Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

Sailing north through the “Inside Passage” from Vancouver, the island city of Ketchikan, Alaska, USA, is the first city that ships encounter and stop at – hence it_s nickname as

Sailing north through the “Inside Passage” from Vancouver, the island city of Ketchikan, Alaska, USA, is the first city that ships encounter and stop at – hence it’s nickname as “Alaska’s First City” and, from it’s location in the midst of abundant wild salmon and very successful fishing and processing industries, “The Salmon Capital of the World”

 

“Ketchikan is an Alaskan city facing the Inside Passage, a popular cruise route along the state’s southeastern coast.  It is known for its many Native American totem poles, on display throughout town [the largest display in Alaska].  Nearby Misty Fiords National Monument is a glacier-carved wilderness featuring snowcapped mountains, waterfalls and salmon spawning streams.  It’s also home to rich wildlife including black bears, wolves and bald eagles… Ketchikan is named after Ketchikan Creek, which flows through the town, emptying into the Tongass Narrows a short distance southeast of its downtown.  ‘Ketchikan’ comes from the Tlingit name for the creek, Kitschk-hin, the meaning of which is unclear.  It may mean ‘the river belonging to Kitschk’; other accounts claim it means ‘Thundering Wings of an Eagle’.” — Wikipedia

 

There are only two forms of transportation to reach Ketchikan, Alaska, USA – boats and seaplanes – hence the city has several marinas full of pleasure boats, along with downtown pier

There are only two forms of transportation to reach Ketchikan, Alaska, USA – boats and seaplanes – hence the city has several marinas full of pleasure boats, along with downtown piers to accommodate several large cruise ships sailing in for typically a one-day visit

 

In the center of downtown Ketchikan, Alaska, USA, is a beautiful carved bald eagle with spread wings, bringing to life one translation of the word “Ketchikan” -- Thundering Wings of

In the center of downtown Ketchikan, Alaska, USA, is a beautiful carved bald eagle [there are many wild bald eagles in and around the city; see photograph, below] with spread wings, bringing to life one translation of the word “Ketchikan” — Thundering Wings of an Eagle

Ketchikan is around Alaska’s tenth largest city with a population of just over 8,000 – the city of Anchorage, with nearly 40% of the state’s population, has approximately 300,000 residents, whereas Juneau, the capital and second largest city, has a population of only 33,000.  Ketchikan is known as a rainy city, with rain occurring over 300 days a year.  According to Wikipedia, “The wettest year was 1949 with 202.55 inches (5,145 mm) and the driest year was 1995 with 88.45 inches (2,247 mm).”  Our visit was typical – the first day was sunny and relatively warm (63 degrees F / 18 degrees C) and the next day was rainy, damp and felt much cooler at 58 degrees F / 15 degrees C.

 

City Hall is in the center of downtown, set amidst shops and restaurants, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

City Hall is in the center of downtown, set amidst shops and restaurants, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

 

This Celebrity cruise ship, like most of those sailing through the Inside Passage and calling on Ketchikan, Alaska, USA, dwarfs the downtown shops along the pier; its 3,000 passengers an

This Celebrity cruise ship, like most of those sailing through the Inside Passage and calling on Ketchikan, Alaska, USA, dwarfs the downtown shops along the pier; its 3,000 passengers and crew are equal to nearly 40% of the city’s population!

 

Fog Woman at the lower portion of the Chief Johnson Totem Pole is topped by Raven (replica totem pole raised in 1989), Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

Fog Woman at the lower portion of the Chief Johnson Totem Pole is topped by Raven (replica totem pole raised in 1989), Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

 

Totem poles are carved to honor deceased ancestors, record history, social events and oral tradition.  They were never worshiped as religious objects.  The Chief Johnson Totem Pole was carved by Israel Shotridge and raised in 1989, a replica of the Chief Johnson, or Kajuk, Totem Pole raised in this general location in 1901 for the Ganaxadi Tlinghit of the Raven moiety of the Tanta Kwan (Tongrass) group.  The original memorial pole stood until 1982. Except for Jajuk atop the pole, the figures symbolize a single story about Raven.  Fog Woman is identified with the summer salmon run when fog lies at the mouth of streams.  She produces all salmon and causes them to return to the creeks of their birth.

 

Creek Street_s buildings date back to the late 19th century when the street was built atop poles driven into the bank of Ketchikan Creek, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA; the neighborhood is kn

Creek Street’s buildings date back to the late 19th century when the street was built atop poles driven into the bank of Ketchikan Creek, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA; the neighborhood is known as “Creekside” (home to many brothels in the 20th century)

 

Dolly bought this house in 1919 and was still living there in the early 1970s; she was the last of the former ladies of the line to remain in residence on the creek until her death, whic

Dolly bought this house in 1919 and was still living there, alone, in the early 1970s; she was the last of the former ladies of the line to remain in residence on the creek until her death, which was 20 years after the red-light district was finally closed for good in 1954, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

 

