Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Sunday I attended opening day of a new exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, CA, which I highly recommend, if you're in Southern California. It runs until September 4, 2011, and it's called:

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art
Form, Balance, Joy

Calder (American artist, 1898-1976) invented the mobile. They did not exist before him. And if you think building a mobile is easy, I encourage you to get some wire and some shapes, cut out of whatever material you find, (even pipe cleaners and paper) and try it. It's very hard to get the balance right, and to create something that looks so effortless. And graceful. And joyful.

Apparently, Calder's art has not always been considered serious enough to be important. It's interesting, because what I like most about him is his joyfulness and playfulness. Maybe Calder makes it look too easy...
It's just shapes hanging from a few wires...
A funny bird, made from old cans and wire...
A face made from discarded glass and wire...
Or one of many figures and faces he sculpted from wire. He called it "drawing in space" with wire, creating a sculptural line drawing.

Just go to Google and search Images for Alexander Calder, to see some of what he created. And then search for Calder's Circus, to watch a big kid at play. So inventive, creative and fun.
Or go to the Calder Foundation page at

His art makes me smile. How can bits of steel, scrap metal and paint cause a positive emotional reaction like that? How can he make heavy steel look so graceful and balanced? I think that's an amazing accomplishment for an artist.

This exhibition also includes the works of several contemporary artists who show the influence of Calder's earlier works. It's interesting to see his influence in more recent interpretations. But his pieces are still my favorites in this group.

This exhibition first opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (In fact, I viewed it there, on Day One of my 30-days of travel in September 2010.) In Chicago they included more of Calder's pieces, and I'm glad I got to see them. But I'm thrilled to be able to see it again in California.

For information, go to the OCMA website:
Click on "Visit" for directions, admission, etc.

And while I encourage you to support the museum by paying admission, if you're on a tight budget here's a tip.... Free Second Sundays, sponsored by Target (thanks, Target).

For more information about Calder, has compiled some great information. Here's the link to their Calder page:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Would you rather type than talk?

While I appreciate the value of emails and texting in many situations, I'm curious how many people are typing, primarily to avoid talking to people.

Originally it seemed that texting was a way to use the phone when you shouldn't be on your phone at all ... in class or in a meeting. Then someone told me that they didn't actually want to talk to their friend and get into a long phone call, they just wanted to send a message to them. It's more of a one-way communication to me ... until your friend texts you back, I guess.

So, would you rather text a friend than actually speak to them? There are situations where typing is better than talking, but are those situations becoming more frequent for many people? Is there an age gap in how we think about texting? It seems that kids, teens and 20-somethings may spend more time texting than talking. But I start to wonder, are they still learning how to have conversations or are they avoiding that by texting?

Is there any danger that people will lose their verbal skills? It is still important to develop the ability to quickly verbalize your thoughts on the phone, or make eye contact in face-to-face conversation, isn't it? It's something that you can really only learn by doing. We've all been in awkward social situations... feeling shy, standing alone at a party or at a business function, trying to find a friendly person to talk to. By going through this, we begin to learn how to connect, verbally, face to face. Small talk may seem unimportant, but it can lead to great connections and conversations. It is different than typing into a computer or phone keypad.

Both written and verbal communication have value. I just hope we're not losing the ability for face-to-face verbal conversations.

With new technology, it takes awhile for us to figure out the best balance, the proper usage, and how it fits with other technology. In the New York Times article that got me thinking about this talk vs. text subject, the writer says it was the same when telephones first appeared. What was considered the proper usage for the telephone has changed quite a bit through the years.

The article, "Don't Call Me, I Won't Call You" is an interesting and amusing take on it. Here's the link:

What do you think? Do we still know how to converse with each other? Would you rather type than talk?