Tyrus Wong

Tyrus Wong was one of the most celebrated Chinese-American artists of the 20th century, but he passed much of his career unknown to the general public.

NY Times: DECEMBER 30, 2016

When Walt Disney’s “Bambi” opened in 1942, critics praised its spare, haunting visual style, vastly different from anything Disney had done before.

But what they did not know was that the film’s striking appearance had been created by a Chinese immigrant artist, who took as his inspiration the landscape paintings of the Song dynasty. The extent of his contribution to “Bambi,” which remains a high-water mark for film animation, would not be widely known for decades.

Like the film’s title character, the artist, Tyrus Wong, weathered irrevocable separation from his mother — and, in the hope of making a life in America, incarceration, isolation and rigorous interrogation — all when he was still a child.

In the years that followed, he endured poverty, discrimination and chronic lack of recognition, not only for his work at Disney but also for his fine art, before finding acclaim in his 90s.

Mr. Wong died on Friday at 106. A Hollywood studio artist, painter, printmaker, calligrapher, greeting-card illustrator and, in later years, maker of fantastical kites, he was one of the most celebrated Chinese-American artists of the 20th century.

But because of the marginalization to which Asian-Americans were long subject, he passed much of his career unknown to the general public.

Artistic recognition, when Mr. Wong did find it, was all the more noteworthy for the fact that among Chinese immigrant men of his generation, professional prospects were largely limited to menial jobs like houseboy and laundryman.

Mr. Wong spent two years painting the illustrations that would inform every aspect of “Bambi.” His influence is unmistakable in the finished film.
Trained as a painter, Mr. Wong was a leading figure in the Modernist movement that flourished in California between the first and second World Wars. In 1932 and again in 1934, his work was included in group shows at the Art Institute of Chicago that also featured Picasso, Matisse and Paul Klee.

As a staff artist for Hollywood studios from the 1930s to the 1960s, he drew storyboards and made vibrant paintings, as detailed as any architectural illustrations, that helped the director envision each scene before it was shot.

Over the years his work informed the look of animated pictures for Disney and live-action films for Warner Brothers and other studios, among them “The Sands of Iwo Jima” (1949), “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) and “The Wild Bunch” (1969).

But of the dozens of films on which he worked, it was for “Bambi” that Mr. Wong was — belatedly — most renowned.

“He was truly involved with every phase of production,” John Canemaker, an Oscar-winning animator and a historian of animation at New York University, said in an interview for this obituary in March. “He created an art direction that had really never been seen before in animation.”

In 2013 and 2014, Mr. Wong was the subject of “Water to Paper, Paint to Sky,” a major retrospective at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

From the museum’s windows, which overlook San Francisco Bay, he could contemplate Angel Island, where more than nine decades earlier, as a lone 10-year-old, he had sought to gain admission to a country that adamantly did not want him.

Wong Gen Yeo (the name is sometimes Romanized Wong Gaing Yoo) was born on Oct. 25, 1910, in a farming village in Guangdong Province. As a young child, he already exhibited a love of drawing and was encouraged by his father.

In 1920, seeking better economic prospects, Gen Yeo and his father embarked for the United States, leaving his mother and sister behind. Gen Yeo would never see his mother again.

They were obliged to travel under false identities — a state of affairs known among Chinese immigrants as being a “paper son” — in the hope of circumventing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur, the act, which drastically curtailed the number of Chinese people allowed to enter the country, was among the earliest United States laws to impose severe restrictions on immigration.

But in 1906, an unforeseen loophole opened in the form of the San Francisco earthquake and fire. Because a huge number of municipal documents, including birth and immigration records, were destroyed, many newly arrived Chinese capitalized on the loss, maintaining that they had been born in San Francisco before the fire.

As United States citizens, they were entitled to bring over their relatives — or, in the case of Gen Yeo and his father, “paper sons” posing as relatives.

Attuned to the deception, United States immigration officials put Chinese arrivals through a formidable inquisition to ensure they were who they claimed to be.

The questions came like gunfire: In which direction does your village face? How many windows are in your house? Where in the house is the rice bin? How wide is your well? How deep? Are there trees in your village? Are there lakes? What shops can you name?

The sponsoring relative was interrogated separately, and the answers had to match. For the new arrival, a major mistake, or a series of smaller ones, could mean deportation.

To stand a chance of passing, aspirants memorized rigorous dossiers known as coaching papers. The ensuing interrogation was hard enough for adults. Ten-year-old Gen Yeo would undergo it alone.

On Dec. 30, 1920, after a month at sea, the Wongs landed at Angel Island Immigration Station. The elder Mr. Wong was traveling as a merchant named Look Get; his son as Look Tai Yow.

