Environmentalist Regulations Inspire Vigilantes to Destroy Fairy Houses

(p. A10) Monhegan and a growing number of other environmentally conscious locales are fighting the scourge of fairy gardens, miniature habitats built by children and young-at-heart adults to attract tiny mythical creatures.

Typically they include a pint-size house with a path leading to its entrance and surrounded with small plants. The houses can range from rustic lean-tos handmade from twigs, bark and pebbles to store-bought plastic castles accompanied by LED lights, artificial plants, colorful glass beads and a family of fairy figurines.

On Monhegan, it is easy to run afoul of the regulations, which forbid picking living plants or using anything brought from the shore. No items are to be used “from your pockets,” including coins, food and anything plastic.

It is also easy to run afoul of Ms. Durst, a retired computer consultant who, like several other like-minded vigilantes, calls herself a “stomper” and has crushed many a fairy house over the years.

. . .

Julie Cole, . . . , is something of a scofflaw. She oversees a 5,564-member fairy-garden discussion group on Facebook, sells fairy furniture online and teaches fairy-gardening classes near her home in Jefferson, Ohio. “It’s a true taste of serendipity to be along a trail and see a little fairy door on a tree,” says Ms. Cole. “I can’t imagine anyone not liking that, but there’s always someone.”

For the full story, see:

Ellen Byron. “‘Fairy Houses’ Are Violating Building Codes.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, July 18, 2018): A1 & A10.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date July 17, 2018, and the title “Hey Tinkerbell, Get Your Fairy House Up to Code or It’s Coming Down.”)

Fashion Designers Catch Up with Arthur Diamond on Pockets

After decades of wearing shirts with two to four pockets, and cargo pants with many pockets, I am gratified to finally be vindicated as a fashion-forward trendsetter.

(p. D1) IN 1901, Levi’s gave its famous 501 jean its famous fifth pocket. It wasn’t, as many assume, the teensy pocketwatch slot above the right front pocket–that had been there since the jean’s beginnings in 1879–but rather the back left pocket. That unassuming addition granted generations of men (and eventually women) double the rear-end real estate in which to stash bifolds, bandannas, crumpled bar receipts and, of course, awkward hands. For a mere sliver of space, it marked a revolution in clothing.

These days, our relationship to pockets is undergoing a similar sea change. Whereas Levi’s took a subtle approach, menswear designers are now stitching pockets on garments with the abandon of Jackson Pollock flinging paint on canvas. No longer an afterthought or mundane change-holder, pockets are the defining component of many designs.

For the full story, see:
Jacob Gallagher. “Pick Pockets.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018): D1-D2.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 6, 2018, and has the title “Think Your Clothes Have Enough Pockets? Think Again.”)

“The Oppressive Communality” of Open Floor Plans

(p. D1) These days, people are taking another look at developing basements or attics as getaway bonus spaces to ensure family peace. As the idea of the open-plan home–the combination kitchen, living and dining room that’s long dominated residential layouts–has aged, it’s revealed its flaws. When parents are relentlessly texting children all day and then corralling the whole family into a single living space all night, there’s no escaping each other, and nerves can fray.
. . .
(p. D2) The oppressive communality of the open plan has fueled the backlash, as has constant connectedness. Jen Altman, a child family psychologist of 17 years, sees the pendulum beginning to swing away from helicopter parenting. These days, she hears parents howl versions of “I just need 10 minutes to myself.”
“I’ve always thought that aloneness and separation are as vital to development as attachment and connection,” said Dr. Altman, who practices in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.
. . .
“It’s hard to get away from the open plan because of the way we live,” she said. “It’s the space where everyone congregates–meals are prepared, kids do their homework.” But she found herself seeking respite in the detached room–“sort of an at-home getaway,” she said. Though bright bands of colored paint ring the walls, “the space never reads ‘playroom,'” she said, thanks to a floor of black rocks and shells, and a muted Oriental rug. After Ms. Vidal moved in her beloved midcentury Heywood Wakefield vanity, her design books and mementos made the space hers.
“It’s a bit of separation from being on top of one another,” she said of the room. “It helps me focus.”

