From the article The strangely enduring power of kitsch:
The Czech novelist Milan Kundera made a famous observation. "Kitsch," he wrote, "causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass!" Kitsch, in other words, is not about the thing observed but about the observer. It does not invite you to feel moved by the doll you are dressing so tenderly, but by yourself dressing the doll. All sentimentality is like this - it redirects emotion from the object to the subject, so as to create a fantasy of emotion without the real cost of feeling it [emphasis mine]. The kitsch object encourages you to think, "Look at me feeling this - how nice I am and how lovable." That is why Oscar Wilde, referring to one of Dickens's most sickly death-scenes, said that "a man must have a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of Little Nell".
[ updated 28 Apr 2014 ]
Nowhere Men, Canceled!? asked a day ago on Reddit. Curiosity is in the air, but not much information beyond
The release information was entirely recalled and there's been like no word at all as far as I know. That explains all the "not available" issues I found. The thread Eric Stephenson and Nowhere Men? from a month ago has less optimistic comments:
Fuck I just came back from my comic book Shop. They told me that shit got cancelled. ... I think issue 6 is the very last. Not promising.
Trying to catch up on when the Nowhere Men comic series is going to start up again. After six issues they went on hiatus back in October of last year with no hint of when it will resume. Several sites are now, inexplicably, posting a #10 for pre-order, and Archonia has issues 7 through 10 listed with titles, yet also marked as "discontinued". Titles of the first six don't seem to appear anywhere in print, but they're available on the Image site:
Saw The Punk Singer [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] at The Plaza Theater way back on 6 Dec. I had listened to Bikini Kill during and after college, so it was amazing seeing them "live" and equally amazing seeing what an absolute intellectual bad ass Kathleen Hanna was. Added Le Tigre to rotation afterwards. Personal favorite: Phanta. It's a song I wish I would have written.
Continuing the feminist shtick: reread the Pussy Riot Closing Statements after their recent Sochi fun. Yekaterina Samutsevich's statement was brilliant.
Conversely, after reading Sasha Frere-Jones' 16 Dec review of "Britney Jean", I decided to dig into the Britney Spears catalog. Avoiding the newest and the oldest, I went with post-breakdown Britney Blackout (2007), Circus (2008), and Femme Fatale (2011). Was entertained by many songs on the first two; Femme Fatale was garbage. Recommended from Blackout: "Piece of Me", "Radar", "Heaven on Earth", "Why Should I Be Sad". Recommended from Circus: "If U Seek Amy", "Unusual You". I have yet to dig into the classic Britney.
X-Mas Eve annual holiday party dinner with friends at Bacchanalia. New Year's Eve with friends at No. 246 in Decatur then to Bill and Tedra's where, gratefully, my car did not get broken into. Superb Owl Feb 1st weekend with friends at a cabin near Blue Ridge, GA. Drinks, hot tub, so much food, a very cold river, and a self-induced black eye for Lisa.
Saw Skinny Puppy at Center Stage on 4 Feb. Fun show and the stage bric-a-brac reminded both Lisa and I, independently, of the stage for The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
Saw Romeo et Juliette at Cobb Energy Center with Theresa on 8 Feb. Amazing. Loved the play-within-a-play puppet show and the extended scene in slow motion when Romeo murders Tybalt murders Mercutio was brilliant. So much was happening on stage that I should have gone multiple times.
For the new year, I promised myself to start practicing piano at least once a day in order to tackle Ballade. The going has been slow since, starting a year ago and progressing, I've had odd carpal tunnel-ly things happening in my right hand. Doctor's advice a few months ago was crap and at this point I can't play some of the stuff I had once been able to. My current plan is hourly exercises described here plus anti-inflammatories twice a day.
Picking up new art today from Kai Lin by Wyatt Graff.
Hoping Matt is recovering.
[ updated 20 Dec 2013 ]
[ updated 12 Dec 2013 ]
Forgot about Morning Glories, also acquired from MHC. I got the first anthology in hardback (simply because that's all they had) and then ordered the second from Amazon. Fun-ish, but I won't be going any further with it. The art was very average and the story was very Lost with equally scarce payoff. Obvious now how I forgot this one.
