Tag Archives: books

The Mockingbird Has Been Killed

To Kill A Mockingbird

Something extraordinary has been happening today.  In case you haven’t been on Twitter, To Kill A Mockingbird has been trending.

Believe it or not British Education Secretary Michael Gove has caused an uproar by removing this book which has been a part of English study for over 20 years, as well as Of Mice and Men from the GCSE syllabus purely because of his personal “dislike” of these texts.  He wants them replaced by English works written  by pre-20th century British authors such as Charles Dickens or Jane Austen. 

The decision has also been criticised by educators and is being rumored that,  ‘It’s a syllabus out of the 1940s, that Michael Gove, designed the new curriculum himself,’ and that he’s on a mission to ban all American texts from British study.

Really? Wow!

What’s awesome about the backlash is finding out just how many people world-wide are chiming in with anger at this decision…and you thought nobody read anymore.

Apparently, To Kill A Mockingbird has been one of the most influential books read in our time, instilling a sense of connection with one’s fellow man/woman, taking the ideal of erasing prejudice and racism to great lengths in our hearts, minds and actions.

The new curriculum is going into effect in 2015.  Let’s hope we don’t have an American backlash to the extent of no more Shakespeare, or Dickens or Austen for us here in the “Colonies”.  That would be more than a shame, it would be an erosion of culture.

Thanks for the wake up call Mr. Gove. Cheers!

ASCL Annual Conference 2014



Michael Gove wants students to learn from the English classics (Picture: PA)

CHEF GUY FIERI SHARES HIS RECIPE FOR SUMMER FUN

 SUMMER GRILLING SPECIAL

Guy-Fieri

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Parade.com emailed us early this morning and asked Gia On The Move to share an article about Food Network star Guy Fieri, who will be presenting his new cookbook  Guy on Fire, and his summer cooking secrets with Parade this Sunday.

The mayor of what he dubs “Flavortown” sits down to discuss the most common grilling mistakes, coping with critics, and how the death of his younger sister changed him. “Life goes by in a click,” he says. “You gotta enjoy it in a massive way.” Some excerpts below:

On the biggest grilling mistakes people make:

“The most common problem is not cooking with enough fire or cooking over coals that haven’t established themselves. But using lighter fluid, I think, is the biggest mistake people make. It’s nasty and you don’t want it in your food.”

On what people should be cooking that they’re not:

“People are very phobic about fish. And if they do cook fish, they fry it, which kills all the flavor. Tuna is probably the most readily accessible, easy to work with, and best tasting.  So try searing some ahi. … If you’re feeling adventurous, grill up some marinated octopus. It’s so healthy.”

On getting skewered by a New York Times critic, who wondered if he had even eaten at his Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square:

“I’m not going to make everybody happy. And anybody who wants to hate is going to hate. You have to be confident in who you are and what you’re doing.”

On Bobby Moynihan’s impression of him on Saturday Night Live:

“I love it. Whenever he’s done it, he’s texted me the next day to ask how I liked it, and I always tell him he’s brilliant. But my goal is to go on SNL doing Bobby doing me, alongside Bobby doing me. Wouldn’t that be nuts?”

On the death of his sister, Morgan, in 2011:

“That she could get melanoma and die within a year—I’ve always been aware of the tenderness of existence, but it reminded me to live for today.”

On what his ideal future looks like to him:

“One of my favorite places in the world is Mexico, and I have a little piece of property down there. … The end game for me would be living on the beach. The days I want to cook, I’d open my restaurant, put a flag out in the sand, and cook whatever was fresh. I love to cook for people. It’s my honor, honestly. It’s what I have to give.”

 For more from Guy Fieri, and to visit him at his rustic family compound in Santa Rosa, Calif., check out Sunday’s Parade and go to this link for the exclusive story on Parade right now:  http://bit.ly/1gAuP4s

Take Two | A Dual Review of What’s New by Chloë Sevigny vs. Elaine Stritch

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Sent directly to Gia On The Move by  The New York Times MagazineTwo of our favorite leading ladies: The Oscar-nominated actress and the New York performer/legend sound off on rap music, books, and Zabar’s breakfast.