“Dolly Arthur, nee Thelma Copeland of rural Idaho mining country, was a Ketchikan resident from 1919 until her death in July 1975.  She is probably Ketchikan’s most famous person today… Dolly said her attraction for men was one of her best traits. ‘I just liked men and they liked me, too!’  Her house on Creek Street is now a museum visited by thousands of tourists every summer.  In her lifetime, however, there was nothing much to distinguish it from other small houses of ill repute along the boardwalk.  There was always a temporary look to those little rain-scoured houses tottering atop piling, whose residents used the cleansing tides to serve as sewer, plus bottle (and occasionally body) disposal.  Dolly’s house, however, was not only her business but also her longtime home.  Her claim to present fame was simply because of the more than 50 years she spent on Creek Street.  She bought the house in 1919 and was still living there, alone, in the early ’70s.  She became the last of the former ladies of the line to remain in residence on the creek until her death, which was 20 years after the red-light district was finally closed for good in 1954.  Dolly was not a whore, and would be horrified to be called that.  Dolly called herself a ‘sporting woman,’ a distinction that was important to her.  More than once she said, ‘I never could stand a whore!’  She thought they were tasteless and crude.  She considered herself of a higher class.  And while most of the girls worked and lived in pairs in the small creekside houses, Dolly always worked alone – except for her first year in Ketchikan when she worked at Black Mary’s Star dance hall.  And there were, of course, the postwar years when her true love, Lefty, shared her home, bed and board, but that was at her convenience and business schedule and between the couple’s zesty spats.” – www.sitnews.org

 

The sign on the side of Dolly_s House explains Dolly_s business, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

The sign on the side of Dolly’s House explains Dolly’s business, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

 

The salmon sculpture is an artwork titled “Yeltatzie Salmon” by artist Terry Plyes and was dedicated above Ketchikan Creek on July 4, 2013, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

The salmon sculpture is an artwork titled “Yeltatzie Salmon” by artist Terry Plyes and was dedicated above Ketchikan Creek on July 4, 2013, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA; it is named in honor of the Haida Native carver Jones Teltatzie (1900 – 1976) and replaces a painted wood salmon sculpture carved by Yeltatzie in 1963, which occupied this site for many years

 

Looking down at Ketchikan Creek by the “Yeltatzie Salmon” near the Creekside neighborhood, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

Looking down at Ketchikan Creek by the “Yeltatzie Salmon” near the Creekside neighborhood, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

 

Downtown by the piers and the Visitor Center is a sign that notes the extremely high annual rainfall in the region, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

Downtown by the piers and the Visitor Center is a sign that notes the extremely high annual rainfall in the region, Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

 

While somewhat rare these days in the “Lower 48” (the continental United States of America), bald eagles are numerous in the Ketchikan, Alaska, area; this one was photographed from o

While somewhat rare these days in the “Lower 48” (the continental United States of America), bald eagles are numerous in the Ketchikan, Alaska, area; this one was photographed from our “Duck Boat” as we sailed out of the northern marina

 

The rains came and passed and returned again and again all day in Ketchikan, Alaska, USA; our ship at anchor

The rains came and passed and returned again and again all day in Ketchikan, Alaska, USA; our ship at anchor

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

Dale Chihuly, considered one of the most innovative and iconic figures in contemporary art, has a dedicated museum and garden exhibition in the downtown Seattle Center at Chihuly Garden

Dale Chihuly, considered one of the most innovative and iconic figures in contemporary art, has a dedicated museum and garden exhibition in the downtown Seattle Center at Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA; a section of the glass “garden” called “Mille Fiori” 

 

The Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibition (in a combination of a museum building and an outdoor garden directly next door to, and underneath, the Seattle Space Needle in Seattle Center in the heart of the city) that explores the inspiration and influences of Northwest artist Dale Chihuly. Dale Chihuly is considered one of the most innovative and iconic figures in contemporary art. Chihuly has been working with glass as an artistic medium for over fifty years, to increasing critical and popular acclaim. His work is in the permanent collections of more than 200 museums worldwide.

 

In a 1977 visit to the History Museum at the Washington State Historical Society Chihuly was impressed by a collection of Northwest Coast Indian Baskets and then created a series of Bask

In a 1977 visit to the History Museum at the Washington State Historical Society Chihuly was impressed by a collection of Northwest Coast Indian Baskets and then created a series of Baskets, freeing himself from the tradition of symmetry in glassblowing; Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

A true Northwesterner, Chihuly has pioneered new techniques in art and influenced generations of artists.  His creativity and generosity of spirit led him to be invited by Space Needle LLC to help create the exhibition at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington.  The exhibition includes both indoor and outdoor spaces and a new Glasshouse.  Chihuly Garden and Glass brings together all the elements of Chihuly’s work, including drawings, signature glass series, large architectural installations, and personal collections.  The artwork in the exhibition reveals how Dale Chihuly has pushed the boundaries of glass as an art medium in concept, execution and presentation.  A walk through the Galleries, the Garden and into the Glasshouse is an immersive experience that sparks wonder and inspiration.

 

These glass sculptures, known as the “Persian Ceiling”, are viewed through a glass “shelf” above visitors and appear as an “aquarium” full of sea life; Chihuly Garden and Gla

These glass sculptures, known as the “Persian Ceiling”, are viewed through a glass “shelf” above visitors and appear as an “aquarium” full of sea life; Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

A small segment of the glass “garden” called “Mille Fiori” which occupies a very long gallery floor, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

A small segment of the glass “garden” called “Mille Fiori” which occupies a very long gallery floor, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

In another gallery are the “Ikebana and Float Boat”, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

In another gallery are the “Ikebana and Float Boat”, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

Three pieces from the Macchia series that Chihuly began in 1981 with the desire to use all 300 colors available to him in the hotshop; they are named Macchia after he asked his friend It

Three pieces from the Macchia series that Chihuly began in 1981 with the desire to use all 300 colors available to him in the hotshop; they are named Macchia after he asked his friend Italo Scanga the word for “spot” in Italian; Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

Dale Chihuly began the Macchia series in 1981 with the desire to use all 300 colors available to him in the hotshop, and named it such after asking his friend Italo Scanga  (who he befriended as a visiting professor at the Rhode Island School of Design when he was a graduate student) the word for “spot” in Italian.  Thinking about the colors and intensity of stained glass windows, Chihuly realized that the glass panes looked more clear and vibrant against a cloudy sky than a blue one.  This idea inspired his experimentation to separate the interior and exterior colors by adding a white layer in between, a “cloud”,  and as he mastered the technical complexities, pushed the scale up to four feet in diameter.  Each work is speckled with color, which comes from rolling the molten glass in small shards of colored glass during the blowing process.  To complete the piece, he adds a lip wrap of a contrasting color.

 

Details of one piece from the Macchia series, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

Details of one piece from the Macchia series, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

The Glasshouse Sculpture is an expansive 100-foot-long (30.5 meters) installation in a palette of reds, oranges, yellows and amber that is made of many individual elements Chihuly calls

The Glasshouse Sculpture is an expansive 100-foot-long (30.5 meters) installation in a palette of reds, oranges, yellows and amber that is made of many individual elements Chihuly calls Persians; Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, US

 

The Glasshouse is the centerpiece of Chihuly Garden and Glass.  Throughout his career, Chihuly dreamed of working on the design for a glasshouse and the artwork within it.  This is the first opportunity he has had to realize that dream.  The design draws inspiration from two of his favorite buildings: Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the Crystal Palace in London.  Chihuly signed a bean during the dedication ceremony at Chihuly Garden and Glass on 21 May 2012.  The Glasshouse Sculpture is an expansive 100-foot-long (32 meters) installation in a palette of reds, oranges, yellows and amber.  Made of many individual elements, it is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures.  Chihuly calls the intensely colored blown-glass forms of this monumental work Persians.  The perception of the artwork varies greatly with natural light and as the day fades into night.

 

A segment of the Glasshouse Sculpture with the Seattle Space Needle visible through the roof of the glasshouse, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

A segment of the Glasshouse Sculpture with the Seattle Space Needle visible through the roof of the glasshouse, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

Garden sculptures, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

Garden sculptures, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

“I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.” – Dale Chihuly about Chihuly Garden and Glass

 

Pacific Sun, 2011, 15.5 feet x 15.5 feet x 15.5 feet (4.72 x 4.72 x 4.72 meters), installed 2012, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

Pacific Sun, 2011, 15.5 feet x 15.5 feet x 15.5 feet (4.72 x 4.72 x 4.72 meters), installed 2012, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

Close up of garden sculptures, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

Close up of garden sculptures, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

Sculptures outside the wall of the outdoor sculpture garden at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan, set against the surrounding mountains

Sculptures outside the wall of the outdoor sculpture garden at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan, set against the surrounding mountains

 

Following his death, prominent Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s workshop was converted into a captivating museum – the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan – approximately 30 minutes from the pier where our ship docked.  Originally an Edo-era storehouse, the workshop holds the artist’s original sculpting tools.  Outside, nearly 150 sculptures, some incomplete, stand as silent testimony to his skill and vision.  The restored Meiji-period warehouse contains one of his largest and most famous, “Energy Void,” carved out of Swedish black granite.  We were able to see Noguchi’s nearby home (from the outside) and had the opportunity to also walk in the hillside gardens that the artist designed for his 80th birthday, a few years before his death in 1988.

 

A sculpted stone, "The Egg", at the top of the hillside garden walk above Noguchi_s home and studio, Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

A sculpted stone, “The Egg”, at the top of the hillside garden walk above Noguchi’s home and studio, Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

 

Sculptures in the hillside garden walk above Noguchi_s home and studio, Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

Sculptures in the hillside garden walk above Noguchi’s home and studio, Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

 

In the reception area of the museum after we had gotten our tickets, I found a book on the museum with this beautiful poem by Noguchi, written on 7 November 1983:

Gift for the Future

I approach my 79th birthday this month with growing awareness.

I celebrate it by building a garden in my place of refuge in Shikoku.

It is a gift to the future, and to the people who harbored

my mother and gave me my years of childhood.

How true it is that all things worth while must end as gifts.

What other reason is there for art?