When I went to visit Lisa while she was working at a trade show in Denver, I decided to visit Mile High Comics. I'd purchased from them on-line over the past several years and had time while she worked during the day to make a pilgrimage. To the rental car! I mapped a route to the first listing and dove into east Denver traffic. The night before, we'd found that there was a location just a couple of miles from the hotel. In my rush to head out, I instead mapped one that was off in some warehouse district. Further, but fortuitous:
Kid, meet candy store; candy store, kid.
After a few back-and-forths along the new release wall--and many Internet searches for descriptions of interesting titles--I found several new-to-me series to start. I generally collect a small number of titles. Most are limited story-lines that end after a couple of years, so purchases only occur every few months. I really had no reference point on what to get, since I don't do super-heroes. Here's what I found:
East of West - Alternate history America where some mystical asteroid hits the center of the country in the 1800s and forces a split into several distinct countries. The site of the impact starts a new religion, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse appear (and re-appear) to do what they do. Death is in love with one of the princesses of China's territory and their rocky love story is the primary thread. The story lines are intriguing. The art, covers, and issue structure are beautiful. This is why creators should get full control of their work. Image Comics.
Mara - Future world where sports have been subsumed by governments as a, sort of, military replacement. The military still exists but, like Rollerball, sports diverts the public's attentions and children train like they're in the IDF. Six issues total. Unique pacing and concepts. Another Image Comics title.
Rocket Girl - Cheesy, glossy, high-action story about a time-traveling teen chick cop who wears a rocket pack and goes to 1985 in order to stop a corporation from altering the future. Took a chance on issue #1 and I'll probably stay with it. Silly fun with hints of later surprises. They started with a Kickstarter campaign. Neat. Yes, Image Comics.
This week, I went to Oxford Comics to pick up new issues of East of West, Saga (discovered several months ago, perfect), and Rocket Girl. On impulse I picked up all six issues of Nowhere Men. Densly detailed images and extra-story content such as book excerpts, magazine interviews, and advertisements, tell the story of a quartet of science geniuses who change the world with their inventions and in-fighting. As creative as East of West and as recommended. Image Comics.
I've been picking through graphic novels/collections over the past few years. There's been a range of quality--as with any art--but with a rare few classics. Y introduced me to Brian K. Vaughan's writing and it was one of the stronger serialized works I'd come across. I finally decided to check out his other works and got the two volumes x 6-issues-each of the Saga series. This was the most frequently recommended. I've read through the 12 issues three times now and am just shocked at both the creativity in its settings and humanity in its characters. Much more than Y, Saga shocks with nearly surreal scenes that become, ultimately, realistic and thoughtful.
Looking forward to the next issues. #13 was just published this month.
My first half marathon in Asheville, NC last weekend. Retiring my toe shoes for a new pair after 2+ years of heavy use, including getting a stress fracture as I got used to running in them, and then passing out from heat exhaustion and ending up in the hospital. Otherwise, all was normal. Post race retirement photo:
[ updated 27 Nov 2012 ]
Ranking: #712/1351, guntime: 2:09:08, pace: 9:52, tag time:2:07:18.
Weekend of the 24th last month was at Lake Keowee with Nat and Frank and Milly. Fun will grilling and inner tubing and what-not. Buddha watched over us:
The week before, we picked up our first non-objective painting for our art collection from the Piedmont Park Arts and Crafts Festival. "Yoru (Night)" by Chris Strawbridge of Stone Mountain, still to-be-hung:
Before that, my company's 2nd annual picnic which included an exotic animal petting zoo (Lisa gets her finger nibbled on) then dinner with the brother's wife's various family (more shenanigans):
Copied here for posterity...Continue reading "The Kickpuncher comic book that comes with the Community DVDs"
I pieced together all of the Battle Angel Alita issues after an io9 thread discussed them favorably. There's also an anime adaptation and a proposed live action version that's been abandoned by James Cameron. To piece together the full run, I had to hop between Amazon and B&N. Used books can sometimes appear for ridiculous prices and although I didn't have to shell out too much, issue 7 was kinda crazily overpriced. I'm reading 6 right now, so we'll see whether 7 is actually that much better.
Mysterious past. Unexplained skills. Oppressive society. The story's a little silly at times, but it's overall a nice diversion.
