• Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism

    I’ve come back to check on a baby. Just after dusk I’m in a car lumbering down a muddy road in the rain, past rows of shackled elephants, their trunks swaying. I was here five hours before, when the sun was high and hot and tourists were on elephants’ backs.

    Walking now, I can barely see the path in the glow of my phone’s flashlight. When the wooden fence post of the stall stops me short, I point my light down and follow a current of rainwater across the concrete floor until it washes up against three large, gray feet. A fourth foot hovers above the surface, tethered tightly by a short chain and choked by a ring of metal spikes. When the elephant tires and puts her foot down, the spikes press deeper into her ankle.

    Meena is four years and two months old, still a toddler as elephants go. Khammon Kongkhaw, her mahout, or caretaker, told me earlier that Meena wears the spiked chain because she tends to kick. Kongkhaw has been responsible for Meena here at Maetaman Elephant Adventure, near Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, since she was 11 months old. He said he keeps her on the spiked shackle only during the day and takes it off at night. But it’s night now.

    I ask Jin Laoshen, the Maetaman staffer accompanying me on this nighttime visit, why her chain is still on. He says he doesn’t know.

    Maetaman is one of many animal attractions in and around tourist-swarmed Chiang Mai. People spill out of tour buses and clamber onto the trunks of elephants that, at the prodding of their mahouts’ bullhooks (long poles with a sharp metal hook), hoist them in the air while cameras snap. Visitors thrust bananas toward elephants’ trunks. They watch as mahouts goad their elephants—some of the most intelligent animals on the planet—to throw darts or kick oversize soccer balls while music blares.

    Meena is one of Maetaman’s 10 show elephants. To be precise, she’s a painter. Twice a day, in front of throngs of chattering tourists, Kongkhaw puts a paintbrush in the tip of her trunk and presses a steel nail to her face to direct her brushstrokes as she drags primary colors across paper. Often he guides her to paint a wild elephant in the savanna. Her paintings are then sold to tourists.

    Meena’s life is set to follow the same trajectory as many of the roughly 3,800 captive elephants in Thailand and thousands more throughout Southeast Asia. She’ll perform in shows until she’s about 10. After that, she’ll become a riding elephant. Tourists will sit on a bench strapped to her back, and she’ll give several rides a day. When Meena is too old or sick to give rides—maybe at 55, maybe at 75—she’ll die. If she’s lucky, she’ll get a few years of retirement. She’ll spend most of her life on a chain in a stall.

    Wildlife attractions such as Maetaman lure people from around the world to be with animals like Meena, and they make up a lucrative segment of the booming global travel industry. Twice as many trips are being taken abroad as 15 years ago, a jump driven partly by Chinese tourists, who spend far more on international travel than any other nationality.

    Wildlife tourism isn’t new, but social media is setting the industry ablaze, turning encounters with exotic animals into photo-driven bucket-list toppers. Activities once publicized mostly in guidebooks now are shared instantly with multitudes of people by selfie-taking backpackers, tour-bus travelers, and social media “influencers” through a tap on their phone screens. Nearly all millennials (23- to 38-year-olds) use social media while traveling. Their selfies—of swims with dolphins, encounters with tigers, rides on elephants, and more—are viral advertising for attractions that tout up-close experiences with animals.

    For all the visibility social media provides, it doesn’t show what happens beyond the view of the camera lens. People who feel joy and exhilaration from getting close to wild animals usually are unaware that many of the animals at such attractions live a lot like Meena, or worse.

    Photographer Kirsten Luce and I set out to look behind the curtain of the thriving wildlife tourism industry, to see how animals at various attractions—including some that emphasize their humane care of animals—are treated once the selfie-taking crowds have gone.

    After leaving Maetaman, we take a five-minute car ride up a winding hill to a property announced by a wooden plaque as “Elephant EcoValley: where elephants are in good hands.” There are no elephant rides here. No paint shows or other performances. Visitors can stroll through an open-air museum and learn about Thailand’s national animal. They can make herbal treats for the elephants and paper from elephant dung. They can watch elephants in a grassy, tree-ringed field.

    EcoValley’s guest book is filled with praise from Australians, Danes, Americans—tourists who often shun elephant camps such as Maetaman because the rides and shows make them uneasy. Here, they can see unchained elephants and leave feeling good about supporting what they believe is an ethical establishment. What many don’t know is that EcoValley’s seemingly carefree elephants are brought here for the day from nearby Maetaman—and that the two attractions are actually a single business.

    Meena was brought here once, but she tried to run into the forest. Another young elephant, Mei, comes sometimes, but today she’s at Maetaman, playing the harmonica in the shows. When she’s not doing that, or spending the day at EcoValley, she’s chained near Meena in one of Maetaman’s elephant stalls.

    Meena Kalamapijit owns Maetaman as well as EcoValley, which she opened in November 2017 to cater to Westerners. She says her 56 elephants are well cared for and that giving rides and performing allow them to have necessary exercise. And, she says, Meena the elephant’s behavior has gotten better since her mahout started using the spiked chain.
    Read MoreWildlife Watch
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    We sit with Kalamapijit on a balcony outside her office, and she explains that when Westerners, especially Americans, stopped coming to Maetaman, she eliminated one of the daily shows to allot time for visitors to watch elephants bathe in the river that runs through the camp.

    “Westerners enjoy bathing because it looks happy and natural,” she says. “But a Chinese tour agency called me and said, ‘Why are you cutting the show? Our customers love to see it, and they don’t care about bathing at all.’ ” Providing separate options is good for business, Kalamapijit says.

    Around the world Kirsten and I watched tourists watching captive animals. In Thailand we also saw American men bear-hug tigers in Chiang Mai and Chinese brides in wedding gowns ride young elephants in the aqua surf on the island of Phuket. We watched polar bears in wire muzzles ballroom dancing across the ice under a big top in Russia and teenage boys on the Amazon River snapping selfies with baby sloths.

    Most tourists who enjoy these encounters don’t know that the adult tigers may be declawed, drugged, or both. Or that there are always cubs for tourists to snuggle with because the cats are speed bred and the cubs are taken from their mothers just days after birth. Or that the elephants give rides and perform tricks without harming people only because they’ve been “broken” as babies and taught to fear the bullhook. Or that the Amazonian sloths taken illegally from the jungle often die within weeks of being put in captivity.

    As we traveled to performance pits and holding pens on three continents and in the Hawaiian Islands, asking questions about how animals are treated and getting answers that didn’t always add up, it became clear how methodically and systematically animal suffering is concealed.

    The wildlife tourism industry caters to people’s love of animals but often seeks to maximize profits by exploiting animals from birth to death. The industry’s economy depends largely on people believing that the animals they’re paying to watch or ride or feed are having fun too.

    It succeeds partly because tourists—in unfamiliar settings and eager to have a positive experience—typically don’t consider the possibility that they’re helping to hurt animals. Social media adds to the confusion: Oblivious endorsements from friends and trendsetters legitimize attractions before a traveler ever gets near an animal.

    There has been some recognition of social media’s role in the problem. In December 2017, after a National Geographic investigative report on harmful wildlife tourism in Amazonian Brazil and Peru, Instagram introduced a feature: Users who click or search one of dozens of hashtags, such as #slothselfie and #tigercubselfie, now get a pop-up warning that the content they’re viewing may be harmful to animals.

    Everyone finds Olga Barantseva on Instagram. “Photographer from Russia. Photographing dreams,” her bio reads. She meets clients for woodland photo shoots with captive wild animals just outside Moscow.

    For her 18th birthday, Sasha Belova treated herself to a session with Barantseva—and a pack of wolves. “It was my dream,” she says as she fidgets with her hair, which had been styled that morning. “Wolves are wild and dangerous.” The wolves are kept in small cages at a petting zoo when not participating in photo shoots.

    The Kravtsov family hired Barantseva to take their first professional family photos—all five family members, shivering and smiling in the birch forest, joined by a bear named Stepan.

