Monday, September 12, 2011

f (ART)

Now, in certain equations, 'f' stands for function. f(x)” means plug a value for x into a formula f .

Years ago, i had an education class, and the professor liked 'discovery' learning. I was quite lucky he wasn't a deweyist, or skinnerian. He brought out the art cards from the board game, Masterpiece. It had several postcards of paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago. His idea was give out a card per kid, without saying anything of the work. The kids then would form groups of art similarity. After that point, they would say why the subjects were alike. This worked better if they knew nothing, beforehand, about art.

Recently, i went to the Cleveland Art Museum, for a second time, since the re-opening. I stayed about two hours, and saw the rest that i did not see the time before. I revisited the spanish baroque, and the Welfenschatz.
This is one of the six American museums Sr. Wendy Beckett chose to film. Cleveland is a grand panoramic historical museum. It still hasn't reassembled its collection. The asian, and some other non-western collections are on tour, or in storage. There is still too much to view in one visit. Take a leisurely ninety minutes, and come back again.
Franz Kline. Accent Grave. 1955. Cleveland
They have many suited guards/guides. I engaged one about boredom on duty. He doesn't get bored, some others do get real antsy. We discussed, at my instigation, artists without talent. We were in the 'contemporary' and abstract expressionist rooms. He got my point. He was a jazz aficionado. He would accept a free form 'artist', if he could demonstrate the talent to be play real music. He would overlook the odd, 'shit and giggles' stuff, if he could play straight. Put if he could only play like a five year old, then no. So, in art, if it is something i could make while drunk, then it doesn't count. I did not have to bring in my 'