Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Vogel

I'm always be amazed by people who dedicate their whole life to do something which is meaningful, at times meaningless to others, continuously and perseveringly even in the face of misunderstanding and discouragement from someone close.

Like the couples in this documentary film Herb & Dorothy. It tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means.

In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb's salary to purchase art they liked, and living on Dorothy's paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment.

Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner.

After thirty years of meticulous collecting and buying, they amassed a collection of over 4,782 works, which they kept in their New York City apartment. In 1992, they decided to transfer the entire collection to the National Gallery of Art. More recently, in late 2008, they launched The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, with the assistance of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The program will donate 2,500 works from the Vogels' collection of contemporary art throughout the nation, with fifty works going to a selected art institution in each of the fifty states.

The vast majority of their collection was given as a gift to the institution. Many of the works they acquired appreciated so significantly over the years that their collection today is worth millions of dollars. Still, the Vogels never sold a single piece. Today Herb and Dorothy still live in the same apartment in New York with 19 turtles, lots of fish, and one cat. They've refilled it with piles of new art they've acquired.

Amazing, isn't it ?

And yes, you don't have to be a Rocketfeller to collect art.

For more information :

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ways of Seeing

This book consists of 7 essays.  Four of the essays use words and images, three of them use only images. Personally, I find the last essay on Publicity is the most interesting part, and very much related to our lives.

Here are some notable passages  :

Publicity, it is a thought, offers a free choice.  (or a single proposal)
It proposes to each of us that we transform ourselves, or our lives, by buying something more.  This more, it proposes, will make us in some way richer - even though we will be poorer by having spent our money.

Publicity persuades us of such a transformation by showing us people who have apparently been transformed and are, as a result, enviable.  The state of being envied is what constitutes glamour.  And publicity is the process of manufacturing glamour.

Being envied is a solitary form of reassurance. It depends precisely upon not sharing your experience with those who envy you.  You are observed with interest but you do not observe with interest - if you do, you will become less enviable.

The purpose of publicity is to make the spectator marginally dissatisfied with his present way of life. Not with the way of life of society, but with his own within it.  It suggests that if he buys what it is offering, his life will become better.  It offers him an improved alternative to what he is.

Money is life.  Not in the sense that without money you starve.  Not in the sense that capital gives one class power over the entire lives of another class.  But in the sense that money is the token of, and the key to, every human capacity. The power to spend money is the power to live.  According to the legends of publicity, those who lack the power to spend money become literally faceless.  Those who have the power become lovable.

The interminable present of meaningless working hours is 'balanced' by a dreamt future in which imaginary activity replaces the passivity of the moment.  In his or her day-dreams the passive worker becomes the active consumer.  The working self envies the consuming self.
No two dreams are the same. Some are instantaneous, others prolonged. The dream is always personal to the dreamer. Publicity does not manufacture the dream.  All that it does is to propose to each one of us that we are not yet enviable - yet could be.

Publicity is the life of this culture - in so far as without publicity capitalism could not survive - and at the same time publicity is its dream.  Capitalism survives by forcing the majority, whom it exploits, to define their own interests as narrowly as possible. This was once achieved by extensive deprivation.  Today in the developed countries it is being achieved by imposing a false standard of what is and what is not desirable.

Do spend some moment to think about it.

Probono for BooksActually

These ads were done in year 2008.

Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG, Singapore
Photographer : Eric Seow,
Beacon Pictures

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kinokuniya Ads

These are recent poster ads for Kinokuniya bookstore in Indonesia.


Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Jakarta, Indonesia
Executive Creative Director: Gary Caulfield
Creative Directors: Glenn Alexander, Joseph Dean, Yuwono Widodo
Art Director: Tania Huiny
Copywriter: Lydia Tarigan
Digital creatives: Rudy Haryanto, Aldo Khalid

Monday, January 18, 2010


Remember the The French Bookshop (1 Boon Tat St, Tel:6423 1279) I'd mentioned quite a while ago ? I re-visited it last Saturday and brought 4 children books, new and used.

