Tuesday, April 3, 2018


The 'dot' has evolved during our time from one of the great patterns of polka dots in clothing to the address of an internet site: "What's the web address?" "www dot cambridge dot org." 

Polka dot patterns have been in existence a long time. In the 19th century, “Dotted-Swiss referred to raised dots on transparent tulle,” and in France, “quinconce described the diagonal arrangement of dots seen on the 5-side of dice.” Meanwhile, “[t]he large coin-sized dots on fabric, called Thalertupfen in German, got their name from Thaler, the currency of German-speaking Europe until the late 1800s.”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “polka dot” as “Any of a number of round dots of uniform size repeated so as to form a regular pattern, usually on fabric.” The term itself first appeared in the mid-1800s (“Scarf of muslin, for light summer wear, surrounded by a scalloped edge, embroidered in rows of round polka dots,” 1857)

In 1928, Disney introduced its cartoon character Minnie Mouse wearing a red polka dot dress and matching bow.  In 1951, Marilyn Monroe was photographed wearing a polka dot bikini in 1951. Here's the LINK to see Minnie and Marilyn.

The AGO has a link with polka dots in the Yayoi Kasama Infinity Mirrors Exhibition:  throughout the ’60s, the artist  was a walking medley of polka dots. Yayoi Kusama became known for the busy dotted swarms that covered her paintings. “Our earth is only one polka dot among millions of others,” she once said.  To see images of her dots google 'kusama exhibition images'. 

We see dots and spots as Spring arrives - in our natural world - as on these lilies and in the urban world - a bit of rust spots on metal.

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