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Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Salman Rushdie come to Asheville with new novel

Atheist believes in genies, novel revealsby Rob Neufeld             Salman Rushdie’s latest novel—“Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” (1,001 nights)—has permitted me to come up with a headline as wild as the one above because the book is so exuberantly and infectiously…See More
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Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Jan 31
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

73 classic works about Appalachia going online

Key Appalachian studies publications now going onlinefrom press release, Jan. 27. 2016 Appalachian studies scholars and those interested in regional history will have greater access to out-of-print works thanks to a two-year National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Open Book Program grant totaling $88,000 awarded to Belk Library and Information Commons at Appalachian State University.  Pamela Mitchem, the library’s coordinator of digital scholarship and…See More
Jan 30
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

John Parris' home-grown prose

South of Sylva, back of yesterday: John Parris' inspiration             “For the life of me, I just can’t understand why folks stopped usin’ cradles,” John Parris’ 97-year-old maternal grandfather had told him 60 years ago.            The oil lamp, the buggy, and the spinning wheel—they all were replaced by things…See More
Jan 27
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

James Sturm expands scope of graphic novels

James Sturm blazes cartoon path to a new worldby Rob Neufeld             Why is it that when an author combines pictures with words, the medium is considered juvenile, like comics?  Words create literature; images, art.  Why, when you marry them, is it like pairing a milk cow with a mop?            Nothing against…See More
Jan 24
susannah eanes posted a blog post

The Writer as Pilgrim

Two articles leapt at my consciousness this week, both about writing. And suddenly, I know how to go forward from here. The first, The Price I Pay to Write, by Laura Bogart and published online in Dame Magazine, reflects on the difficulties of…See More
Jan 24
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Tired of thrillers with no soul?

Why read a 1940 man-on-the-run classicby Rob Neufeld             After reading a classic novel, you might think, “Oh, look at this superior ancestor of today’s fiction.”              For instance, “The Power and the Glory,” Graham Greene’s 1940 thriller about political oppression in Mexico, exemplifies the…See More
Jan 17
Susan True updated their profile
Jan 9
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Art of Grace by Sarah Kaufman

Dance critic applies grace to every moveby Rob Neufeld             It’s nice to find just the right word for something, especially when it sums up a main idea in your way of thinking.            That was the case with Sarah Kaufman when she’d first felt moved, nine years ago, to write her new book, “The Art of Grace” (W.W.…See More
Jan 9
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Jan 9
Rob Neufeld posted blog posts
Jan 8
Kathryn Hall posted a blog post

Fire and Ice Roses interview with author/gardening blogger Kathryn Hall

Fire and Ice Roses has been interviewing gardening bloggers and gardening experts and were kind enough to include this short interview recently which was quite fun and very much appreciated! http://fireandiceroses.com/ask-an-expert-kathryn-hall/See More
Jan 5
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

History in the making, January 2, 2016

History in the making: items of note, January 2, 2016It was reported in today’s print edition of the Asheville Citizen-Times that a new state law went into effect, requiring people who’ve filed for unemployment benefits to make at least 5 job contacts a week.  It had been 2.  How will that work?  Are there that many jobs for which a person is qualified?  Can you apply to the same job twice if it continues to be listed? Paul Bonesteel, noted Asheville filmmaker, revealed on Facebook that a…See More
Jan 2
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Local event of the day, Jan 1 2016

Tarantino, eminent domain, and emancipation Tarantino comes to townQuentin Tarantino’s New Year’s gore and gabfest, The Hateful Eight, is gutted by New Yorker reviewer Anthony Lane, who says that Tarantino toys with rather than explores history, using it “for boyish fantasies of revenge, as if enormous crimes could be undone, after the event, by lone and wanton acts of humiliation.” …See More
Jan 1
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

Railroad history in Western North Carolina: a close-up and bottom-line look

Railroads in WNC: the perils, the people, and the profitby Rob NeufeldWritten in conjunction with exhibit, "How The West Was Won," in Rural Heritage Museum, Mars Hill University PHOTO CAPTION: The entrance to the railroad show at the Rural Heritage Museum is commanded by a mock-up of Climax engine…See More
Dec 24, 2015

Ornament in Asheville—a pictorial survey

by Rob Neufeld

 

            In the urban renewal era, Asheville followed the modern trend away from ornament in architecture.  The Akzona Building (now the Biltmore Building) and the Northwestern Bank Building (now BB&T) preferred exteriors that expressed structure rather than symbolism.

 

(Photo 1.  Biltmore Building and BB&T.)

 

             In the postmodern era—that’s today, still—ornament has returned in two ways: with simplified references to historical motifs; and with new age, art-nouveau-like fantasias.

            The significance of the old ways is that people who had cared about style had connected to the classical and medieval concepts of a golden age.  The Grove Arcade, for example, puts on the clothing of a Venetian palace.  The misnamed griffins at the south entrance are Venetian winged lions.  They don’t have an eagle’s beak and talons.

            But Grove might be considered postmodern, too, in the way he combined and simplified styles.  His Italian plasterers had at their disposal a Sears catalog-type of architectural options.

            The window arches on the top level, for instance, are French.  The heart motif in the cornice atop the first floor balconies are of no classical origin.  And, of course, the most prominent feature, “GROVE,” is pure modern empire.

 

(Photo 2.  Grove Arcade emblems.)

 

(Photo 3.  S&W Cafeteria entrance detail.)

           

            The Art Deco ornamentation on Douglas Ellington’s S&W Cafeteria, a building contemporary with the Grove Arcade, is truer to sources, and incorporates into its vocabulary Aztec, Egyptian, and machine age imagery and style.  

 

(Photo 4.  Drhumor building  east side detail.)

 

           Just down Patton Ave. from the S&W in Asheville is the Drhumor Building, now the law offices of McGuire, Wood & Bissette.  Its frieze, carved into stone by Biltmore Estate stonecarver Frederic Miles, reveals an artist’s freedom in incorporating classical motifs—the Greek acanthus leaf; the Roman half-figure; the Renaissance mask—into a dynamic, narrative design.

 

 

            The Biltmore House’s French Renaissance influence on local architecture, along with its English cottage and Arts and Crafts influence in Biltmore Village, are major reference points for Asheville.  Builders and designers in the region know, when they create ornament, what local traditions they are tapping.

            The courtyard at the south wing of the Biltmore House features a number of richly decorated columns, including one that features French fleur-de-lis.

 

(Photo 5.  Biltmore House decorated column.)

(Photo 6.  Grand Bohemian column capital.)

 

            One of the newest ambitious uses of decoration is evident at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village.  The columns in the lobby, for example, combine a Germanic woodcarving style with stylized classical motifs in an original way, evoking a luxury hunting lodge.

 

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