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Proteus Gowanus Benefit/Anniversary Party, Saturday, May 22nd, 7-10 p.m.

Posted: May 20, 2010 at 8:15 am

This Saturday May 22, the Morbid Anatomy Library‘s beloved mother institution Proteus Gowanus will be hosting a benefit party; for the event, I will be on hand to provide wine-soaked tours of the Library and my Observatory exhibition The Secret Museum; there will also be an exciting variety of other events, happenings, workshops, and music, not to mention food and wine. This promises to be a great event! Very much hope to see you there!

Full details follow:

PROTEUS GOWNAUS BENEFIT/ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
The Proteus Gowanus Board and Core Collaborators:
Sasha Chavchavadze, Tammy Pittman, Tom LaFarge, Wendy Walker
Julie Freundlich Lang, PK Ramani, Benjamin Warnke, Nick DeFriez
Andrew Beccone, Joanna Ebenstein, David Mahfouda

Invite you to join us for

A Benefit Party
to Celebrate Five Years on the Alleyway

Saturday, May 22nd, 7 – 10 p.m.
RAIN DATE: Sunday, May 23, 7 – 10 p.m.
Featuring

Optiks/Alley
A multimedia installation/performance by Paul Benney and friends
inspired by Newton’s Opticks and West Side Story. Viewers will be
transported down the alleyway through a dream-like world
of theatrical lighting, video and an original sound score

And a Laboratory of Protean Workshops:
Rocketworks Countdown 3, a triptych moon launch video
Improvisational Mending with the Fixers Collective: bring a broken object!
Individual and Dual Stunts in the Reanimation Library
A Secret Museum, a private viewing of Morbid Anatomy Library’s collection
The Mysteries of the Gowanus Unveiled in our Hall of the Gowanus
An Oulipian Escapade with our Writhing Society

Music by Union Street Preservation Society
A selection of Thai hors d’oevres by JOYA restaurant
and wine will be served

Tickets $60 each
Space is limited, tickets will be sold
on a first come first served basis

BUY NOW

Or go to http://www.proteusgowanus.com
to buy a ticket or make a donation
718-243-1572
543 Union Street at Nevins Street Gate

You can buy tickets by clicking here; you can find out more about Proteus Gowanus by clicking here, more abou the Morbid Anatomy Library by clicking here, more about Observatory by clicking here, and more about The Secret Museum–which has been extended until June 6th–by clicking here.

Photo: Eric Harvey Brown, for Time Out New York

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

The Never-Realized F├╝hrermuseum, Linz, Austria

Posted: May 20, 2010 at 8:15 am

Starting in 1939, Nazi henchmen and art dealers bought and stole thousands of paintings, sculptures, tapestries and other objects from private collections across Europe, then stockpiled them. Hitler helped draw up architectural plans, which megomaniacally grew to include a theater and an opera house, a hotel, a library and parade grounds. Photographs show him, pencil in hand, pondering plans and gazing raptly on the model for the site…

Just in time for International Museum Day (which was yesterday, actually!), a fascinating story in the New York Times which details the ill-fated story of Adolf Hitler’s never-realized Führermuseum, an art gallery he planned to establish in his hometown of Linz, Austria.

The article details the surprising importance that collecting artworks and planning the architecture and minutia of a museum held for Hitler even up until the eve of his demise; it also traces the history of a series of intruiguing artifacts related to his pursuit: meticulous scrapbooks containing black and white photos of the projected Führermuseum’s collection, scrapbooks which now function as a sort of “museum without walls” for this ill-fated museum that never was. The article also provocatively examines in what ways Hitler’s projects of collecting and empire might have been linked.

The article explains:

    It’s hard to overstate how seriously [Hitler] took the whole project. Art collecting obsessed him for years; his staff endured nightly soliloquies, Hitler droning on about art while Germany collapsed around him. He fussed even about how the rooms in the museum should be decorated.

    And goes on to comment:

    The jury is out over whether the ‘disproportionate amount of time and energy,’ as the head of the Allied art-looting investigation unit put it after the war, that Hitler demanded go to amassing art, diverted German resources from the war effort, hastening its end, or the reverse — whether Hitler’s obsession with Linz, and with collecting generally, in some measure motivated him to press on.

    Full story follows; really fascinating stuff, and well worth a read!

    Strange Trip for a Piece of Nazi Past
    By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN

    BERLIN — Robert Edsel, author of “The Monuments Men,” came to town the other day with a heavy album bound in green Moroccan leather. “Gemäldegalerie Linz XIII” was embossed on the spine. Inside were black-and-white photographs of mostly obscure 19th-century German paintings.