 

Finished and unfinished sculptures outside the outdoor sculpture garden at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

Finished and unfinished sculptures outside the outdoor sculpture garden at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

 

Finished sculptures in the shed within the outdoor sculpture garden at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

Finished sculptures in the restored Meiji-period warehouse within the outdoor sculpture garden at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

 

One of Noguchi_s largest and most famous sculptures, “Energy Void,” carved out of Swedish black granite is in the shed within the outdoor sculpture garden at the Isamu Noguchi Gard

One of Noguchi’s largest and most famous sculptures, “Energy Void,” carved out of Swedish black granite is in the restored Meiji-period warehouse within the outdoor sculpture garden at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, Takamatsu, Shikoku Island, Japan

 

Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988)

Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988); photograph courtesy http://www.noguchi.org

 

“Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was one of the twentieth century’s most important and critically acclaimed sculptors.  Through a lifetime of artistic experimentation, he created sculptures, gardens, furniture and lighting designs, ceramics, architecture, and set designs.  His work, at once subtle and bold, traditional and modern, set a new standard for the reintegration of the arts.  Noguchi, an internationalist, traveled extensively throughout his life.  (In his later years he maintained studios both in Japan and New York.)  He discovered the impact of large-scale public works in Mexico, earthy ceramics and tranquil gardens in Japan, subtle ink-brush techniques in China, and the purity of marble in Italy.  He incorporated all of these impressions into his work, which utilized a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, marble, cast iron, balsa wood, bronze, sheet aluminum, basalt, granite, and water.

“Born in Los Angeles, California, to an American mother and a Japanese father, Noguchi lived in Japan until the age of thirteen, when he moved to Indiana.  While studying pre-medicine at Columbia University, he took evening sculpture classes on New York’s Lower East Side, mentoring with the sculptor Onorio Ruotolo.  He soon left the University to become an academic sculptor.  In 1926, Noguchi saw an exhibition in New York of the work of Constantin Brancusi that profoundly changed his artistic direction.  With a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Noguchi went to Paris, and from 1927 to 1929 worked in Brancusi’s studio.  Inspired by the older artist’s reductive forms, Noguchi turned to modernism and a kind of abstraction, infusing his highly finished pieces with a lyrical and emotional expressiveness, and with an aura of mystery.  Noguchi’s work was not widely recognized in the United States until 1938, when he completed a large-scale sculpture symbolizing the freedom of the press, which was commissioned for the Associated Press building in Rockefeller Center, New York City.  This was the first of what would become numerous celebrated public works worldwide, ranging from playgrounds to plazas, gardens to fountains, all reflecting his belief in the social significance of sculpture.

“In 1942, Noguchi set up a studio at 33 MacDougal Alley, in Greenwich Village, having spent much of the 1930s based in New York City but traveling extensively in Asia, Mexico, and Europe.  The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the backlash against Japanese-Americans in the United States had a dramatic personal effect on Noguchi, motivating him to become a political activist.  In 1942, he started Nisei Writers and Artists Mobilization for Democracy, a group dedicated to raising awareness of the patriotism of Japanese-Americans.  He also asked to be placed in an internment camp in Arizona, where he lived for a brief seven months.  Following the War, Noguchi spent a great deal of time in Japan exploring the wrenching issues raised during the previous years.  His ideas and feelings are reflected in his works of that period, particularly the delicate slab sculptures included in the 1946 exhibition “Fourteen Americans,” at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

“Noguchi did not belong to any particular movement, but collaborated with artists working in a range of disciplines and schools.  He created stage sets as early as 1935 for the dancer/choreographer Martha Graham, beginning a lifelong collaboration; as well as for dancers/choreographers Merce Cunningham, Erick Hawkins, and George Balanchine and composer John Cage.  In the 1960s, Noguchi began working with stone carver Masatoshi Izumi on the island of Shikoku, Japan; a collaboration that would also continue for the rest of his life.  From 1960 to 1966, he worked on a playground design with the architect Louis Kahn.  Whenever given the opportunity to venture into the mass-production of his interior designs, Noguchi seized it.  In 1937, he designed a Bakelite intercom for the Zenith Radio Corporation, and in 1947, his glass-topped table was produced by Herman Miller.  This design — along with others such as his designs for Akari Light Sculptures which were initially developed in 1951 using traditional Japanese materials — are still being produced today.

“In 1985, Noguchi opened The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum (now known as The Noguchi Museum), in Long Island City, New York. The Museum, established and designed by the artist, marked the culmination of his commitment to public spaces.  Located in a 1920s industrial building across the street from where the artist had established a studio in 1960, it has a serene outdoor sculpture garden, and many galleries that display Noguchi’s work, along with photographs and models from his career.  Noguchi’s first retrospective in the United States was in 1968, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.  In 1986, he represented the United States at the Venice Biennale.  Noguchi received the Edward MacDowell Medal for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to the Arts in 1982; the Kyoto Prize in Arts in 1986; the National Medal of Arts in 1987; and the Order of Sacred Treasure from the Japanese government in 1988. He died in New York City in 1988.” – www.noguchi.org

 

Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

The main entrance to the Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan, located in Ueno Park which was full of cherry blossoms during our visit [see our previous blog post, “Sakura (Cherry Bloss

The main entrance to the Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan, located in Ueno Park which was full of cherry blossoms during our visit [see our previous blog post, “Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), Tokyo, Japan”]

Japan’s oldest and largest museum, the acclaimed Tokyo National Museum houses an impressive assemblage of art and artifacts.  The unrivaled collection encompasses Asian paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, arms and armor, textiles, and historical documents.  Each season the museum rotates its collection to feature art that pertains to the season.  Thus, during the Sakura (cherry blossom) season in March and April, the permanent collection of Japanese art and artifacts had many pieces focusing on the celebration of Sakura.

