Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Joe Brainard?

Today at work our library is loaning someone a book called Selected Writings, 1962-1971, by Joe Brainard. I'd never heard of him before. He has a website. It's in his memory, because I guess he died of AIDS induced Pneumonia. Sad. He was a famous artist, and he has a bunch of stuff at big famous art museums. He wrote a bunch of books, too.

Anyway, I like this book. I almost want to not send it out to the patron so that I can sit and read the rest of it. It's just little bits of writing that are random. Not random like the stuff from my modernism class last semester; this stuff still makes sense. It's just kind of wandering thoughts, which reminds me of my own.

Here are a few bits:

TREES (pg. 37)

Have you ever stopped to wonder what the world would be like without any trees? Just a big brown ball.

Do you know how many trees there are in the world? Nobody does.

There is nothing I love more than trees. Except people and flowers. (Some people, and some flowers.) Of course, not all trees are perfect either.

SICK ART (pg. 39)

Mona Lisa's smile often causes observers to overlook the fact that she has no eyebrows.

One skin specialist offered the suggestion that Leonardo da Vinci's model was suffering from a skin disease called alopicia. Alopicia is a skin disease in which one has no eyebrows.

On the other hand, many women in those days shaved their eyebrows and Leonardo da Vinci's model may have just been following the fad.

There is no doubt, however, that Rodin's "The Thinker" has bunions on both feet.

Today, with modern art, it is not so easy to spot diseases and physical disorders.

Many doctors, however, have noticed a strong relationship between various skin diseases and the paintings of Jackson Pollock.

Fungus infections are very common in the art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

from the section WHAT IS MONEY? (pg. 65, 66)

What is money? Money is what you buy things with. Today we use paper bills and metal coins to buy things with. But what did people of long ago use to buy things with?


From the stories of Homer we learn that the ancient Greeks used cows to buy things with. "How many cows is this house?" a Greek man would say.

Cows, however, were not the only things people used to buy things with. The Chinese used fish. "How many fish is this house?" a Chinese man would say.

The American Indians used colorful beads to buy things with. "How many colorful beads is this tee-pee?" an Indian man would say.

Then as time went on people got tired of carrying around cows and beads and stuff and so they invented the metal coin much as we know it today.

Metal coins were fine for buying little things, but if you wanted to buy a house, or something expensive, it was very impractical. "How silly it is to be loaded down with all these heavy metal coins" they said. And so they invented the paper bill much as we know it today.

Even today, however, the natives on the island of Yap use large stone wheels to buy things with. Each stone wheel weighs 1000 pounds and will buy 10,000 coconuts.

There is an old saying that money is the root of all evil. I would say that the root of all evil is money...and bad women.

And sometimes even good women.

I once read about a pastor's wife from upstate, a good woman, methodist, who won a cereal contest, bought a little printing press for Sunday school bulletins and song sheets, and ended up a counterfeiter. Rather than face ten years in jail she shot her husband in the head and jumped off the steeple.
Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, founded the first bank of the United States. It was called "The First Bank of the United States".


sarah said...

When that person returns the book you should totally read it.. here's why:

I thought those were some interesting thoughts so I tried to find the book.. and it's not anywhere in OUR libraries. And on Amazon, oh, its $175. For paperback. I don't think there are a lot of copies or something cause they're way spendy!.. I want to borrow it from YOUR library!

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