“Angel Island is considered to be the Ellis Island of the West Coast,” Lisa See, the author of “On Gold Mountain” (1995), a nonfiction chronicle of her Chinese-American family, said in an interview in 2016. However, she continued: “The goal was really very different than Ellis Island, which was supposed to be so welcoming. Angel Island opened very specifically to keep the Chinese out.”

Because Mr. Wong’s father had previously lived in the United States as Look Get, he was able to clear Immigration quickly. But as a new arrival, Gen Yeo was detained on the island for nearly a month, the only child among the immigrants being held there.

“I was scared half to death; I just cried,” Mr. Wong recalled in “Tyrus,” an award-winning documentary directed by Pamela Tom, which premiered in 2015. “Every day is just miserable — miserable. I hated that place.”

On Jan. 27, 1921, in the presence of an interpreter and a stenographer, young Gen Yeo, posing as Look Tai Yow, was interrogated by three inspectors. His father had already been questioned.

Gen Yeo was well prepared and answered without error. In Sacramento, where he joined his father, a schoolteacher Americanized “Tai Yow” to “Tyrus,” and he was known as Tyrus Wong ever after.

Soon afterward, father and son were separated once more, when the elder Mr. Wong moved to Los Angeles to seek work. For reasons that have been lost to time, he could not take his son. Tyrus lived on his own in a Sacramento boardinghouse while attending elementary school.

Two years later — possibly more — Tyrus traveled to Los Angeles to join his father, who had found work in a gambling den. They lived in a vermin-infested boardinghouse sandwiched between a butcher shop and a brothel. After school, Tyrus worked as a houseboy for two Pasadena families, earning 50 cents a day.

His first art teacher was his father, who trained him nightly in calligraphy by having him dip a brush in water and trace ghostly characters on newspaper: They could not afford ink or drawing paper.

When Tyrus was in junior high, a teacher, noting his drawing talent, arranged a summer scholarship to the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles.

By his own account an indifferent student in public school, Tyrus found his calling at the institute, now the Otis College of Art and Design. When his scholarship ended he declined to return to junior high.

His father scraped together the $90 tuition — a small fortune — to let him stay on as Otis’s youngest student.

He studied there for at least five years, simultaneously working as the school janitor, before graduating in the 1930s. Not long afterward his father died, leaving young Mr. Wong entirely on his own.

From 1936 to 1938, Mr. Wong was an artist for the Works Progress Administration, creating paintings for libraries and other public spaces.

With friends, including the Japanese-American artist Benji Okubo, he founded the Oriental Artists’ Group of Los Angeles, which organized exhibitions of members’ work — an unheard-of level of exposure for Asian artists at the time.

Mr. Wong, newly married and needing steady work, joined Disney in 1938 as an “in-betweener,” creating the thousands of intermediate drawings that bring animated sequences to life.

Asians were then a novelty at Hollywood studios, and Mr. Wong was made keenly aware of the fact, first at Disney and later at Warner Brothers. One co-worker flung a racial epithet at him. Another assumed on sight that he worked in the company cafeteria.

Then there was the affront of the in-betweener’s job itself: Painstaking, repetitive and for Mr. Wong quickly soul-numbing, it is the assembly-line work of animation — “a terrible use of his talents as a landscape artist and a painter,” Mr. Canemaker said.

A reprieve came in the late 1930s, when Mr. Wong learned that Disney was adapting “Bambi, a Life in the Woods,” the 1923 novel by the Austrian writer Felix Salten about a fawn whose mother is killed by a hunter.

In trying to animate the book, Disney had reached an impasse. The studio had enjoyed great success in 1937 with its animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” a baroque production in which every detail of the backgrounds — every petal on every flower, every leaf on every tree — was meticulously represented.

In an attempt to use a similar style for “Bambi,” it found that the ornate backgrounds camouflaged the deer and other forest creatures on which the narrative centered.

Mr. Wong spied his chance.

“I said, ‘Gee, this is all outdoor scenery,’” he recalled in a video interview years afterward, adding: “I said, ‘Gee, I’m a landscape painter!’”

Invoking the exquisite landscape paintings of the Song dynasty (A.D. 960–1279), he rendered in watercolors and pastels a series of nature scenes that were moody, lyrical and atmospheric — at once lush and spare — with backgrounds subtly suggested by a stroke or two of the brush.

“Walt Disney went crazy over them,” said Mr. Canemaker, who wrote about Mr. Wong in his book “Before the Animation Begins: The Art and Lives of Disney Inspirational Sketch Artists” (1996). “He said, ‘I love this indefinite quality, the mysterious quality of the forest.’”

Mr. Wong was unofficially promoted to the rank of inspirational sketch artist.

“But he was more than that,” Mr. Canemaker explained. “He was the designer; he was the person they went to when they had questions about the color, about how to lay something out. He even influenced the music and the special effects: Just by the look of the drawings, he inspired people.”

Mr. Wong spent two years painting the illustrations that would inform every aspect of “Bambi.” Throughout the finished film — lent a brooding quality by its stark landscapes; misty, desaturated palette; and figures often seen in silhouette — his influence is unmistakable.