    Barantseva has been photographing people and wild animals together for six years. She “woke up as a star,” she says, in 2015, when a couple of international media outlets found her online. Her audience has exploded to more than 80,000 followers worldwide. “I want to show harmony between people and animals,” she says.

    On a raw fall day, under a crown of golden birch leaves on a hill that overlooks a frigid lake, two-and-a-half-year-old Alexander Levin, dressed in a hooded bumblebee sweater, timidly holds Stepan’s paw.

    The bear’s owners, Yury and Svetlana Panteleenko, ply their star with food—tuna fish mixed with oatmeal—to get him to approach the boy. Snap: It looks like a tender friendship. The owners toss grapes to Stepan to get him to open his mouth wide. Snap: The bear looks as if he’s smiling.

    The Panteleenkos constantly move Stepan, adjusting his paws, feeding him, and positioning Alexander as Barantseva, pink-haired, bundled in jeans and a parka, captures each moment. Snap: A photo goes to her Instagram feed. A boy and a bear in golden Russian woods—a picture straight out of a fairy tale. It’s a contemporary twist on a long-standing Russian tradition of exploiting bears for entertainment.

    Another day in the same forest, Kirsten and I join 12 young women who have nearly identical Instagram accounts replete with dreamy photos of models caressing owls and wolves and foxes. Armed with fancy cameras but as yet modest numbers of followers, they all want the audience Barantseva has. Each has paid the Panteleenkos $760 to take identical shots of models with the ultimate prize: a bear in the woods.

    Stepan is 26 years old, elderly for a brown bear, and can hardly walk. The Panteleenkos say they bought him from a small zoo when he was three months old. They say the bear’s work—a constant stream of photo shoots and movies—provides money to keep him fed.

    A video on Svetlana Panteleenko’s Instagram account proclaims: “Love along with some great food can make anyone a teddy :-)”

    And just like that, social media takes a single instance of local animal tourism and broadcasts it to the world.

    When the documentary film Blackfish was released in 2013, it drew a swift and decisive reaction from the American public. Through the story of Tilikum, a distressed killer whale at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, the film detailed the miserable life orcas can face in captivity. Hundreds of thousands of outraged viewers signed petitions. Companies with partnership deals, such as Southwest Airlines, severed ties with SeaWorld. Attendance at SeaWorld’s water parks slipped; its stock nose-dived.

    James Regan says what he saw in Blackfish upset him. Regan, honeymooning in Hawaii with his wife, Katie, is from England, where the country’s last marine mammal park closed permanently in 1993. I meet him at Dolphin Quest Oahu, an upscale swim-with-dolphins business on the grounds of the beachfront Kahala Hotel & Resort, just east of Honolulu. The Regans paid $225 each to swim for 30 minutes in a small group with a bottlenose dolphin. One of two Dolphin Quest locations in Hawaii, the facility houses six dolphins.

    Bottlenose dolphins are the backbone of an industry that spans the globe. Swim-with-dolphins operations rely on captive-bred and wild-caught dolphins that live—and interact with tourists—in pools. The popularity of these photo-friendly attractions reflects the disconnect around dolphin experiences: People in the West increasingly shun shows that feature animals performing tricks, but many see swimming with captive dolphins as a vacation rite of passage.

    Katie Regan has wanted to swim with dolphins since she was a child. Her husband laughs and says of Dolphin Quest, “They paint a lovely picture. When you’re in America, everyone is smiling.” But he appreciates that the facility is at their hotel, so they can watch the dolphins being fed and cared for. He brings up Blackfish again.

    Katie protests: “Stop making my dream a horrible thing!”

    Rae Stone, president of Dolphin Quest and a marine mammal veterinarian, says the company donates money to conservation projects and educates visitors about perils that marine mammals face in the wild. By paying for this entertainment, she says, visitors are helping captive dolphins’ wild cousins.

    Stone notes that Dolphin Quest is certified “humane” by American Humane, an animal welfare nonprofit. (The Walt Disney Company, National Geographic’s majority owner, offers dolphin encounters on some vacation excursions and at an attraction in Epcot, one of its Orlando parks. Disney says it follows the animal welfare standards of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a nonprofit that accredits more than 230 facilities worldwide.)

    It’s a vigorous debate: whether even places with high standards, veterinarians on staff, and features such as pools filled with filtered ocean water can be truly humane for marine mammals.

    Dolphin Quest’s Stone says yes.

    Critics, including the Humane Society of the United States, which does not endorse keeping dolphins in captivity, say no. They argue that these animals have evolved to swim great distances and live in complex social groups—conditions that can’t be replicated in the confines of a pool. This helps explain why the National Aquarium, in Baltimore, announced in 2016 that its dolphins will be retired to a seaside sanctuary by 2020.

    Some U.S. attractions breed their own dolphins because the nation has restricted dolphin catching in the wild since 1972. But elsewhere, dolphins are still being taken from the wild and turned into performers.

    In China, which has no national laws on captive-animal welfare, dolphinariums with wild-caught animals are a booming business: There are now 78 marine mammal parks, and 26 more are under construction.

    To have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see rare Black Sea dolphins, people in the landlocked town of Kaluga, a hundred miles from Moscow, don’t have to leave their city. In the parking lot of the Torgoviy Kvartal shopping mall, next to a hardware store, is a white inflatable pop-up aquarium: the Moscow Traveling Dolphinarium. It looks like a children’s bouncy castle that’s been drained of its color.

    Inside the puffy dome, parents buy their kids dolphin-shaped trinkets: fuzzy dolls and Mylar balloons, paper dolphin hats, and drinks in plastic dolphin tumblers. Families take their seats around a small pool. The venue is so intimate that even the cheapest seats, at nine dollars apiece, are within splashing distance.

    “My kids are jumping for joy,” says a woman named Anya, motioning toward her two giddy boys, bouncing in their seats.

    In the middle of the jubilant atmosphere, in water that seems much too shallow and much too murky, two dolphins swim listlessly in circles.

    Russia is one of only a few countries (Indonesia is another) where traveling oceanariums exist. Dolphins and beluga whales, which need to be immersed in water to stay alive, are put in tubs on trucks and carted from city to city in a loop that usually ends when they die. These traveling shows are aboveboard: Russia has no laws that regulate how marine mammals should be treated in captivity.

    The shows are the domestic arm of a brisk Russian global trade in dolphins and small whales. Black Sea bottlenose dolphins can’t be caught legally without a permit, but Russian fishermen can catch belugas and orcas under legal quotas in the name of science and education. Some belugas are sold legally to aquariums around the country. Russia now allows only a dozen or so orcas to be caught each year for scientific and educational purposes, and since April 2018, the government has cracked down on exporting them. But government investigators believe that Russian orcas—which can sell for millions—are being caught illegally for export to China.

    Captive orcas, which can grow to 20 feet long and more than 10,000 pounds, are too big for the traveling shows that typically feature dolphins and belugas. When I contacted the owners of the Moscow Traveling Dolphinarium and another operation, the White Whale Show, in separate telephone calls to ask where their dolphins and belugas come from, both men, Sergey Kuznetsov and Oleg Belesikov, hung up on me.

    Russia’s dozen or so traveling oceanariums are touted as a way to bring native wild animals to people who might never see the ocean.

    “Who else if not us?” says Mikhail Olyoshin, a staffer at one traveling oceanarium. And on this day in Kaluga, as the dolphins perform tricks to American pop songs and lie on platforms for several minutes for photo ops, parents and children express the same sentiment: Imagine, dolphins, up close, in my hometown. The ocean on delivery.

    Owners and operators of wildlife tourism attractions, from high-end facilities such as Dolphin Quest in Hawaii to low-end monkey shows in Thailand, say their animals live longer in captivity than wild counterparts because they’re safe from predators and environmental hazards. Show operators proudly emphasize that the animals under their care are with them for life. They’re family.

    Alla Azovtseva, a longtime dolphin trainer in Russia, shakes her head.

    “I don’t see any sense in this work. My conscience bites me. I look at my animals and want to cry,” says Azovtseva, who drives a red van with dolphins airbrushed on the side. At the moment, she’s training pilot whales to perform tricks at Moscow’s Moskvarium, one of Europe’s largest aquariums (not connected to the traveling dolphin shows). On her day off, we meet at a café near Red Square.