For the full story, see:
Elizabeth Anne Hartman. “Hideaway We Go.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., Aug. 19, 2017): D1-D2.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Aug. 17, 2017, and has the title “The Open-Floor-Plan Backlash: How Family Members Are Escaping Each Other.”)

Pineapple Displays “Plodding Banality” of Conceptual Art

(p. A4) LONDON — How did a pineapple become a postmodern masterpiece?
The aesthetic merits of tropical fruit inadvertently entered Britain’s national cultural conversation after two students jokingly placed a store-bought pineapple on an empty table at an art exhibition this month at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, a port city in northeastern Scotland.
When they returned a few days later to the exhibition — part of the Look Again festival, which aims to highlight Aberdeen’s cultural heritage — they were shocked to discover their pineapple protected by a glass display case, instantly and mysteriously transformed into a work of art.
After one of the students, Lloyd Jack, 22, who studies business, put a photograph of the pineapple on Twitter, along with the words, “I made art,” the image was shared widely on social media, turning the fruit, fairly or not, into a cultural sensation. To some, though, the stunt was a self-promoting social media prank befitting the digital age.
Mr. Jack’s post received nearly 5,000 likes on Twitter. Before long, the work, which the two students titled “Pineapple,” had been deconstructed on art blogs and social media worldwide; parsed in Paris, Texas and Tokyo; and even featured on Canadian television. Some on Twitter lauded its “genius,” while others ridiculed it as the latest example of conceptual art’s plodding banality.
. . .
Others saw hidden meaning in the pineapple, including an art professor at the university who, Mr. Gray said, enthusiastically lauded the “purposeful way” in which the display case had pressed down on the fruit’s leaves.
“It just goes to show the ludicrousness of conceptual art and how anything can become art,” Mr. Jack said.
. . .
Peter York, an author and cultural commentator, noted that the pineapple display, consciously or not, wittily reflected Duchamp’s notion that if you declare something art, it becomes art.
“I rank pineapples quite highly as they are quite decorative objects, sort of colonial superfruits, with leaves that look like green fountains at the top,” he said. “But you wouldn’t really want a pineapple exhibited in your home.”

For the full story, see:
DAN BILEFSKY. “Scots Plumb a Pineapple’s Hidden Meaning After it Becomes Accidental Art.” The New York Times (Fri., MAY 12, 2017): A4.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date MAY 11, 2017, and has the title “How a Humble Pineapple Became Art.”)

Abstract Art Belongs in “the Trash Heap of Art History”

(p. A20) . . . , Mr. Safer sometimes raised hackles, as when he questioned the basic premise of abstract art in a 1993 report, calling much of it “worthless junk” destined for “the trash heap of art history” and saying it was overvalued by the “hype” of critics, art dealers and auction houses. The art world recoiled, but Mr. Safer, who described himself as a “Sunday painter,” stood his ground.

For the full obituary, see:

ROBERT D. McFADDEN. “Morley Safer, Chronicler of Vietnam and Mainstay of ’60 Minutes,’ Dies at 84.” The New York Times (Fri., May 20, 2016): A20.

(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date May 19, 2016, and has the title “Morley Safer, Mainstay of ’60 Minutes,’ Is Dead at 84.”)

