When we visited Kingman Hall on graduation weekend 2016 and photographed the murals there, we were told that Cloyne’s murals were to-be-seen-amazing.
We visited Cloyne (2600 Ridge) and spent an hour just on the first floor. And – learned that all the housing coops have murals. Lots of visits to make! Lots of murals to find and photograph! Two more floors to go just here at Cloyne!
Daniella Thompson has written about the history of Cloyne Court – designed by John Galen Howard as a hotel, built in 1904, bought by the University Students Cooperative Association in 1946, sold to the University in 1970 and leased back by the University Students Cooperative Association since then. Her history, as always, is meticulous and thorough.
Cloyne is a large coop house – 140 residents. For the last few years it has been substance-free, meaning that the consumption or storage of intoxicating substances is expressly forbidden. It has also been an academic theme house with a Cloyne Academic Theme Charter.
Substance-free and academic theme notwithstanding, there are murals EVERYWHERE. Even without drugs and without alcohol and with the academic theme, there are murals on almost, not quite all but almost, all walls.
Many are allusions to works of art or popular culture. Some of those I recognize or have identified with a little help from my friends. Let’s start with these, the allusions I know. I have gotten help from strangers on three of these – I hope for more.
Just inside the front door is this lovely rendition of Gustav Klimt’s 1907-1908 “The Kiss,” oil and gold leaf on canvas. The original:
It makes one think of a first kiss, no? Herman Hesse: “At the first kiss I felt something melt inside me that hurt in an exquisite way. All my longings, all my dreams and sweet anguish, All the secrets that slept deep within me came awake, Everything was transformed and enchanted, everything made sense.” Top that!
She is Tina Belcher from “Bob’s Burgers,” an animated sitcom that first aired in 2011.
Tina likes horses, rainbows, zombies, writing erotic fiction, movies -and butts. From the profane to the scared:
In the kitchen – Lakshmi. A traditional rendering:
She is the Hindu goddess of material and spiritual of wealth, fortune, and prosperity.
A Sarah Palin version of the iconic 2008 Obama/Hope poster designed by Shephard Fairey.
One suspects that few Palin fans have lived at Cloyne.
Alice. Obviously. Obviously Alice.
An ode to Depeche Mode.
The lyrics are from the 1993 album “Songs of Faith and Devotion,” with the graphic from the album cover.
The poem on this door is Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” (1986).
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
There appears to be a Totoro on the bottom left of the door.
Totoro first appeared in a 1988 Japanese anime movie となりのトト (My Neighbor Totoro) that Hayao Miyazki wrote and directed. The big gray Totoro shown here is an Oh-Totoro.
Le Chat Noir was a Parisian cabaret that opened in 1881.
The 1896 Theophile Steinlen poster recreated at Cloyne advertised a tour to other cities of the Le Chat Noir’s troupe of cabaret entertainers.
The poem here is Sonnet XVII from Pablo Nerudo’s 100 Love Sonnets.
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
When Cloyne became substance free, all drug-themed murals were painted over.
Is it just me, or is the Naughty mural above not a direct descendant of the Zig Zag rolling papers man?
Chia Hamilton educated me – these characters are from The Story of Ferdinand (1936).
Munro Leaf wrote the book, it is said in less than an hour on a yellow legal pad. Robert Lawson made the illustrations. Ferdinand is a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight. The book was banned in fascist Spain and burned in Nazi Germany. Pacifism is, after all, subversive.
ES led me to this reference.
It is Salvador Dali’s 1948 Los Elefantes.
Ren and Stimpy were the stars of a Nickelodeon animated show that ran from 1991 until 1996.
Ren is an “asthma-hound” Chihuahua, and Stimpy is a dimwitted happy cat. They had/have a cult following.
Toad appears in Nintendo’s Mario games and franchise.
He first appeared in 1998 and has appeared through this year (2016).
“I’m glad that we met” is taken from a manga work by Yumikoko.
Here – from pop culture to classical art.
Matisse painted “La Danse” in 1909.
The image and words are of Jim Morrison. The words are from “Stoned Immaculate,” a Morrison poem.
I’ll tell you this…
No eternal reward will forgive us now
For wasting the dawn.
Back in those days everything was simpler and more confused
One summer night, going to the pier
I ran into two young girls
The blonde one was called Freedom
The dark one, Enterprise
We talked and they told me this story
Now listen to this…
I’ll tell you about Texas radio and the big beat
Soft driven, slow and mad
Like some new language
Reaching your head with the cold, sudden fury of a divine messenger
Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god
Wandering, wandering in hopless night
Out here in the perimeter there are no stars
Out here we IS stoned
Everything was simpler and more confused – indeed.
Calvin and Hobbes should need no introduction.
They starred in a comic strip by Bill Watterson that ran from 1985 until 1995. My son Jake was a big-time fan.
Her “Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorns” (1940) was the inspiration for the Cloyne mural.
It doesn’t seem right – Frida one moment, Captain Underpants the next.
He is from a children’s novel series (1997-present) by Dav Pilkey.
These words are attributed to Che Guevara. I have found no written source.
This is an easy one.
An allusion to A Tribe Called Quest’s 1991 album.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1.
The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform.
Thank you Dr. Kinsey. Direct quote.
Yes, of course, Shel Silverstein.
From Nintendo’s Mario franchise.
Mario is flying. Clearly. A player turns into Raccoon Mario and can fly.
This mural was painted by Peter Makepeace in 1985 when he was a sophomore living at Cloyne. ES led me to this short note on Cloyne’s website about Makepeace’s recent restoration of the mural.
The mural depicts Billie Holiday.
An allusion here to The Magic School Bus.
The Magic School Bus was a Saturday morning animated children’s television series (1994-1997) based on the series of books by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. Chia Hamilton showed me the way on this one.
The last mural that I can pin down in popular culture is an easy one – and a big one.
It is Maurice Sendak’s 1963 Where the Wild Things Are.
Published in 1963. 338 words. Charming since then.
I’m exhausted! Quite the liberal arts education on these walls. Jake (35) and Charlotte (15) helped with the pop culture ones.
Now for the uncharted murals. I appreciate that some are in fact allusions that I have missed. Don’t be afraid to educate me.
On the whole –
That was one floor out of three. And I am sure that there were murals that we missed.
Rock on Cloyners. You inspire me!
I showed the photos to my friend. It took him a while to get past “The Kiss.” He looked up. “Who wouldn’t come home to that every day?” I don’t know if he meant the painting or the kiss depicted in the painting.
He came back and continued through the murals. He is deep into his Danish modern phase and his living quarters do not resemble what they once did. The Cloyne murals fit right into his old style. What would he think of them now that he is in a different phase?
Mural after REPENT is from the children’s book, Ferdinand.
Awhile aster that I think there’s a magic schools
Thanks for the ride!
Chia – thanks for this. I have updated the post with the Ferdinand information and the illustration of the five men from Ferdinand. Tom
Oops, I think I meant to say that awhile later there’s a reference to The Magic School Bus, saying Buckle Up, or is that just obvious
Hate it when communicating gets electronically screwed up.
Way cool. Will we get to see 2nd and 3rd floors too at some point?
That is the hope / the plan. Probably in October.
You skipped my up mural 🙁 but these are beautiful
Where is it? I will pick it up in October. SORRY!
The weird elephants above the mural with “the gardens wet with rain” is a reference to Dali’s “The Elephants”.
Also, Peter Makepeace actually restored his Buddy Holiday mural just last spring. There was a short write up on it at the Cloyne Court website: https://cloyne.org/2016/02/peter-peacemaker-comes-back-after-30-years-to-touch-up-mural/