    She says she fell in love with dolphins in the late 1980s when she read a book by John Lilly, the American neuroscientist who broke open our understanding of the animals’ intelligence. She has spent 30 years training marine mammals to do tricks. But along the way she’s grown heartsick from forcing highly intelligent, social creatures to live isolated, barren lives in small tanks.

    “I would compare the dolphin situation with making a physicist sweep the street,” she says. “When they’re not engaged in performance or training, they just hang in the water facing down. It’s the deepest depression.”

    What people don’t know about many aquarium shows in Russia, Azovtseva says, is that the animals often die soon after being put in captivity, especially those in traveling shows. And Azovtseva—making clear she’s referring to the industry at large in Russia and not the Moskvarium—says she knows many aquariums quietly and illegally replace their animals with new ones.

    It’s been illegal to catch Black Sea dolphins in the wild for entertainment purposes since 2003, but according to Azovtseva, aquarium owners who want to increase their dolphin numbers quickly and cheaply buy dolphins poached there. Because these dolphins are acquired illegally, they’re missing the microchips that captive cetaceans in Russia are usually tagged with as a form of required identification.

    Some aquariums get around that, she says, by cutting out dead dolphins’ microchips and implanting them into replacement dolphins.

    “People are people,” Azovtseva says. “Once they see an opportunity, they exploit.” She says she can’t go on doing her work in the industry and that she’s decided to speak out because she wants people to know the truth about the origins and treatment of many of the marine mammals they love watching. We exchange a look—we both know what her words likely mean for her livelihood.

    “I don’t care if I’m fired,” she says defiantly. “When a person has nothing to lose, she becomes really brave.”

    I’m sitting on the edge of an infinity pool on the hilly Thai side of Thailand’s border with Myanmar, at a resort where rooms average more than a thousand dollars a night.

    Out past the pool, elephants roam in a lush valley. Sitting next to me is 20-year-old Stephanie van Houten. She’s Dutch and French, Tokyo born and raised, and a student at the University of Michigan. Her cosmopolitan background and pretty face make for a perfect cocktail of aspiration—she’s exactly the kind of Instagrammer who makes it as an influencer. That is, someone who has a large enough following to attract sponsors to underwrite posts and, in turn, travel, wardrobes, and bank accounts. In 2018, brands—fashion, travel, tech, and more—spent an estimated $1.6 billion on social media advertising by influencers.

    Van Houten has been here, at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, before. This time, in a fairly standard influencer-brand arrangement, she’ll have a picnic with elephants and post about it to her growing legion of more than 25,000 Instagram followers. In exchange, she gets hundreds of dollars off the nightly rate.

    At Anantara the fields are green, and during the day at least, many of the resort’s 22 elephants are tethered on ropes more than a hundred feet long so they can move around and socialize. Nevertheless, they’re expected to let guests touch them and do yoga beside them.

    After van Houten’s elephant picnic, I watch her edit the day’s hundreds of photos. She selects an image with her favorite elephant, Bo. She likes it, she says, because she felt a connection with Bo and thinks that will come across. She posts it at 9:30 p.m.—the time she estimates the largest number of her followers will be online. She includes a long caption, summing it up as “my love story with this incredible creature,” and the hashtag #stopelephantriding. Immediately, likes from followers stream in—more than a thousand, as well as comments with heart-eyed emoji.

    Anantara is out of reach for anyone but the wealthy—or prominent influencers. Anyone else seeking a similar experience might do a Google search for, say, “Thailand elephant sanctuary.”

    As tourist demand for ethical experiences with animals has grown, affordable establishments, often calling themselves “sanctuaries,” have cropped up purporting to offer humane, up-close elephant encounters. Bathing with elephants—tourists give them a mud bath, splash them in a river, or both—has become very popular. Many facilities portray baths as a benign alternative to elephant riding and performances. But elephants getting baths, like those that give rides and do tricks, will have been broken to some extent to make them obedient. And as long as bathing remains popular, places that offer it will need obedient elephants to keep their businesses going. 

    In Ban Ta Klang, a tiny town in eastern Thailand, modest homes dot the crimson earth. In front of each is a wide, bamboo platform for sitting, sleeping, and watching television.

    But the first thing I notice is the elephants. Some homes have one, others as many as five. Elephants stand under tarps or sheet metal roofs or trees. Some are together, mothers and babies, but most are alone. Nearly all the elephants wear ankle chains or hobbles—cuffs binding their front legs together. Dogs and chickens weave among the elephants’ legs, sending up puffs of red dust.

    Ban Ta Klang—known as Elephant Village—is ground zero in Thailand for training and trading captive elephants.

    “House elephants,” Sri Somboon says, gesturing as he turns down his TV. Next to his outdoor platform, a two-month-old baby elephant runs around his mother. Somboon points across the road to the third elephant in his charge, a three-year-old male tethered to a tree. He’s wrenching his head back and forth and thrashing his trunk around. It looks as if he’s going out of his mind.

    He’s in the middle of his training, Somboon says, and is getting good at painting. He’s already been sold, and when his training is finished, he’ll start working at a tourist camp down south.

    Ban Ta Klang and the surrounding area, part of Surin Province, claim to be the source of more than half of Thailand’s 3,800 captive elephants. Long before the flood of tourists, it was the center of the elephant trade; the animals were caught in the wild and tamed for use transporting logs. Now, every November, hundreds of elephants from here are displayed, bought, and sold in the province’s main town, Surin.

    One evening I sit with Jakkrawan Homhual and Wanchai Sala-ngam. Both 33, they’ve been best friends since childhood. About half the people in Ban Ta Klang who care for elephants, including Homhual, don’t own them. They’re paid a modest salary by a rich owner to breed and train baby elephants for entertainment. As night falls, thousands of termites swarm us, attracted to the single bulb hanging above the bamboo platform. Our conversation turns to elephant training.

    Phajaan is the traditional—and brutal—days- or weeks-long process of breaking a young elephant’s spirit. It has long been used in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia to tame wild elephants, which still account for many of the country’s captives. Under phajaan, elephants are bound with ropes, confined in tight wooden structures, starved, and beaten repeatedly with bullhooks, nails, and hammers until their will is crushed. The extent to which phajaan persists in its harshest form is unclear. Since 2012, the government has been cracking down on the illegal import of elephants taken from the forests of neighboring Myanmar, Thailand’s main source of wild-caught animals.

    I ask the men how baby elephants born in captivity are broken and trained.

    When a baby is about two years old, they say, mahouts tie its mother to a tree and slowly drag the baby away. Once separated, the baby is confined. Using a bullhook on its ear, they teach the baby to move: left, right, turn, stop. To teach an elephant to sit, Sala-ngam says, “we tie up the front legs. One mahout will use a bullhook at the back. The other will pull a rope on the front legs.” He adds: “To train the elephant, you need to use the bullhook so the elephant will know.”

    Humans identify suffering in other humans by universal signs: People sob, wince, cry out, put voice to their hurt. Animals have no universal language for pain. Many animals don’t have tear ducts. More creatures still—prey animals, for example—instinctively mask symptoms of pain, lest they appear weak to predators. Recognizing that a nonhuman animal is in pain is difficult, often impossible.

    But we know that animals feel pain. All mammals have a similar neuroanatomy. Birds, reptiles, and amphibians all have pain receptors. As recently as a decade ago, scientists had collected more evidence that fish feel pain than they had for neonatal infants. A four-year-old human child with spikes pressing into his flesh would express pain by screaming. A four-year-old elephant just stands there in the rain, her leg jerking in the air.

    Of all the silently suffering animals I saw in pools and pens around the world, two in particular haunt me: an elephant and a tiger.

    They lived in the same facility, Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo, about 15 miles south of Bangkok. The elephant, Gluay Hom, four years old, was kept under a stadium. The aging tiger, Khai Khem, 22, spent his days on a short chain in a photo studio. Both had irrefutable signs of suffering: The emaciated elephant had a bent, swollen leg hanging in the air and a large, bleeding sore at his temple. His eyes were rolled back in his head. The tiger had a dental abscess so severe that the infection was eating through the bottom of his jaw.