But in 1941, in the wake of a bitter employees’ strike that year, Disney fired Mr. Wong. Though he had chosen not to strike — he felt the studio had been good to him, Mr. Canemaker said — he was let go amid the lingering climate of post-strike resentments.

On “Bambi,” Mr. Wong’s name appears, quite far down in the credits, as a mere “background” artist.

Mr. Wong joined Warner Brothers in 1942, working there — and lent out on occasion to other studios — until his retirement in 1968.

The indignities he endured were not confined to the studios. Trying to buy a house, he and his wife, the former Ruth Kim, were told that each property they inquired about had just been sold. “Then in a month you’d go back there and the sign was still there,” Mr. Wong recalled in “Tyrus.”

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Mr. Wong, like many Chinese-Americans, took to wearing a lapel button proclaiming his heritage, lest an angry American beat him up on the street.

The war permanently dispersed the fledgling Oriental Artists’ Group. Mr. Wong’s friend Mr. Okubo was sent, with tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans, to an internment camp.

“If World War II hadn’t happened when it did, I think these artists, even the Chinese-American artists, would have more of a name than they do today,” Ms. See said. “And that’s because this little movement that had just barely started was split apart by the war.”

Mr. Wong, who became a United States citizen in 1946, also designed Christmas cards for Hallmark and painted elegant Asian-inflected designs on dinnerware, now sought after by collectors.

A longtime resident of Sunland, Calif., he became, in retirement, a renowned kitemaker, designing, building and hand coloring astonishing, airworthy creations — butterflies, swallows, whole flocks of owls, centipedes more than 100 feet long — that streaked the Southern California sky like paint on blue canvas.

During the last 15 years of Ruth Wong’s life, when she was ill with dementia, Mr. Wong forsook his work to care for her. After her death in 1995, he slowly began making art again.

In 2001, in formal recognition of his influence on “Bambi,” Mr. Wong was named a Disney Legend. The honor — whose previous recipients include Fred MacMurray, Julie Andrews and Annette Funicello — is bestowed by the Walt Disney Company for outstanding contributions.

In 2003, a retrospective of his work, curated in part by Ms. See, was the inaugural exhibition at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. Disney’s own retrospective, “Water to Paper, Paint to Sky,” traveled in 2015 to the Museum of Chinese in America, in Lower Manhattan.

Mr. Wong’s death, at his home in Sunland, was confirmed by the filmmaker Ms. Tom. His survivors include three daughters, Kay Fong, Tai-Ling Wong and Kim Wong; and two grandchildren.

When his daughters were small, Mr. Wong encouraged them to make art, as his father had encouraged him. Yet he would not let them have coloring books.

The reason was simple: He did not want his children constrained, he said, by lines laid down by others.

Correction: December 31, 2016
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Guangzhou as the birthplace of Tyrus Wong. He was born in Guangdong Province, but it’s not known exactly where.

January 3rd, 2017
A New Year’s Gift From Brian Eno: A Growing Musical Garden

Brian Eno Credit Steve Forrest for The New York Times

NY Times Published: JAN. 2, 2017

The composer and ambient-music pioneer Brian Eno once wrote that he considers it possible “our grandchildren will look at us in wonder and say: ‘You mean you used to listen to exactly the same thing over and over again?’”

With his newest album, “Reflection,” released Sunday, his seventh album in the past seven years, Mr. Eno is making his boldest attempt yet to create what he has described as a third category of music, generative, to join the two we know now — live and recorded. Using algorithms and increasingly powerful portable technology, generative music, he argues, will allow listeners to hear music that creates itself anew all day, or night, long, changing according to time, mood, weather or other variables.

The traditional album version of “Reflection” is a 54-minute single track that, much like the ambient music Mr. Eno has been making since the late 1970s, uses looping meditative passages that change with slow variations. But an app-based version of the project, available on iTunes, creates what Mr. Eno calls “an endless and endlessly changing version of the piece of music,” playing from the algorithms he fine-tuned while listening over weeks to the music the system created. “It’s a lot like gardening,” Mr. Eno wrote of the process in promotional materials for the project, which he accomplished with the help of Peter Chilvers, a longtime collaborator. “You plant the seeds and then you keep tending to them until you get a garden you like.”

Mr. Eno, as a futurist, has often accompanied his music with political pronouncements. And with the release of the new album, he posted his thoughts about the end of 2016 on Facebook, in a widely shared post. In it, he theorized that the tumultuous political developments of the past year might not mark the beginning of a period of decline, but the end of one that he believes has been underway for 40 years, marked by concentration of wealth and the growth of an ideology that has “sneered at social generosity and championed a sort of righteous selfishness.”

