Street corner Mandalas

From The Weekender

The New Year’s most playful and diversely wrought exhibit (in this region) is a presentation of hot dog umbrellas on Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton. Not, as they usually appear, on the street itself, but indoors and suspended without their support structure, perpendicular to their expected plane, and endowed with mystical and quizzical imagery. Like so many Brunelleschian domes collapsed and hung to dry — perhaps to allow the varied images to cure together into a cohesive whole — the spiritual and the comical collide in an affront to conservative aesthetics. These roughly 82-inch hexagonal canvases originally designed to shade and market Hebrew National, Cinzano and Sabrett have been appropriated for the purposes of Steve Kursh, a California native now living in Kingston, N.Y.

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The swift strokes of ‘no-brush’ calligraphy

From The Japan Times

Yamaoka Tesshu (1836-1888) was a lay Zen master famous for, among other things, his statement that swordsmanship, Zen Buddhism, and calligraphy were identical in that they aspired to a state he described as “no-mind.”

His study of kenjutsu (i.e. kendo), begun at the age of 9, resulted in the style of combat now known as “no-sword,” where the samurai (to which class Tesshu belonged) realizes that there is no enemy, and that a purity of style is all that is necessary. Or, as Alex Bennett has phrased it in his introduction: “The sword changed from a weapon of destruction into a tool for spiritual emancipation through ascetic training.”

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Young Rudd’s fiery art too hot

From Sydney Morning Herald – Melbourne City Council has rejected a controversial painting by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s nephew that depicts the clown Ronald McDonald carrying the Olympic torch past a burning monk.

Van Thanh Rudd, who describes himself as an “artist activist” and lives in Melbourne, submitted the painting for next month’s Ho Chi Minh City exhibition, which will show the lives and work of 10 young artists in Vietnam.

Rudd, 35, son of Kevin Rudd’s brother Malcolm and a Vietnamese mother, Tuoi, was also invited, along with a Melbourne-based Vietnamese artist, to submit works. But Rudd’s painting, prepared especially for the exhibition, was judged to be unsuitable by the organisers.

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Serene Buddhist Art Transforms Chelsea Gallery

From NY1 – Visitors to Chelsea’s Milk Gallery were greeted by dramatic taiko drumming and encountered a serene atmosphere in the gallery’s new exhibition, “The Vision and Art of Shinjo Ito.” The exhibit shows the artwork of Shinjo Ito (1903-1989), a Japanese Buddhist master who founded the Buddhist organization Shinnyo-en, which translates as “Borderless Garden of Truth.”

His daughter Shinso Ito, now the leader of Shinnyo-en, traveled from Japan for the exhibit’s opening.

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Artists Tribute to Dalai Lama

From RecordNet.com – When first told of plans for an art exhibit in his honor, the Dalai Lama was embarrassed.

“Why me?” he asked. “Why not Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa?”

Representatives of the show’s sponsors – the Committee of 100 for Tibet and the Dalai Lama Foundation – told the spiritual leader they wanted a living peacemaker as the subject. The Dalai Lama said fine, as long as the focus was on peace and not just him.

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Oreo Mandala!?!

Another night, voyaging around the internet via YouTube I stumbled on the video below. I was searching for old news coverage of Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who immolated himself in protest of the events leading to the Vietnam War. I have another piece in the works about that though, so back to the topic here…

There is this video of a guy who created a photographic likeness of Thich Quang Duc, hence the reason I found this video. The piece of art was created using cookies, Oreo’s to be exact. Silly? Yes. Amazing? Yes, seriously! It took roughly 20 hours and 1,887 Oreo cookies and measured 8 feet by 10 feet.
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The sound of artifacts disappearing

From The LA Times – How much more of the world’s treasures do museums need?

In old lhasa, holy city of Tibet, stands the sacred Jokhang Temple. Inside Jokhang is a golden statue of Buddha, the most revered statue in Tibet. It was brought as a dowry from China in the 7th century, when a Chinese princess married a Tibetan king. The statue marks not only the wide-scale introduction of Buddhism to Tibet but a crucial union in a long history of alliances and wars between two nations.
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One young Vietnamese artist produces images of wisdom

From VietNamNet Bridge – Do you know what Buddha told his followers? Different people have different interpretations of what the Buddha said, and so the story comes in many variations. One faithful follower, a young Vietnamese artist, is telling his own version.

Viet’s work explores tradition, modern society and his own life. This Is What I Heard is the name of Le Quoc Viet’s exhibit, exploring through a highly personal lens tradition, modern society and his own life.
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