Archive for the ‘other artists that i like’ Category

a letter from lulu

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Louise Brooks (from a candid portrait) – 2010, 7″ x 9″, spray paint on panel.

The following letter from (silent film era “it girl”) Louise Brooks (also known as Lulu) has come to my attention. It’s dated 1966 and marks the time when some were engaging in a reassessment of Brook’s career, as she had long since faded into obscurity. As the letter indicates, Louise Brooks was much more than a shallow but  pretty starlet face or or for that matter, a rebel without a cause. She was  astutely aware of the people and things that were swirling around her and was able to put them into a proper social and political context – a context that she, in the end, was to her credit, unwilling to grovel at the foot of.

possible solution to the israeli/palestine (non)negotiations

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Politicalgraffiti55 in 50 Stunning Political Artworks

Unknown Graffiti art in the Palestine territories.

Now back to your regular programing.

visual art in the 20’s

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Dempsey and Firpo , George Bellows (1882-1925/American) (900-125827 © SuperStock)

George Bellows, Dempsey and Firpo, 1924.

It’s probably a little unfair to use this Bellows painting as an intro to this post, as he became famous for doing these (boxers) more than a decade before the twenties. Nonetheless it’s a great painting and as a transitional statement into the twenties, still fits the bill. Bellows was a member of the famous Ash Can school of American art which grew out of a group of realist painters called The Eight. There were four artists in The Eight (William Glackens, Everett Shinn, John Sloan, Robert Henri, and George Luks) who focused exclusively on depicting the low down gritty big city aspects of the emerging modernity. Four members of The Eight  (now including Bellows) went on in the next decade (1916) to form the Ash Can school American art concentrating and expanding on what the four members had previously laid out, but added another twist. After the groundbreaking Armory Show of 1913 , when a large selection of European art was brought to America and showcased in such a manner that that put American art woefully behind the modernist curve. The Ash Can artists decided they were going to have nothing to do with this state of affairs and subsequently declared that they were not interested in European modernism, but preferred instead a uniquely American version of modernism, based on traditional academic painting styles,  one would presume. A similar attitude also informed the (earlier) American Arts and Crafts movement from 1900 to 1920, that witnessed a massive and successful flourishing of the decorative arts. It should probably be pointed out that because of this inconsistency, the Ash Can rebellion against European modernism was largely rhetorical, in that advances in picture technology (formalism) and subject matter (psychological content) were ignored in favor of using more traditional academic methods to address the changing citified American scene, that were only vaguely modern in the first place.

The rebellious notion however, remains important in that the next development, Precisionism (see examples in previous post) – that was to become the defining visual art of the twenties – carried with on the same America first exclusionary rhetoric throughout 1920’s, although with a much less convincing pretense to stand on. Please note (in the below examples) that the conventional academic realism of the Ash Can artists has given way completely to and entirely new form of (Euro-modern) depiction and while the subjects remain centrally American scenes, the scenes have been expanded and have taken on a whole new complexion. The new depictions are in fact if not in spite, decidedly modern in both pictorial conventions; picture plane now either flat with little depth or modeling, and the subject matter has been expanded from the “frozen horse shit on Broadway” kind of image to the imposing and staid monoliths of industrialization and the pretenses of emerging consumerism along with a tacit nod to European cubism. The precisionist movement  typified in many respects  America’s response to modernism in general, in that it was with great reluctance that the problems inherent in modernism were addressed directly, and chose instead to remove themselves from overt confrontation. The precisionist world of the twenties was generally devoid of people altogether and when they appear they only do so as isolated individuals caught, as it were, in the great impersonal maw of indifference. It’s not that the precisionists were against social statement, it’s just that they were satisfied to address it only by  indirect implication. One is never really sure whether they are critics of modernist evolution, or are embracing it without reservation, or simply standing by and silently witnessing it in a state of psychological shock and awe.

Like most thing 20’s, the precisionists were the prototype examples for later modalities of (specifically) American art predicated on abstraction and ambiguity, such as pop art, minimal art, op art, photo-realism, earth works, and all the subsequent and more current “neo” versions of these.

visual art in the 20’s (the precisionists)

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Edward Hopper, House by the Railroad, 1925

Edward Hopper, Drug Store, 1927
Edward Hopper, Chop Suey, 1929

"Church Street El" by Charles Sheeler

Charles Sheeler, Church Street El, 1920

Charles Demuth, The Figure 5 In Gold, 1928
Charles Demuth,  My Egypt, 1927
Georgia O’Keeffe, Shell No.1, 1928

Georgia O’Keeffe, Radiator Building-Night, New York, 1927, Oil on canvas

Georgia O’Keeffe, Radiator Building – Night, New York 1927

Stuart Davis. Lucky Strike. 1921

Stuart Davis, Lucky Strike, 1921

Stuart Davis. Odol. 1924

Stuart Davis, Odol, 1924

Louis Lozowick, Tanks #1 1929

timeless it

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Louise Brooks circa mid – 1920’s

Even when The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even – she remains beautiful, alluring, innocent, playful, determined, totally original, and timeless.

french trader, half breed son

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Bingham, Fur Traders on Missouri River, 1845

This painting “Fur Traders on the Missouri river” by George Bingham has always been one of my favorites. I remember all too well on seeing it at the Met many years ago, and it’s not lost a shred of enchantment after all these years. I really love the the hazy luminous background as contrasted with the sharp focus of the characters in the boat, which is in turn contrasted by the characters themselves – the staid cranky looking rower in the back with the amusing and quizzical (half breed son) character mid ship ratcheted up yet again with the pure black and white of the bear cub tied on the bow.  As things happen in this arcane world, an old high school friend  who has lived in Canada since she graduated from college, visited a couple of months ago and her husband, Michael Barnholden left me a copy of his recent book Gabriel Dumont Speaks which looks to breath a living voice into French/ Indian rebel leader of the Metis people in Canada. The Metis people are the result of early French and Native intermarrying that led to what is now considered a legitimate Canadian native ethnic group – that was at the time in open rebellion (1885) against the Canadian government. Dumont was the military leader that organized the regional (including affiliated tribes in N America) resistance  championing the native rights of the Metis people in Canada.

Maybe it’s my own distant French heritage, or my fascination with native culture, but I had no idea that there was an acknowledged ethnic group in Canada that at one time took serious military, political, and popular action in defense of an allied native culture.

And in the same spirit of connection, the Bingham painting reminds me in another personal connection to the artwork of old college roommate April Gornik and how her paintings that recall the best of Bingham type luminoust  paintings, along with his 19th century contemporaries Fredrick Church and Albert  Bierstadt.

But before I leave with one of Aprils paintings, the original title of the Bingham painting was “French Trader, Half Breed Son”. The original title was changed by the American Art Union in an early and unsung, fit of political correctness.

April Gornik, French Waterway, 1997, 72″ x 94″ oil on canvas

not an animal, sally ford & thesoundoutside

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

From down Portland way, some very innovative & lyrical phrasing. Like….wow.

“that’s how the free market works, you know?”

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Invisible Hand of the Free Market Man

dub store special

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

by Love Land, produced by “Coxsone” Dodd, Studio One.

Some velvet horn work here.

leaning on the everlasting arms, night of the hunter

Monday, May 17th, 2010