Second trip to NYC for the year.Continue reading "Where was I?"
Some crazy bird graffiti from Cabbagetown:
The weekend of the 15th was our second, tri-yearly cabin trip with friends. This visit took us to Morganton, GA with all members of the prior craziness plus new pals Eric and Perla and Mike. It was mostly decadent, as expected, but Sat morning I had a good run around the mountain where a gang of three dogs decided to join me in an impromptu pack. Girl Talk was, perhaps, overplayed. Sat nite ended late with a packed hot tub.
The weekend of the 22nd was our 3rd annual Crescent City Classic trip to New Orleans. Due to the voodoo calculus that put Easter three weeks later than normal--making NOLA three weeks hotter than normal--our asses were quickly kicked by the 10k.
Some crazy bird graffiti from New Orleans:
Last weekend (the 30th) was the Xth annual Inman Park Festival at Dan and Alicia's. At the festival proper, Lisa bought me several prints of robots and rabbits (separately) from Mr. Hooper, and I bought her a painting warning of the evils of sunbathing from R. Land. To the frame shop!
Digging through our storage I found the other half of my comic book collection which included most of the first 32 issues of Micronauts plus the two annuals. Yes, it *is* pretty cool.
After going to the Run For Cover exhibit of album covers, I decided to frame some of my own. After searching in various locales online, I settled on a place called Hobby Frames. Their web page has a certain Geocities charm that makes you expect to see a tilde in the URL, so try not to judge them. To test the waters, I ordered a gatefold frame ($41 total = $29 + $12 shipping!) with the intent of christening my gallery with Tales from Topographic Oceans. Sadly, I have been so far unable to find that (I think my mom still has a box of albums that were hidden in storage, if not, prepare for a meltdown) so I started with Nursery Cryme:
Smell that 1971 vinyl fabulousness! The frame is wood with a sturdy, scratch/stain resistant matte black enamel and it comes with an acid-free foam board plus glass. Minor lip on the frame so little of the album cover is lost. Everything's held in with bendy metal tabs. A+++++++++.
[ updated 6 May 2014 ]
Was alerted to a new (ish?) art site called Artsy. They link to contemporary galleries and museums, including ones representing Barbara Kruger, and provide a clean presentation of art+bio. Neat. Did a successful test search for Liu Bolin, inspired by my obsession with a couple of his photos I'd seen a few years ago at Klein Gallery in NYC.
Two American women concept artists are on Twitter (although, I have doubts that it's them). Both are a natural fit for short text. Barbara Kruger has one account, infrequently updated. Jenny Holzer has four (that I could find). One that's straight up jennyholzer, three with cheeky variations: alsojennyholzer, fakejennyholzer (bio:
Abuse of social media comes as no surprise.), and notjennyholzer. All use the same-ish style: short, wisdom-lite comments written in a cruise control font. JH has the most frequent updates and thus (by far) the most followers.
Please be brave...
Just found out that one of my art teachers from the University of West Georgia died earlier this year. He taught drawing, sculpture, and art history. Naturally, I did a search to see what his internet presence left behind. The AJC's obituary page for him is no longer available, but a LiveJournal entry copied it, as will I, there's a short obituary in a UWG newsletter, and the funeral home has it up:
Henry C. Setter, age 79, of Carrollton, Georgia, passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, from complications of diabetes. Born on August 13, 1929, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Setter attended Purcell High School in Cincinnati and the University of Dayton. He later attended the University of Georgia where he received his Masters of Fine Art graduate degree.
Since 1977, Setter was a professor in the art department at the University of West Georgia. He retired in 2000. Several of Setter's sculptures are located in Carrollton, including "The Cotton Farmer," University of West Georgia's "Lamp of Wisdom," the gravesite monument of Roy Richards, Sr. and "Pope John XXIII" at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. His works can also be found at the University of Dayton. In his spare time, Mr. Setter was an active member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, enjoyed traveling and watching college football.
Setter is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 32 years, Martha Maggini Stenger Setter, and his step-children Jerry Stenger and wife Leigh of Savannah; Margaret Cash and husband Bob of Roswell; George Stenger and wife Claudia of Carrollton; John Stenger of Atlanta; Richard Stenger of Eureka, CA; and five step-grandchildren: Francisco and Maria Alejandra Stenger, Eleanor Cash, Sally Stenger and Sophia Stenger as well as several cousins and many loyal friends. He is predeceased by his parents William and Marie Setter.