Chloë Sevigny, an Oscar-nominated actress and perennial downtown It Girl who will next be seen in March playing a detective on the A&E crime drama “Those Who Kill,” takes on Elaine Stritch, Emmy- and Tony award-winning performer whose cabaret at the Carlyle Hotel, where she once lived, is a New York legend. The documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” will be released by Sundance Selects this month.

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Elaine vs Chloe
(PHOTOGRAPHS FROM TOP: COURTESY OF MAD DECENT; COURTESY PHAIDON PRESS; COURTESY OF CHRISTIAN DIOR PARFUMS; COURTESY ALEXANDER MCQUEEN; JUAN C. LOPEZ ESPANTALEON/ZABAR’S AND COMPANY INC)
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Read more articles like this at http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

Friday Reads: Text Synched With Audiobooks Improves Reading

70127We are really big on education here at Gia On The Move.  So when we received this article submission from NAPSI it was an easy decision to repost the content.

Reading is Fundamental. That was the theme and message for children growing up in the early 70’s, and it’s one that has stuck around.  But learning reading skills isn’t just for children. Adults benefit in so many ways too. So for our #FridayReads theme day: here’s how you can make reading easier and fun:

(NAPSI)—For millions of students with learning disabilities like dyslexia, reading is often greatly improved when they can hear and see the printed word at the same time.

Specialists report that listening to audiobooks while following the printed text allows many of these readers to take in information and enjoy learning without struggling over each word.

Paul B. Yellin, M.D., founder of The Yellin Center for Mind, Brain, and Education, describes the process: “Many children understand language that they hear at a higher level than language they read on their own. Audiobooks allow children to access information at this higher level. And very often, reading skills are best improved if the listener follows along with the written text.”

Dr. Yellin points to new formats like VOICEtext from Learning Ally, which highlights each sentence on-screen as a human narrator reads it, making it easier for readers to follow along.

“Having the ability to actually see a word highlighted while hearing it read allows a child to access content by reinforcing the linkage between ‘how a word looks’ with ‘how a word sounds’ and supports the development of independent reading skills,” he says.

Whitney D. Hall, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in cognitive assessment, agrees, saying, “The benefit of adding on-screen text that is highlighted in synch with the narration is that this more closely simulates the act of reading. Following along while hearing the material narrated allows a child to practice using their reading skills.”

How Text Synched with Audio Improves Reading

• Improves skills for decoding each sound in a word

• Enforces letter-sound associations

• Improves sight word recognition

• Enhances vocabulary

• Increases comprehension

Learning Ally, a national nonprofit, maintains the world’s largest library of human-narrated audio textbooks for students with disabilities. More than 80,000 titles (including almost 2,000 of its most popular selections in the new VOICEtext format) are downloadable to smartphones, tablets and computers that students use every day.

“Combining human speech with synchronized text in an audiobook is ideal for many students’ particular learning profile,” says Dr. Yellin. “And by using narrators who provide accurate tone and inflection throughout the book, Learning Ally audiobooks can improve understanding for the reader.”

For information on Learning Ally’s affordable memberships for families and schools, visit www.LearningAlly.org/Join.

“What’s Up Walt?” – The Man Behind The Magic

Walt Disney, How To Be Like Walt, books(NAPSI)—If you’re like many people who’ve seen Disney movies (and who hasn’t?), especially the new “Saving Mr. Banks” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson about the making of “Mary Poppins,” you may want to know more about the man behind the magic, Walt Disney himself.

Well, now you can, in the pages of a fascinating book on this cinematic pioneer who captivated audiences for decades and led a life of imagination, perseverance and optimism that lives on in the hearts and minds of people around the globe.

The authors, Pat Williams with Jim Denney of “How To Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life,” not only develop a unique profile of this icon of family entertainment, they focus on what they call Disney’s learnable skills.