Old Photographic Technology Makes a Limited Comeback

(p. C1) The Phoenix artist Annie Lopez wanted to stand out among her contemporary peers. Instead of trying to invent something utterly new, she has been turning to a 174-year-old photographic printing process — cyanotypes, once used for copying architectural drawings — and giving it her own distinctive twist.
Ms. Lopez created a dress pattern cut from tamale wrapping paper and printed all over with cyanotypes, which have a distinctly cyan-blue color. She printed the cyanotypes herself, in a process that took about 25 minutes per sheet of images. No darkroom was needed.
That ease has brought cyanotypes roaring back to relevance, attracting a surprising number of true-blue adherents showing their work in galleries.
, , ,
(p. C2) Anna Atkins, considered by many to be the first female photographer and the first person to create a book of photo-based images, blended science and art in botanical cyanotypes, starting in the 1840s. Atkins’s “Honey Locust Leaf and Pod” (circa 1854) is featured in the Worcester show.
The fine-art application was scarce for more than a century after Atkins’s day — rare enough that Steichen once called his use of cyanotypes a “secret” in a letter to his friend and mentor Alfred Stieglitz. For fine artists, it was often considered an “ugly stepchild” of the larger medium, Ms. Burns said, “because it was too easy.”
Amateurs embraced cyanotypes more easily. “In terms of popular usage they were big until the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and women’s periodicals were giving people instructions on how to make them,” Ms. Burns said. “But then they fell off the map of photography.”
Well into the 20th century, the long-dormant medium was awakened by artists looking for something different.
“As of the 1960s, people started to be interested in reviving old photo processes,” said Dusan Stulik, a former senior scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute who has studied cyanotypes for decades. “Cyanotypes handle subtle light well, and they are fairly sturdy.”
On a gut level, cyanotypes produce a result that is universal. “The color blue strikes some chord in us that goes beyond words,” said the San Francisco photography dealer Jeffrey Fraenkel. “It’s that simple.”

For the full story, see:
TED LOOS. “Photography’s Stepchild Snaps Back.” The New York Times (Sat., Feb. 6, 2016): C1-C2.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the article has the date Feb. 5, 2016, and has the title “Cyanotype, Photography’s Blue Period, Is Making a Comeback.”)

How to Monopolize a Dead Technology

(p. C3) LOS ANGELES — When Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” is released in a special roadshow version (with overture, intermission and additional footage) on Dec. 25, it will represent a feat worthy of the heist in the director’s “Jackie Brown.”
The film is scheduled to open on 96 screens in the United States and four in Canada, all in 70-millimeter projection, a premium format associated with extravaganzas of the 1950s and 1960s.
Yet from a theatrical standpoint, the technology is nearly obsolete. Last year, “Interstellar” opened in 70 millimeter at only 11 comparable locations. There were only 16 in 2012 for “The Master,” which renewed interested in the format. No film has opened with 100 70-millimeter prints since 1992. According to the National Association of Theater Owners, 97 percent of the 40,000 screens in the United States now use digital projection.

. . .
“We looked around for anybody who was selling them,” said Erik Lomis, Weinstein’s president of theatrical distribution and home entertainment. “We tried to keep it as quiet as possible as to why. Eventually word leaked out why we were looking for them, and then the price went up.”
. . .
“We’ve been accused of actually cornering the market on 70-millimeter projectors,” Mr. Cutler said. “It’s probably pretty true. There probably aren’t too many out there that we didn’t find.” Most of them were destroyed, he added, during the conversion to digital projection.
. . .
Ultra Panavision also produces subtle aesthetic effects, unusual even to viewers familiar with 70 millimeter. The lens “for lack of a better word is a softer lens,” Mr. Sasaki said. During a screening of test footage for the film, he pointed out the impressionistic qualities of the focus and explained how the image catered to our eyes’ natural depth cues.
With projectors found and lenses made, the next hurdle is labor: Most theaters no longer have projectionists with a working knowledge of these machines. Mr. Cutler’s company will provide training for each site. “One way or the other, we will fulfill this need,” he said. “It will be a combination of house staff that we can train, professional projectionists that we can bring in, projectionists that we can find locally, and potentially some technical staff that we’ll bring in.” Every theater showing the film will get a spare set of belts, fuses and light bulbs, and instructions. Mr. Cutler’s staff will also be standing by for calls.

For the full story, see:
BEN KENIGSBERG. “In a World Gone Digital, Room for a Lost Format.” The New York Times (Thurs., NOV. 12, 2015): C3.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date NOV. 11, 2015, and has the title “Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’ Resurrects Nearly Obsolete Technology.”)