Visitation will be at Almon Funeral Home on Sunday, January 25, 4 - 6 p.m. The funeral will be on Monday, January 26 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the University of West Georgia Foundation, the UWG Art Department Foundation, Asera Care Hospice c/o 116 West Railroad St., Ste. C, Kingston, GA 30145, or the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
Messages of condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.almonfuneralhome.com
Almon Funeral Home, Carrollton.
Setter was one of a few teachers I had that I still think of today and whose lessons still inform my life. Random information as specific as the physicality of the act of drawing (relax, use every part of your hand, arm, and body) to introducing me to Umberto Eco. I remember the one off conversation in a hallway in the humanities building when he recommended this new book titled The Name of the Rose. He was intrigued--as an ex priest--when I told him that James Bond would play the lead in the upcoming movie. And as an ex priest, he was one of the most "old world" educated men I'd ever met.
I don't keep in touch and so will probably be searching for other teachers, hoping for no surprises.
I noticed something recently while writing music at the piano. The section I was working on contained two independent lines separated between the hands, but at one point the harmonies generated became noticeably thin and the two lines were no longer distinct. It was obvious that the problem was a few successive parallel octaves (parallel perfect intervals diminish the sense of separate voices) so I reworked the section to eliminate the error but keep the intended mood. I recognized the error because of how it sounded, and even understood how to fix it by reworking the melodies and listening, but understanding the process involved a working knowledge of the grammar of music.
The High was recently showing Monet's Waterlillies. Currently, they're showing works of Leonardo Da Vinci. For major shows, they will display a large-scale poster covering the front of their main building and facing Peachtree Street. The Monet was a section of a Waterlillies painting with an overall right-pointing triangular layout (c.f. the Classical design style that often uses the more stable hypotenuse-base triangle). The Da Vinci poster consists of a section of a terracotta relief sculpture that contains a reclining angel (clipped section below).
The figure suggests a syncopation of geometric shapes fitted elegantly and embellished with slight, Renaissance curves. You can immediately see the artist's thoughts as he blocked out the design.
Both instances show how an understanding of the grammar of the arts helps the viewer both to understand the mechanics of communication and to recognize the cause of flawed communication.
My two prints from Giant Robot LA are on their way!
It took exactly a month for them to be shipped. I. Can't. Wait.
Two prints captured my fancy when Lisa and I visited the Giant Robot store during our last visit to NYC. It was the end of our last day of the trip so I made no effort to purchase. Earlier this week, I emailed the store and the manager replied promptly (thanks!) telling me that the Los Angeles store had them. Score!
[ updated 30 Jun 2013 ]
Monkeyhouse Toys has the original "My Lovely One" painting for sale for $1700. Taken from their Deliberate Alchemy show curated by Blinky. The show ran from 14 Jul to 12 Aug 2012 at the Monkeyhouse Toys art gallery in LA.
Christopher Bettig's "Stargazing":
Long weekend in NYC with Liz and Matt last week (followed by a long Memorial Day weekend, nice)! Lisa & I headed out Wednesday after work and arrived around 9 or 10. Ride to The Bryant Park Hotel and discover that all the cabs now have video/GPS/weather screens in the back. Meh. Reminds me of years ago when they had famous actors telling you to buckle up in the voice of whatever character they were currently playing (or had played) on Broadway. I just need a cab. The hotel was pretty swank--affordable only through some special deal Lisa found--but there was no place in the room to store your clothes. We unpacked what little we could then hit their basement bar: The Cellar Door. Drinks taste better when served by chicks in corsets. On to food at a hip little wine bar called Terroir.
Thursday, Lisa and Liz had their spa time so I got to wander the streets and people watch whilst listening to Yoko Kanno. Perfect morning. I hit the Times Square Sketchers store and got two new pairs to replace the ones I bought... back in October 2006! Way overdue. Then I rambled along to Midtown Comics and basked in the geeky fun. Acquired: the most recent Ex Machina GN + The Umbrella Academy. The latter was an impulse buy and pretty good. After, I met Lisa at Butterfield 8 for drinks.