“Last year people started waking up to this,” Mr. Eno wrote, adding: “I think we underwent a mass disillusionment in 2016, and finally realized it’s time to jump out of the saucepan. This is the start of something big. It will involve engagement: not just tweets and likes and swipes, but thoughtful and creative social and political action, too.”

January 3rd, 2017

January 2nd, 2017
Seuk Doo Kim and Baldy


By his count, Seuk Doo Kim or ‘Sam,’ a 78-year-old mountaineer has climbed Mt. Baldy nearly 750 times and aims to log 1,000 summits by next year.
Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

By Ben Poston
Los Angeles Times Published: December 22, 2016

On Mt. Baldy’s rocky trails all the regulars know “Sam,” a sturdy hiker of 78 years.

By his count, Seuk Doo Kim has climbed the mountain nearly 750 times and aims to log 1,000 summits by next year.

“If you go to Baldy tomorrow, you will run into him,” said his son, David Kim. “You will never see another man who loves hiking or who is as obsessed with hiking as him.”

On a recent Sunday morning, he ascended the domed peak for the 100th day in a row.

“I’m feeling God’s embrace — this is better than church,” Sam said on the way up. “My shortcut is the holy spirit.”

But it’s faith in his own legs and lungs that lets him veer off the main trail and scramble up routes that leave others gasping for air.

Hiking days begin with Kim driving about an hour and a half from his home in Culver City.

He parks his BMW at Manker Flats, throws on a 20-pound backpack full of snacks and three liters of water, and heads out, his presence as unsurprising as that of a scrub jay or a scurrying lizard.

“What time did you start?” he’ll ask weary hikers along the granite scree. “How old are you?”

Happy for a distraction from blisters and sore feet, most stop to talk.


Climbing Mt. Baldy 1,000 times

By his count, Seuk Doo Kim has climbed the mountain nearly 750 times and aims to log 1,000 summits by next year.
Sam doesn’t take “no” for an answer when he hands them jelly beans, a bag of Doritos or a Clif Bar. He’s even more persistent about getting selfies with the people he encounters, posing for hundreds over the years.

“It got to the point where I said no more pictures,” said Ellen Coleman, 63, of Riverside, as she descended the ski hut trail. “He calls me Superwoman, but he’s significantly older than me so I call him Superman. He’s incredible.”

Sam has made the journey more than 240 times this year alone, and he has the time-stamped photos to prove it.

Climbing Mt. Baldy is not a remarkable feat. It’s a nearly 4,000-foot climb up a well-maintained trail that many hikers use to train for more difficult peaks. And others claim to have hiked it more times than Sam. But this septuagenarian’s resiliency impresses those many years his junior.

“That’s my idol right there,” said Thavee Nantarojaporn, 49, of South Pasadena, who was trail running on a sunny morning. “Anybody who can do it 100 days in a row is awesome.”

In 1981, Sam and his family moved from South Korea to Southern California, where he worked as a manager at the Bank of Seoul. He later bought and operated a convenience store. At one point he did not take a day off for nine years, his son said.

Sam’s enthusiasm for the 10,064-foot mountain — the highest point in the San Gabriel range and Los Angeles County — has inspired dozens of hikers to share stories on blogs and social media.

Kevin Ngo, 28, of Long Beach was camping atop Baldy the week of Thanksgiving and awoke to find Sam outside his tent in the middle of the night.

“I could not believe my eyes when I opened up my tent and saw him standing out there,” Ngo said.

They exchanged food and talked awhile before Sam descended back into the darkness. “I still find myself asking if that all really happened,” Ngo said.

Nithin Siddharth met Sam earlier this year on the trail. He posted a photo on Facebook that shows Sam with his friends at the summit of Mt. Baldy, holding the South Korean flag.

The caption reads: “Here’s to Kim and the power of the human spirit. For me he is literally the spirit of that mountain.”

Sam is vocal about his desire for peaceful reunification of South and North Korea — the impetus for those summit shots with other hikers holding a South Korean flag and a map of the Korean peninsula.

But it’s more than politics that pushes his thin frame up the same trail to the top of the same mountain day after day, through high wind, rain and snow.

“My mother can’t understand why he goes to the same mountain every single day. She says, ‘Who cares if you hike this 1,000 times?’ But it means a lot to him,” David Kim said. “It’s a spiritual journey for him. He feels invigorated and finds peace of mind when he is up in the mountains.”

At the end of his daily trek, Sam usually stops by a cabin at Manker Flats where his friend Richard Tufts lives. Their routine: Tufts boils water and serves green tea while Sam brings gifts such as mangoes, trail mix or beef jerky for Tufts’ dog.

A former ultra-marathoner who has hiked or run to the top of Mt. Baldy more than 1,000 times by his estimate, Tufts, 73, said his friend’s determination is astounding.

“If I was 78 like him, I wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing. I admire him. It seems to me like it’s an addiction for him — it’s better than drugs,” Tufts said.