    When I contacted the owner of the facility, Uthen Youngprapakorn, to ask about these animals, he said the fact that they hadn’t died proved that the facility was caring for them properly. He then threatened a lawsuit.

    Six months after Kirsten and I returned from Thailand, we asked Ryn Jirenuwat, our Bangkok-based Thai interpreter, to check on Gluay Hom and Khai Khem. She went to Samut Prakan and watched them for hours, sending photos and video. Gluay Hom was still alive, still standing in the same stall, leg still bent at an unnatural angle. The elephants next to him were skin and bones. Khai Khem was still chained by his neck to a hook in the floor. He just stays in his dark corner, Jirenuwat texted, and when he hears people coming, he twists on his chain and turns his back to them.

    “Like he just wants to be swallowed by the wall.”

    #tourisme #nos_ennemis_les_bêtes

  • The Woman With Lapis Lazuli in Her Teeth - The Atlantic

    Who was that person? A woman, first of all. According to radiocarbon dating, she lived around 997 to 1162, and she was buried at a women’s monastery in Dalheim, Germany. And so these embedded blue particles in her teeth illuminate a forgotten history of medieval manuscripts: Not just monks made them. In the medieval ages, nuns also produced the famously laborious and beautiful books. And some of these women must have been very good, if they were using pigment as precious and rare as ultramarine.

    (...) art experts were still skeptical. Some dismissed the idea that a woman could have been a painter skilled enough to work with ultramarine. One suggested to Warinner that this woman came into contact with ultramarine because she was simply the cleaning lady.

    #archéologie #femmes #nonnes_copistes #historicisation via @arnicas

  • Opinion | In Praise of Mediocrity - The New York Times

    But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time. Our “hobbies,” if that’s even the word for them anymore, have become too serious, too demanding, too much an occasion to become anxious about whether you are really the person you claim to be.

    If you’re a jogger, it is no longer enough to cruise around the block; you’re training for the next marathon. If you’re a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies; you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following. When your identity is linked to your hobby — you’re a yogi, a surfer, a rock climber — you’d better be good at it, or else who are you?

    #hobbies #loisirs #médiocrité

  • Gertrude Abercrombie - Wikipedia

    In 1932 she began to focus strictly on her art. The following summer she made her first sale at an outdoor art fair in Chicago and received an honorable mention in the newspaper for the event.[3] In the mid-1930s she moved out of her family’s home and became active in the regional art scene.[3] From 1934 to 1940 she served as a painter for the Works Progress Administration and in 1934 the Chicago Society of Artists held a solo show of her work.[3] During the 1930s and 1940s she also began creating woodcuts.

    In 1940 she married lawyer Robert Livingston, and in 1942 gave birth to their daughter Dinah. In 1948 the couple divorced. That same year she married music critic Frank Sandiford, with Dizzy Gillespie performing at the wedding. The couple were active in the bohemian lifestyle and jazz scene of Chicago hence their connection with Gillespie. They met musicians through Sandiford and through Abercrombie’s own skills as an improvisational pianist. The couple would divorce in 1964.[3]
    Dizzy Gillespie with Abercrombie on his birthday, 1964

    Within Abercrombie’s avant-garde social circle she was the inspiration for the song “Gertrude’s Bounce” by Richie Powell, who claimed that she walked “just like the way the rhythm sounds in the Introduction”,[5] and she appeared as herself in James Purdy’s Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue and as a fictional character in Purdy’s Malcolm, Eustace Chisholm.[3]

    She painted many variations of her favored subjects: sparsely furnished interiors, barren landscapes, self-portraits, and still-lifes. Many compositions feature a lone woman in a flowing gown, often depicted with attributes of sorcery: an owl, a black cat, a crystal ball, or a broomstick.[3] These works were often self-portraits, as she stated in an interview with Studs Terkel shortly before her death: “it is always myself that I paint”.[7] Tall and sharp-featured, she considered herself ugly;[8] in life she sometimes wore a pointed velvet hat to accentuate her witch-like appearance, “enjoy[ing] the power this artifice gave her over others who would fear or recoil from her”.[9] The 1940s and ’50s are described as her most prolific and productive period; a time when she no longer painted many portraits, but retained the themes mentioned above.[3]

    Abercrombie’s mature works are painted in a precise, controlled style. She took little interest in other artists’ work, although she admired Magritte.[10] Largely self-taught, she did not regard her lack of extensive formal training as a hindrance.[11] She said of her work:

    I am not interested in complicated things nor in the commonplace. I like and like to paint simple things that are a little strange. My work comes directly from my inner consciousness and it must come easily. It is a process of selection and reduction.[4]

    Her work evolved into incorporating her love for jazz music, inspired by parties and jam sessions she hosted in her Hyde Park home. Musicians such as Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, Jackie Cain and the Modern Jazz Quartet were considered friends. Dizzy Gillespie described her “the first bop artist. Bop in the sense that she has taken the essence of our music and transported it to another art form”.[12]

    #femmes #art #historicisation #surréalisme #peinture

  • #Traugott_Fuchs (1906-1997) : A German Exile in İstanbul

    Traugott Fuchs, a professor of German and French literature, painter and writer, left Nazi Germany in 1934 due to his political opposition to the regime and came to İstanbul, where he spent the rest of his life. He is one of the lesser-known intellectuals who emigrated from Nazi Germany to Turkey, but nonetheless, he has left a distinctive imprint on countless generations of Turkish students and academics.

    #exil #chercheurs #asile #réfugiés #université #histoire #Istanbul #science

    Quand la #Turquie accueillait les chercheurs en exil...

    voici le commentaire d’une chercheuse de Turquie, actuellement accueillie en France avec le programme PAUSE :

    While I was working at the Boğazici University Archives, I and my colleagues worked on a special collection belong to Traugott Fuchs, a scholar, painter, translator and musician who ran away from the Nazi Germany and found his way in Istanbul. I never thought that one day, many scholars from Turkey will be experiencing something similar…

    ping @reka

  • 1933 Article on Frida Kahlo: “Wife of the Master Mural Painter Gleefully Dabbles in Works of Art” | Open Culture


    Glané sur Twitter grâce à @fil si je me souviens bien

    And yet, far from the Keane’s San Francisco, and perhaps as far as a person can get from Margaret’s frustrated acquiescence, we have Frida Kahlo creating a body of work that would eventually overshadow her husband’s, muralist Diego Rivera. Unlike Walter Keane, Rivera was a very good painter who did not attempt to overshadow his wife. Instead of professional jealousy, he had plenty of the personal variety. Even so, Rivera encouraged Kahlo’s career and recognized her formidable talent, and she, in turn, supported him. In 1933, when Florence Davies---whom Kahlo biographer Gerry Souter describes as “a local news hen”---caught up with her in Detroit, Kahlo “played the cheeky, but adoring wife” of Diego while he labored to finish his famous Detroit mural project.


    The big-eyed children: the extraordinary story of an epic art fraud | Art and design | The Guardian

    In the 1960s, Walter Keane was feted for his sentimental portraits that sold by the million. But in fact, his wife Margaret was the artist, working in virtual slavery to maintain his success. She tells her story, now the subject of a Tim Burton biopic

    #art #fraude #women_in_art

    • Dans un des liens de l’article, il y avait ceci :

      No Women Need Apply : A Disheartening 1938 Rejection Letter from Disney Animation | Open Culture

      Put yourself in the mind of an artistic young woman who goes to see Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when it first opens in 1937. Captivated by the film’s groundbreaking cel-based cinematic animation, understanding that it represents the future of the art form, you feel you should pursue a career with a studio yourself. Alas, in response to the letter of inquiry you send Disney’s way, you receive the terse rejection letter above. “Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen,” it flatly states, “as that work is performed entirely by young men. For this reason girls are not considered for the training school.” Your only remaining hope? To aim lower on the totem pole and become an “Inker” or “Painter,” but “it would not be advisable to come to Hollywood with the above specifically in view, as there are really very few openings in comparison with the number of girls who apply.”

  • #Eileen_Gray: Pioneer of Design, December 1972 | Thinkpiece | Architectural Review


    Joseph Rykwert introduces the work of Eileen Gray in this piece from December 1972, prior to the opening of an exhibition of her work at the Heinz Gallery

    Eileen Gray was born in Ireland (Enniscorthy, Co Wexford) in 1879. She spent her childhood in London, and went as a student to the Slade in 1898 or thereabouts. Her father was a painter, so that the idea of painting and of drawing came quite naturally. Towards the end of her days at the Slade, she came by chance on the sign for a lacquer workshop in Dean Street:

    ‘I went upstairs and I saw that they were making things in lacquer. They were using both Chinese and European lacquer. I asked the owner if I could work there and he said: “Yes, of course. you can start on Monday.” Just like that! I found it very interesting. and the foreman was very kind. I went on seeing them and corresponding with them for many years.’

    While at the Slade. she also went to Paris ‘for a few days with some friends’. But she found it very congenial and returned often. After the Slade, she worked a great deal drawing, mostly at Colorossi’s in the Grande Chaumiere; she also found a studio in the rue Joseph Barras, but continued travelling between Paris and London.

    #architecture #peinture

  • #vietnamese_women's_museum in #Hanoi, #Vietnam

    Vietnamese Women’s Museum (VWM) is located in Ly Thuong Kiet Street, downtown Hanoi, just 500m from the central Hoan Kiem (Restored Sword) Lake and the old quarter. This is the most ancient street in the capital city, with many French-style buildings, foreign embassies, big hotels and government offices.
    Vietnamese Women’s Museum was established in 1987 and run by Vietnam Women’s Union. It is a gender museum with functions of research, preservation, and display of tangible and intangible historical and cultural heritages of Vietnamese women and Vietnam Women’s Union. It is also a centre for cultural exchange between Vietnamese and international women for the goal of equality, development and peace.

    #femmes #musée

    @tchaala_la & @isskein :

    It is also a centre for cultural exchange between Vietnamese and international women for the goal of equality, development and peace.

    –-> peut-être intéressant de tisser des liens avec la Turquie ?

  • The Larger the Theater, the Faster the Music - Issue 61: Coordinates

    This article is part of Nautilus’ month-long exploration of the science and art of time. Read the introduction here.How is composing music of a given meter similar to painting flowing water? In this conversation between the composer and musician Philip Glass and the painter Fredericka Foster, two artists set out to tackle this question, before flowing into questions of memory, physics, and death. Glass and Foster met in the late 1990s through their mutual interest in Buddhism. They shared a teacher, Gelek Rimpoche, and attended yearly meditation retreats together in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When I invited them to have a conversation about time, they both responded with great interest and curiosity. How better to reflect, they said, on a decades-long relationship that had been sparked by (...)

  • #Alexander_Bogomazov

    On en découvre tous les jours de nouveaux ; œuvres magnifiques.



    Alexander Bogomazov or Oleksandr Bohomazov (Russian: Александр Константинович Богомазов, Ukrainian: Олександр Костянтинович Богомазов; born April 7, 1880 in Yampol, Russian Empire – died on June 3, 1930 in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union) was a Ukrainian painter, known artist and modern art theoretician of the Russian Avant-garde (historically the term “Russian Avant-garde” refers to the art of all countries which were parts of Russia/USSR in the beginning of 20th century). In 1914, Alexander wrote his treatise “The Art of Painting and the Elements”. In it he analysed the interaction between Object, Artist, Picture, and Spectator and sets the theoretical foundation of modern art. During his artistic life Alexander Bogomazov mastered several art styles. The most known are Cubo-Futurism (1913–1917) and Spectralism (1920–1930).

    #art #peinture #soviétisme #urss #ukraine #réalisme-socialiste

  • #Edward_Kienholz - America My Hometown - Blain|Southern


    J’ai vu deux de ses œuvres au musée de Cologne, c’est très impressionnant.

    America My Hometown traces Edward Kienholz’s formative years (1954-1967), showing an artist coming to terms with both his unique vision and the social climate of the US throughout this tumultuous era. The work is direct and raw in its execution, as well as unsparingly critical of the political problems of twentieth-century America.

    One Day Wonder Painting (1954), the earliest work in the show, reveals Kienholz’s initial desire to become a painter. He soon developed a distinct artistic language based on his ability to transform found materials – including the discarded furniture on the streets of Los Angeles – into elaborate assemblage and complex tableaux with an angry and inventive wit. Bringing this vision to bear on the political and social issues of mid-century America, he became an iconoclast for whom nothing was sacrosanct. From the start of his artistic career, he rallied against the world with what John Coplans described as ‘a compulsively puritanical fury which impel(led) him to action’. Just four years after One Day Wonder Painting, Kienholz created The Little Eagle Rock Incident (1958), a reaction to the race riots at Arkansas Central High School in Little Rock the year prior. This was his first work that directly referenced a single, topical event. Employing taxidermy for the first time, the work signalled a move from construction paintings into assemblage.

    #art #Installation_artistique #art_moderne #art_contemporain

  • Three Years Into the #Yemen War, a Collective of Women Street Artists Cope With the Destruction

    SUBAY’S PIECES RANGE widely, addressing the gruesome effects of shelling and landmines but also paying tribute to the less tangible tragedies of war. Apart from the thousands of civilian lives lost — rough estimates suggest numbers between 5,000 and 11,000 civilians have been killed directly by military strikes, while around twice as many have been injured — the war between rebels and a Saudi Arabian-led coalition of Persian Gulf states has wrought havoc on virtually every aspect of Yemeni life. Over 1 million Yemenis have been afflicted by diseases such as cholera and diptheria, a crisis compounded by the collapse of more than half the country’s healthcare system. Inflation, blockades, and rampant unemployment have reduced the Yemeni economy by nearly half, while imports of crucial food and fuel supplies remain at a near-standstill, contributing to widespread shortages. An estimated 8.4 million Yemenis hover on the brink of famine. All told, the U.N. estimates that 22 million of the country’s 25 million citizens are in need of humanitarian aid.

    “There is no normal life for anyone,” said Subay, “people live in fear and hopelessness.”

    Even so, Subay’s work has offered her a sense of self-assertion and pride, however slight, and has inspired other women to join her in the campaign. Today, one of Subay’s most loyal teammates is 27-year-old Sabreen Al Mahjali. Al Mahjali accompanied Subay for her first mural — not as a painter, but as a guardian. “I was worried for her,” Al Mahjali recalled over video chat. “I thought maybe men would give her trouble for being on the street. And some men did bother us, but it wasn’t too much.” Watching Subay work, Al Mahjali was captivated: “I’m not a painter or an artist, but I wanted to take part in this message. I am a Yemeni and a woman, and I wanted to leave my mark.” Al Mahjali’s latest piece depicts a clenched fist inside the universal symbol for “woman.”


  • Van Gogh’s Ear | The New Yorker

    It is, in its strange way, at once the Nativity fable and the Passion story of modern art. On Christmas Eve, 1888, in the small Provençal town of Arles, the police found a young Dutch émigré painter in his bed, bleeding from the head, self-bandaged and semi-conscious, in a run-down residence called, for its peeling exterior, the Yellow House. A few hours before, the Dutchman had given his severed ear—or just its lower lobe; stories differed—to a whore named Rachel in a maison de tolérance, a semilegal bordello, as a kind of early Christmas gift. (She had passed out upon unwrapping it.) The painter, Vincent van Gogh, was known throughout the town as a crazy drunk who hung around the whorehouses too much for his own good, and who shared the squalid Yellow House with another so-called artist, even scarier than he was, though not usually as drunk and not so obviously crazy. That other artist, Paul Gauguin—after being interviewed by the police, and insisting that his friend must have sliced off his own ear in a fit—then sent a telegram to the Dutchman’s brother, urging him to come at once. Then Gauguin left for Paris, as fast as the trains could carry him, never to return.

    The Christmas crisis had a real, if buried, effect on van Gogh’s imagination, turning him from a dream of living and working with a community of brother artists to one of painting for an unknown audience that might someday appear—a fantasy that was, in the end, and against the odds, not a fantasy at all.

    Those words shine in his pictures. We tend to see the arc of his work, from the departure from Paris, in early 1888, to his death, in 1890, as more or less continuous, and miss the decisive break marked by the Christmas crisis. Even through the pictures of 1888 he’s still mostly a prose painter, with something of the nineteenth-century illustrator in him—children, postmen, absinthe-soaked café scenes. He still wanted to be Dickens or Daumier. After the Christmas crisis, he accepted that he was only Vincent. His new pictures—“The Starry Night,” “Cypresses,” and the pictures of the gardens at Saint-Remy—are depopulated, emptied of any vision of common life. Where in 1888 the pictures are still filled with people on top of people—six people in the “Night Café,” a dozen in the streets of Arles at night—in 1889, aside from his copies of Millet, van Gogh thinks only in solitary ones and lonely twos, the occasional individual portrait interrupting a world of visionary dailiness. He wrote, simply, “Let’s not forget that small emotions are the great captains of our lives.” Stars wheel, cypresses flame; the whole world comes alive. The common unity is the animism of the ordinary. “Starry Night Over the Rhone,” of 1888, has the night sky gently decanted into the gaslight world of the town, and the theme is the likeness of streetlight and moonlight, the modern urban subject—the amusement park at night. In the 1889 “Starry Night,” it’s all night and stars and rolling nebulae: me and the night and the music of the spheres. He’s a man alone, and for good.

    #Art #Peinture #Van_Gogh #Paul_Gauguin

  • Floating States 2018 by Ulysses Belz, painter and printmaker


    Ulysse Belz est un peintre allemand qui vit maintnant à Majorque. Je l’ai rencontré il y a quelques années, aujourd’hui il peint ds cartes dans le ciel avec des nuages...

    Ulysses Belz
    Painter and printmaker

    Floating States 2018

    #Ulysses_Belz was born in Mainz / Germany on 12 of March 1958.

    After school he starts an apprenticeship as a restorator of books at the “Werkstatt Schoy” in Essen and finishes with a diploma in fine bookbinding in 1979.

    In 1980 he is admitted at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he studies until 1984 in the classes of Jean-Marie Granier and Pierre Courtin. Leaving Paris in 1984, he opens a gallery in the old center of Athens, in the Street of the Tripods (Odos Tripodon 18) where he works from 1984 to 1989. The Goethe-Institute Athens shows his work in a first solo exhibition in 1987. After returning to Germany, first solo exhibition at Gallery Gres, Frankfurt 1980, followed by various exhibitions in Frankfurt and Berlin.

    #art #cartographie

  • Gustav Wunderwald’s Paintings of #Weimar #Berlin | The Public Domain Review

    Je viens de découvrir cet artiste magnifique, je partage l’émotion.

    The Berlin of the 1920s is often associated with a certain excess and decadence, but it was a quite different side of the city — the “sobriety and desolation” of its industrial and working-class districts — which came to obsess the painter Gustav Wunderwald. Mark Hobbs explores.

    #art #peinture #Gustav_Wunderwald

  • You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe : 42. The Family of Earth

