September starts the Fall with a burst of energy. For the Giraffe, here is an update:

The Koehnline Museum of Art in Des Plaines, Illinois, will show "Longing" at an exhibit titled "Gendering Desire: Liberation, Power and Pleasure".

The Sandra Lee Gallery in San Francisco, CA will show "Paradox" and "Being Female" at its "Real Surreal" exhibit.

The Paul Mahder Gallery in San Francisco is showing "Big Red Dress" as part of its summer group show.

The new Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, CA is showing "Hunch" and "Lost Innocence" at its opening exhibit.

Trash bins, grates, empty walls, and sidewalks are getting a beauty make-over in Poland, where artist NeSpoon Polska is using "urban jewelry" to spiff up ugly surfaces. Sometimes with permission, sometimes without, he applies lace motifs, painted or crocheted, to lighten the face of the city and bring a smile to its inhabitants.

The Chapman Brothers, no strangers to controversy, have seen one of their works removed from the Maxxi museum in Rome. The 1997 piece, called Piggyback, portrays two unclothed young girls, one with a penis in her mouth. The artists state that taking children to museums is "a total waste of time". The Italian Observatory for the Rights of Minors lobbied Italy's culture minister to object to the artwork. The Museum had posted warning notes at its ticket counter saying, "Crudeness is part of the Chapman Brothers' work...and we strongly believe in and support artists' freedom of expression".

A popular site called Bookbub is enticing readers with its highly discounted books that are announced via email and available for a short period of time. Rather than inundating readers with thousands of free or almost-free titles, BookBug's editors say that they choose only the top quality books to promote and divide them into genres. The result is a devoted following of book lovers.

Another approach to enlivening city environments is shown at Web Urbanist. Here you will see shipping containers used as giant sculptures, painted, rotated and stacked. A competition was held in Belgium, and the results are stunnning. Recycle and reinvent are the watchwords.

The exquisite delicacy of Iranian architecture is beautifully documented by Mohammad Domiri in this Designboom article. Floors, ceilings, walls and columns are elaborately patterned in almost dizzying complexity, perhaps the antithesis of postmodern western simplicity. Truly a feast for the eyes, and an education for the mind.

Another unusual approach to architecture is shown in the Lotus building, designed by studio 505 in Wujin, China. Set in an environment of vertical concrete structures, the building's colored petal ribs let in sunshine and shadows. Additionally, the interior features rotating color schemes, changing the indoor lighting every ten seconds. The Lotus building is an outstanding example of what can be done to soften and relieve the cold gray monoliths of most urban architecture.

Fine Art Connoisseur magazine is showing a video entitled "Women in White", documenting the treatment of this subject throughout art history. The magazine celebrates the "innocence" and "purity" of these symbolic representations of women. I have written to them asking why they are not showing how contemporary women artists handle the subject. Above you see a recent example of my own.

Park Avenue Armory in New York City showed a site-specific installation by Ernesto Neto. Titled "Anthropodino", the work featured hundreds of yards of translucent material in the lobby, halls, and passages, reminding viewers of "fabric stalactites". The admiring sponsors called Neto's piece "epic", "interactive", and "immersive". It looks engaging and luminous to me.

If, like me, you are drawn to romantic French chansons, you will appreciate Leo Ferre's "Avec le Temps". I am reminded of the best of Jacques Brel, with a touch of Edith Piaf. Haunting, sad, nostalgic, even if you don't speak French, this musical language is not restricted to one geography or one nation.

In the southeastern section of the Mexican state of Campeche, archaeologists have discovered two ancient Mayan cities that had been covered by thick vegetation. Using aerial photography, scientists from the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts found massive structures in an area of roughly 1800 square miles. Most startling so far is is the entrance, shaped like the open jaws of some huge monster. The site was originally found by American Eric Von Euw, but his drawings were unpublished and the exact location of the cities unknown. These striking doorways were actually typical of a style known as Late-Terminal Classic Rio Bec. The discoveries raise questions about Mayan culture of the time and relations with other civilizations in the area.

If you have not visited the British Museum, pull up a comfortable chair, sip your favorite latte, and immerse yourself in their absorbing site. You will find seemingly endless and fascinating examples of art from many periods and styles, almost as good as flying to London and seeing the real thing. Their presentation is an example of what makes the Internet so very special.

c.Corinne Whitaker 2014