They share lessons gleaned from an in-depth study of this icon of American family entertainment covering a broad range of Disney’s ideas—dare the impossible, unleash your imagination, and stay the course by never giving up (“Be a Person of Stick-To-It-Ivity,” as Disney expressed it).

As Art Linkletter, who wrote the foreword, puts it, “Of all the books written about Walt Disney, this may be the most important.”

The book is available in bookstores, on Amazon and directly from the publisher, HCI Books, at (800) 441-5569 and www.hcibooks.com.

Holiday Family Time – How We REALLY Feel About It

It may surprise you to know that as a culture, we’re not quite as selfish as we thought we were: In a completely anonymous poll of 4,554 ONLINE SHOPPERS, “receiving gifts” came in as everyone’s least favorite holiday activity—across all age groups. Spending time with family was far and away everyone’s favorite part of the holidays. Women are definitely more anxious and stressed than men…no revelations there…and everone ranked cooking and eating as their favorite activity as opposed to Reading, which came in dead last. Ha! No wonder why New Year’s dieting resolutions continue to stay popular! And only 0.4 considered spending time with families — torture (that’s pretty strong, but ok, someone said it!)
 

Get more coupon data at Tada.

Mercedes Helnwein: No Way Home October 19th

art, booksAs always, in high style, on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19th, 4 – pm, the Merry Karnowsky Gallery is hosting the book release and signing of Mercedes Helnwein’s Art Book NO WAY HOME.”

Limited to 1000 copies and published by Zero+, “NO WAY HOME” explores the complete range of Helnwein’s dynamic figurative work from film stills to large-scale oil pastel portraits and from theatrical groups of individuals to the isolated person.

Shana Nys Dambrot in her essay states, “Helnwein is first and still primarily known for her operatic, large-scale portraits. Heroic, silent monuments to slight imperfection and psychological projection, these arresting, anti-iconic portraits are unsettling and wry. They exercise an assertive psychological power that perpetrates a kind of memory-seduction of the viewer; and quite aside from the pleasing proportions, evocative line and color, and incisive maxi-minimalism of her visual style, that primal level of engagement is a huge part of the impact of the work.” And Mercedes comments, “There’s a lot of psychological content. I don’t know what to say really to explain it. In my head there must be crevices where this is coming from and reasons why it makes sense, but I’m not always told about these. All my visual work is loaded with plots — I just don’t know them all in detail. People often come up with what’s going on in a particular work. I love that this happens. The more stories something inspires the better.

:: FREE // NO RSVP NECESSARY

:: REFRESHMENTS SERVED 

_______________________________________

MERRY KARNOWSKY GALLERY

170 S. LA BREA AVE / LOS ANGELES CA / 90036

INFO@MKGALLERY.COM // WWW.MKGALLERY.COM

NO WAY HOME

  • Hardcover – Cloth with Paper Dust Jacket //  11.25″ X 25″, (28.6 x 28.6cm) //  96 pages
  • 157gsm Japanese matte paper with spot varnished images  //  72 color and B/W plates
  • Essay by Shana Nys Dambrot  //  Limited edition of 1,000  //  $45

 

Love, Hope and Everyday Heroes – Dr. Eichin Chang-Lim Prevails Over Adversity

Tough ScratchesWhile the modern world is used to associating ‘hero’ status with A-list celebrities that walk down red carpets and sportspeople who make millions of dollars each week, a compelling new novel by Dr. Eichin Chang-Lim is helping thousands recognize and appreciate the true heroes that surround everyone.

Tough Scratches, a compelling new book, demonstrates the power of young love and the importance of Hope through all obstacles.

Written by Dr. Eichin Chang-Lim and inspired by her own struggles, ‘Tough Scratches: Book One – Love, The Tangled Knot’, proves that triumph will always prevail over adversity. Reaching out and paying homage to all of life’s ‘everyday’ heroes, the book is poised to resonate with readers around the world.

