Brooklynbridgebury

The Ken Burns documentary on the Brooklyn Bridge strikes home the point that the BB has inspired a Bloomsbury-like intellectual and artistic climate of artists, poets, musicians, philosophers, and photographers the likes of Georgia O’Keefe,Joseph Stella, Hart Crane, Frank Sinatra, Lewis Mumford, Walker Evans and Edward Steichen. All these creative individuals have been inspired over the years by what Arthur Miller calls the “steel poetry” of an unpresumptuous monument which does its job and carries its load every day.

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For Roebling

The grass of Brooklyn Waterfront Park needs sculpture.  Here is a suggestion: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A5743&page_number=5&template_id=1&sort_order=1&artistFilterInitial=M

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Anticipating Whitman

I have no particular favorite line. I can’t even begin to separate out “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” from the whole of “Leaves of Grass”. I guess the fact that to be truly Whitmanesque, one has to see that his poem encompasses all people and the whole of human understanding. The line that gets at this notion for me is in stanza 2 “The similitudes of the past and those of the future”. And again in the final stanza: “You furnish your parts toward eternity, Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul”. The idea that we are part of the larger universe, call it what you will, Hinduism, Astrophysics, whatever, is the quintessential Whitman vision. Another poet who taught in Brooklyn, Allen Ginsberg, certainly viewed Whitman as one of his ancestral poet fathers. I have been inspired by Whitman’s notion in Democratic Vistas that “We see our land, America, her literature, esthetics, &c., as, substantially, the getting in form, or effusement and statement, of deepest basic elements and loftiest final meanings, of history and man — and the portrayal, (under the eternal laws and conditions of beauty,) of our own physiognomy, the subjective tie and expression of the objective, as from our own combination, continuation, and points of view — and the deposit and record of the national mentality, character, appeals, heroism, wars, and even liberties — where these, and all, culminate in native literary and artistic formulation, to be perpetuated; and not having which native, first-class formulation, she will flounder about, and her other, however imposing, eminent greatness, prove merely a passing gleam; but truly having which, she will understand herself, live nobly, nobly contribute, emanate, and, swinging, poised safely on herself, illumin’d and illuming, become a full-form’d world, and divine Mother not only of material but spiritual worlds, in ceaseless succession through time — the main thing being the average, the bodily, the concrete, the democratic, the popular, on which all the superstructures of the future are to permanently rest. I believe that true democracy encompasses everyman and woman in the universe.” The last time I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge was in a torrential downpour. I emerged soaking wet but definitely reminded of the power of nature, and that I was only a small wet droplet in the cosmos. Brooklyn Forever.

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The Ken Burns documentary on the Brooklyn Bridge strikes home the point that the BB has inspired a Bloomsbury-like intellectual and artistic climate of artists, poets, musicians, philosophers, and photographers the likes of Georgia O’Keefe,Joseph Stella, Hart Crane, Frank Sinatra, Lewis Mumford, Walker Evans and Edward Steichen.  All these creative individuals have been inspired over the years by what Arthur Miller calls the “steel poetry” of an unpresumptuous monument which does its job and carries its load every day.

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Art in Public Places

Brooklyn waterfront public spaces seem to lend themselves to art installations. Dan Campo discussed the unplanned, insurgent art which arose in the Williamsburg area.  I am interested also in the planned exhibitions which line the East River. Thinking of a show at Socrates Park in Queens which featured interactive pieces of sculpture by Mark diSuvero. Children climbing on sculptures without anyone denying access.

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