Afternoon was The Dailiy Show! Best moment was Samantha Bee's bit on the Monsanto lobbyist who--and I am not making this up--is vilifying Michelle Obama's push for private gardens. Classic. Afterwards we parted ways to rest and clean up for dinner at 81 (great food but you must go and eat the bread sticks at the bar!!) and late nite drinks at The Greeley.
Big events Friday were Guggenheim with Matt in the morning and Billy Elliot with all four of us that night. We're in the middle of a Frank Lloyd Wright anniversary (he died 50 years ago) so they had a big exhibit of his work. I was more interested in the Kandinsky exhibit, but it was only two small rooms in preparation for a fall show. Great pieces by Kokoshka, Franz Marc, and Kirchner IIRC. Another show had some Picasso and others who I just can't remember right now. It made me want to start going to The High once a month just to wander around. The weather and walk back was perfect. Weather was up and down all weekend but mostly up.
Billy Elliot was that night. First chance I got to see Greg perform live (Lisa was up with her mom in 2005 when he was in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but I was slack for some reason). BE is up for 13 (?) Tonys, tying The Producers for most nominations, but no talk yet of a Midtown Tony part on June 7th (!). It was a great show, but I got reprimanded for taking a photo of the stage during intermission. Same thing happened at the Guggenheim, but I seem to be able to get away without being labeled a terrorist. Neat.
Saturday, Matt and Lisa and I went for a jog in Central Park! Cool but comfortable, but we missed the chance to sign up for some 10k that was already in progress. No free shirts for us. We split up early but all pretty much did the loop around the entire park. I took a detour to do the Marathon Man thing around the reservoir. Odd coincidence: I made a Marathon Man reference at work the week before (yes, it was the "is it safe" quote...). Afterwards, Lisa and I saw a STREET FIGHT at Columbus Circle outside the subway entrance. Two on one. Faces in the pavement. Very uncomfortable. Two large guys large enough to break up a fight with three large guys eventually intervened. We subwayed 1/2 way back, getting off early on a whim and walked right into a street fair. I ended up with a polish sausage sandwich and Lisa with a gyro. Rule #1 of street fairs: you must purchase delicious food. We all met up later at Murray's to tour the cheese caves. They're underground and more like big cheese closets with an entrance was marked by the Batman symbol.
Split up and Lisa and I headed to Williamsburg (in Brooklyn) for Sonic Youth at the No Fun Fest. I had known of and listened to SY's noise rock experiments and knew they were big proponents, but it wasn't until we walked up into the balcony and were knocked back by a wave of white noice, glitch, at screaming that I realized what we were in for. I'd listened to some in college (Throbbing Gristle and The Swans) but never went to a show. This ended up being the most uncomfortable, surprising, and ultimately one of the top five concerts I've ever been to. Every artist seemed to write not only in their own style, but in an entirely unique genre. Ear plugs were mandatory (we were prepared) yet while Lisa and I were constantly checking our for fear that they'd fall out during some of the more brutal numbers, some people went earplugless. I can't imagine. While the majority of the music leaned towards loud and abrasive, there were a couple of outright beautiful pieces. Some of what I remember:
Check out the various videos on YouTube. Here's a clip from SY's set:
Throughout the evening, I was constantly ending up next to one or more of the members of Sonic Youth: out front, at the bar, in the balcony, standing at a urinal. Alas, when I finally had something to say, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore sat next to us at the bar, they were getting their ears talked off by some chatty drunk. Whatever. It was still pretty neat, and the Music Hall of Williamsburg was an awesome venue!
Sunday was low-key brunch at Friend of a Farmer. Very good. We met up with Julie and Greg afterwards and I chatted with him about the show until they had to head home to get ready for the Sunday matinee. Then Lisa and I head over to Giant Robot where I got a cool new sticker for my car:
Another successful trip!
Goofing off, mostly. Saturday night, dinner at Cakes and Ales in Decatur. Excellent menu, right-sized portions. Highly recommended. Comfortable and intimiate space. Sunday was the Atlanta Arts Festival. A little warm, but the trees helped and it wasn't nearly as oppressive as when I bought the ducks-riding-a-wiener-dog print at Virginia Highlands Summerfest. Three purchases: First up was a print of robot heads by Geoffrey Aaron Harris:
I had my robot evolution t-shirt on, so we were kindred spirits. His painted robots were awesome too and may eventually find themselves next to the robot heads. Next up, two prints from Daniela I Ovtcharov:
After purchased, we realized that there was a third in the set:
This was Lisa's favorite, and we immediately regretted not completing the set while there.
