January 05, 2017

Seeing the Lines

Carmen Herrera (2013)
On the last day of last year I went with a friend to the Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney) for Carmen Herrara’s exhibit “Lines of Sight” closing on January 9, 2017.  The Whitney is a capacious setting for art as it sits at the southern end of The Highline with phenomenal views of its neighborhood including the Meatpacking District, Chelsea. On a clear day you can see beyond the Freedom Tower down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty.  The visual lines of connection here are phenomenal. Architect Renzo Piano’s Building Workshop moves through history and place to create this transformational space with its scaling outdoor terraces where art installations merge with the city skyline.  “Architecture is that art, the poetry of construction. Every building is a story.  Every building tells a story,” says Renzo Piano.  

On my first visit in January 2016 it was the Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist exhibit and also sculptor Elizabeth Catlett’s work is in the permanent collection moving my attention.  I discovered that The Whitney had returned to the neighborhood of its origins, rejoining local artists and galleries in a downtown Manhattan community among the oldest neighborhoods in New York while also opening its doors to a neighbor, Cuban artist Carmen Herrera.  At 101 years old, Herrera continues to live and work from her modest apartment where her studio is just beyond the living room. 

Herrera emerges with a global intergenerational futuristic lens where her creativity continuest to progress through daily practice. Herrera's work with color and form create artistic lines of connection as her work and life also offer a few notes on well-being:
  • Herrera’s vocation is painting.  It’s important to work at your raison d'etre.
  • Aging in place with family and friends for support is a strategy for healthier living.  Herrera has lived in her apartment for 49 years.
  • Across life span learning new things never grows old, Herrera is an avid reader, she studied architecture in Cuba and trained as an artist in Paris and New York. 
As you start another new year what will you construct in your life to live well?  Do you or will you make time for a creative practice?  Share your experience.

December 28, 2016

Wellness Wednesday Notes: My Take on Hidden Figures

On Christmas day after early morning gift giving with my family, Sunday worship and dinner I went to see the movie Hidden Figures. 

Although I had planned for an early viewing the unexpected crowds left no ticket availability at my selected theater so I went to Times Square to get one of the last few tickets for a later show that night.  While waiting I read more about the movie back story on the Black Girl Nerds blog.

 I had listened to the movie sound track last week and have just downloaded the Hidden Figures book by author Margot Lee Shetterly.  The layers of this American story unfolding in Hidden Figures are worth seeing (and reading). The new horizon of science, the young gifted black women and the global context that yield so much to enjoy and learn.   The backstory is also fascinating.  Listen here to The Charlie Rose interview

Hidden Figures challenges us to understand the tools of collaboration, commitment in an era where science and technology surround us; we can still do things that seem beyond us.  While I believe children should be able to move through math and science whether or not it becomes a chosen profession, adults need this kind of understanding to navigate not just the world of technology, but science and systems shaping more and more of our everyday lives.   Hidden Figures is also story on collective courage moving through America during the Civil Rights era.  It is uplifting.   It reminded me of my early days in high school and college with algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus.  Learning to solve problems as well as think critically will lead on a good path.

On “Wellness Wednesdays” I am intentional with experiences moving me forward with healthier practices in eating, physical activity, relationships and being enabling my growth and development for living well.  I do share some of this on social media with the hash tag #WellnessWednesday.  In my year-end reflection here are a few a notes on helpful approaches:

  • Prayer and meditation shape my creative and practical life. I read scriptures, journal too.  Sometimes I have 15 minutes other time I have hour, but I need this time.  

  • Walking and yoga have been at the core of my physical activity.  I walk about 3 to 5 miles (10,000 steps) daily and stretch a few times a week.  
  •  I do plan to eat well with new recipes including more fish and legumes, but there are many new takes on food to keep my good habit going forward. 
  • Getting in at least 7 hours is a challenge, but I also take time to rest because I have long days  usually starting very early in the morning. 

Each effort listed above is easier on glance, but challenge me to stay focused on my health and well-being. It is phenomenal that at 98 years old physicist Katherine Johnson lived to see her story revealed in Hidden Figures. Dr. Johnson is living proof like my grandmother that the power of learning never grows old. 

What new things have you learned this year?  Do you have plans next year to try something new?  Feel free to share comments here.

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