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Open thread 9/6/23

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  • Joe Krill September 6, 2023, 8:03 AM


  • ghostsniper September 6, 2023, 6:32 PM

    Art Through Time: A Global View
    13 episodes 30 minutes long


    • Casey Klahn September 7, 2023, 7:26 AM

      I’ll have a look. The global part is worrisome to me. The West has dominated art culture, and culture in general, in no small way because of the liberal (small “l”) nature of Western Civilization. The Greeks, Christianity, Reason, etc.

      Now, to be pissy, Leftys have to include “global” art history, and will raise up Asian and African and Mayan art, etc., to be as important. It is in a flat earth sense, but not in any sense of reason.

      Here’s my art history brief, and it is a world view. All before the Renaissance, mankind concentrated on skill in art. The Renaissance was so important that it becomes the second epoch in art, and it gave us “artists”. Te third epochal event was the Modern Era, and it gave us: “art”. Art interested in the atomic level of art, rather than history, narrative, religion, cults, politics, etc. More brief: skill, artist, art.

      Most people have no clue that equality has no place in art. It’s a fine thing socially and politically and sometimes in business, but fuck if it’s a part of art. In fact, it’s poison to art. We can talk about unity and balance, but equality? Stick it in your hat.

      • John A. Fleming September 7, 2023, 10:06 AM

        Hi Casey. I don’t quite get your statement about “skill” as the primary criterion on art. The Romans attained a high level of skill to be sure, but they seemed, at least from the surviving examples, to be interested in depicting pleasing scenes. They wanted to decorate their interior spaces, to bring the best of the outside world and themselves to the inside. And were their marbles better than or inferior to the Greeks? I’ve seen so many pictures of Roman statues that are subtitled “… copied from the Greek original”.

        • Casey Klahn September 7, 2023, 5:48 PM

          Not the primary criterion of art, but from the dawn of man until the Renaissance, artisans were often unnamed, not famous, and considered the same, socially, as skilled workers. A guy working marble, or painting a wall fresco, or laying tiles into a picture on an upright surface, was no more special or important than a bricklayer, a waterway engineer, a cloth-maker, or what-have-you. “Artists,” per se, did not exist as we know them since the Renaissance.

          When asked to summarize art history in the absolute simplest way, I had to describe the state of the task before artists were placed on the pedestal. What they did, and to be sure the statues of Aphrodite out of Greece are wonderful, and Iconography is elevating, and the Gothic Era (one of favorite art eras) are certainly artistic – anyway what they did is best described as learning to make art. Artifice; this means that. I chose the word skill. Skill at depiction and also skill with materials. It’s not small or unimportant – it is actually huge.

          The Romans gave a human form a more present feeling, versus some abstraction of a Greek deity. But it wasn’t until the 15th Century, in Western Civilization (think of Florence for instance), that artists turned the whole thing into linear and tonal forms that projected big “S” Space and the individual was being liberated by guys like Luther, and by the city-state and banking systems. The artists (Vasari wrote the first art history book, which was about Renaissance art – or rather about the artists as personalities. Lives of the Artists.

          Anyway, I feel my 3 epoch brief of art is worthy if you want to have some idea of the progress of civilization. I thought my statement about equality more cheeky, but nobody bit. C’mon you guys!