Friday over at Mollie and Hugh's celebrating her new job and just doin' that Friday hang out thing. Shouldn't have moved from wine to vodka. I'm sure there's some saying that rhymes and tells you not to do such combinations, but I can think of nothing that rhymes with vodka, so there you have it.
Saturday was Lisa & I & Alicia & Dan first stopping off at a studio show at our neighbor's art studio near the Mattress Factory lofts. Around 20 artists were available with their works and works-in-progress. We all pitied the 2nd floor artists who had to suffer 110+ degree temperatures in their studio (making ice sculpture a desirable yet impractical medium). Odd coincidence of the year: after we left the gallery, we realized that not only had we all worked with Todd's brother (who was at the show) but also had drank with them several times after work. I'd been talking to him for months and we never made the connection. Weird. Eventually continued on to the 7:00 PM Braves game. We had tickets to the 755 Club and seats behind the Braves dugout, but ended up staying the whole game at an outside table at 755. Post-game bars consisted of The Shed, Depot, then Top Flr, where we were the Worst Friends Ever and made Alicia and Dan call for a taxi to get home.
Sunday was the Virginia Highlands Summerfest. We missed hanging out with the brother, sister-in-law, and niece at the Summerfest on Saturday, and missed the Murphy's wine sale, but made up for it on Sunday with the purchase of some new artwork!
A collograph by Linda Gourley titled The Red Baron: Study I. Her work was various mixed-media-type printing with crazy animals doing crazy things. Ducks riding a wiener dog was a must-purchase item. There's another version of the print on her site, but the colors and details don't appear as interesting as the one we purchased. The frame she made fit it nicely and it works well above our Asian-influenced China cabinet (Peking Ducks!). After an hour or so of hellish heat, we abandoned the fest for a late lunch at Atkins Park, then went our separate ways. The sun absolutely drained us, so it was lazy pizza dinner at home with the not-quite-as-bad-as-it-could-have-been Lucy Liu movie Rise: Blood Hunter.
So, I read the news of the Mooninite reenactments in Boston yesterday, and wondered again with embarrassment in what type of country lite-brites could be considered subversive. Then I simply enjoyed the dada phrase "subversive lite-brite," hoping that I had come up with something original but finding that, alas, I'll be only the third site who came up with that phrase.
Riefenstahl’s “genius” has rarely been questioned, even by critics who despise the service to which she lent it. ... Yet one has finally to ask if a creative product counts as a work of art, much less a great one, if it excludes the overwhelming fact of human weakness. That fact is the source of soulfulness and dramatic tension in every enduring narrative that one can think of. A seductively exciting surface, such as the morbid spectacle of a mass delusion, may distract from, but cannot insure against, a slack core, and in Riefenstahl’s case a handful of sequences singled out for their formal beauty and a quality that Sontag calls “vertigo before power” have achieved an influence disproportionate to their depth or originality.
Tim Rutherford-Johnson has had similar questions on his mind lately.
Found on my way to Krog Bar on Friday:
Always stunning. Here, Sargent the virtuoso matches Whistler the impressionist in abstraction. A narrow range of colors throughout just punches you in the jaw. Look at the layers of scumbling in the background with the lightest in a diagonal from the upper left to the lower right. The weight of the bright contrast in the lower left corner and her heavy right arm resting against the table is offset, simply, by her gaze to the right. And that big nose. Abstract design principals can be balanced by representation aware of its placement in a composition. The chiaroscuro and the gold tones also suggest Rembrandt who, like Sargent, was a master of the concise and precise brush stroke.
