Dark Matter

A few weeks from now, we can send a cruise missile to retroactively blow up 2016, right? That’s doable? I hope so because, good grief, if there was a single year in the past decade or so that deserves to wiped out of collective human memory 2016 is it. Odd though, because I always thought “2016” sounds good spoken and looks good written. Twenty-sixteen. Should have been a winner but, alas, it wasn’t.

So when I sat down with my laptop to compose this end-of-year blog post, I went back, out of curiosity, to see what I had published as the first Museworthy post of 2016. It was Rough Beasts on January 2nd; a discussion of William Butler Yeats’ poem The Second Coming, with a dash of my own struggle with depression thrown in. Now, at the end of this year, it feels like things have come full circle. And Yeats’ portentous poetical expressions about the centre not holding, darkness dropping, and the falcon not hearing the falconer, carry even more foreboding weight than ever it seems.

Solitude by Jean-Jacques Henner:

henner-solitude

How can we describe 2016? I see it as having been a queasy concoction of harrowing human tragedy with a “bread and circuses” spectacle. From Orlando to Aleppo, Brexit and Brussels, floods and earthquakes, airstrikes and debate stages, cries of war and rebellions, sacred lands and murdered gorillas and divided nations, propaganda and venal bureaucrats, and a disturbing amount of people brazenly, shamelessly lusting for power. Power; the most effective corrupter of souls known to man. Sometimes I think we’re just going through one of the innumerable rough patches that the arc of history inflicts upon us, that feels more dire than it actually is. And that could very well be the case. But then other times I think we’re witnessing the the Book of Revelation coming to life. Or the movie “Idiocracy”. Not sure which one is more terrifying at this point.

But thank god for the Chicago Cubs, yes? Their World Series triumph was a genuine, albeit fleeting, moment of jubilation, not just for their long-suffering fans but for anyone who has a soft spot for underdogs and was receptive to a much-needed bright spot in this difficult year. Well done, Cubbies! You are “lovable losers” no more.

If only heartwarming baseball stories had a lasting effect on our mood and outlook. But they don’t unfortunately. And the undercurrents of anxiety, tension, and uncertainty that are in the air cannot be brushed away.

Weary Moon, Edward Robert Hughes:

hughes-wearymoon

Is 2016 literally the “WORST YEAR EVER!!” as hysterical social media exclamations would have us believe? Well of course not literally in the entire course of human history. That’s just silly. But we are engaged in the present. We are consumed with the present. We are emotionally invested in the present. We assess present circumstances as predictors of our future and our children’s futures.

A Soul Brought to Heaven, 1878, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau:

soul-carried-to-heaven-jpglarge

For sure, 2016 did take from us many beloved and prominent figures – Prince, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, Elie Wiesel, Nancy Reagan just to name a few. And for us classical music fans, the passing of Sir Neville Marriner was a great loss. Among this latest spate of deaths in December, which has included George Michael, Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, was a remarkable and accomplished woman whose passing on Christmas Day at the age of 88 seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Vera Rubin was the American astrophysicist whose tireless research confirmed the existence of “dark matter” in the universe. Hey that’s big! Quite an amazing and brilliant woman who took on the dual challenges of making discoveries in the galaxies and confronting obstacles for women in science. She was never awarded the Nobel Prize, which should be baffling but sadly isn’t when we consider that out of 203 Nobels awarded for physics only two in history have gone to women. Still, her enormous contributions remain, as do her wise words: “Don’t shoot for the stars, we already know what’s there. Shoot for the space in between because that’s where the real mystery lies.”

Vera Rubin as an undergraduate at Vassar:

verarubin

I’m going to hand over this final Museworthy post of 2016 to the man whose untimely death back in January seems to have set the tone for this crummy year. (An alternate interpretation is that he was really prescient and decided to bail early on 2016 before this shitshow kicked into high gear). Now he’s dancing among the stars and celestial bodies, and escorting Vera Rubin through the dark matter. Neither he nor the song needs any further introduction from me, except to say that it will give you chills.

I’ll see you in 2017, friends. God bless you all ……
Claudia xoxo

13 thoughts on “Dark Matter

  1. John Giesecke says:

    Could not have exited 2016 with better observations. Thanks for the enlightened view.

    • artmodel says:

      John,

      Thank you so much. At first I wasn’t sure how to tackle this post. I’m glad you feel that I hit the right notes. Much appreciated!

      Happy New Year 🙂

      Claudia

  2. Peta says:

    2016 was the worst year for me and these deaths hut home for me since I got know some of these chaps from dad’s inner circle. And i lost my auntie from dad ‘s side and I almost lost dad from a heart embolism thank god he made it.

    I hope things will be right
    Remember to tell the ones you love that you love them before they go from this earth. Life is too short. Have a great new year.

    Peta Kylie tewey

    • artmodel says:

      Peta,

      I know your family has been through a lot. Your Dad mentioned his sister’s passing. My deepest condolences about your Auntie. Your Dad is a tough survivor. It’s really wonderful that you two are so close.

      Thanks for commenting, and a blessed happy new year to you, Peta!

      Claudia

  3. artmodelandrew says:

  4. Bill says:

    But Claudia, 2017 will be the year of the ultimate photo op! The Patriots will win the Super Bowl and Tom Brady will receive the trophy from Roger Goodell. And they’ll both be smiling — Brady because he’s happy, Goodell because . . . well. he’ll be smiling anyway.

    And then the rematch from 1986 — Red Sox vs. Mets in the 2017 Series!

    As for 2016 — one of my nieces was born in 2016. With all due respect to Mr. Bowie . . .

    Have a great year!
    P.S. You’re right — it should be twenty-seventeen. Rolls off the tongue.

  5. Claudia:

    It has been awhile since I checked in here, so long, in fact, that the name on this account is different. I published a novel this year under the pen name D.H. Jonathan rather than my regular name of Dan Hawkins. So for me, 2016 has been a wonderful learning experience. The novel is doing pretty well for what it is. I started a new blog under this new pen name, ostensibly to promote that novel.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t posted much in my art modeling blog. Back in January, art modeling led me to a very unique experience in performance art, and I did write a blog piece about that on the modeling blog (http://artmodellog.blogspot.com/2016/01/lana-paninchul-at-culture-hole.html if you are interested). It was the strangest job I’ve ever had, but I enjoyed it. Perhaps the strangeness of that gig, which occurred when 2016 was just barely a week old, was a harbinger for the rest of the year for me (strange but fun).

    Dan

    • artmodel says:

      Dan,

      Welcome back! I noticed that you had stopped posting on your modeling blog. But wonderful to hear that 2016 turned out to be a productive and rewarding year for you. Congratulations! Writing and publishing a novel is no small feat.

      I hope your family is well and that 2017 continues to bring blessings. Thanks very much for commenting and for checking in! Museworthy is always here 🙂

      Claudia

  6. Just hope 2017 hasn’t looked at 2016 and said “challenge accepted.” 😉

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