/ Art /
2016 11 06 I just discover that the great Tim Burton made a movie about Margaret Keane and her big-eyed children. Keanes appeared in sidewalk art shows in the early 1960s. I’d been hanging around the ‘Village for a few years by then. My intellectual friends and I ridiculed them. I laughed like a maniac when Woody Allen joked about them in a movie: the joke was that Woody’s s-f future culture took the Keanes seriously: as though they were “real” “painting”. Now I see Andy Warhol cited as saying they have to be good: because so many people like them so much.
There has to be something to that. I play to enjoy the hell out of this Burton. But first I have to declare: it just occurred to me: one thing that I bet is going on: snobs have to hate Keanes because those damn children of hers get under your skin. She must be cheating somehow.
Well, I’ll stand my part of that snap judgment: they are formula works. But they do get under your skin.
2016 11 06 I’m half-way through the film: all the way through the wikipedia biography of Margaret Keane. I’ve glad to be reading this material, thinking again of this artist, for the first time in decades. It’s such trash, but there’s something about it.
I want to come back and reflect on female artists posing as male, for this, that, and a variety of resons. As much of a sleezeball as Walter is, one can’t help but feel a little sorry to him trying to peddle his left bank trash while prospects say No, no: we want the boho kids with the big eyes.
2016 08 27 Even progressives assume some degree of stability. Sometimes that proves true, but it is not wisdom to assume it.
I saw my first Magritte on my first trip to MOMA, age 15, around 1953. It wasn’t one of the half dozen most arresting images I met that day; it was one of the dozen.
ambiguity of day and night
challenge between symbol and thing symbolized
That image was if not the first Magritte I ever saw then it was among the first. Arresting, no?
I was just reminded of that maiden impact by reading Grant Morrison’s history of Batman comix: Supergods. That great cartoon scholar, his own work the equal of anything else I’m likely to refer to here, said that the original Batman panel made it seem to be day and night at the same time: “like a Magritte”.
I had to refresh my Magritte: so I Googled images, asked for “Magritte” and got a facefull: including the above Portrait of Stephy Langui: which I’d never seen before!
How could that be? Because I saw the bulk of my Magrittes from 1953 to 1960: and the Portrait of Stephy Langui was painted in 1961! I was at the “Modern”: but I still wasn’t expecting the artists there represented to be living: with still newer innovations (or degenerations) still to come. Thank you, Grant Morrison.
Magritte does something to your head, unmistakable. And these days I know what it is: he teases you into an awareness of semiotics: symbol / thing differentiations: map / territory distinctions. That’s my subject since 1979. But Magritte set me up for it since 1953! Thank you, Magritte.
Elmore Leonard, Art, Lit, Movies
2016 02 01 Ecstatic about a feature or two of Leonard’s The Moonshine War:
Son Martin is said to make the best white lightning in the county. The sheriff and deputies raid him in the dead of night: it’s Prohibition: they’re there to drink his product, not to give him a hard time. In fact they pay him: half price, no discussion of what would be fair. That sheriff and deputies are state power at the county / state level; a fed revenuer shows up, knew Son in the war. Son admits he got drunk one night and blabbed to his fellow drunken soldier that his pappy had put up a run of one hundred fifty barrels of hootch and had been letting it age eight years when he died. Now they all figure it’s worth over a hundred grand, if indeed it exists. People have looked, people have never found it. Pap dug mines for coal, needed in the process, could have hidden barrels deep in the mine shafts.
I mention all this in the context of rereading Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy the State. A federal Amendment cheats bootleggers out of their labor. Here we watch a series of levels of state power confiscate individual labor.
Son knows he’s helpless against governments which have appointed themselves as his supervisors, confiscated his wealth to pay for their thieving. But, it turns out that Son isn’t quite altogether helpless: especially not against his old army fellow drunk: who looks where his nose doesn’t belong. KerBoom! The mines are also full of dynamite.
Yesterday I wanted to quote a paragraph:
|“Frank, you should have stayed in the Army where you got somebody to think for you. You start using your own head it’s likely to get blown off.”|
I open my Elmore Leonard scrap file and find it already there! I’ve read this novel before, totally forgot it. One upon a time I could blame such a discovery on being drunk: thirty-five years ago! But this Leonard file is since 1995. So I simply forgot.
2016 01 14 My second grade teacher posted Van Gogh reproductions from Life Magazine as a frieze above the classroom blackboards. I loved them, particularly the colorful boats on the bank.
I got to see some Michelangelo, some Picasso by parallel means. When I was fifteen the school rubbed out nose in the holdings of the Met and of the Frick. I was as primed as my fellows to ridicule, to desecrate: until a couple of canvases arrested me, stopped me in my tracks, induced a double-take: Monet! One was one of his Rouen Cathedral. I saw the title on the tag, then I saw the titular image: By Golly, it’s a cathedral! I liked comix that challenged one to find the pictures hidden in the pictures. Image surfing struck me as a legitimate function for art. Later that day I volunteered to go onward to MOMA: where I really saw images that challenged interpretation.
Never mind, I’ve told much of that before.
I launch this scrapbook this evening in the wake of enjoying some Monet featured at wikipedia’s website. I’d just looked up some Rossetti: now I surfed a half dozen more Monets, thinking, feeling: That’s what painting should be! flowers! gardens! females! female bustles and bosoms: and round faces!
And, of course, especially, Renoir!
At the Frick the Renoir girls had grabbed me before the Met’s Monet Rouen grabbed me.