There's a photo of a sculpture in the 31 July 2006 New Yorker:
Certain subject matter in art is difficult to execute successfully because of its strong primary connotations. Religious subjects are probably the most perilous. For the spiritual person, icons in themselves have potency and therefore little is expected of the artist. Another difficult subject is nudes. The human form can so often lend itself to such a simple and balanced image that any skillfully executed composition need not necessarily have any artful expressiveness. Consider Manet's Olympia next to a Rowena:
To get past the prurience, the artist has to make some additional effort that, say, a landscape or group portrait (think Rembrandt's Night Watch) doesn't. All art involves the difficulty of being artful, but some subjects cary more subjective baggage. Look at Rouault's image and a standard airbrushed Christ:
I don't think I'm being too unfair to call the second one crap--skillfully executed but compositionally inept and expressively void.
The Lachaise sculpture had stuck in my head since the magazine arrived. The stout proportions are matched with oddly muscular arms, and the weight of the component forms--exaggerated at the hips and thighs--seem to force the mass as a whole upwards. There's also a greater dynamism than normal from the contrapposto. Look especially at the space between the arms and legs to get a suggestion of how the figure occupies its space. Lachaise has created a sly manipulation of mass that I don't quite understand but that presents a compelling question to be answered.
I should be pro-artist in this dispute, but that Google logo was the coolest yet so I'm siding with them...
Throughout college (and after), I mooned over Andrew Wyeth's work. Although somewhat New England and austere, he's a model of the technically skilled and emotionally expressive artist. And he too is a watercolorist, so that ain't too bad. I put him in the same school as the composer Walter Piston: a clean, very American mid-century realism but not without expressive depth. And they lived in that unfashionable world of realism and tonality while many (rightfully) praised modern schools were flourishing. Their work is somewhat anachronistic but very much valid.
I saw my first "live" Wyeth in an art museum in the old Roswell Square [?] several years back with Lisa. I had some interest in going, but didn't expect to be as stunned by the works as I was. Seeing paintings up close is always a completely different experience than seeing the glossy Art History textbook version, but I never really anticipate the impact. They were captivating for their size and detail. Much larger than I had expected, and his hand was so physically present in the brushstrokes and washes.
So anyway, the High is having a Wyeth exhibit when they reopen on the 12th (earlier for us members who will be going to the member preview to avoid the unwashed rabble!). I'm looking forward to it.
When I was on the cusp of unemployment, I stocked up on the things that I refuse to pay for while unemployed. One of those is magazine subscriptions. One of those magazines is The New Yorker.
All these years of getting it, I never realized that those little b&w ink drawings that ran throughout were depicting a contiguous drama. Stupid, huh? Here's a recent one:Continue reading "A day in the life"
Going to see the movie In the Realms of the Unreal tonight. The film's about Henry Darger [Wikipedia], one of the more fascinating characters from the outsider art [Wikipedia] movement. People are generally familiar with the movement through the work of Georgia's own Howard Finster [Wikipedia] (via the rock bands who put his stuff on their album covers). Outsider art brings up interesting questions about elitism (these are untrained artists creating work, but we're seeing that work only because it is accepted as art by the establishment) and intent (much of this art was never intended to be displayed as art or even viewed by others). Similar to performance or conceptual art, outsider art is interesting in part from examining the process of the artists themselves.
Darger's process, his life, definitely sounds interesting. Whereas Finster's artistic eccentricities are religion-based which are, let's face it, a dime a dozen, Darger spent most of his life creating a unique, disturbing, and epic fantasy story in 15 volumes. My only concern about the movie, going in, is that they have taken some of his illustrations and minimally animated them. That seems completely unnecessary.
Another weird point about the movie: Dakota Fanning is the narrator. Besides the fact that she seems to be appearing everywhere lately, it's an odd decision to have a young female narrator for this movie. Darger's pictures contained thousands of images of nude young girls. It's maybe not a bad decision. Just weird.
Flaming Carrot, No. 25, back cover. Flaming Carrot challenges Death to a game of Jarts a la The Seventh Seal [IMDB].Continue reading "Comic Page of the Week"
Here's the painting I did of my friends' dogs (not playing poker).Continue reading "Painting: K.C. and Sunny (2005)"
Here's a watercolor I did in 2002. My notes unfortunately don't say where the idea came from. I think I was trying to express a careless, giddy optimism paired with deep responsibility. Kindof abstract, but I know it's in there somewhere.