 

Designated as a National Treasure in 1953- “Merrymaking under Blossom Trees” by Kano Naganobu (1577-1654), color on paper (screen), Edo period, 17th century, Tokyo National Museum, T

Designated as a National Treasure in 1953: “Merrymaking under Blossom Trees” by Kano Naganobu (1577-1654), color on paper (screen), Edo period, 17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 

“Depicted on this… screen is a scene of [Sakura] cherry blossom viewing by people dressed in garments with the latest designs.  Whether it was intended to portray a particular event or setting is unclear.  The surrounding trees and curtains, however, create a dramatic effect in which the people performing a folk dance and the ladies watching them appear as though they were on a stage.” – Tokyo National Museum.  Note that the tradition of celebrating the arrival of spring Sakura (cherry blossoms) goes back a long time in Japanese history – we were fortunate to be in Tokyo for the height of this year’s cherry blossoms and to mingle with locals in appreciating the delicate blossoms signaling the end of winter and the new annual cycle.

“The Museum Garden behind the Honkan main building is open during the spring.  We invite you to enjoy strolling among the five teahouses, each with their own history, as well as the cherry blossoms, which about 10 varieties bloom from one to another.  The flourishing garden is most beautiful at this time of the year.” – www.tnm.jp    The Garden was full of cherry blossoms during our visit [see our previous blog post, “Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), Tokyo, Japan”, for several photographs of the Sakura in the Tokyo National Museum Garden].

 

Ichinotani Style Helmet, Iris leaf design, Azuchi-Momoyama-Edo period, 16th-17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Ichinotani Style Helmet, Iris leaf design, Azuchi-Momoyama-Edo period, 16th-17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 

Gusoku Type Armor with two-piece cuirass with dark blue lacing, Edo period, 17th-18th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Gusoku Type Armor with two-piece cuirass with dark blue lacing, Edo period, 17th-18th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 

“The Tokyo National Museum features one of the largest and best collections of art and archeological artifacts in Japan, made up of over 110,000 individual items including nearly a hundred national treasures.  At any one time, about 4,000 different items from the permanent museum collection are on display.  In addition, visiting temporary exhibitions are also held regularly.  The large museum complex is home to six separate buildings, each large enough to be considered a museum on its own, which specialize in different types of art and exhibitions.  The main Honkan building [which we focused on] was opened in 1938 and exhibits a variety of Japanese artwork from ancient times to the 19th century including antique Buddhist statues, painted sliding doors, scrolls, ceramics and maps in addition to cultural items such as masks, costume, armor and weapons among other historical artifacts.” – www.japan-guide.com

 

“Kanazawa, Musashi Province” by Kano Osanobu {Seisen_in} (1796-1846), color on silk, Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

“Kanazawa, Musashi Province” by Kano Osanobu {Seisen’in} (1796-1846), color on silk, Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 

Primary Textbook for the Noble_s Children by Prince Hachijo-no-miya Toshihito (1579-1629), ink on decorated paper (SCROLL), Edo period, 17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japa

Primary Textbook for the Noble’s Children by Prince Hachijo-no-miya Toshihito (1579-1629), ink on decorated paper (SCROLL), Edo period, 17th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan; this spectacular section of the “textbook” features Mt. Fuji in the colored background, painted by the Prince before adding the text

 

Uchikake (Outer Garment, [like a kimono]), Tachibana and screen design on figured satin ground, Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Uchikake (Outer Garment, [like a kimono]), Tachibana and screen design on figured satin ground, Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

the-2011-expansion-with-majestic-kauri-native-tree-columns-and-roof-complementing-the-original-1887-gallery-building-houses-seven-centuries-of-new-zealand-art-at-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-ta

The 2011 expansion with majestic Kauri (native tree) columns and roof, complementing the original 1887 gallery building, houses seven centuries of New Zealand art at the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

“Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the principal public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, and has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand.  It frequently hosts traveling international exhibitions.  Set below the hilltop Albert Park in the central-city area of Auckland, the gallery was established in 1888 as the first permanent art gallery in New Zealand.   The building originally housed the Auckland Art Gallery as well as the Auckland public library.” — Wikipedia

 

the-museums-atrium-in-the-new-wing-hosts-annually-changing-sculpture-exhibitions-hung-from-the-kauri-wood-paneled-ceiling-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

The museum’s atrium in the new wing hosts annually changing sculpture exhibitions, hung from the kauri wood paneled ceiling, Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand; the Māori sign in the entry says: “Nau mai , haere mai” (“Welcome”)

 

“The main gallery building was originally designed by Melbourne architects Grainger & D’Ebro to house not only the art gallery but also the City Council offices, lecture theatre and public library.  It is constructed of brick and plaster in an early French Renaissance style and was completed in 1887, with an extension built in 1916…  In the late 2000s, a major extension was mooted, which caused substantial criticism from some quarters due to its cost, design and the fact that land from Albert Park would be required for the extension.  In late 2007, the Gallery closed for extensive renovations, and re-opened on 3 September 2011…  The expansion design by Australian architecture firm FJMT in partnership with Auckland-based Archimedia, increased exhibition space by 50%, for up to 900 artworks, and provided dedicated education, child and family spaces.  As part of the upgrade, existing parts of the structure were renovated and restored to its 1916 state – amongst other things ensuring that the 17 different floor levels in the building were reduced to just 6.  The redevelopment has to date received 17 architectural and 6 design-related awards, including the World Architecture Festival’s 2013 World Building of the Year.” — Wikipedia