On the day of his 100th consecutive ascent, Sam brought his two grandsons along for the trip. The youngest, Jonathan, 11, quietly trudged up the path while his grandfather jawed with dozens of hikers in broken English. The boy seems to have caught the hiking bug.

“Thank you Grandpa for taking me to Mt. Baldy to hike,” he wrote on a hiking blog. “I hope I can keep hiking with you for a long time.”

December 22nd, 2016
kim Fisher


Nov 12, 2016 – Jan 7, 2017


December 20th, 2016
Useful Idiots Galore

by Paul Krugman
NY Times Published: DEC. 16, 2016

On Wednesday an editorial in The Times described Donald Trump as a “useful idiot” serving Russian interests. That may not be exactly right. After all, useful idiots are supposed to be unaware of how they’re being used, but Mr. Trump probably knows very well how much he owes to Vladimir Putin. Remember, he once openly appealed to the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Still, the general picture of a president-elect who owes his position in part to intervention by a foreign power, and shows every sign of being prepared to use U.S. policy to reward that power, is accurate.

But let’s be honest: Mr. Trump is by no means the only useful idiot in this story. As recent reporting by The Times makes clear, bad guys couldn’t have hacked the U.S. election without a lot of help, both from U.S. politicians and from the news media.

Let me explain what I mean by saying that bad guys hacked the election. I’m not talking about some kind of wild conspiracy theory. I’m talking about the obvious effect of two factors on voting: the steady drumbeat of Russia-contrived leaks about Democrats, and only Democrats, and the dramatic, totally unjustified last-minute intervention by the F.B.I., which appears to have become a highly partisan institution, with distinct alt-right sympathies.

Does anyone really doubt that these factors moved swing-state ballots by at least 1 percent? If they did, they made the difference in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and therefore handed Mr. Trump the election, even though he received almost three million fewer total votes. Yes, the election was hacked.

By the way, people who respond to this observation by talking about mistakes in Clinton campaign strategy are missing the point, and continuing their useful idiocy. All campaigns make mistakes. Since when do these mistakes excuse subversion of an election by a foreign power and a rogue domestic law enforcement agency?

So why did the subversion work?

It’s important to realize that the postelection C.I.A. declaration that Russia had intervened on behalf of the Trump campaign was a confirmation, not a revelation (although we’ve now learned that Mr. Putin was personally involved in the effort).

The pro-Putin tilt of Mr. Trump and his advisers was obvious months before the election — I wrote about it in July. By midsummer the close relationship between WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence was also obvious, as was the site’s growing alignment with white nationalists.

Did Republican politicians, so big on flag waving and impugning their rivals’ patriotism, reject this foreign aid to their cause? No, they didn’t. In fact, as far as I can tell, no major Republican figure was even willing to criticize Mr. Trump when he directly asked Russia to hack Mrs. Clinton.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It has long been obvious — except, apparently, to the news media — that the modern G.O.P. is a radical institution that is ready to violate democratic norms in the pursuit of power. Why should the norm of not accepting foreign assistance be any different?

The bigger surprise was the behavior of the news media, and I don’t mean fake news; I mean big, prestigious organizations. Leaked emails, which everyone knew were probably the product of Russian hacking, were breathlessly reported as shocking revelations, even when they mostly revealed nothing more than the fact that Democrats are people.

Meanwhile, the news media dutifully played up the Clinton server story, which never involved any evidence of wrongdoing, but merged in the public mind into the perception of a vast “email” scandal when there was nothing there.

And then there was the Comey letter. The F.B.I. literally found nothing at all. But the letter dominated front pages and TV coverage, and that coverage — by news organizations that surely knew that they were being used as political weapons — was almost certainly decisive on Election Day.

So as I said, there were a lot of useful idiots this year, and they made the election hack a success.

Now what? If we’re going to have any hope of redemption, people will have to stop letting themselves be used the way they were in 2016. And the first step is to admit the awful reality of what just happened.

That means not trying to change the subject to campaign strategy, which is a legitimate topic but has no bearing on the question of electoral subversion. It means not making excuses for news coverage that empowered that subversion.

And it means not acting as if this was a normal election whose result gives the winner any kind of a mandate, or indeed any legitimacy beyond the bare legal requirements. It might be more comfortable to pretend that things are O.K., that American democracy isn’t on the edge. But that would be taking useful idiocy to the next level.

December 16th, 2016
Mabel McKay

The Life and Work of Mabel McKay

The Autry’s first-ever solo show dedicated to a Native American woman’s life and work. Mabel McKay (1907–1993), a Long Valley Cache Creek Pomo woman from Northern California, represents a fascinating modern figure who maintained traditional ways. McKay is celebrated not only as a master basketweaver, but also for her many roles as traditional healer, advocate for her community and the environment, and teacher who shared her knowledge of Pomo traditions worldwide.