    The album was one of the long-missing volumes cataloging the never-built Führermuseum in Linz, Austria, which Hitler envisioned someday rivaling Dresden and Munich. Starting in 1939, Nazi henchmen and art dealers bought and stole thousands of paintings, sculptures, tapestries and other objects from private collections across Europe, then stockpiled them. Hitler helped draw up architectural plans, which megomaniacally grew to include a theater and an opera house, a hotel, a library and parade grounds. Photographs show him, pencil in hand, pondering plans and gazing raptly on the model for the site.

    “And so they are ever returning to us, the dead,” the German novelist W. G. Sebald wrote in “The Emigrants.” “At times they come back from the ice more than seven decades later and are found at the edge of the moraine, a few polished bones and a pair of hobnailed boots.” He was recalling a long-forgotten Alpine climber, whose remains a glacier in Switzerland suddenly released, 72 years after the man had gone missing.

    But really Sebald was describing the past, which everywhere turns up unexpectedly, jolting us from our historical amnesia. A German publisher, Berliner Verlag, just released a book of photographs of postwar Berlin that had somehow languished in its archives. I know a man in Spain who has been accumulating long-forgotten photographs and other private relics from the war: a mesmerizing and mysterious stash of soldiers’ snapshots and letters, and documents scrawled with Hitler’s notes. The missing Linz album surfaced not long ago outside Cleveland, of all places. An 88-year-old veteran, John Pistone, who fought with Patton’s army, picked it up in 1945 while rummaging through the Berghof, Hitler’s retreat in the Bavarian Alps. Like other soldiers, he wanted a souvenir to prove he’d been there. He didn’t know, or particularly care, what the album was, and only learned its significance when a contractor installing a washer-dryer in his house noticed the volume on a shelf, hunted for information via the Internet, then called Mr. Edsel.

    Mr. Edsel heads the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, an organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the 350 or so Allied soldiers tasked with looking after cultural treasures in Europe. A 53-year-old, white-haired former oilman, Mr. Edsel isn’t the sort of person who takes no for an answer, and he persuaded Mr. Pistone to relinquish the volume to the German Historical Museum in Berlin , which has the other extant Linz albums. (This makes 20; 11 are still missing.)

    Hitler was presented with the albums every Christmas and on his birthday. They featured reproductions of the latest art to go into the museum. The books were a virtual museum-in-waiting, a museum without walls. You imagine him cradling the bulky volumes, ogling bucolic scenes of a bygone German countryside now in ruins, imagining himself the next Medici.

    It’s hard to overstate how seriously he took the whole project. Art collecting obsessed him for years; his staff endured nightly soliloquies, Hitler droning on about art while Germany collapsed around him. He fussed even about how the rooms in the museum should be decorated.

    “I never bought the paintings that are in the collections that I built up over the years for my own benefit,” he took pains to write in his brief will, just before putting a pistol to his head, “but only for the establishment of a gallery in my hometown of Linz.”

    A model of Linz had already been moved to the bunker in Berlin so it would be among the last things he saw.

    Volume XIII, Mr. Pistone’s album, contains reproductions of 19th-century German and Austrian pictures, the art Hitler admired most. He may have bought some of these works with royalties from “Mein Kampf.” They’re mawkish idylls by painters largely obscure even to Germans and Austrians today. The best pictures are by Adolph von Menzel and Hans Makart, with whose early underappreciation Hitler perversely identified.

    Time whitewashes evil, or not. Mr. Edsel expressed his opinion this week that more and more curios like Mr. Pistone’s album would surface now that the last surviving veterans are dying.

    “Emotional value doesn’t transfer across generations,” is how he put it. “People don’t inherit passions.” One man’s private memento becomes another’s opportunity to sell something on eBay, notwithstanding that German and American authorities insist that artifacts like the Linz album are cultural property that shouldn’t be sold. Regardless, he meant that in the process of passing between generations, the object gains new life.

    In a ceremony on Tuesday, Volume XIII was delivered to the German Historical Museum here, joining other Linz albums on display behind glass, like contaminated evidence. The jury is out over whether the “disproportionate amount of time and energy,” as the head of the Allied art-looting investigation unit put it after the war, that Hitler demanded go to amassing art, diverted German resources from the war effort, hastening its end, or the reverse — whether Hitler’s obsession with Linz, and with collecting generally, in some measure motivated him to press on.

    Historians can thrash that out. Meanwhile, there are the 11 unaccounted-for albums. Presumably they’re still out there, like Sebald’s polished bones.

    You can view the full article by clicking here, and see the related slide-show–from which the above image, captioned “Hitler at work on plans for his museum in Linz, Austria,” was drawn– by clicking here.

    Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

    Aspirin May Increase Risk of Crohn’s Disease

    Posted: May 20, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Aspirin May Increase Risk of Crohn’s Disease

    (HealthDay News) — A new British study finds that people who take aspirin every day have a higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease, a potentially devastating digestive illness.