          • jwm September 8, 2023, 5:39 AM

            Ok, I’ll bite, or at least nibble with my not-well-educated opinion.
            Illustrators were once accorded a lower status than “Artists.” An illustrator had to have perfect execution, but perfect execution was the starting point. An artist had to be able to achieve some quality that transcends the technical perfection. I remember seeing Rembrandt’s “Raising of Lazarus” at the LA County museum many years ago. I had seen pictures of it in books, but seeing the real thing was a different experience. You can watch that painting, not just look at it. Jumping to a contemporary example, look at Casey’s work. His figures are not illustrations, like Vargas did, but each of the nudes look like she could take a breath at any moment. That’s the transcendent quality.
            Modern art freed the artist from slavish renderings of real world people and events, but the skill had to precede the abstraction. Picasso could do the real stuff if he wanted to do it.
            I’ll jump down to my own work. I do not do figurative art, and there are two reasons for that. The first is that I have no interest or desire to do it. I don’t want to do busts, or statues. There are plenty of great ones out there already. Second, I’ll freely admit that I don’t have the training, and probably not the skill to do it. Depicting the human form in stone is a life’s work. I’m already old. I do surrealistic forms because that’s what turns me on. But I also put great emphasis on craftsmanship. My stuff may be weird, but it isn’t slipshod, or sloppily done.
            Most of what I see in contemporary art is garbage. It’s one thing to let go of reproducing Nature’s forms. But much of what I see out there lacks beauty, or skill of execution, and the ugly crap they put on pedestals or walls is laden with didactic social justice “messages.” They’ve reduced art to clever ideas, most of which aren’t so clever. Every clown and his uncle has a clever idea, and any bozo with a paint brush can do something offensive, and call it art.
            My two cent’s worth. I’ll make change for a nickel if you have one.


            • Anne September 8, 2023, 7:05 AM

              Great short review–thank you!

            • Casey Klahn September 8, 2023, 8:41 AM

              I’ve always loved Rembrandt. Each one is an object from another level, or world. Although his paintings (memorable ones seen include The Prodigal Son, and Portrait of Nathaniel) are incredible, I once saw his drawings along with drawings of his contemporaries, and he made the others look stupid. His breathed life. Only a complete and entire idiot would attempt to copy him. I did two Christ copies of Rembrandt, so that tells you something abut me. LOL.

              Every artist in his era is “modern,” inasmuch as he’s contemporary with his era. Big M Modernism is uniquely reviled by our tribe for having metric tons of shitty works to show for itself, and yet I wonder if you’ve seen the shitty works from past eras? I’d love to tell the readers how Modernist Art, which is the third great epoch of civilized art, must and in fact does speak to the present by elevating the parts of art and revealing them. You can tell me all day long about the shiny brass rail under the sprig of grapes, but for the love of God let the colors say their part. Let the viewer in the room, FFS.

              Illustrators are brilliant people. John, I like the most what Thiebaud said about the illustrators. he said, “The American illustrators are so GOOD.”

              Don’t worry at all if figuration isn’t in your work. Your viewer knows who he or she is, and may not know why he loves your piece. The reason is: it tells the truth.

  • jd September 7, 2023, 4:38 AM

    Thank you, Ghost. Looks very interesting and maybe not depressing
    ’til the present era.

  • ghostsniper September 7, 2023, 4:00 PM

    Last week an unmanned Indian craft landed on the moon, much to the shock of the world, because Indians haven’t yet mastered the toilet.


  • ghostsniper September 7, 2023, 4:55 PM
  • ghostsniper September 7, 2023, 5:22 PM

    Man, at 13:40 he throws about 5 gallons worth of onions on the grill and my drool buckets runneth over big time. I’d eat at least 1 of everything they got!


    • ghostsniper September 7, 2023, 5:26 PM

      After looking at a street view of the joint I’d obviously hafta be packin’. shiver

  • Anne September 8, 2023, 7:11 AM

    A family mystery. At our house everyone knows that I do not like, or enjoy, or learn from contemporary art. However, one day while visiting the art museum in San Francisco’s Presidio (sorry, I forgot the name) we were enjoying the Impressionists. I walked around a wall and came face to face with “Arab Song”. I am not a Feminist–always preferring to be my own self. Well, let me tell you that painting hit like a brick! What is it about a couple of brush strokes on burlap that captured my eye, and mind, and heart? I now enjoy Paul Klee’s body of work. The subtle little humor about life makes me smile.

  • Anne September 8, 2023, 7:13 AM

    P.S. I do not include Casey’s work as contemporary–don’t really know what category that fits into, it is the works of Picasso and others like him that I am speak about. FWIW I do like Casey’s work!

    • Casey Klahn September 8, 2023, 11:51 AM

      Thank you, Anne. Now, I’m going to look for that Klee artwork and see what it’s like. I think that’s the Legion of Honor Museum.

  • Anne September 8, 2023, 4:04 PM

    Yes, that’s it–Legion of Honor. Arab Song never shows up very well on the internet or in photos. You have to stand in front of that rough fabric and feel the heat of the dessert!

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