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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Art and War


Ever heard of Jacques Jaujard? Neither had I, until I saw Alexander Sokurov's Francofonia yesterday here in New York. Jaujard (1895-1967) was appointed Director of French National Museums in 1926. His offices were in the Louvre in Paris. Certain of impending war with Germany, he authorized and supervised the transfer of all the museum's most significant works to chateaux and other sites scattered over the French countryside. During the Nazi occupation (1940-1944) Graf Metternich, the SS head of the Kunstschutz ("Art Protectorate"), cooperated by refusing to have the works returned to Paris (and certainly looted by the likes of Goebbels and Goering). Sokurov tells these stories within a larger meditation on the relationship of art and war. Did you know that the "museum"--as we know it--was invented by Napoleon? He requisitioned and refit the Louvre in the 1790s to house the works and artifacts of all the countries of the Mediterranean conquered and occupied in his campaigns: from Egypt to Central Europe. (England followed his example in the 19th century: see the British Museum.) So, in a certain sense, Sokurov shows that war is the salvation of art. But, he also shows, the violence and destruction of combat and conquest are soon over. Cities and towns are built from the rubble. History is forgotten.  Only the art lasts. Think about it when you watch the news...

Friday, April 15, 2016


Here's a shot from the top of South Mountain in Phoenix. I'm with Dick Reynolds, the only other 80+ racing against me in AZ now! We'd just finished a training ride up the 5.5m climb, getting ready for the AZ Timetrial championships next month.