Tough Scratches puts this philosophy into a literary context; with a thought-provoking narrative that demonstrates the importance of never losing hope.

Due for release on September 17th on Amazon.

@EichinChangLim

Dr. Eichin Chang-Lim

About the Author:
Dr. Eichin Chang-Lim was born in Taiwan. She earned her doctorate in optometry from Southern California College of Optometry and is currently in a private practice with her husband near L.A. They have one son, Theodore, and one daughter, Victoria, and live in Orange County. Eichin is passionate about writing and enjoys listening to classical music and opera.

The author explains, her narrative was boldly inspired by her own struggles.

“I was so despaired and heart broken when my son was diagnosed with a genetic disorder- ‘Waardenburg syndrome’. The genetic condition causes him profoundly hearing-impaired and premature gray hair. As his mother, I went through several invasive surgeries with him during his growing up years. Coping with the emotional turmoil and accepting the challenges of raising a special child led me to become more sensitive to other people’s struggles and their little personal stories,” says Chang-Lim, who admits to always having an affinity with the biographies of famous historical figures who struggled.

Continuing, “I learned to appreciate the fact that almost everyone I encounter daily having some ‘heroic’ nature in them and some inspiring stories to share regardless his/her background or status. I want to write the stories about them. ‘Tough Scratches’ is just one of them.”

Synopsis:

How does young love survive high school? Through long distance? Through prison?

Kayla is a seventeen-year-old wit who is content to deliver ‘real-talk’ to her boy-crazy best friend, Breeana, while running the high school’s environmentalist club. In contrast to Breeana, she has no time or desire for boys, viewing even a crush as a commitment. But when Russell Mancini joins Beach Cleanup Day, Kayla learns she’s a sucker for teen love just like her peers.

Even though their relationship seems perfect, fate conspires against the pair. The ambitious Kayla’s dreams are shattered when she becomes pregnant. Struggling to make ends meet, Russell makes a decision that threatens to destroy their relationship, irrevocably steering his course away from Kayla and their daughter. Kayla finds herself pitted in a conflict she would never have expected.

As Russell’s fate unfolds, Kayla must pick up the pieces. Along the way, her sister, Veronica, and her sassy neighbor Dorothy lift her spirits but tempt her to reconsider her path. Kayla’s humor keeps her afloat in tragedy, but how can any couple survive the ‘tough scratches’ her and Russell experience?

Critics so far are praising the author for the diligent attempts she is making to inspire readers through her powerful prose. With book two in the works and plans to pitch her story to movie executives, Chang-Lim has a busy few years ahead.

Tough Scratches: Book One – Love, The Tangled Knot’ is due for release on September 17th on Amazon.

#FridayReads – Lionsgate Acquires TV Rights To #1 New York Times Bestselling Series Crossfire

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Bookworms who follow the Award Winning Author Sylvia Day, are about to be caught up in CROSSFIRE!

The Crossfire series, which debuted only last year, was recently optioned by industry giant Lionsgate, for a new television drama.  The story of Day’s passionate couple, Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell, is being adapted for TV in what is destined to be a smash hit. Kevin Beggs, president of the Lionsgate Television Group, and executive vice president Chris Selak, are overseeing development for the studio.

The Crossfire Book Franchise of adult novels has sold over 12 million copies worldwide since its debut last year and had become a global phenomenon, topping bestseller lists in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

Entwined with You, the third and most recent book in the series, sold over 550,000 copies in its first week alone, becoming a #1 New York Times bestseller. The second novel, Reflected in You, also debuted as a #1 New York Times bestseller and was Penguin UK’s fastest selling paperback ever! The first novel in the series, Bared to You, was named one of Amazon’s Top 10 romances of 2012 and recently returned to the New York Times bestseller list.