 

the-kauri-wood-panels-in-the-entries-to-the-galleries-are-all-carved-in-maori-designs-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

The Kauri wood panels in the entries to the galleries are all carved in Māori designs, Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

“We are Auckland’s wharenui (home) for authentic and meaningful engagement with art for all.” – aucklandartgallery.com

 

kura-te-waru-rewiri-born-1950-te-tohu-tuatahi-1991-acrylic-on-board-draws-a-powerful-continuum-between-the-past-and-present-at-the-paintings-center-is-a-cross-motif

Kura Te Waru Rewiri (born 1950), “Te Tohu Tuatahi”, 1991 (acrylic on board), draws a powerful continuum between the past and present; at the painting’s center is a cross motif, the mark used by many Māori signatories to sign New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840; Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

Kura Te Waru Rewiri (born 1950), the artist who painted “Te Tohu Tuatahi” in 1991 and was raised in Waitangi — the first site of the signing of New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840 — commented at that time, “I paint about the Treaty now, wishing for ideals of racial harmony, equal opportunity, recognition of a pact for partnership to become reality.”

 

the-former-auckland-public-library-was-stripped-of-its-tall-bookshelves-and-restored-to-its-19th-century-architectural-design-and-added-to-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new

The former Auckland public library was stripped of its tall bookshelves and restored to its 19th century architectural design and added to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, in the 2011 expansion

 

daniel-malone-born-1970-tititangi-apocrypha-2015-mixed-media-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

Daniel Malone (born 1970), “Tititangi Apocrypha”, 2015 (mixed media), Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

Daniel Malone (born 1970), returned from Warsaw, Poland, in 2015 to undertake the McCahon House Artist Residency in Titirangi, Auckland.  The purpose built McCahon House is located adjacent to New Zealand’s most famous painter’s (Colin McCahon, 1919 – 1987) former home.  Malone’s “Tititangi Apocrypha”, 2015 (mixed media), pays homage to Colin McCahon’s paintings, as the present day artist filters McCahon’s interests and achievements through his own.

 

the-atrium-of-the-2011-extension-to-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand-photographed-from-above-in-albert-park

The atrium of the 2011 extension to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, photographed from above in Albert Park

 

one-of-the-beautiful-native-kauri-columns-supporting-the-roof-at-the-back-of-the-new-extension-to-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand-abutting-albert-park

One of the beautiful native kauri columns supporting the roof at the back of the new extension to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, abutting Albert Park

 

“The team looked at the existing character of the park [Albert Park] and utilised this to create linkages between the building, the park and the surrounding streets.  New landscaped terraces and paved platforms form a smooth pedestrian connection between Kitchener Street and Albert Park.  One of the most distinctive features of the new building is its roof design, which forms a series of fine ‘tree-like’ canopies that define and cover the Forecourt, North Atrium and gallery areas.  Between the terraces and the roof canopy of kauri wood, large windows allow a view from the Gallery’s forecourt through the building to the park and beyond – inviting discovery and opening the Gallery to Albert Park and public spaces.” – aucklandartgallery.com

 

the-new-wing-of-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand-as-seen-from-a-pathway-in-albert-park-note-how-the-kauri-columns-bring-the-trees-and-flora-of-albert-park-into-t

The new wing of the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, as seen from a pathway in Albert Park; note how the kauri columns bring the trees and flora of Albert Park into the museum

 

a-modern-sculpture-in-albert-park-immediately-behind-and-uphill-from-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

A modern sculpture in Albert Park, immediately behind (and uphill from), the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

sky-tower-aucklands-most-famous-structure-viewed-from-albert-park-and-the-auckland-art-gallery-toi-o-tamaki-auckland-new-zealand

Sky Tower, Auckland’s most famous structure, viewed from Albert Park and the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand

 

Napier (Art Deco Festival), New Zealand

napier-new-zealand-is-now-well-known-for-having-preserved-its-wealth-of-art-deco-buildings-mostly-constructed-in-1931-1932-after-the-devastating-1931-earthquake-and-fire

Napier, New Zealand, is now well known for having preserved its wealth of Art Deco buildings, mostly constructed in 1931-1932, after the devastating 1931 earthquake and fire; the city hosts a huge Art Deco Festival and weekend each February (this year it was a few days after our visit)

 

It was the devastation of a 1931 earthquake and the subsequent rebuilding from scratch that made Napier, New Zealand, the “Art Deco Capital of the World” — to this day representing the most complete and significant group of art deco buildings found anywhere.  The population of Napier is around 60,000, with the broader Napier-Hastings-Havlock North region totaling about 130,000 people, making it the sixth largest urban area in New Zealand.  “Napier is the nexus of the largest wool centre in the Southern Hemisphere, and it has the primary export seaport for northeastern New Zealand – which is the largest producer of apples, pears, and stone fruit in New Zealand. Napier has also become an important grape and wine production area, with the grapes grown around Hastings and Napier being sent through the Port of Napier for export.  Large amounts of sheep’s wool, frozen meat, wood pulp, and timber also pass through Napier annually for export.” – Wikipedia

 

the-new-napier-arch-is-a-portal-to-the-walkway-along-the-breakfront-constructed-after-the-1931-earth-along-the-waterfront-and-beach-napier-new-zealand

