Sunday, October 25, 2009

loose connections

My apologies if you and I have been in a discussion at any point during the past few weeks and I've managed to work into our conversation some art trivia, travel factoid, bicycle particulars, or bizarre animal minutiae. You see, I've been obsessed with reading David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries, which is a really fascinating collection of observations and stories, loosely held together by Byrne's penchant for moving around cities on a bicycle, which he often takes along when he travels.

The books starts out with a short history of American cities and how they've been changed as highways have broken them apart and cars have become increasing important in our culture. He makes some very compelling arguments in favor of in bicycling in New York, as well as in other cities. I fear, however, that all his talk about conservation and downsizing are preaching mostly to the converted, since it's a rather self-selecting group that's likely to read the book in the first place, isn't it? (We know who we are....) But the book has pushed me one step further toward attempting to commute to our studio in Brooklyn on a bike. The only things stopping me are the lack of a bike and a place to store it. I'm sure I'll work out those minor details, however, given a little time.

Anyway, I somehow managed to discuss the lyrebird, dogs addicted to licking cane toads, and Cindy Sherman (Byrne's companion who, by the way, rides away from a Chelsea gallery at the end of her segment on last week's episode of Art21 on a fold-up bike) with several different people who stopped by our booth at Quilt Market. So if you wanted to discuss fabric and sewing patterns and learned instead about Imelda Marcos' childhood, I blame it all on Mr. Byrne.

On the other hand, isn't this video clip of the lyrebird (from the BBC series, The Life of Birds) fascinating? I couldn't believe it until I in watched it several times. I'm not sure which sound is best: the camera shutter or the chainsaw.

And speaking of Quilt Market, we managed to sneak away before the show started to visit The Menil Collection. I was most looking forward to the Rothko Chapel, but it was the Cy Twombly gallery that really amazed us both. (Sorry that photos aren't allowed inside the collection--these were all I got.) I think it will become an annual tradition to visit before Market every fall. In fact, next spring's Market will be held in Minneapolis, and I'm already trying to convince Todd to give a little tour of The Walker Art Center to anyone who wants to join us.




As it turns out, the bike exhibition at the Aldrich Museum is directly connected to Mr. Byrne and his book. Little did I realize this when I picked up the book at the library before we left for Houston, but that night Todd returned home from his visit and explained the connection to me. Here are a few shots of our favorite bike in its temporary home there.




Also speaking of the Aldrich and bikes (are you feeling the frenetic title of this post yet? Some of these transitions are dicey. Sorry.) we wanted to take a workshop as a family project this spring to make Tsia a bamboo bike. Only problem: they don't have kids' sizes yet. Oh, and the cost is $1200 to take the workshop. Maybe a little pricey for a bike she would outgrow in one or two years, yes?

Hmm, I wonder how that bike would like to travel back and forth over the Williamsburg Bridge with me every day instead?

8 comments:

  1. I have read about Byrne's book too lately. It features some of his time spent where I live, Asheville, NC. He was here again fairly recently, but I wasn't aware of it until after and some friends met him and told me all about him and the book. Very cool.

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  2. I'm so glad you liked the book! My copy just came in the mail and I'm so excited to read it.

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  3. I have the book on reserve at the library now I am super excited to get it.

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  4. Anonymous1:36 PM

    This book will be the perfect present for my bike-riding-fool husband!

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  5. What wonderful photos! I'd love to visit this place, it looks very interesting.

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  6. We live in a very sprawly southern city, but my just turned 4 year old son (who rides a big boy bike) rides to preschool 3 days a week. We cross a drawbridge with a view of downtown going both ways and today we stopped for a fire department boat to go through the bridge (just like Richard Scary!). We see so much more on the bike. It's funny to see all those cars passing us on the way that we again see in the carpool line.

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  7. We live in a very sprawly southern city, but my just turned 4 year old son (who rides a big boy bike) rides to preschool 3 days a week. We cross a drawbridge with a view of downtown going both ways and today we stopped for a fire department boat to go through the bridge (just like Richard Scary!). We see so much more on the bike. It's funny to see all those cars passing us on the way that we again see in the carpool line.

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  8. I am so glad you were able to visit the Menil! It has to be my favorite place in Houston.

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