    The woman smiled at them as they came in, and all three of their 1 fellow-passengers looked at them in a way that showed wakened curiosity and increased interest. It was evident that George and Adamowski had themselves been subjects of speculation during their absence.
    Adamowski now spoke to the others. His German was not very good but it was coherent, and his deficiencies did not bother him at all. He was so self-assured, so confirmed in his self-possession, that he could plunge boldly into conversation in a foreign language with no sense whatever of personal handicap. Thus encouraged, the three Germans now gave free expression to their curiosity, to the speculations which the meeting of George and Adamowski and their apparent recognition of each other had aroused.
    The woman asked Adamowski where he came from —“Was fur ein Landsmann sind sie?”
    He replied that he was an American.
    “Ach, so?” She looked surprised, then added quickly: “But not by birth? You were not born in America?”
    “No,” said Adamowski. “I am Polish by birth. But I live in America now. And my friend here”— they all turned to stare curiously at George ——“is an American by birth.”
    They nodded in satisfaction. And the woman, smiling with good-humoured and eager interest, said:
    “And your friend — he is an artist, isn’t he?”
    “Yes,” said Adamowski.
    “A painter?” The woman’s tone was almost gleeful as she pursued further confirmation of her own predictions.
    “He is not a painter. He is ein Dichter.”
    The word means “poet”, and George quickly amended it to “ein Schriftsteller”— a writer.
    All three of them thereupon looked at one another with nods of satisfaction, saying, ah, they thought so, it was evident. Old Fussand–Fidget even spoke up now, making the sage observation that it was apparent “from the head”. The others nodded again, and the woman then turned once more to Adamowski, saying:
    “But you — you are not an artist, are you? You do something else?”
    He replied that he was a business man —“ein Geschäftsmann”— that he lived in New York, and that his business was in Wall Street. The name apparently had imposing connotations for them, for they all nodded in an impressed manner and said “Ali!” again.
    George and Adamowski went on then and told them of the manner of their meeting, how they had never seen each other before that morning, but how each of them had known of the other through many mutual friends. This news delighted everyone. It was a complete confirmation of what they had themselves inferred. The little blonde lady nodded triumphantly and burst out in excited conversation with her companion and with Fuss-and-Fidget, saying:
    “What did I tell you? I said the same thing, didn’t I? It’s a small world after all, isn’t it?”
    Now they were all really wonderfully at ease with one another, all talking eagerly, excitedly, naturally, like old friends who had just met after a long separation. The little lady began to tell them all about herself. She and her husband, she said, were proprietors of a business near the Alexander-platz. No — smiling — the young man was not her husband. He, too, was a young artist, and was employed by her. In what sort of business? She laughed — one would never guess. She and her husband manufactured manikins for show-window displays. No, it was not a shop, exactly — there was a trace of modest pride here — it was more like a little factory. They made their own figures. Their business, she implied, was quite a large one. She said that they employed over fifty workers, and formerly had had almost a hundred. That was why she had to go to Paris as often as she could, for Paris set the fashion in manikins just as it did in clothes.
    Of course, they did not buy the Paris models. Mein Gott!— that was impossible with the money situation what it was. Nowadays it was hard enough for a German business person even to get out of his own country, much less to buy anything abroad. Nevertheless, hard as it was, she had to get to Paris somehow once or twice a year, just in order to keep up with “what was going on.” She always took an artist with her, and this young man was making his first trip in this capacity. He was a sculptor by profession, but he earned money for his art by doing commercial work in her business. He would make designs and draw models of the latest show-window manikins in Paris, and would duplicate them when he returned; then the factory would turn them out by the hundreds.
    Adamowski remarked that he did not see how it was possible, under present circumstances, for a German citizen to travel anywhere. It had become difficult enough for a foreigner to get in and out of Germany. The money complications were so confusing and so wearisome.
    George added to this an account of the complications that had attended his own brief journey to the Austrian Tyrol. Ruefully he displayed the pocketful of papers, permits, visas, and official stamps which he had accumulated during the summer.
    Upon this common grievance they were all vociferously agreed. The lady affirmed that it was stupid, exhausting, and, for a German with business outside the country, almost impossible. She added quickly, loyally, that of course it was also necessary. But then she went on to relate that her three-or four-day trips to Paris could only be managed through some complicated trade arrangement and business connection in France, and as she tried to explain the necessary details of the plan she became so involved in the bewildering complexities of cheques and balances that she finally ended by waving her hand charmingly in a gesture of exhausted dismissal, saying:
    “Ach, Gott! It is all too complicated, too confusing! I cannot tell you how it is — I do not understand it myself!”
    Old Fuss-and-Fidget put in here with confirmations of his own. He was, he said, an attorney in Berlin —“ein Rechtsanwalt”— and had formerly had extensive professional connections in France and in other portions of the Continent. He had visited America as well, and had been there as recently as 1930, when he had attended an international congress of lawyers in New York. He even spoke a little English, which he unveiled with evident pride. And he was going now, he said, to another international congress of lawyers which was to open in Paris the next day, and which would last a week. But even so brief a trip as this now had its serious difficulties. As for his former professional activities in other countries, they were now, alas, impossible.
    He asked George if any of his books had been translated and published in Germany, and George told him they had. The others were all eagerly and warmly curious, wanting to know the titles and George’s name. Accordingly, he wrote out for them the German titles of the books, the name of the German publisher, and his own name. They all looked interested and pleased. The little lady put the paper away in her pocket-book and announced enthusiastically that she would buy the books on her return to Germany. Fuss-and-Fidget, after carefully copying the paper, folded the memorandum and tucked it in his wallet, saying that he, too, would buy the books as soon as he came home again.
    The lady’s young companion, who had shyly and diffidently, but with growing confidence, joined in the conversation from time to time, now took from an envelope in his pocket several postcard photographs of sculptures he had made. They were pictures of muscular athletes, runners, wrestlers, miners stripped to the waist, and the voluptuous figures of young nude girls. These photographs were passed round, inspected by each of them, and praised and admired for various qualities.
    Adamowski now picked up his bulky paper package, explained that it was filled with good things from his brother’s estate in Poland, opened it, and invited everyone to partake. There were some splendid pears and peaches, some fine bunches of grapes, a plump broiled chicken, some fat squabs and partridges, and various other delicacies. The three Germans protested that they could not deprive him of his lunch. But Adamowski insisted vigorously, with the warmth of generous hospitality that was obviously characteristic of his nature. On the spur of the moment he reversed an earlier decision and informed them that he and George were going to the dining-car for luncheon anyway, and that if they did not eat the food in the package it would go to waste. On this condition they all helped themselves to fruit, which they pronounced delicious, and the lady promised that she would later investigate the chicken.
    At length, with friendly greetings all round, George and his
    Polish friend departed a second time and went forward to the Speisewagen.
    They had a long and sumptuous meal. It began with brandy, proceeded over a fine bottle of Bernkasteler, and wound up over coffee and more brandy. They were both determined to spend the remainder of their German money — Adamowski his ten or twelve marks, George his five or six — and this gave them a comfortable feeling in which astute economy was thriftily combined with good living.
    During the meal they discussed their companions again. They were delighted with them and immensely interested in the information they had gathered from them. The woman, they both agreed, was altogether charming. And the young man, although diffident and shy, was very nice. They even had a word of praise for old Fussand–Fidget now. After his crusty shell had been cracked, the old codger was not bad. He really was quite friendly underneath.
    “And it goes to show,” said Adamowski quietly, “how good people really are, how easy it is to get along with one another in this world, how people really like each other — if only ——”
    “— if only ——” George said, and nodded.
    “— if only it weren’t for these God-damned politicians,” Adamowski concluded.
    At the end they called for their bill. Adamowski dumped his marks upon the table and counted them.
    “You’ll have to help me out,” he said. “How many have you got?”
    George dumped his out. Together, they had enough to pay the bill and to give the waiter something extra. And there was also enough left over for another double jolt of brandy and a good cigar.
    So, grinning with satisfaction, in which their waiter joined amiably as he read their purpose, they paid the bill, ordered the brandy and cigars, and, full of food, drink, and the pleasant knowledge of a job well done, they puffed contentedly on their cigars and observed the landscape.
    They were now running through the great industrial region of western Germany. The pleasant landscape was gone, and everything in sight had been darkened by the grime and smoke of enormous works. The earth was dotted with the steely skeletons of great smelting and refining plants, and disfigured with mountainous dumps and heaps of slag. It was brutal, smoky, dense with life and labour and the grim warrens of industrial towns. But these places, too, had a certain fascination — the thrill of power in the raw.
    The two friends talked about the scene and about their trip. Adamowski said they had done well to spend their German money. Outside of the Reich its exchange value would be lower, and they were already almost at the border; since their own coach went directly through to Paris, they would have no additional need of German currency for porters’ fees.
    George confided to him, somewhat apprehensively, that he had some thirty dollars in American currency for which he had no German permit. Almost all of his last week in Berlin had been consumed, he said, in the red tape of departure — pounding wearily from one steamship office to another in an effort to secure passage home, cabling to Fox Edwards for more money, then getting permits for the money. At the last moment he had discovered that he still had thirty dollars left for which he had no official permit. When he had gone in desperation to an acquaintance who was an official in a travel agency, and had asked him what to do, this man had told him wearily to put the money in his pocket and say nothing; that if he tried now to get a permit for it and waited for the authorities to act on it, he would miss the boat; so to take the chance, which was, at most, he thought, a very slight one, and go ahead.
    Adamowski nodded in agreement, but suggested that George take the uncertified money, thrust it in the pocket of his vest, where he would not seem to hide it, and then, if he were discovered and questioned, he could say that he had put the money there and had forgotten to declare it. This he decided to do, and made the transfer then and there.
    This conversation brought them back to the thorny problem of the money regulations and the difficulties of their fellow-travellers who were Germans. They agreed that the situation was hard on their new-found friends, and that the law which permitted foreigners and citizens alike to take only ten marks from the country, unless otherwise allowed, was, for people in the business circumstances of the little blonde woman and old Fuss-and-Fidget, very unfair indeed.
    Then Adamowski had a brilliant inspiration, the fruit of his generous and spontaneous impulses.
    “But why ——” he said —“why can’t we help them?”
    “How do you mean? In what way can we help them?”
    “Why,” he said, “I have here a permit that allows me to take twenty-three marks out of the country. You have no permit, but everyone is allowed ——”
    “— to take ten marks,” George said. “So you mean, then,” he concluded, “that each of us has spent his German money ——”
    “— but can still take as much as is allowed out of the country. Yes,” he said. “So we could at least suggest it to them.”
    “You mean that they should give us some of their marks to keep in our possession until we get across the frontier?”
    Adamowski nodded. “Yes. I could take twenty-three. You could take ten. It is not much, of course, but it might help.”
    No sooner said than seized upon. They were almost jubilantly elated at this opportunity to do some slight service for these people to whom they had taken such, a liking. But even as they sat there smiling confirmation at each other, a man in uniform came through the car, paused at their table — which was the only one now occupied, all the other diners having departed — and authoritatively informed them that the Pass–Control had come aboard the train, and that they must return at once to their compartment to await examination.
    They got up immediately and hastened back through the swaying coaches. George led the way, and Adamowski whispered at his shoulder that they must now make haste and propose their offer to their companions quickly, or it would be too late.
    As soon as they entered the compartment they told their three German friends that the officials were already on the train and that the inspection would begin shortly. This announcement caused a flurry of excitement. They all began to get ready. The woman busied herself with her purse. She took out her passport, and then, with a worried look, began to count her money.
    Adamowski, after watching her quietly for a moment, took out his certificate and held it open in his hand, remarking that he was officially allowed twenty-three marks, that he had had that sum at the beginning, but that now he had spent it. George took this as his cue and said that he, too, had spent all of his German money, and that, although he had no permit, he was allowed ten marks. The woman looked quickly, eagerly, from one to the other and read the friendship of their purpose.
    “Then you mean ——” she began. “But it would be wonderful, of course, if you would!”
    “Have you as much as twenty-three marks above what you are allowed?” asked Adamowski.
    “Yes,” she nodded quickly, with a worried look. “I have more than that. But if you would take the twenty-three and keep them till we are past the frontier ——”
    He stretched out his hand. “Give them to me,” he said.
    She gave them to him instantly, and the money was in his pocket in the wink of an eye.
    Fuss-and-Fidget now counted out ten marks nervously, and without a word passed them across to George. George thrust the money in his pocket, and they all sat back, a little flushed, excited but triumphant, trying to look composed.
    A few minutes later an official opened the door of the compartment, saluted, and asked for their passports. He inspected Adamowski’s first, found everything in order, took his certificate, saw his twenty-three marks, stamped the passport, and returned it to him.
    Then he turned to George, who gave him his passport and the various papers certifying his possession of American currency. The official thumbed through the pages of the passport, which were now almost completely covered with the stamps and entries which had been made every time George cashed a cheque for register-marks. On one page the man paused and frowned, scrutinising carefully a stamp showing reentrance into Germany from Kufstein, on the Austrian border; then he consulted again the papers George had handed him. He shook his head. Where, he asked, was the certificate from Kufstein?
    George’s heart jumped and pounded hard. He had forgotten the Kufstein certificate! There had been so many papers and documents of one kind and another since then that he no longer thought the Kufstein certificate was needed. He began to paw and thumb through the mass of papers that remained in his pocket. The officer waited patiently, but with an air of perturbation in his manner. Everyone else looked at George apprehensively, except Adamowski, who said quietly:
    “Just take your time. It ought to be there somewhere.”
    At last George found it! And as he did, his own sharp intake of relief found echo among his companions. As for the official, he, too, seemed glad. He smiled quite kindly, took the paper and inspected it, and returned the passport.
    Meanwhile, during the anxious minutes that George had taken to paw through his papers, the official had already inspected the passports of the woman, her companion, and Fuss-and-Fidget. Everything was apparently in order with them, save that the lady had confessed to the possession of forty-two marks, and the official had regretfully informed her that he would have to take from her everything in excess of ten. The money would be held at the frontier and restored to her, of course, when she returned. She smiled ruefully, shrugged her shoulders, and gave the man thirty-two marks. All other matters were now evidently in order, for the man saluted and withdrew.
    So it was over, then! They all drew deep breaths of relief, and commiserated the charming lady upon her loss. But they were all quietly jubilant, too, to know that her loss had been no greater, and that Adamowski had been able in some degree to lessen it.
    George asked Fuss-and-Fidget if he wanted his money returned now or later. He replied that he thought it would be better to wait until they had crossed the frontier into Belgium. At the same time he made a casual remark, to which none of them paid any serious attention just then, to the effect that for some reason, which they did not follow, his ticket was good only to the frontier, and that he would utilise the fifteen minutes’ wait at Aachen, which was the frontier town, to buy a ticket for the remainder of the trip to Paris.
    They were now approaching Aachen. The train was beginning to slacken speed. They were going once more through a lovely countryside, smiling with green fields and gentle hills, unobtrusively, mildly, somehow unmistakably European. The seared and blasted district of the mines and factories was behind them. They were entering the outskirts of a pleasant town.
    This was Aachen. Within a few minutes more, the train was slowing to a halt before the station. They had reached the frontier. Here there would be a change of engines. All of them got out — Fuss-and-Fidget evidently to get a ticket, the others to stretch their legs and get a breath of air.