Widely considered to be one of the greatest California basketweavers of all time, McKay’s masterworks are highlights of the exhibition. A homey tableau reproduces McKay’s work environment, and other personal items in the exhibition include her deerskin dress, doctoring suitcase, and the lunch box she carried to her job at a cannery. The exhibition also reveals the “Life of a Basket,” introducing the many stages of cultivation, harvesting, and processing necessary to prepare materials, as well as a variety of weaving techniques used in Pomo basketry. Punctuating this section is a dramatic wall of over 50 Pomo baskets, including examples incorporating feathers, shells, and beads. Across from the wall, a selection of some of the world’s tiniest baskets—several the size of a kernel of corn—are displayed and reproduced on a video screen for up-close observation.

As explored through more than 200 cultural materials and original multimedia storytelling, McKay credited her weaving talent to her relationship with the Spirit, and she shared her healing practice with both Native and non-Native patients. She also lectured widely on Pomo traditions, and the exhibition features examples of Pomo material culture, as well artworks from fellow California Indian artists Harry Fonseca, Frank LaPena, and Dugan Aguilar. The exhibition marks McKay’s political activism with installations on the American Indian Movement occupation of Alcatraz and protests against the Warm Springs Dam on Lake Sonoma, which flooded grasslands used for basket-making.

The Autry

December 9th, 2016

Feet of The Devil, 2016
Cotton, wool, silk, and rayon
20 1/2 x 57 inches

Through December 17, 2016

Grice Bench

December 9th, 2016
Jennifer Rochlin | Faint Heart

Somewhere Midnight, 2016
Ceramic and Glaze
14 1/2 X 12 inches

Opening Reception Sunday: December 4. 2:30 – 4:30 PM

South Willard Shop Exhibit

November 30th, 2016


During the signing the artists will display a selection of ephemera from their respective collections- a gesture extending from ongoing enthusiasm and exchange of printed matter between the two.

Nicholas Gottlund, Holding the Frame

Four color offset printing.
Foil stamped soft cover.
9.75 x 11.25 inches, 208 pages.
Ota-bind lay-flat binding.
Designed by the artist.
Published by Lodret Vandret & Gottlund.
Edition of 500.
Special edition of 10.

Holding the Frame presents an accumulation of work including his Beholder and Spanner series as well as the ad hoc tools of the print studio. In addition to his photographs and sculptural works Gottlund has contributed an experimental text which is hacked, ripped and pieced together from other artist’s writings, design manuals, book reviews and press releases.

Ricky Swallow, SKEWS+

Off-set printing in B/W and color.
250 white, 250 black foil stamped covers.
7.5 X 10 inches, 44 pages.
Designed by Nicholas Gottlund.
Photography by Fredrik Nilsen.
Published by CANYON RATS.
Printed at typecraft in Pasadena.

SKEWS+ collates a visual inventory of Swallow’s bronze sculptures from 2015, most of which were exhibited together as the exhibition /SKEWS/ at David Kordansky Gallery last fall. The pacing and simplicity of the publiation seek to ground the objects in print as a sympathetic material record to the experienced sculptures. Somewhere in this shrink wrapped volume are two CANYON RATS bumper stickers designed by Sun An and Nick Gottlund.

November 29th, 2016
No we can’t just get along

By Charles M. Blow
NY Times Published:
November 23, 2016

Donald Trump schlepped across town on Tuesday to meet with the publisher of The New York Times and some editors, columnists and reporters at the paper.

As The Times reported, Trump actually seemed to soften some of his positions:

He seemed to indicate that he wouldn’t seek to prosecute Hillary Clinton. But he should never have said that he was going to do that in the first place.

He seemed to indicate that he wouldn’t encourage the military to use torture. But he should never have said that he would do that in the first place.

He said that he would have an “open mind” on climate change. But that should always have been his position.

You don’t get a pat on the back for ratcheting down from rabid after exploiting that very radicalism to your advantage. Unrepentant opportunism belies a staggering lack of character and caring that can’t simply be vanquished from memory. You did real harm to this country and many of its citizens, and I will never — never — forget that.

As I read the transcript and then listened to the audio, the slime factor was overwhelming.

After a campaign of bashing The Times relentlessly, in the face of the actual journalists, he tempered his whining with flattery.

At one point he said:

“I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.”

He ended the meeting by saying:

“I will say, The Times is, it’s a great, great American jewel. A world jewel. And I hope we can all get along well.”

I will say proudly and happily that I was not present at this meeting. The very idea of sitting across the table from a demagogue who preyed on racial, ethnic and religious hostilities and treating him with decorum and social grace fills me with disgust, to the point of overflowing. Let me tell you here where I stand on your “I hope we can all get along” plea: Never.

You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything — no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts — to satisfy your ambitions.

I don’t believe you care much at all about this country or your party or the American people. I believe that the only thing you care about is self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. Your strongest allegiance is to your own cupidity.

