Constantin Brâncuși

Constantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor and photographer who made his career in France. Considered a pioneer of modernism, one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century, Brâncuși is called the patriarch of modern sculpture; as a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest to Munich to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1905 to 1907, his art emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși sought inspiration in non-European cultures as a source of primitive exoticism, as did Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, André Derain and others. However, other influences emerge from Romanian folk art traceable through Byzantine and Dionysian traditions. Brâncuși grew up in the village of Hobiţa, near Târgu Jiu, close to Romania's Carpathian Mountains, an area known for its rich tradition of folk crafts woodcarving. Geometric patterns of the region are seen in his works.

His parents Nicolae and Maria Brâncuși were poor peasants who earned a meager living through back-breaking labor. He showed talent for carving objects out of wood, ran away from home to escape the bullying of his father and older brothers. At the age of nine, Brâncuși left the village to work in the nearest large town. At 11 he went into the service of a grocer in Slatina; when he was 18, Brâncuși created a violin by hand with materials. Impressed by Brâncuși's talent for carving, an industrialist enrolled him in the Craiova School of Arts and Crafts, where he pursued his love for woodworking, graduating with honors in 1898, he enrolled in the Bucharest School of Fine Arts, where he received academic training in sculpture. He worked hard, distinguished himself as talented. One of his earliest surviving works, under the guidance of his anatomy teacher, Dimitrie Gerota, is a masterfully rendered écorché, exhibited at the Romanian Athenaeum in 1903. Though just an anatomical study, it foreshadowed the sculptor's efforts to reveal essence rather than copy outward appearance.

In 1903, Brâncuși traveled to Munich, from there to Paris. In Paris, he was welcomed by the community of intellectuals brimming with new ideas, he worked for two years in the workshop of Antonin Mercié of the École des Beaux-Arts, was invited to enter the workshop of Auguste Rodin. Though he admired the eminent Rodin he left the Rodin studio after only two months, saying, "Nothing can grow under big trees."After leaving Rodin's workshop, Brâncuși began developing the revolutionary style for which he is known. His first commissioned work, The Prayer, was part of a gravestone memorial, it depicts a young woman crossing herself as she kneels, marks the first step toward abstracted, non-literal representation, shows his drive to depict "not the outer form but the idea, the essence of things." He began doing more carving, rather than the method popular with his contemporaries, that of modeling in clay or plaster which would be cast in metal, by 1908 he worked exclusively by carving. In the following few years he made many versions of Sleeping Muse and The Kiss, further simplifying forms to geometrical and sparse objects.

His works became popular in France and the United States. Collectors, notably John Quinn, bought his pieces, reviewers praised his works. In 1913 Brâncuși's work was displayed at both the Salon des Indépendants and the first exhibition in the U. S. of modern art, the Armory Show. In 1920, he developed a notorious reputation with the entry of Princess X in the Salon; the phallic appearance of this large, gleaming bronze piece scandalized the Salon and, despite Brâncuși's explanation that it was meant to represent the essence of womanhood, removed it from the exhibition. Princess X was revealed to be Princess Marie Bonaparte, direct descendant of the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte; the sculpture has been interpreted by some as symbolizing her obsession with the penis and her lifelong quest to achieve vaginal orgasm, with the help of Sigmund Freud. Around this time Brâncuși began crafting the bases for his sculptures with much care and originality because he considered them important to the works themselves.

One of his major groups of sculptures involved the Bird in Space — simple abstract shapes representing a bird in flight. The works are based on his earlier Măiastra series. In Romanian folklore the Măiastra is a beautiful golden bird who foretells the future and cures the blind. Over the following 20 years, Brâncuși made multiple versions of Bird in Space out of marble or bronze. Athena Tacha Spear's book, Brâncuși's Birds, first sorted out the 36 versions and their development, from the early Măiastra, to the Golden Bird of the late teens, to the Bird in Space, which emerged in the early 1920s and which Brâncuși developed throughout his life. One of these versions caused a major controversy in 1926, when photographer Edward Steichen purchased it and shipped it to the United States. Customs officers did not accept the Bird as a work of art and assessed customs duty on its import as an industrial item. After protracted court proceedings, this assessment was overturned, thus confirming the Bird's status as a duty-exempt work of art.

