Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit: "Anger shot up my body like a hot thermometer. Face flushed, I walked to the Mammy sphinx. Couples posed in front of it, smiling as others took their photos. So here it was, an artwork about how Black people’s pain was transformed into money was a tourist attraction for them... Something snapped... I yelled that this was our history and that many of us were angry and sad that it was a site of pornographic jokes." [more inside]
An NPR interview with the creator of a 75 foot long Mammy-Sphinx sculpture made entirely of sugar. Award-winning artist Kara Walker's latest work challenges viewers to confront the relationships between American history, racism, slavery, and industrialization. Her exhibition is held in the soon-to-be-demolished, historic Domino Sugar Factory. (New Yorker article) [more inside]
Ten years after Commodore Matthew Perry first visited Japan with four war ships and a letter from President Fillmore, Japan sent out a third Embassy to Western Nations (following the first Japanese Embassy to the United States in 1860, and the first Japanese Embassy to Europe in 1862). The third tour had the same goal as the first two: learn about Western cultures, and try to postpone the opening of Japanese ports to foreign trade. During that third tour, the group were on their way to France when they stopped in Egypt. On this stop, the members of the mission were photographed posing before the Sphinx, dressed in winged kamishimo costume and jingasa hats, carrying their feared long (katana) and short (wakizashi) swords. [more inside]
The Sphinx Observatory atop the Jungfraujoch in the Swiss alps is one of the most amazing man-made objects I've ever seen. A UNESCO world-heritage site, it holds the distinction of being the highest (in altitude) structure in all of Europe. Approachable by a train that runs inside the mountain (via a tunnel dug between 1896 & 1926 at the cost of a small fortune, not to mention many lives), the Observatory rests atop a glacier which has been hollowed out to feature a year round gallery of never-melting ice scultptures (glacial ice is spectacularly pretty), and an elevator up to the research station.
Fascinated by Egyptian archaeology? View and learn all about the discoveries in Giza, the Valley of the Kings (and Queens), Memphis and Saqqara and the Sphinx from the comfort of home. Depending on today's pesky sandstorms and time of day, you may even be able to see the pyramids from the comfort of your couch. Want to go inside? Yeah, me neither.