    But it’s still not very likely that aspirin users will develop the condition, and the study’s lead author said patients should keep in mind that aspirin lowers the risk of heart disease.

    “If the link with aspirin is a true one, then only a small proportion of those who take aspirin — approximately one in 2,000 — may be at risk,” said study author Dr. Andrew Hart, a senior lecturer in gastroenterology at University of East Anglia School of Medicine. “If aspirin has been prescribed to people with Crohn’s disease or with a family history by their physician, then they should continue to take it. Aspirin has many beneficial effects and should be continued.” Read more…

    Ayurtox for Body Detoxification

    Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

    Is human fecundity declining in Western countries?

    Posted: May 20, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Since Carlsen and co-workers reported in 1992 that sperm counts have decreased during the second half of the last century in Western societies, there has been widespread anxiety about the adverse effects of environmental pollutants on human fecundity. The Carlsen report was followed by several re-analyses of their data set and by many studies on time trends in sperm quality and on secular trends in fecundity. However, the results of these studies were diverse, complex, difficult to interpret and, therefore, less straightforward than the Carlsen report suggested. The claims that population fecundity is declining and that environmental pollutants are involved, can neither be confirmed nor rejected, in our opinion. However, it is of great importance to find out because the possible influence of widespread environmental pollution, which would adversely affect human reproduction, should be a matter of great concern triggering large-scale studies into its causes and possibilities for prevention. The fundamental reason we still do not know whether population fecundity is declining is the lack of an appropriate surveillance system. Is such a system possible? In our opinion, determining total sperm counts (as a measure of male reproductive health) in combination with time to pregnancy (as a measure of couple fecundity) in carefully selected populations is a feasible option for such a monitoring system. If we want to find out whether or not population fecundity will be declining within the following 20–30 years, we must start monitoring now.

    Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

    Avoiding transgenerational risks of mitochondrial DNA disorders: a morally acceptable reason for sex selection?

    Posted: May 20, 2010 at 8:15 am

    In this article, we discuss sex selection not intended to help a couple avoid having a child with a severe genetic disorder, but to avoid possible health risks further along the line of generations. Sex selection may be put to this use in the context of preventing mitochondrial DNA disorders by means of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and possibly in the future also through nuclear transfer (NT; also known as mitochondrial gene replacement). A relevant analogy can be found in the context of PGD for X-linked diseases, where sex selection against healthy female carrier embryos would have the same 2-fold purpose of (i) avoiding difficult reproductive decisions for the future child and (ii) avoiding transmission of the mutation to a possible third generation. Because sex selection would still be done for reasons of health, this application should not give rise to the moral concerns associated with sex selection for non-medical reasons. However, the proportionality of adding the relevant procedures to PGD or NT is a relevant concern. We discuss post- and preconceptional sex selection strategies. We conclude that if PGD is already part of the procedure, either as the central technology or as a back-up test after NT, preferentially transferring male embryos could in principle be a morally acceptable way of reducing possible burdens and risks. To start an IVF/PGD-cycle especially for this purpose would be disproportional. The alternative approach of preconceptional sex selection may be morally justified as a means to increase the chances of obtaining male embryos.

    Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

    Cross border reproductive care in six European countries

    Posted: May 20, 2010 at 8:15 am

    BACKGROUND

    The quantity and the reasons for seeking cross border reproductive care are unknown. The present article provides a picture of this activity in six selected European countries receiving patients.

    METHODS

    Data were collected from 46 ART centres, participating voluntarily in six European countries receiving cross border patients. All treated patients treated in these centres during one calendar month filled out an individual questionnaire containing their major socio-demographic characteristics, the treatment sought and their reasons for seeking treatment outside their country of residence.

    RESULTS

    In total, 1230 forms were obtained from the six countries: 29.7% from Belgium, 20.5% from Czech Republic, 12.5% from Denmark, 5.3% from Slovenia, 15.7% from Spain and 16.3% from Switzerland. Patients originated from 49 different countries. Among the cross border patients participating, almost two-thirds came from four countries: Italy (31.8%), Germany (14.4%), The Netherlands (12.1%) and France (8.7%). The mean age of the participants was 37.3 years for all countries (range 21–51 years), 69.9% were married and 90% were heterosexual. Their reasons for crossing international borders for treatment varied by countries of origin: legal reasons were predominant for patients travelling from Italy (70.6%), Germany (80.2%), France (64.5%), Norway (71.6%) and Sweden (56.6%). Better access to treatment than in country of origin was more often noted for UK patients (34.0%) than for other nationalities. Quality was an important factor for patients from most countries.

    CONCLUSIONS

    The cross border phenomenon is now well entrenched. The data show that many patients travel to evade restrictive legislation in their own country, and that support from their home health providers is variable. There may be a need for professional societies to establish standards for cross border reproductive care.

    Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith


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