Esteemed thinker: Clas Oldenburg

pizza restaurant
We have memories that are both positive and negative and they come and go throughout our day often without any warning. The method they use to interrupt our thoughts is often initiated by a random trigger; all fitting very neatly under the umbrella of our senses. A song may bring back romance or regrets while an aroma recreates a holiday.

Pizza is a food that that carries and omits memories; ordering through an open window where the smells waft into the street and greasy wax paper barely big enough to hold the triangular slice. The best way to eat a piece was to fold it lengthwise with the full advantage of biting off the end. Ultimately you had to stretch your arm out in front of you before reeling in a thin string of mozzarella cheese.

However, what was once the norm of pizza has now become almost extinct since its culinary metamorphosis. Its evolution through the years has been transformed into what I call “boutique pizza.” Not only has the size of the average pie been dramatically reduced, but the crust is not longer made with the soft dough that bubbled up on the edges like a dune on the beach. Presently it is more like a fancy cracker. The toppings range from artichoke hearts, to pineapple, to chicken and rosemary. Mozzarella is no longer the cheese of choice but rather feta and goat drizzled with olive oil. Served on small tapas dishes the order comes with knives and forks.

Alas, the evolution of the pizza has made quite a change; and though the “boutique pizza” is delicious, there was once something special about watching the pizza baker twirl the dough above his head while you waited… and just maybe this would be the time it would go splat!!

Museum Ludwig - Pressekonferenz - Claes Oldenburg Today’s post brings to you the esteemed thinker: Clas Oldenburg (Stolkholm, 1929), a Swedish born artist who moved to the United States and eventually became a citizen of his adopted counntry. Educated at Yale, Oldenburg later attended the school of the Art Institute of Chicago, opened a studio and did freelance illustrating for magazines. Using commercial and ordinary objects as subject matter, he brought to the art world a new meaning of expression. He became known for public art and instilations of grand scales, utilizing materials that deemed his work “soft sculpture”. In the 1960s he participated in what was called the Pop Movement, also related to “happenings” a kind of performance art work.

I now bring you his 1964 lithograph titled Flying Pizza from New York Ten a work of art that clearly, from the title and subject, reminds many of us of the “good-old-days” of the plain cheese pizza!

Pizza Oldenburg

Esteemed thinker: Nikola Tesla

futureIt is astounding to think that only a hundred and fifteen years ago, which is not a very long ago in the realm of time, the world was in the throes of a new millennium. This was the Edwardian era, the very beginning of the 20th century, and the future seemed as unrealistic as one could imagine. Airplanes, radios, and wireless transmission were at its infancy. And if only the predictions had come true, what a different world it would be. Andrew Carnegie hoped warfare would “become the most dishonorable” profession and Secretary of the Navy John D. Long held the common belief that war would be abolished.”

Forward to the 21st century, where we began with such inventions as segways, ipods, braile gloves and hybrid cars. Sadly we cannot celebrate the predictions of Carnegie and Long for they did not hold up to the test of time. Which leads us to today’s esteemed thinker: Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) a world renowned scientist who made some of his own predictions seventy or so years before the millennium.

nikola tesla Nikola Tesla, born in Smiljan, Lika, which was then part of the Austo-Hungarian Empire, the region of modern day Croatia. In 1873 he began his studies in mathematics and physics at the University in Prague, however became fascinated with electricity. In 1881 he started his career in electrical engineering in Budapst and privately built a reduction motor, a radical idea that was not received well in Europe. As a result he moved to the United States and worked with Thomas Edison. For the next 59 years he established himself as a great inventor, which included constructing his theory of alternating current, in direct conflict with Edison’s theory of direct current. In 1882, Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field, a fundamental principle in physics and the basis of nearly all devices that use alternating current. Alternating current became standard power in the 20th Century, an accomplishment that ultimately changed the world.

I now bring to you a snippet from an article in the 1935 issue of Liberty magazine. Here is one of many predictions made by the inventor, Nikola Tesla, a man who probably did not predict his own beneficial contribution to everyday life.

“… At present we suffer from the derangement of our civilization because we have not yet completely adjusted ourselves to the machine age. The solution of our problems does not lie in destroying but in mastering the machine. Innumerable activities still performed by human hands today will be performed by automatons. At this very moment scientists working in the laboratories of American universities are attempting to create what has been described as a ” thinking machine.” I anticipated this development. I actually constructed “robots.”

Today the robot is an accepted fact, but the principle has not been pushed far enough. In the twenty-first century the robot will take the place which slave labor occupied in ancient civilization. There is no reason at all why most of this should not come to pass in less than a century, freeing mankind to pursue its higher aspirations…”