Monday, November 22, 2021

Noguchi


Yesterday morning turned into a marathon cleaning binge. It began with me trimming some of the plants, and then noticing that the floor around the plants needed cleaning, and then noticing that the floor under the couch needed cleaning, and then noticing that the specks of black mold that tend to grow on the wall behind the couch had once again reappeared with our damp autumn weather. Before I knew it I'd cleaned all the floors and the wall and moved furniture and vacuumed, and changed bedsheets and cleaned baseboards and God knows what else.

Bathrooms! I did the bathrooms too.

I told Dave it might be nice to have a professional cleaning team come in and give the house a good once-over. I think I'm a pretty good housekeeper, but I'm sure there are things I don't see or just don't bother with that should be done. For example, I rarely clean the outside of the kitchen cabinets, especially the upper ones. I rarely clean radiators or molding.

We're wrestling with some serious indoor humidity at this time of year. The house feels like a steamroom. All the windows are closed (because it's chilly out there) and there's condensation on the glass and between our showers and Dave's cooking (which yesterday meant a pot of spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove for hours) we have got to get rid of some of this moisture. I'm thinking maybe we need to finally invest in a dehumidifier, although I worry a little about how it will affect the houseplants.

So, yeah, that was my morning. Then, in the afternoon, I went to the Barbican to see the Isamu Noguchi exhibit.


Noguchi was a sculptor, product designer and landscape architect. His work was very popular in the mid-20th Century, and you may have seen his famous coffee tables and Japanese paper lamps. I was a huge fan back in the '90s, when I owned books about him and even traveled to his museum in Long Island City for a visit. He'd sort of fallen off my radar in recent years, but seeing this show at the Barbican reconnected me with his art. Many of the pieces I remembered, and hadn't thought of in years.

Early in his career he was an apprentice to Brancusi, whose influence is apparent in his early works (above).


Eventually he found a more distinctive voice, creating larger, organically shaped structures with nesting parts that interlock and balance on each other. They look like they belong in an Yves Tanguy painting.


He was also a set designer, creating backdrops and set pieces for dancer Martha Graham and others. The "jungle gym" and "rope tree" at back left in the photo above are stage elements.

Anyway, it was an interesting exhibit. I bought a Barbican t-shirt and had a coffee on the outdoor terrace, where I sat reading The New Yorker. There were several photographers wandering around and one of them stopped a few feet away and took some shots of me, which was a strange experience.  I'm used to being behind the camera! I didn't move or even acknowledge seeing him, though, because I hate it when I have a great shot and then the subject moves and ruins it -- and besides, God knows I've taken plenty of pictures of strangers, so I could hardly object. I just pretended to be engrossed in my magazine.

On the way home, I shared the tube train with this:



Not quite as elegant as a Noguchi creation, but I'm sure it will make some kid happy.

57 comments:

  1. Interesting exhibition . The one thing I miss about London is the exhibitions.

    A dehumidifier is a blessing, especially in a rental!! Have you extractor fans for the bathroom and kitchen? I think that they are now a requirement, especially in a rental.

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    1. We do not have extractor fans! That's good to know, though -- maybe we should ask for some.

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    2. No extractor fans! We have them in both bathrooms and of course in the kitchen too - over the hob. No wonder that you have problems with dampness during the colder months.

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  2. I would love that Noguchi exhibit... The orange ... seal? Orca? Maybe not. But some kid should be very happy. Hire a cleaning service. You’ll be so happy.

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    1. I think we might do that, at least as a one-off.

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  3. The photographer was probably from a men's lifestyle magazine called "London Hunks". It wouldn't surprise me if you appear on the cover of the Christmas edition. The exhibition looks interesting. Shame Olga didn't get to see it.

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    1. But he didn't ask me to take off my shirt and flex! (Which is a good thing, because it was cold.)

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  4. I wouldn't like to comment on Noguchi's work without seeing it in person.

    We have one large exhaust fan and motor that extracts air via ducts from two bathrooms and one toilet. It pulls in fresh air from the outside and we never have any condensation problems. The intake in my ensuite pulls warm air or cool air to my far off bedroom. When heating or cooling is on, we have the exhaust fan running.

    Gosh, you certainly did a lot yesterday. Slow down man.

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    1. I suppose if we had a more modern flat we'd have better ventilation. We DO have windows in the bathroom, at least, but we can't leave them open when it's cold outside!

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  5. Do you have Damp-Rid over there? Another solution might be to get a salt lamp. We have used both products in our bedroom and they help.

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    1. I've never heard of a salt lamp. I'll have to look into that!

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  6. The plants will be fine, you may not. A mister ( empty of windex bottle) works well for plants. Theat is my two cents- for free!
    Beautiful exhibit, would have like to have seen it! I think that you could have an exhibit of Olga shots- universally appealing and delightful. It would make people so happy. England is going to need "happy" in the neat future I reckon.

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    1. We do have a mister but it's been so humid we haven't had to use it! We really only use it during the dry summers.

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  7. Speaking of cleaning, I would not give my child that inflatable animal after it rested against the Tube floor until it had been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

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  8. Um Steve, I hate to break it to you but most people rarely clean moulding or wipe down cupboards. You sound like an excellent housekeeper and the plants will be fine. Our indoor humidity goes down to 15% in the winter here and my plants are fine.