The “New Napier Arch” is a portal to the walkway along the breakfront constructed after the 1931 earth along the waterfront and beach, Napier, New Zealand

 

the-t-g-building-atkin-mitchell-wellington-1936-is-the-tallest-building-in-napier-with-the-auckland-savings-bank-asb-is-in-the-foreground-napier-new-zealand

The T & G Building (Atkin & Mitchell, Wellington, 1936) is the tallest building in Napier; the Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) is in the foreground, Napier, New Zealand

 

With some friends from California who were also traveling in New Zealand, we booked a guide from the Art Deco Trust center for a two hour walking tour around town and a viewing of an informative movie made by the Trust about the 1931 earthquake, its aftermath and the incredible rebuilding of the city.  We were reminded a lot of the current preservation efforts in South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, USA to restore and preserve many of the Art Deco gems in that region. [See our blog posts from 2015, “Art Deco Walk in the South Beach District of Miami Beach, Florida, USA” and “Art Deco collection at The Wolfsonian (Florida International University), South Beach District, Miami Beach, Florida, USA”.]

 

details-of-the-asb-bank-building-that-features-maori-koru-and-zigzags-napier-new-zealand

Details of the ASB bank building that features Maori koru and zigzags, Napier, New Zealand

 

the-interior-of-the-two-story-asb-bank-building-with-interior-glass-and-paneling-under-roof-skylights-that-was-a-very-advanced-design-for-bringing-in-natural-light-to-an-interior-office-work-environme

The interior of the two-story ASB bank building with interior glass and paneling under roof skylights that was a very advanced design for bringing in natural light to an interior office/work environment, Napier, New Zealand

 

an-interior-glass-panel-in-the-criterion-hotel-which-has-some-moorish-influences-along-with-the-art-deco-overall-design-napier-new-zealand

An interior glass panel in the Criterion Hotel (which has some Moorish influences along with the Art Deco overall design), Napier, New Zealand

 

details-of-second-story-windows-napier-new-zealand

Details of second story windows, Napier, New Zealand

 

street-level-leaded-glass-designs-above-the-door-of-a-jewelry-shop-napier-new-zealand

Street level leaded glass designs above the door of a jewelry shop, Napier, New Zealand

 

intricate-art-deco-designs-above-the-columns-and-windows-napier-new-zealand

Intricate Art Deco designs above the columns and windows, Napier, New Zealand

 

one-of-the-main-shopping-streets-in-downtown-napier-new-zealand-where-the-height-limit-of-two-stories-was-observed-in-the-rebuilding-that-began-in-1931-1932

One of the main shopping streets in downtown Napier, New Zealand, where the height limit of two stories was observed in the rebuilding that began in 1931-1932

 

The Napier website has a good description how the beautifully preserved Art Deco architecture became the city’s special point of difference.  “A national disaster resulted in Napier becoming one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world.  On the morning of February 3rd 1931 a massive earthquake – 7.9 on the Richter scale – rocked Hawke’s Bay for more than three minutes.  Nearly 260 lives were lost and the vast majority of buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were destroyed, either by the quake itself or the fires that followed.  Rebuilding began almost immediately, and much of it was completed in two years.  New buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco.  Local architect Louis Hay, an admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright, had his chance to shine.  Maori motifs were employed to give the city a unique New Zealand character – for example, the ASB bank on the corner of Hastings and Emerson Streets features Maori koru and zigzags.   Napier’s city centre has the feeling of a time capsule – the seamless line of 1930s architecture is quite extraordinary.” – http://www.newzealand.com

 

beautiful-stained-glass-above-the-door-and-windows-of-a-shop-in-napier-new-zealand

Beautiful stained glass above the door and windows of a shop in Napier, New Zealand

 

the-classically-art-deco-auditorium-center-light-in-the-napier-municipal-theater-building-napier-new-zealand

The classically Art Deco auditorium center light in the Napier municipal theater building, Napier, New Zealand

 

a-classical-well-preserved-art-deco-office-interior-napier-new-zealand-somewhat-reminiscent-of-some-frank-lloyd-wright-designs-in-the-united-states-of-america

A classical, well-preserved Art Deco office interior, Napier, New Zealand; somewhat reminiscent of some Frank Lloyd Wright designs in the United States of America

 

the-daily-telegraph-building-features-many-different-art-deco-design-motifs-including-a-ziggurat-aesthetic-and-trompe-loeil-details-napier-new-zealand

The Daily Telegraph building features many different Art Deco design motifs, including a ziggurat aesthetic and trompe-l’oeil details, Napier, New Zealand

 

towards-the-end-of-our-guided-walking-tour-we-visited-the-napier-cathedral-with-its-beautiful-stained-glass-windows-napier-new-zealand-this-panel-has-a-poignant-invocation-for-our-times

Towards the end of our guided walking tour we visited the Napier Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass windows, Napier, New Zealand; this panel has a poignant invocation for our times: “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”

 

MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

the-playful-museum-entrance-behind-which-is-an-interior-spiral-staircase-that-leads-down-to-three-larger-underground-levels-of-display-spaces-with-no-windows-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art

The playful museum entrance – behind which is an interior spiral staircase that leads down to three larger underground levels of display spaces with no windows, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

