Jackie Something or Other. Jackie is sporting a rather nice necklace, don’t you think?


Steven Jay Gould and Connecting things

Steve Jobs, in his typically blunt way said that “creativity is just connecting stuff”. Well, it is more precisely making hitherto unforeseen connections between things. Steven Jay Gould wrote about this rather well (you can follow his thinking in the above link). But there is more. We are just now beginning to understand that creativity — a task that uses connective capacity — depends heavily on social connections. Lennon and McCartney. That sort of thing. If you want to get a better sense of this, check out Steve Johnson’s famous video.

Paris: Picasso is Back!

Well, sorry to say that the great doodler has not returned from paradise. Rather his museum in Paris is back!

Fall’s most hotly anticipated arts event, the Musée Picasso will reopen its doors on October 5, after five years and two delays.. The 54-million-euro restoration, renovation, and expansion includes additional space for lectures, ateliers for children, an auditorium, a bookstore, indoor-outdoor café, and an underground parking area, along with a spruce-up for beautiful 17th-century mansion’s exhibition spaces.

You probably didn’t know that the museum itself was a tax dodge

The decision to install the “dation Picasso” (works donated in lieu of estate taxes) in the Hôtel Salé was made very quickly, in 1974, just one year following the artist’s death.

Well, they did get a rather spectacular building in the 3rd, though not particularly Picasso’esque, I would say.

Great Pictures: Santa Maria dell’Isola at Tropea

A fantastic image of Tropea from Huffpo Travel


At the top of the hill is a 7th century monastery.  At the base, you get beautiful beaches and a refreshing swim. It is in Calabria in the gulf of St. Euphemia. And you might not know it, but

Many villages around Tropea produce a particular quality of red onion.

Hmmm … and the folks there indulge in red onion ice cream? I have enjoyed red onion marmalade, but ice cream?

Finland: Ilmari Tapiovaara and modernist furniture

On the centenary of his birth the Design Museum in Helsinki is doing a retrospective of Tapiovaara designs.  The promo has this rather honest comment (it is so very Finnish!)

Although never gaining the same reputation as his fellow Finnish designer and predecessor Alvar Aalto …

Hmmm … but nevertheless, there is something here. Design for everyone!  I rather liked this image of a youthful Tapiovaara promoting his work in Mauritius. Errr … Is he wearing … a bathing suit?

Ilmari Tapiovaara exhibition at Helsinki Design Museum

London: The Lord Mayor and Pericles

The Lord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is, if nothing else, a character. Just check out his Spectator article where he compares Periclean Athens and London. You get text like this

The Greeks competed for honour, for prestige, and so have Londoners down the ages. Shakespeare didn’t become Shakespeare by sitting alone in a garret in Stratford with his quill in his ear. He came to London and competed to put bums on seats with Dekker and Marlowe and Fletcher and the cyclotron quivered and he became the greatest writer ever. And in the 17th-century scientific revolution you had the same throbbing coffee-house competition between Boyle and Hooke and Newton and Flamsteed, each spurring the other to a breakthrough, and again between the London rock and roll bands of the 1960s. You have enough venues and enough bands and zoink — you have the Rolling Stones or the Kinks.

Zoink? The Kinks? Well, here is good old Boris and his famous hair