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    1. OK, that makes me feel better! (Although when I say I "rarely" clean them, what I really mean is "never.")

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  9. Interesting art everywhere, even on the Tube.

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    1. I'm always a sucker for pictures of people schlepping around huge stuffed animals.

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  10. This is how it goes- you start one tiny project and the next thing you know, you're replacing ceiling tiles.
    Or something like that. When I was on my knees scrubbing the oven yesterday, I noticed how much the cabinets down on that level needed cleaning. Ugh.
    You certainly had a busy day.

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    1. Exactly! It becomes an avalanche of housework!

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  11. It is true that one thing leads to another when cleaning. You got a lot done. Thanks for the glimpses of the art show and the links to his bio and work. Very informative post!

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  12. We had 2 Noguchi lamps, one the dog ran through and destroyed and the other the paper just fell apart after all the years. I love his work.

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    1. Oh, bummer, although I can see how they wouldn't last forever. They're EXPENSIVE!

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  13. Oh reading about all that deep cleaning made me not want to venture into the kitchen today. I know it's time do some scrubbing. Perhaps I could put it off for one more day.
    Interesting art exhibit.

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  14. You've reminded me that I need to do a deep clean myself. That exhibit sounds very interesting. I think I'd enjoy seeing it so thanks for the photos.

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  15. Family think I'm obsessed with damp when I open windows and put fans on, but you justify my actions.

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    1. I set a fan up in the living room to circulate air better. I wish I could keep the windows open but it's just too cold.

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  16. Oof - as you know, housecleaning is NOT my strong suit. I was supposed to do the floors this weekend, but my booster shot laid me low (for real - I didn't use it as an excuse, really I didn't!). I was just talking to my boss about baseboards. I never clean mine - a fact I regretted when we moved because I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to clean them then.

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    1. What's funny is, I don't think we EVER cleaned them in the house where I grew up, and yet I don't remember them being dirty. Maybe I just didn't notice!

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  17. Thanx For The Tour And Photos - Living Here In The High Desert , Would Love A Little Moisture In The Air - Keep Cleaning When You Think About

    Cheers
    Olga Girl Good?? Please Hide A Treat Under Her Pink Blanket From Uncle T

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  18. Not my kind of art, but I do agree about the humidifier. I don't think it will hurt your plants. Have a super days, Edna B.

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    1. We'll see! It doesn't arrive until this weekend but hopefully things will be getting drier next week.

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  19. I had a housecleaner the last year I was still working (before I retired). It was wonderful.

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    1. I can't imagine having a regular one. I like a little control over how things are done! But having someone come in a couple of times a year to do the heavy stuff wouldn't be a bad idea.

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  20. I have one....and it saved our marriage. Yes, I had forgotten all about Noguchi. Thank you.

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    1. Ha! I'm sure it helps in the household harmony department!

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  21. I wonder if your photo will appear anywhere! You'll have to share it if it does. Baseboards, ugh. I got mine repainted a year ago and they look so nice that I vowed to dust them periodically, forgetting that dusting is my most hated household chore.

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    1. Every once in a while I've seen people taking a picture of me (or at least pointing a camera at me) and I've often wondered where that picture is going. Only once did I come across a photo of myself, on Flickr, and that was a surreal experience. I think I wrote about it here, eight years ago or so.

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  22. You are clearly a better housekeeper than I am, so I wish you could have teleported here to get my house ready for Thanksgiving while you were in cleaning mode.

    I'll never forget one exceptionally wet summer in Knoxville when I opened my closet door only to be shocked by a row of bright green moldy shoes! I swear it happened overnight!

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    1. I've had that happen in Florida. It DOES happen fast!

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  23. Dehumidify! Mold spores are bad for you.

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    1. I know! That wall creeps me out every time I see it.

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  24. I was right with you on the housecleaning until you said you did all that in the morning! That would have taken me all day. Interesting that some guy took your picture, maybe it will show up on his blog. Noguchi doesn't do a whole lot for me. And I think the floor of the rapid transit car would be the last place I'd put a stuffed toy before giving it to a kid.

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    1. I didn't even think of the cleanliness factor until the rest of you pointed it out! I wish I could find photos of me online. Someone needs to develop that software.

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  25. Our houses take a lot of maintenance when it comes to cleaning. It's difficult to keep humidity down when it's high all over the place. Here I just have to open my windows. It's very dry outside.

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    1. It's been relatively dry here for the last few days -- just too cold to have the windows open. (Probably not as dry as where you are.)

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  26. A dehumidifier can be set for whatever level of dehumidifying you wish, and it would help keep that mold under control. As Allison said, mold is bad for your health.

    I do the same thing with housecleaning. One thing leads to another to another! I just don't do it as often as you do :D

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    1. I know the mold is bad. My former boss wound up with a life-threatening lung disorder that her physicians blamed on long-term mold exposure. So believe me, I want to get rid of it!

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  27. I hope that toy gets disinfected after being on a tube floor...You would put any cleaner I have had here to shame.

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    1. I don't know how someone would disinfect that thing. I don't think it would survive a washing machine!

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