They are :
Verdurette cherche un abri (Broché) | Claude Boujon | L'École des loisirs, 1996 | sgd3

Tout toutou : Un livre animé (Cartonné) | Jean-Hugues Malineau | Albin Michel Jeunesse, 2009 | sgd32.5

Noirs et blancs (Broché) | David McKee | LGallimard Jeunesse, 2002 | sgd13

Toi grand et moi petit (Broché) | Grégoire Solotareff | L'École des loisirs, 1997 | sgd3

Now the store's business hours are :
Mon,Wed & Thursday : 9.15am - 2.15pm
Friday : 1.00pm - 6.15pm
Saturday : 10.30am - 1.00pm, 3.00pm - 6.3pm
Sunday : 10.30am - 2.00pm

Ways of Seeing was from pageone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Game Cards from Malacca

I purchased 2 sets of the above game cards from Gee's Original.  To play, you'll need to ask the other player to select a Chinese Zodiac without letting you know.  Then simply show the 4 cards with irregular cut-out holes to the player and ask him/her to indicate which card contains the chosen zodiac sign.  Put the cards with the sign upright  and the cards without the sign downwards . Last step is to place the 5th card containing all the 12 Chinese Zodiac on top of these cards.  You will find the correct sign through the overlapping holes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Malacca Trip

At last, I've re-visit this historical old town with my incredible on Christmas eve for a 4 days 3 nights free and easy tour. I would say it was very enjoyable and fulfilling. Our previous trip 4 months ago was a bit too rush and never really got the chance to explore the beautiful town.

Maritime Museum

Of course, the well known Malacca Tourism haven Jalan Hang Jebat aka Jonker Walk is a must go. It is a street in Chinatown with many antiques and souvenir stores. On weekend nights, the whole street is closed (Fri 6pm-11pm, Sat/Sun 11am onwards) for traffic and turns into a lively night market bazaar. One of the main attraction is the happening Geographér Café 地理學家咖啡館. Remember the Hong Kong movie "Summer Holidays 夏日麼麼茶" staring popular actress/singer Sammi Cheng and Taiwanese actor/singer Richie Ren? It was filmed at this star Café. Packed with stories, live music and tasty healthy food, I wouldn't want to miss it. The chicken wings and Malacca coffee are superb. For local snacks and tidbits, go to this huge shop called San Shu Gong 三叔公. My favorites are Biskut Bertelur Masin老錢蛋黃酥 and Biskut Kai Chai 雞仔餅. I like the lovely packaging too. There is a self-run toy museum along the walk which I don't know the exact address, though if I'm not wrong, it is somewhere near the Kheng Chew Hui Kuan 馬六甲瓊州會館.

Geographér Café

Anyway, the main treasures are on streets surrounding the walk. Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok (formerly Heeren St) and Jalan Hang Kasturi are the two highly recommended by me. Once you cross over Melaka River, you will see the colonial Heeren Guesthouse on your left. This was the guesthouse I intended to stay but unfortunately, it was fully booked throughout the festive seasons. Alas! (I ended up at Hotel Equatorial, which is considerably very convenient and close to the biggest shopping mall, Dataran Pahlawan 英雄廣場.  On top of that, our room no. 803 contains my incredible's most wanted feature -- bathtub.  So no complain here. ^_^ )  The shop Archipelago Island Crafts at ground floor does offer a comprehensive selection of handicrafts mostly from Indonesia, Thailand and of course from Malaysia as well. Some nice artworks by local artist DiDi can be found there. Further down the street is Joe's Design,  specializes in artisan handcrafted jewellery. The owner Joe Ng also opens Calanthe Art Cafe at adjacent street, a mere stone's throw away.

Heeren Guesthouse

This rubber chicken is very popular recently.  It first got my attention from the TV series CSI.  The story is about a famous yet very nasty comedy actress was murdered with a rubber chicken stucked in her throat. 

Joe's Design

Along Jalan Hang Kasturi are Lighthouse Curios antique store, Red Handicraft 剪紙人家, Gee's Original and lifestyle store Puri Padi. All worth a visit.

Lighthouse Curios

I bought these few postcards of nude girls.

Gee's Original

This cute little girl, age 4, is very shy and quiet. However,
when in front of camera, she will automatically pose for you. Isn't she adorable ?

Red Handicraft

Friendly Shopowner Ray Tan, who is wholeheartedly dedicated to
the project of preserving Chinese Folk Cultural Heritages

Handcrafted clay animals sourced from mainland china.

Calanthe Art Cafe - TV fish tank

Came across this colorful tattoo parlour while hanging around that area .....

Also saw an old man on work in front of his store.

To me, this trip was not only about eating, shopping and endulging. Meeting old and new friends are equally important. I got to meet up and hang out with old friends, Kiong Seng and Siew Lee that haven't seen each other for more than 10 years since our Rinjani trekking trip. And not forgetting our Rock Climbing guru, big sister 老姐, who was very productive during the past few years ..... Boom! 3 kids already. Oh! Mind. New friends are humorous chap Bert Tan, owner of Riverine Coffeehouse and Ray Tan of Red Handicraft.

Malacca, I will come back again.