On our last evening on this trip to Tasmania and Australia, we joined a small group for a privately guided visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) followed by a delicious dinner in the museum’s restaurant and terraces. We arrived at the museum on the peninsula after a 45-minute “ferry ride” on a private catamaran up the Derwent River from Hobart to the museum’s jetty. “The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. The museum presents antiquities and modern and contemporary art from the David Walsh collection. Walsh has described the museum as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland.’ MONA was officially opened on 21 January 2011. Along with its frequently updated indoor collection, MONA also hosts the annual MOFO and Dark Mofo festivals which showcase large-scale public art and live performances.” – Wikipedia. This is a museum unlike any other in the world – easily described as an eccentric super-wealthy gambler’s tribute to himself and his explorations of “who he is” and “what is art”. Many visitors are shocked with the erotic and sexual nature of much of the art [which we have chosen not to include in our photographs on this blog post], and surprised to find such an eclectic mix of historical and classical art (from around the world) with many “challenging” modern art pieces.

 

the-setting-for-the-museum-on-the-berriedale-peninsula-along-the-derwent-river-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

The setting for the museum on the Berriedale peninsula along the Derwent River, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

“Mona is one man’s ‘megaphone’ as he put it at the outset: and what he wants to say almost invariably revolves around the place of art and creativity within the definition of humanity. We know that sounds lofty, self-important. But we must be honest with you: our goal is no more, nor less, than to ask what art is, and what makes us look and look at it with ceaseless curiosity. We don’t have the answer yet. Maybe when we do, that will be the end of Mona. Bye bye Mona…

“Mona’s ambition (with only modest success, given that most people just want to take pictures of bit.fall) is to understand how narrow, how partial, our view is of the world. To see clearly, we argue, you have to first know the limits of your vision. To quote Socrates: ‘The smartest people know how dumb they are.’ Okay, what he really said was: ‘I know one thing: that I know nothing.’” – mona.net.au

 

a-wall-on-the-lowest-third-level-of-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-that-shows-how-the-museum-was-carved-out-of-the-rock-on-the-peninsula-under-the-moorilla-winery

A wall on the lowest (third) level of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, that shows how the museum was carved out of the rock on the peninsula under the Moorilla winery

 

“[It] begins as soon as you get there. If you arrive by jetty you come up those stairs thinking you’ll get somewhere momentous, but then you get to the top and turn around and there’s just this small house. Then you go in, and go down a heap more stairs. A big space. ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was going to be so big.’ Still no art.” — James Pearce, Director of Architecture, MONA

 

this-exhibition-room-could-be-in-a-traditional-art-museum-anywhere-in-the-world-it-is-in-stark-contrast-with-some-other-rooms-that-are-quite-provocative-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tas

This exhibition room could be in a traditional art museum anywhere in the world; it is in stark contrast with some other rooms that are quite provocative; MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

highly-decorated-silver-sculptures-atop-two-of-twelve-sardine-cans-that-all-contain-sculpted-silver-female-genitalia-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Highly decorated silver sculptures atop two of twelve “sardine cans” that all contain sculpted silver female genitalia, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-kinetic-sculpture-that-the-visitor-enters-and-then-moves-his-her-arms-and-dances-to-conduct-music-and-a-light-show-on-the-perimeter-of-the-exhibit-a-docent-is-demonstrating-moveme

A kinetic sculpture that the visitor enters and then moves his/her arms and dances to “conduct” music and a light show on the perimeter of the exhibit (a docent is demonstrating movement within the sculpture), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

glass-panels-and-a-mirror-second-from-the-left-panel-that-are-a-fraction-of-the-floral-art-in-an-exhibition-room-that-measured-perhaps-25-feet-by-20-feet-7-6-by-6-1-meters-mona

Glass panels and a mirror (second from the left “panel”) that are a fraction of the floral art in an exhibition room that measured perhaps 25 feet by 20 feet (7.6 by 6.1 meters), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

an-ancient-clay-sculpture-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

An ancient clay sculpture, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

figure-of-a-girl-bathing-pierre-auguste-renoir-late-1800s-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Figure of a Girl Bathing, Pierre Auguste Renoir (late 1800s), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

mount-fuji-one-of-36-woodblock-print-views-ando-hiroshige-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Mount Fuji (one of 36 woodblock print views), Ando Hiroshige, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

fat-car-2006-erwin-wurm-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia

Fat Car, 2006 Erwin Wurm, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

a-view-from-above-of-the-bar-on-the-lower-level-at-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-where-we-had-cocktails-and-or-wine-after-our-tour-of-the-museum-before-going-up-and-o

A view from above of the bar on the lower level at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where we had cocktails and/or wine after our tour of the museum, before going up and out to the museum’s restaurant (in a separate, above ground building with terraces overlooking the river) for dinner

 

Interested readers should check out the museum’s website:

mona.net.au

to explore some of the architecture, the collection and the biography of founder and chief curator David Walsh.

 

the-rising-full-moon-provided-a-fitting-end-to-a-wonderful-afternoon-and-evening-at-mona-museum-of-old-and-new-art-hobart-tasmania-australia-on-our-last-night-in-tasmania-and-australia-after-sev

The rising full moon provided a fitting end to a wonderful afternoon and evening at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on our last night in Tasmania and Australia after seven weeks of explorations