I also believe that much of your campaign was an act of psychological projection, as we are now learning that many of the things you slammed Clinton for are things of which you may actually be guilty.

You slammed Clinton for destroying emails, then Newsweek reported last month that your companies “destroyed emails in defiance of court orders.” You slammed Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for paid speeches and conflicts of interest, then it turned out that, as BuzzFeed reported, the Trump Foundation received a $150,000 donation in exchange for your giving a 2015 speech made by video to a conference in Ukraine. You slammed Clinton about conflicts of interest while she was secretary of state, and now your possible conflicts of interest are popping up like mushrooms in a marsh.

You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.

I am not easily duped by dopes.

I have not only an ethical and professional duty to call out how obscene your very existence is at the top of American government; I have a moral obligation to do so.

I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but rather to speak up for truth and honor and inclusion. This isn’t just about you, but also about the moral compass of those who see you for who and what you are, and know the darkness you herald is only held at bay by the lights of truth.

It’s not that I don’t believe that people can change and grow. They can. But real growth comes from the accepting of responsibility and repenting of culpability. Expedient reversal isn’t growth; it’s gross.

So let me say this on Thanksgiving: I’m thankful to have this platform because as long as there are ink and pixels, you will be the focus of my withering gaze.

I’m thankful that I have the endurance and can assume a posture that will never allow what you represent to ever be seen as everyday and ordinary.

No, Mr. Trump, we will not all just get along. For as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity — and certainly this columnist — have an absolute obligation to meet you and your agenda with resistance at every turn.

I know this in my bones, and for that I am thankful.

November 28th, 2016
Closed for Black Friday


We will reopen Saturday

November 23rd, 2016
Thomas piketty: we must rethink globalization or trumpism will prevail

‘The abandoned and decaying manufacturing plant of Packard Motor Car in Detroit, Michigan’ Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters

The Guardian Published:
Wednesday 16 November 2016
By Thomas Piketty

Rust-belt romantics don’t get it: the middle class is being wiped out too

Let it be said at once: Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.

Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example. What sealed the deal, though, was the suspicion that the Democrats were too close to Wall Street – and the inability of the Democratic media elite to learn the lessons from the Sanders vote.

Hillary won the popular vote by a whisker (60.1 million votes as against 59.8 million for Trump, out of a total adult population of 240 million), but the participation of the youngest and the lowest income groups was much too low to enable key states to be won.

The tragedy is that Trump’s program will only strengthen the trend towards inequality. He intends to abolish the health insurance laboriously granted to low-paid workers under Obama and to set the country on a headlong course into fiscal dumping, with a reduction from 35% to 15% in the rate of federal tax on corporation profits, whereas to date the United States had resisted this trend, already witnessed in Europe
In addition, the increasing role of ethnicity in American politics does not bode well for the future if new compromises are not found. In the United States, 60% of the white majority votes for one party while over 70% of the minorities vote for the other. In addition to this, the majority is on the verge of losing its numerical advantage (70% of the votes cast in 2016, as compared with 80% in 2000 and 50% forecast in 2040).

The main lesson for Europe and the world is clear: as a matter of urgency, globalization must be fundamentally re-oriented. The main challenges of our times are the rise in inequality and global warming. We must therefore implement international treaties enabling us to respond to these challenges and to promote a model for fair and sustainable development.

Agreements of a new type can, if necessary, include measures aimed at facilitating these exchanges. But the question of liberalizing trade should no longer be the main focus. Trade must once again become a means in the service of higher ends. It never should have become anything other than that.

There should be no more signing of international agreements that reduce customs duties and other commercial barriers without including quantified and binding measures to combat fiscal and climate dumping in those same treaties. For example, there could be common minimum rates of corporation tax and targets for carbon emissions which can be verified and sanctioned. It is no longer possible to negotiate trade treaties for free trade with nothing in exchange.

From this point of view, Ceta, the EU-Canada free trade deal, should be rejected. It is a treaty which belongs to another age. This strictly commercial treaty contains absolutely no restrictive measures concerning fiscal or climate issues. It does, however, contain a considerable reference to the “protection of investors”. This enables multinationals to sue states under private arbitration courts, bypassing the public tribunals available to one and all.

The legal supervision proposed is clearly inadequate, in particular concerning the key question of the remuneration of the arbitrators-cum-referees and will lead to all sorts of abuses. At the very time when American legal imperialism is gaining in strength and imposing its rules and its dues on our companies, this decline in public justice is an aberration. The priority, on the contrary, should be the construction of strong public authorities, with the creation of a prosecutor, including a European state prosecutor, capable of enforcing their decisions.

The Paris Accords had a purely theoretical aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. This would, for example, require the oil found in the tar sands in Alberta to be left in the ground. But Canada has just started mining there again. So what sense is there in signing this agreement and then, only a few months later, signing a highly restrictive commercial treaty without a single mention of this question?

