Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Dan Cardoza writes

Altar of Lies

You offered me an altar of lies, cardinal red, 
Art Deco & seductive, piled to the ceiling. 
I thought I knew the all of you. Looking back, the

part I did not know, is the part that you keep from 
yourself  just before love ends. Your betrayal was 
thick, filling the air like smoke draining from a fire

void of leash & muzzle, seeping from the seams
as if under pressure, just at the stitching where 
thread anchors cloth; where light & dark are

defined. I get it most happy endings really don’t 
exist, we make them up, in a relationship, for the 
same reason we invented religion, when we buried

our dead, with polished turquoise & amber in our 
earliest graves. At least this way, we find comfort, 
with a memory built of sticks & stones where we

know love is buried, not needing to know if it really existed. 

Art Deco altar and apse, St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, New York -- Hildreth Meière

Art Deco altar, St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, New York -- Hildreth Meière


  1. Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture, and design that influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theaters, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It combined modernist styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. Though it took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) in Paris in 1925, the actual phrase "Art déco" did not appear in print until 1966. During the 1925 exposition the architect Le Corbusier wrote "1925 EXPO. ARTS. DÉCO.," a series of articles about it for his magazine "L'Esprit Nouveau" which attacked the excesses of the colorful, lavish objects on display (he concluded that "Modern decoration has no decoration".)

    The term "arts décoratifs" was first used by the "Bulletin de la Société française de photographie" in 1858, and in 1868 the newspaper "Le Figaro" called objects for stage scenery created for the Théâtre de l'Opéra "objets d'art décoratifs." In 1875, furniture, textile, jewelry, and glass designers, and other craftsmen, were officially given the status of artists by the French government. Hildreth Meière was an early Art Deco artist in the US. After training as a mapmaker, she worked as a draftsman in the US Navy during World War I before becoming a costume designer for theatrical productions. In 1923 architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue commissioned her to decorate the dome of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, and she became part of the informal "repertory company" of artists he assembled. Goodhue designed "St. Bart's" Epicopal church in New York in 1917, though the church did not open until 1930, after Meière had designed its altat, apse, stained-glass windows, and mosaics.

  2. Bar Talmai became Bartholomaios in Greek. He was one of the original disciples of Jesus and reputedly traveled as a missionary to Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, Lycaonia, and India. After converting king "Polymius of Armenia," the king's brother Astyages had the saint tortured, flayed alive, crucified upside down, and beheaded. (His martyrdom was more likely in Kalyan, near Mumbai, ca.55. he was often depicted holding his flayed skin or the curved flensing knife with which he was skinned. He is the patron saint of tanners, plasterers, tailors, leatherworkers, bookbinders, farmers, housepainters, butchers, and glove makers, making him a suitable fixture in a church with Art Deco motifs.


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