    #Deutschand #Berlin #Geschichte #Nazis #Rassegesetze #Juden #Literatur #Bahnhof_Zoo #Kurfürstendamm #Charlottenburg

  • The world of photographer Osaretin Ugiagbe

    Since he was ten years old back in Lagos, Osaretin Ugiagbe had been casually taking pictures. Using the family camera he would capture scenes from day-to-day life in the house, the neighborhood and thought nothing much of it. But from 2011 as a painter, and now living in the Bronx, he began feeling a yearning to make photographs. He…

  • Intercepted Podcast : Snowden vs. Trump

    It’s half true. I don’t like to say these things are right or wrong, because it’s not black and white. There is a Deep State.

    What are we saying when we talk about a Deep State? We’re talking about the people who survive presidents. These are not political appointees who come and go in this office or that office. They’re the people who are senior enough to influence policy, to shape the government’s understanding of an issue, and all the little people under them who are just sort of the worker bees who actually do things– these worker bees by and large are good people, right? I worked at NSA, at CIA for a long time. I strongly disagree with a lot of their policies. Right?

    They cause harm, they violate rights, they make us the United States less safe as a nation. And they destabilize peace, not just here at home but around the world, right. That’s not to say everything they do is bad, right.

    These worker bees, they’re good people who do bad things for what they consider to be good reasons. There are literally people in the United States who ran torture programs and there are people who actually did the torture. I’m not saying these are good people, right? These are war crimes, uncontroversially. And these people probably did know at the time.


    We can say many things, we can talk about moments of passion, we can talk about the loss of rationality in moments of panic. But these are fundamentally un-American things. If there’s one thing we need to remember, it’s that these people have never faced the inside of a courtroom in a criminal trial. George Bush, right, who was sort of the architect of all these programs and authorities, he’s the one who actually gave all these deep staters the legitimacy to construct and carry these things out. This could not have happened without his support.

    He’s now being rehabilitated in the public eye now. He’s this wonderful happy little painter guy. He’s like Bob Ross with an accent. No he’s not. He’s a war criminal.

    Transcription : http://mondoweiss.net/2017/03/snowden-contradicting-liberal

  • Sur l’excellente page Twitter “womens art” que je viens de découvrir, une petite sélection :

    Mods Laura and Janet, South London Rosettes,1981 by photographer Anita Corbin, who documented women in UK subcultures #womensart pic.twitter.com/urYtImqxUt

    Lantern Parade (late 19thc) by Danish artist Anne Sophie Petersen (1845-1910)

    Selma Burke (1900-1995) African American sculptor and educator who founded two art schools

    Amsterdam, 1927 by Dutch painter Charley Toorop

    Sibelius Monument (1967) by Finnish sculptor Eila Hiltunen, the sculpture is dedicated to the composer Jean Sibelius

    Fascism – The most evil enemy of women’ 1941, Soviet poster by Russian artist Nina Vatolina

    #femmes #art #visibilité

  • Postscript : #John_Berger, 1926-2017 - The New Yorker

    Last Monday, I learned of John Berger’s death, at the age of ninety, while walking with my daughter along a beach in Florida watching the sunset redden the water, and maybe that’s why the first work of his that flared up in my mind was his tiny essay on the painter J. M. W. Turner. I had not read it in twenty years. The essay was written in 1972, the same year Berger wrote his most famous book, “Ways of Seeing,” hosted a TV series of the same name, and won the Booker Prize for his novel “G.” “Turner and the Barber’s Shop” suggests a possible relation between Turner’s childhood experiences as the son of a barber, what he must have so often seen in the shop, and his innovations as a painter. Berger writes:

  • The Stars Are a Comforting Constant - Issue 43: Heroes

    The first time I saw a meteor, I’d slipped outside to lie in the grass after everyone else had gone to sleep. The daytime commotion of my cousins’ and siblings’ games and my Poppop’s blaring polka music often drove me to tears. As an introvert, I wanted nothing more than to escape the chaos of my childhood and let the quiet of the night sky comfort me. I grew up in an economically depressed Pennsylvania coal town as the middle kid in a poor blue-collar family. My parents never read to me or talked about the stars; they were too busy working, my dad as a painter in a factory, and my mother as a short order cook. I spent most of my childhood reading anything I could get my hands on, which wasn’t much—tattered and incomplete set of encyclopedias, the odd science book from my school library, (...)

  • 11月18日のツイート

    腰の骨がヅレてた。痛いわけだ。 posted at 11:33:01

    Top story: Brian Stelter on Twitter: "Obama: "If we can’t discriminate between … twitter.com/brianstelter/s…, see more tweetedtimes.com/ChikuwaQ?s=tnp posted at 11:19:22

    Top story: The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter … www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-en…, see more tweetedtimes.com/ChikuwaQ?s=tnp posted at 09:23:26

    The latest Papier! paper.li/ChikuwaQ/13277… Thanks to @BugsGroove @mkpdavies @holdengraber #time100photos #mpn posted at 09:18:53

    Top story: Interview with painter Brandon Province - Me and My Crazy Mind www.thecrazymind.com/2016/11/interv…, see more tweetedtimes.com/ChikuwaQ?s=tnp posted at 07:26:16

    Top story: Rep John Lewis tells National Book awards how he was refused entry t… www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov…, see more (...)