JIONG SHEN, vice president of Southeast University in Jiangsu province, China, snaps a photo with Czech-American sculptor KAREL MIKOLAS’ marvelous ASA PACKER statue in Lehigh University’s Leadership Plaza. (www.lehighvalleylive.com/Office of International Affairs)
Well, that certainly did not take very long at all!
One blog post. One bona fide controversy. It is, of course, the SALON DES REFUSEE.
(Alle sind herzlich willkommen … it’s very multi-cultural here)
So, because I really am nothing more than a recovering sports addict doing a little Monday morning quarterbacking in the office, I asked my boss (because he forgot more about art than I ever knew) if this was an accurate statement — “Locally speaking, Czech-American sculptor KAREL MIKOLAS is, perhaps, most recognizable by his magnificent ASA PACKER bronze statue on the campus of Lehigh University”.
Apparently, it is not. It IS an undisputable fact that I do not know how to spell “sculptor” properly, which really pisses me off because I already knew that on Sunday after consulting the dictionary when writing the original article. Because of Republican-sponsored spending cuts to education and the arts, naturally, I do not have sufficient more proof readers to verify that all corrections have actually been made but vow to heroically persevere, nevertheless.
“Son of a custom furniture maker, grandson of a carpenter who restored onion domes on churches, (KAREL) MIKOLAS was fated to shape miniature galaxies with his hands. At the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, he spent six years studying to be a classical monumental sculptor, working on the side in a fine-art foundary. Six students began the brutal program; when it was ended, Mikolas was one of two survivors … it was in Prague that Mikolas became a glass luminary. His drinking glasses were prototypes for trade shows and best sellers in homes … Mikolas happily adapted more than 400 years of Bohemian glassmaking. ‘It’s such a sublime profession that you have to honor it, you have to caress it,’ he says.” — Geoff Gehman writing in The Morning Call (03/01/2007)
Another fact of the matter would be that my boss has known Karel Mikolas pretty much ever since there has been this 200-something-year-old barn in the picturesque Pennsylvania countryside, somewhere near Slatington in Washington Township, serving as what has been said to be a most hospitable “home-studio-laboratory”. He also has the advantage of knowing that I have absolutely no education and / or training with respect to classical arts. No, about all I would be able to discuss intelligently would be the ultimate negative impact the Prague Spring had not only on a surprising percentage of the Nationale Volksarmee officer corps, but, indeed, the general civilian population of the German Democratic Republic, itself, and that’s useless.
Now, when I see Mikolas, myself, we usually discuss the glory days of Czechoslovakian ice hockey.
And so this most intriguing question lingers on agaonizingly unanswered, then — “locally speaking”, what IS the signature piece of one Karel Mikolas?
(feel free to leave a comment as art is not only a very subjective thing, but I sincerely would not know any better, anyway)
This provocative black and white photograph taken during the 1961 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland symbolizes the chaos and confusion currently reigning supreme at the Salon des Refusee as Czechoslovak and Swedish skaters struggle to gain control of the airborne puck; diligently guarding the net for the national team of Czechoslovakia in this particular shot would be none other than Josef Mikolas (1) of VZKG Vitkovice, who is not related to the artist whose work is a part of the “JOIE DE VIVRE : KAREL MIKOLAS / ANTONIO SALEMME” exhibit currently on display in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania.