Tag Archives: California

What is an astrolabe?

And where would you see the only one in existence?

Yes!  The wonderful  Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla.
(See March 21, 2014 post to read just how crazy I am for this museum.)

An astrolabe is a form of calendar.  This particular astrolabe was located in the Benedictine monastery, San Zeno, Verona, and ‘dates’ from about 1455.

It is wooden, four feet in diameter, and communicated feast days, astrological signs, moon phases and hours of daylight.  It is comprised of rotating wheels that were turned to mark the passage of time.

The museum points out that this astrolabe marks the transition between the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance.  The object, itself, is very medieval, while the astrological information included reflects the Renaissance.

Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla

Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla

The astrolabe was hung in a place in the monastery where the monks would see it several times a day.  It was, in effect, their calendar…..their daytimers.

I wonder if its conspicuous presence also reminded them of the passage of time?  the finite nature of earthly life? Although not as portable as our electronic devices, it is a whole lot more beautiful. If our calendars and daytimers were works of art, I wonder…..would we become more reflective?

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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (La Jolla)

This is a short list* of reasons why I especially like the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla:

-Admission is free for ages 25 and under (bring the kids!)

-Admission ticket is good for a week (bring the kids once, and then go back again—by yourself)

-A compact, but very good, outdoor sculpture gallery

-It’s a beautiful space, with amazing views over the Pacific Ocean

-Enjoyable cafe, with a lovely patio

-Small gift shop filled with ‘good things’

Last, but not least…..

-Great art shows!

*(I just finished reading 1982 by Jian Ghomeshi, and was inspired by Jian’s  ‘short lists’ or ‘shortlists.’)

Crossroads (Border Tijuana-San Diego) by Marcos Ramirez ERRE

 

Robert Irwin in La Jolla

It was another pleasant surprise to discover Robert Irwin‘s presence in La Jolla.  Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III,  was originally a site-specific installation in London, England in 2013.  The original installation was photographed by Phiipp Scholz Ritterman, and is now presented as a mural. Quint Contemporary Art is featuring an exhibition of several new works by Robert Irwin.   The works, exploring light, shadow, reflection and colour, are shown off to their advantage in this space. Along with the installation at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, it’s a Robert Irwin buffet feast in La Jolla, California! I’m looking forward to reading Irwin’s biography, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees  by Lawrence Weschler.

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library….

…..is another treasure I stumbled upon in La Jolla, California.  Imagine!  A library devoted to art and music….a little piece of heaven.

Located in a beautiful building downtown, the library is full of surprises: racks and racks of art and music periodicals to enjoy, a cozy children’s book corner, a collection of first edition Caldecott Medal book winners, an extensive collection of Artist’s Books, as well as — bonus! — a new Robert Irwin  installation, Palladium (light, shadow, reflection, colour) on display.

The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is not only a wonderful place to hang out, but it is also a great organization.  Besides art classes, lectures and public readings, several concert series are on offer.  We were fortunate to catch a jazz concert featuring the trumpeter Randy Brecker with Peter Erskine on drums.

It’s great to know that this non-profit, membership library is thriving.

 

Map & Atlas Museum of La Jolla

On a recent trip to La Jolla, California, we stumbled upon the Map & Atlas Museum of La Jolla.

Wow!  What treasures are in this amazing and comprehensive  collection:  there are maps dating from the 15th century!  Thanks to Michael R. Stone for making this collection available to the public, in a very elegant setting.

The old maps are wonderful examples of etching, and woodcuts.  I was happy to see the printer was acknowledged on many of the maps.

I particularly enjoyed the ‘cartes’ of Jo Mora, who was born in Uruguay, and spent most of his adult life working in the U.S.  His maps are entertaining, as well as educational.  Despite the fact they were printed in the 1940’s, the work seems ‘fresh’ and modern.