“Sylvia has created an enduring, sexy and edgy story, and we’re looking forward to working with her to create a show that both excites and connects with audiences as her books have done.”

urlLionsgate is home to the highly successful book-­‐to-­‐television series Orange is the New Black which debuted on Netflix to critical acclaim in July and was picked up for a second season before its premiere. The studio also produces the blockbuster movie franchises Hunger Games and Twilight which have collectively grossed more than $4 billion at the box office worldwide. (For information, please visit: www.lionsgate.com.)

The project was brought to Lionsgate by producers Jeremy Bolt of Impact Pictures (Resident Evil, Pompeii) and Stephanie Johnson of Clover Entertainment, Inc.

SYNOPSIS:

The Crossfire series centers on Eva Tramell, a young, up-and comer in the advertising world, and billionaire businessman, Gideon Cross, who are both trying to overcome their devastating and abusive pasts. As they are intensely drawn to one another, both physically and emotionally, the two must find a way to heal each other in order to move on and establish a healthy romantic relationship. Populated with a diverse cast of secondary characters and a vibrant Manhattan setting, Crossfire is both a contemporary and timeless tale of love and the fight for redemption.

ABOUT SYLVIA DAY:

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of more than a dozen award-winning novels sold in 40 countries. Day is a #1 bestseller in 20 countries. She is presently serving as president of Romance Writers of America, an association of 10,000 writers. For more information please visit: www.sylviaday.com.

Celebrate Literature Through Fashion – Enter the Toms and Out of Print Back-To-School Sweepstakes

pigeonTOMS and Out of Print have teamed up once again for their back to school sweepstakes – a chance to win some awesome prizes! The contest runs until Wednesday, September 4, 9:00am EDT. The winners will be announced Wednesday, September 4, 2013. Head over to Out of Print Clothing now for your chance to win! 

* Please note that entering your email is an opt-in for both TOMS and Out of Print’s email lists.  Here at Gia On The Move, we don’t particularly like to enforce other people’s rules.  But if you are ok with it, simply click on the image below.  You can always opt out.  Just suggesting…

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Toms, Out of Print, Gia, Gia On The Move, back to school, clothing

About Out of Print:

Out of Print’s mission is to celebrate literature through fashion and help increase access to books around the world. Out of Print licenses and designs original artwork from iconic literary classics to create unique conversation starters in the form of apparel, tote bags, iPhone cases, stationery items, accessories and novelty gift items. To date, Out of Print has helped donate 600,000 books to communities in need through their partnership with Books For Africa.

Biblical Writings by Apostle Paul That Defend Homosexuals

Pauline ParadoxesYesterday’s DOMA and Prop 8 rulings prompted celebrations across the country and none more so than here in West Hollywood, CA.

As I contemplated the victory for some and what must be bitter disappointment for others, this intriguing material popped into my email box.  Without having read the book, I thought it important to share nevertheless, as it is incredibly timely. The following is a reprint of the press release received on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. It is unverified.  Please go to the website for more information on the book and the writings.

 Michael Wood, author of “Pauline Paradoxes Decoded”, says newly clarified meanings of key words used in Bible pave way for more churches to embrace homosexual members

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For the past 10 years, cryptographer Michael Wood, designer of the unbreakable REDOC-II encryption system, has been using his decoding skills to help biblical scholars more accurately decipher the first-century meanings of words and symbols used by the New Testament authors. His most recent findings are convincing a growing number of biblical scholars and theologians that many of the actual messages contained in the New Testament on the subject of homosexuality are shockingly different from what has been previously thought.

“When his writings are properly translated, it’s clear that Apostle Paul not only did not condemn homosexuals, but he openly defended them against the religious views of his day,” says Wood, who provides extensive documentation to support his findings in his book, “Pauline Paradoxes Decoded”now in worldwide distribution.

The downloads section of Wood’s website (www.michaelwoodcrypto.com) contains a five-page analysis of Paul’s actual position on homosexuality, entitled “Apostle Paul Defends Homosexuals”.  Wood also makes available a full excerpt of a crucial section of his book, entitled “Law and Pederasty”, which thoroughly documents that Paul used the Greek word arsenokoitēs to exclude rapers of boys from God’s Kingdom, not homosexuals as conventional Bibles say.

