Category: architecture and design

Texas Break 1: The River Runs Through It

Posted March 20th, 2017
Texas Break 1: The River Runs Through It

San Antonio is famed for two things: The Alamo and the Riverwalk. Decades ago My Dear One paused at San Antonio, while on route to California, to see them. He was disappointed. Apparently, the Alamo site was barely a building or two, including the chapel, and primarily intrusive hawkers of cheesy souvenirs. The Riverwalk was a short…

The Naples Jaunt 4: Mining and Minding the Past     

Posted March 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 4: Mining and Minding the Past     

Ruins. Antiquities. The bones of the dead. Italy is a place where one culture layers on another, razing, reusing, raising new structures for new orders. Italy has commoditized her archaeological past since long before she was unified as a nation in 1860. Romans collected and copied works of Greek art. Greek, Roman, Egyptian relics were…

Christmas Letter 2016

Posted December 13th, 2016
Christmas Letter 2016

Dearest all, I made the pilgrimage on my own, from our moorage on the Danube in Passau, Germany, up the Wallfahrtsstiege, the 321 steps to the Mariahilf.  I counted off the Stations of the Cross and contemplated the gifts people had left, pleas for help and expressions of gratitude. No one else was there, no…

I-35: Mason City

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Mason City

There is sculpture everywhere. Sofas, side tables and chairs in the park, children playing, bears looking confused, a marching band worth of horns, welded dinosaurs, silvery dancers, and even Frank Lloyd Wright looking approvingly at his hotel and bank downtown. Realism, abstraction, high art and humor. Who knew. And who knew that Mason City, a…

I-35: Des Moines

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Des Moines

There were dropped jaws and more polite phrasings like, “What has persuaded you to make this move?” when I told people that I was moving to Iowa, in 1985 for a job as curator of education at the Des Moines Art Center. “Big careers are made in smaller museums,” I often answered. But the truth…

In Flanders Cities 5: Brussels is Art Nouveau

Posted April 19th, 2015
In Flanders Cities 5: Brussels is Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau is not really my thing—too ornate, too feminine, too precious. I admire certain artists and objects and connect to the focus on materials and their unique qualities, but l would not want an Art Nouveau home or Art Nouveau furnishings, or even much in the way of Art Nouveau jewelry. I understand—and teach—that…

In Flanders’ Cities 4: Antwerp

Posted April 18th, 2015
In Flanders’ Cities 4: Antwerp

I was here in the summer of 1970, an eighteen-year-old hitchhiking around Europe after a year on an English-Speaking Union scholarship at Princess Helena College in Hertfordshire, England. My traveling companion, Sue, was a school pal of a school pal, and we joined forces on this adventure—and an adventure it was. But I remember nearly…

In Flanders’ Cities 3: Bruges

Posted April 12th, 2015
In Flanders’ Cities 3: Bruges

The forecast was splendid: sunny at 71 degrees, which is to say 22 degrees Celsius. We would be outdoors all day. We dressed accordingly, climbed on a train and got to Bruges by about 11:00. The walk to the Grote Markt, the center of town, is less than two kilometers, two incredibly pleasant and beautiful…