Director's Note 9/1/14

September 1, 2014

A day rarely goes by when I don't take a look at the Kandinsky painting, Häuser in Kallmünz, that hangs at Lynden. It is on my path to the kitchen, where I store my peanut butter, water my Norfolk pine, and collect ice cubes for the purple orchid in my office. It is the work of a young painter, though of a man entering middle age. Painted a few years after the turn of the century, in the period Kandinsky spent--first in Munich and then in rural Bavaria--with the painters who became the Blue Rider group, it demonstrates Kandinsky's growing command of color and composition. Once conquered, these elements would enable him to make the turn to abstraction.

This week, I finally had a chance to get down to the Milwaukee Art Museum to see the wonderful Kandinsky exhibition, which begins with a number of paintings produced on either side of Häuser in Kallmünz: (mostly) small seascapes and landscapes not unlike the painting of small houses, a field, dark blue mountains, a strip of sky, and a mysterious, blue/violet shape in the foreground (picnickers? a farmer mowing the field?) that hangs at Lynden. It's as if one can see, in this abbreviated selection, Kandinsky wrestling compositional disorder to the ground--suddenly (and it only seems sudden because the selection is small)--everything falls into place and the paintings become autonomous, things in themselves. The painting at Lynden begins to have that kind of authority, and it was the predecessor of much more significant and revolutionary work to come. I hope you get a chance to see its cousins--and the colorful room of Blue Rider paintings, including Gabriele Münter's, largely drawn from the Bradley Collection--while they remain on view.

It may be early to be contemplating the indoors, but we did just put the fall schedule to bed. Looking ahead to late autumn, when we begin a series of holiday giftmaking workshops, may require an imaginative leap but it's a leap reinforced by the platoons of geese that have returned to take up residence on the lawn.

There is still plenty to do outdoors in September, beginning on Labor Day (Monday), when we are open. September is the last month to take advantage of our late Wednesdays (and it's getting dark early enough now to catch some beautiful sunsets before we close at 7:30 pm), and the final chance to practice yoga in the garden: we begin our a four-week yoga session on September 7 and also offer a special outdoor tree yoga workshop with Todd Dybul on September 20. Naomi Cobb continues to take the very young outdoors during Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Garden, and she leads us all on a night walk beneath the supermoon, followed by a bonfire, on September 7. We offer the last patio tour of the season; and we end the month with Sacred Place/Sacred Dance, an informal and participatory performance featuring Lynden's yoga and tai chi instructors, Heather Eiden and Angela Laughingheart, and musician Anthony Deutsch.

The weather should be fine for visiting Inside/Outside: Nancy Popp and Paul Druecke, perhaps on September 7, the afternoon Paul Druecke reads from his latest book, Life and Death on the Bluffs. He will be joined by Martha Bergland and Paul G. Hayes, authors of a recent book on Increase Lapham.

Indoors we have a silk scarf painting workshop and a ceramic handbuilding workshop, the grow crew returns, and we offer the first in a series of at least monthly family workshops. September also means that school is back in session, and we resume our weekly art drop-in and our school's out workshops.

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