“Michael Wood’s analysis of arsenokoitēs as concerning pederasty, rather than homosexuality, was convincing at the linguistic level,” says Dr. Chris Tilling of St. Mellitus College and author of “Paul’s Divine Christology”.

“Mr. Wood presents exhaustive evidence from first and second century documents, both Greek and Jewish, for the authentic, original meaning of arsenokoitēs,” says William Berg, Ph.D. in Classical Languages (Princeton University). “As it turns out, arsenokoitēs was understood as boy-raper, not just throughout antiquity, but through the time of Martin Luther and well into the modern age.”

Wood says there is only one reference to homosexuality in Paul’s letters, even though conventional bibles claim there are three. He says conventional bibles contain two passages which mistranslate the Greek word arsenokoitēs (1 Corinthians 6.9 and 1 Timothy 1.9). This leaves only one unequivocal reference to consensual adult same-sex acts, and Wood asserts he has found documentation that Paul’s only reference to homosexuals was written to defend them against the religious views of his day.

Wood’s findings regarding homosexuality comprise but one part of a much larger puzzle solved in “Pauline Paradoxes Decoded”.  In this work, Wood analyzes all of Paul’s statements regarding law, not just the Jewish legal prohibition on homosexuality.  Paul’s view of law has been one of the most puzzling and seemingly insolvable in Bible study, writes James Sanders, eminent Bible scholar and editor of Dead Sea Scrolls.

Wood claims to have found the first systematic synthesis of Paul’s statements on law and that the full resolution can be expressed in a single sentence.

The Rev. Colin Miller of Peter Maurin House is persuaded by Michael Wood’s one-sentence solution:

“I do think it solves the problems,” says Miller.  “And mostly in the ways he says it does. This is incredible, and I am very grateful to him for it. After reading it, I went back and read through all the relevant portions of Paul’s letters, and I cannot find one place that remains contradictory in the strong sense. He’s done something truly remarkable.”

Wood says, “Scholarly confusion over Paul’s view of law has caused theologians to misperceive Paul’s view of the Jewish legal prohibition of homosexuality; the prohibition found in Leviticus. Many Christians today invoke Leviticus against homosexuals, yet this was the very passage that Paul openly defended homosexuals against.”

ABOUT MICHAEL WOOD (www.michaelwoodcrypto.com)

 As a preacher’s son, Michael Wood won many denominational awards for memorizing entire books of the Bible word for word. As a young adult, he achieved international acclaim for creating the unbreakable code REDOC-II. Later in life, he began to combine his two passions of cryptography and the Bible making groundbreaking discoveries which are changing the minds of today’s leading biblical scholars.

Michael’s cryptanalytic and religious worlds collided when he began to study the Dead Sea Scrolls. He quickly realized the experience he gained in cryptanalytic thinking afforded him a unique opportunity to empirically solve some of the still outstanding ancient mysteries. His initial success in making groundbreaking discoveries through cryptanalysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls further inflamed his passion for fusing the historical record, the Bible and cryptography.

His previous discoveries are documented in his books: “The Jerome Conspiracy”; “The Hidden Bible”; “The Jesus Secret, Breaking the Romans Code”; and “Paul on Homosexuality”.  His latest book “Pauline Paradoxes Decoded” successfully deciphers and unifies the seemingly cryptic and contradictory writings on religious Law by the apostle Paul.

Art and Scandal: The Naked Truth

4157-art_minute-cover-1536x2459-r71-308x494by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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It was an excuse to buy a Kindle. kpw_logo._V389395764_

Why was I finding it so difficult to pick up a book and read…a seemingly simple task…and meant to be pleasurable…yet draining in the mere thought.