The ruling established the important principle that "art" does not have to

Mykola Arkas

Mykola Mykolayovych Arkas was a Ukrainian composer, writer and cultural activist. Arkas was the author of a popular book History of Ukraine and his most notable composition was the opera "Kateryna". Mykola Arkas was born on 7 January 1853, in Mykolaiv in the family of the Admiral of the Black Sea Fleet Mykola Arkas, Sophia, née Bogdanovich. Mykola received his all-round education in the Law School of St. Petersburg and completed his studies in physics and mathematics at the University of Odessa. After completing his studies, in accordance with the family tradition, he joined the Imperial Russian Navy. Upon completion of naval service in 1881 Arkas obtained a magistracy in Kherson. In his leisure time he collected and recorded folk songs studying the history of Ukraine, his teacher, Petro Nishchynsky, a Ukrainian composer and writer, had an influence upon Mykola. Mykola Arkas died on 26 March 1909, in Mykolaiv, where he was buried in the family chapel in the town cemetery. Arkas's artistic contributions include about 80 compositions for solo-singing, vocal ensembles and arrangements of folk songs.

His opera "Kateryna" is the most significant work of Mykola Arkas, adapted as from Taras Shevchenko's poem of the same title. This work became the first Ukrainian lyrical folk opera. Performances of "Kateryna" were a great success, first playing in Moscow by Mark Kropivnitskiy's troupe in 1899, in Minsk and Kiev. Arkas was the chairman of the "Prosvita" cultural and educational society in Mykolaiv. At his own expense he opened a public school that taught in Ukrainian, as the dominant teaching language in schools was Russian. In 1908 in St. Petersburg, a book by Mykola Arkas – "History of Ukraine-Rus" – was published under the editorship of Ukrainian writer Vasyl Domaniczky; the book was written in Ukrainian. In October 1992 in Myoklaiv there was open a monument to Mykola Arkas In 2003 a postage stamp was released in Ukraine dedicated to Mykola Arkas Arkas, M. History of Ukraine-Rus. "Obshchestvennaia Polza" Association. 1908. Dytyniak Maria Ukrainian Composers – A Bio-bibliographic Guide – Research report No.

14, 1896, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, Canada. Kaufman L. M. M. – Arkas – Narys pro zhyttia i tvorchist', Kiev, 1958. Mykola Arkas – Encyclopedia of Ukraine

Lena Prima

Lena Prima is an American singer and songwriter. She is the daughter of singer and recording star Louis Prima and his fifth wife, Gia Maione. Born in Las Vegas, her childhood was divided between that city and the New Orleans/Covington area of Louisiana, she traveled with her father on his road trips and performed with him on stage. During this time, Lena's mother, a classically trained singer and the stage partner of her husband, taught Lena to play drums, which she continues to play on stage today. Lena developed a love for performing during these early years of her life. Lena's father, Louis told her stories about his life in show business, he taught her about the culture and traditions in his native New Orleans. When Lena was 11, her father underwent surgery for a benign brain tumor, he subsequently fell into a coma from. He died in 1978 when Lena was 14. Remembering her father, Lena said, “He was like a magical creature, bigger than life, with so much charisma, he always had a twinkle in his eye, smiling and joyful.”

Lena enrolled in college at 18, but soon dropped out to be a professional entertainer, like her father. Lena's singing career began with rock bands, despite her mother's objection to her pursuing a music career. While working a series of day jobs, Lena sang with many bands, sometimes sneaking in the back door because she was underage. Lena formed Rough Angel, which recorded an album with producer Geoff Workman; the group stalled and, when grunge took over the rock scene, Lena left rock music and found she could earn a living singing with lounge and cover bands. While performing with Spiral Starecase on a cruise, Lena, at the urging of some musician friends, put a tribute show together to honor her father; the tribute grew into the show she performs today. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina and the damage it made to her father's hometown made an impact on Lena, she brought her band to New Orleans to perform flood relief. The visit, coupled with Lena's appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2010, inspired her to move with her husband to New Orleans in 2011.

She continues to call the Crescent City home. In 2018, Lena concluded a seven-year residency at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. In New Orleans, she has performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival. Lena has recorded six albums, her recordings include 2010's Since the Storm, a collection of swing, jazz and originals. Pennies From Heaven is a live album recorded at the Gold Coast Showroom in Las Vegas. Starting Something, released in 2015, is an autobiographical project recorded after Lena's move to New Orleans, it features many original songs. In 2018, Lena signed with Basin Street Records. In early 2019, the label released Prima la Famiglia, which appeared on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. Reminiscing 2001 Since the Storm 2010 Pennies From Heaven 2012 Starting Something 2014 Christmastime is Here 2014 Live at the Dew Drop Jazz and Social Hall 2016 Prima La Famiglia 2019 Official website