On one of my favorite kayak trips from Rockport, on the Massachusetts coast, is to the Dry Salvages, a group of giant rocks off the coast of Cape Ann. It’s fun to paddle out there and even more fun when grey and harbor seals pop up next to your kayak to check you out.
I later learned that the Dry Salvages inspired T.S. Eliot’s “The Dry Salvages,” the third poem in his sequence Four Quartets. Eliot spent his summers on Cape Ann in Gloucester and the the poet’s estate has just acquired the Eliot family’s summer house by the sea there which the family sold many years ago. The estate plans to use it to promote Eliot’s life and works to his American readers. Hopefully that means lovers of literature and old houses may have a chance to take a tour. Read about it in this article in The Guardian.
The Dry Salvages obviously pose a danger for ships and many have crashed on them, hence the name. And, during the death and destruction of World War II, Eliot found used them as a symbol.
“the menace and caress of wave that breaks on water/ The distant rote in the granite teeth,/ And the wailing warning from the approaching headland…”
But, on a sunny day, in a brightly colored kayak, with seals around, the Dry Salvages seem a lot less dismal.
I’ve used this image in an earlier blog post. Obviously, Cape Ann is one of my favorite spots. In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Afloat.”
This week’s photo challenge is express yourself. While some call it vandalism, there’s no more in-your-face, larger than life form of self-expression than graffiti. For the past 20 years, the mecca of that gritty urban art form has been 5 Pointz, a dilapidated factory complex in Queens, New York City.
Founded as the Phun Phactory in 1993, it was designed as a place for street artists to legally practice their craft. Here, aerosol-can Picassos made the derelict buildings beautiful and gained worldwide fame.
Sadly, the buildings were recently demolished to make way for yet more shiny high-rise apartment buildings.
The subject of this photo challenge is to share a photo that for “foregoes the straightforward.” No one did that better than Frank Lloyd Wright, as you can see from these pictures of a Wright-designed house in Ebsworth Park, Kirkwood, MO, near St. Louis. It was completed in 1955 for Russell and Ruth Krause. I couldn’t photograph the interior of the home, but the house is famous for its Wright-designed furnishings, which are odd and uncomfortable-looking, as full of zig-zags as the exterior. But, I think creativity was Wright’s goal, not comfort.
Wright’s life was even more fascinating than his architectural ideas and it’s been the subject of a number of books that I highly recommend, especially if you’re going to visit any of his famous buildings. Be sure to read the non-fiction book Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright by Brendan Gill, and the fiction works Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, and T.C. Boyle’s The Women.
The challenge: share your take on the idea of room.
This is certainly different than my typical idea of a room, but when you travel, you see how other people live and adapt to their environment and begin to broaden your definition of, for example, what constitutes a room. In this case, a nomadic family of Berbers in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco uses a series of adjoining caves as rooms to suit different purposes. Here, they cook (notice the ceiling blackened by cooking fires), weave rugs and entertain guests like us with a glass or two of mint tea. They use other “rooms” for sleeping and for keeping animals. Later in the season, the family will move their belongings and their flock of sheep to another grazing area.
When I have guests in Minneapolis, one my favorite places to take them is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, one of the nation’s largest urban sculpture parks. When the Garden opened in 1988, it was immediately heralded by the New York Times as “the finest new outdoor space in the country for displaying sculpture.” There you’ll see Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985–1988), which has become a symbol of the city.
No matter what you think of contemporary art, it’s hard not to enjoy the setting against the Minneapolis skyline. The Walker hosts all sorts of great events during the summer including the Rock The Garden concerts, movies in the park, and my favorite, a miniature golf course with each hole designed by a contemporary artist.
Best of all, I love watching the way people interact with the art, which is after all, the goal. Click on the gallery below for larger images.
The Sculpture Garden is a favorite place for wedding and prom photos. This couple was just strolling the Garden after their wedding.
I caught this family peeking through a work of art.
You can’t resist interacting with this giant swing.
I was in St. Louis last week where all the trees were in bloom, especially those beautiful Redbuds. It was beautiful enough to make allergy sufferers ignore their sneezing.
We’re not there yet in Minneapolis, which is what makes the annual “Art in Bloom” event at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts so popular. Gorgeous flowers bloom along side the art, no matter what the weather.
Travel to the places you read about. Read about the places you travel.