My weekly schedule is filled with invitations, visits to galleries, requests for theatre and food reviews, interviews, art openings, fashion events, and writing about them or curating the material.  You’d think I’d have nothing to complain about with that sort of daily variety.  But, in truth, I don’t always get the full “personal” enjoyment of the moment. I have to cram my learning into the audience at large experience. And everything has to end up in small bites.  Studying fine art?  “Who has THAT kind of time?” [I laughed]  That’s what I told myself as I read the email offering a view of a new book, Art and Scandal.

But the “scandal” really piqued my curiosity and I was suddenly dying to know the juicy details behind that story.  So I took the full plunge and dived into the new eBook Art and Scandal: The Naked Truth by author Sally Whitman Coleman, Ph.D., a specialist in Renaissance art, the recipient of a Fulbright grant, and the author of The ArtMinute: Short Lessons in Art History, as she illuminated the intriguing and salacious stories behind the masterful artworks that we all know and love.

Dedicated reading time: 1.5 hours!!! (and I’m pretty slow about it…) flew by as I swiped page by page, blazing through each vignette that gave me a better understanding and some very juicy insights from international thefts to mere heated disagreements and more, that prompted the fame of some of the greatest paintings in history from artists such as Michaelangelo, Van Gogh and Jackson Pollack. Reaching the end of the book almost put me into a state of shock…it wasn’t just scandalous…it was incredibly fun, easy to read – the time flew by – and I learned… a lot!

A highly recommended 5 star experience.

Art and Scandal is available on: 
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(click on anyone of these titles to purchase your own copy) [$6.99]
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To make things juicier, I asked Sally to give us a sample of a really salacious piece of art in ancient history, just to see what she’d come up with.  The lady has a sense of humor to be sure along with a brilliant mind:

Prehistoric Porn

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Venus of Willendorf, c. 28,000 – 25,000 BCE, limestone, 4⅓” high, Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna, Photo by Matthias Kabel via Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License.

Look at this hot momma!  This is the Venus of Willendorf and she is one of the oldest artifacts in existence, having been carved from limestone around 25,000 BCE.   That is seriously old.  In fact, she’s so old that we really don’t know why she exists.  We know so little about the circumstances of her production and the culture from which she derives, we are forced to rely simply upon our powers of observations if we want to know more about her, and that is actually a very good thing.  When thinking about art, it’s always best to look first and ask questions later.

Artists from the Paleolithic era knew how to make sculptures of animals that were realistic (or naturalistic), but for some reason they chose to exaggerate certain forms when carving women.  In this sculpture, the woman’s breasts, stomach, and thighs are quite large and her genitals are somewhat exaggerated.  Given this, we can hypothesize that this small artifact is a charm for fertility or childbirth.  It’s also possible she represents the concept of fertility itself.  Or perhaps there are erotic connotations here.  She’s well fed and her naughty bits are exaggerated – there is no reason not to put her in a centerfold context.

“Yeah, it’s sexy.”

It looks like those prehistoric fellas loved their ladies full-figured, rolling and swelling with reproductive power.  Fantastic.

Currently on view at the LACMA, is an exhibition entitled, “Ends and Exits: Contemporary Art from the Collections of LACMA and The Broad Art Foundation,” that features works of art produced in the 1980s that were the seeds of the Contemporary art movement that would come to be known as the Pictures Generation.  Among the works of art in the exhibition is Barbara Kruger’s powerful, Untitled (Your Body is a Battleground) from 1989.

Kruger, who once was a magazine editor, uses preexisting images upon which she superimposed text that brings attention to constructions of gender and sexism in society and so her art and the Venus of Willendorf don’t appear to have anything at all in common; nevertheless, Kruger’s work of art and the ancient sculpture do come together in my mind in the constant public attacks and media scrutiny of women’s weight – especially those who are either pregnant or who have recently given birth.

What’s sexy?  What’s beautiful?  Consider a stroll around your local museum to find out.

Sally Whitman Coleman is the creator and author of The Art Minute (www.the-art-minute.com) and Art & Scandal: The Naked Truth, an eBook available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.