A balanced treaty between Canada and Europe, aimed at promoting a partnership for fair and sustainable development, should begin by specifying the emission targets of each signatory and the practical commitments to achieve these.

In matters of fiscal dumping and minimum rates of taxation on corporation profits, this would obviously mean a complete paradigm change for Europe, which was constructed as a free trade area with no common fiscal policy. This change is essential. What sense is there in agreeing on a common fiscal policy (which is the one area in which Europe has achieved some progress for the moment) if each country can then fix a near-zero rate and attract all the major company headquarters?

TTIP was defeated by activists – Trump just exploited public anger over it

It is time to change the political discourse on globalization: trade is a good thing, but fair and sustainable development also demands public services, infrastructure, health and education systems. In turn, these themselves demand fair taxation systems. If we fail to deliver these, Trumpism will prevail.

November 16th, 2016
Paul thek

Paul Thek, Untitled (Ferocious), 1971, Glass, steel, plasticine and dried flowers and foliage, 12 1/4 x 19 3/4 x 9 1/2 inches

November 12, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Hannah Hoffman

November 13th, 2016
Bernie sanders: Where the Democrats Go From Here

NY Times: NOVEMBER 11, 2016

Millions of Americans registered a protest vote on Tuesday, expressing their fierce opposition to an economic and political system that puts wealthy and corporate interests over their own. I strongly supported Hillary Clinton, campaigned hard on her behalf, and believed she was the right choice on Election Day. But Donald J. Trump won the White House because his campaign rhetoric successfully tapped into a very real and justified anger, an anger that many traditional Democrats feel.

I am saddened, but not surprised, by the outcome. It is no shock to me that millions of people who voted for Mr. Trump did so because they are sick and tired of the economic, political and media status quo.

Working families watch as politicians get campaign financial support from billionaires and corporate interests — and then ignore the needs of ordinary Americans. Over the last 30 years, too many Americans were sold out by their corporate bosses. They work longer hours for lower wages as they see decent paying jobs go to China, Mexico or some other low-wage country. They are tired of having chief executives make 300 times what they do, while 52 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. Many of their once beautiful rural towns have depopulated, their downtown stores are shuttered, and their kids are leaving home because there are no jobs — all while corporations suck the wealth out of their communities and stuff them into offshore accounts.

Working Americans can’t afford decent, quality child care for their children. They can’t send their kids to college, and they have nothing in the bank as they head into retirement. In many parts of the country they can’t find affordable housing, and they find the cost of health insurance much too high. Too many families exist in despair as drugs, alcohol and suicide cut life short for a growing number of people.

President-elect Trump is right: The American people want change. But what kind of change will he be offering them? Will he have the courage to stand up to the most powerful people in this country who are responsible for the economic pain that so many working families feel, or will he turn the anger of the majority against minorities, immigrants, the poor and the helpless?

Will he have the courage to stand up to Wall Street, work to break up the “too big to fail” financial institutions and demand that big banks invest in small businesses and create jobs in rural America and inner cities? Or, will he appoint another Wall Street banker to run the Treasury Department and continue business as usual? Will he, as he promised during the campaign, really take on the pharmaceutical industry and lower the price of prescription drugs?

I am deeply distressed to hear stories of Americans being intimidated and harassed in the wake of Mr. Trump’s victory, and I hear the cries of families who are living in fear of being torn apart. We have come too far as a country in combating discrimination. We are not going back. Rest assured, there is no compromise on racism, bigotry, xenophobia and sexism. We will fight it in all its forms, whenever and wherever it re-emerges.

I will keep an open mind to see what ideas Mr. Trump offers and when and how we can work together. Having lost the nationwide popular vote, however, he would do well to heed the views of progressives. If the president-elect is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families, I’m going to present some very real opportunities for him to earn my support.

Let’s rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of well-paying jobs. Let’s raise the minimum wage to a living wage, help students afford to go to college, provide paid family and medical leave and expand Social Security. Let’s reform an economic system that enables billionaires like Mr. Trump not to pay a nickel in federal income taxes. And most important, let’s end the ability of wealthy campaign contributors to buy elections.

In the coming days, I will also provide a series of reforms to reinvigorate the Democratic Party. I believe strongly that the party must break loose from its corporate establishment ties and, once again, become a grass-roots party of working people, the elderly and the poor. We must open the doors of the party to welcome in the idealism and energy of young people and all Americans who are fighting for economic, social, racial and environmental justice. We must have the courage to take on the greed and power of Wall Street, the drug companies, the insurance companies and the fossil fuel industry.

When my presidential campaign came to an end, I pledged to my supporters that the political revolution would continue. And now, more than ever, that must happen. We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. When we stand together and don’t let demagogues divide us up by race, gender or national origin, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. We must go forward, not backward.

Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, was a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

November 12th, 2016
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