I don't have a good set up, so please forgive the poor photography.Continue reading "Painting: Untitled (2002)"
Remember the heady days of early 20th century art movements? Bauhaus [Wikipedia] and the Futurists [Wikipedia]? Or those wacky kids from the middle of the century with their Fluxus [Wikipedia] happenings or Warhol's influential factory [Wikipedia]. They all seem less a movement than a club.
monochrom is an art-technology-philosophy group of basket weaving enthusiasts and theory do-it-yourselfers having its seat in Vienna and Zeta Draconis. monochrom is the super-affirmation of the globalization trap. monochrom has existed in this (and every other) form since 1993.
And from the main page of their blog:
Top 10, issue 8, page 25. Peregrine (Cathy Colby) watches as two victims fused together in a teleporter accident expire. One, Mr. Nebula, was returning from a vacation with his wife who was killed instantly. The other, a "gamer" named Kapela, provides a dry philosophy of life as a game between the black of space and the white of the stars.Continue reading "Top 10, issue 8, page 25"
Maximalism [Wikipedia]. A term I've heard frequently but have only now looked it up. Art with a rich density of style and content.
Works from this genre are generally bright, sensual, and visually rich. ... Maximalism is used to describe the very extended post-modern novels, such as those by David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon, where digression, reference and elaboration of detail occupy a greater and greater fraction of the text.
I finally understand the label and then Salon says it's dead!
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, "Fortunately...". James Reed Corrigan, the grandfather of the title character, plays hide-and-seek with neighborhood children during the viewing of his recently deceased grandmother. An older red-headed girl catches his attention.Continue reading "Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, 'Fortunately...'"
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II, page 6. John Carter [Wikipedia] and Gulliver Jones meet in preparation for their battle against the Martians who will eventually invade Earth a la The War of the Worlds [Wikipedia].Continue reading "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II, page 6"
Why I Hate Saturn, page 107. Rick and Anne jokingly attempt to decipher an apparently innocuous letter from Anne's insane sister Laura.Continue reading "Why I Hate Saturn, page 107"
Ghost World, page 25. Enid mocks an ex-punk who's gone corporate and tries to defend her new look.Continue reading "Ghost World, page 25"
Stray Toasters, issue 1, page 40. Abby, a psychiatrist, sits with Todd who had appeared at her front door and is apparently autistic. Prior to this scene, she recalled the child she had lost in an accident and now avoids deciding whether to report this abandoned child.Continue reading "Stray Toasters, issue 1, page 40"
Sure, it's a form letter, but he still signed it. Cool. And he sent me issue 168, Mothers & Daughters 18.Continue reading "Letter from Dave Sim"
Yearning to read good, new comics again, I went to Oxford Comics a week or so ago.Continue reading "Following Cerebus"
Watchmen, issue 1, page 1. Rorschach's journal is a voice-over for the criminal investigation of the apparent-suicide of his aquaintance, fellow super-hero The Comedian.Continue reading "Watchmen, issue 1, page 1"
I frequently dig through my collection of comics--you always "dig through" collections--and thought it'd be good to put up a page every week. Or so. There may be more or fewer eventually. The selections won't be Earth-shattering or definitive; just whatever pages strike me as interesting at the time.
Cerebus, issue 98, page 8. Cerebus, as Pope, and Lord Julius (Groucho Marx) travelling to interrogate Astoria, Julius' ex-wife, who is being held in a cell because she assassinated the western pontiff.Continue reading "Cerebus, issue 93, page 8"
Peter Bagge (of independent comics fame) has the most irrational screed against the fine arts, art museums, modern art, and experimentation I've ever seen. Ever. He's like a caricature of ignorance: angry at the apparent arrogance of people who create something he doesn't understand. As if any expression more difficult than a representational landscape is flawed over-intellectualizing. I need to walk through this line by line (begin angry rant now):Continue reading "Arte Bagge"
Got a call at 12:30 today from 678-904-1418 ... ? Aha! They left a message ... it was Oxford Comics and the final book of Cerebus was in! Got it, read it, and here we go.
Cerebus was a comic begun in 1977 and by 1979 the creator, Dave Sim, announced that it would be a single story ending at issue 300. That brought him to May of this year. Although Sim became quite un-loved, the accomplishment was noted in the comic community, and he was a strong influence on me in my art school college days.Continue reading "Cerebus"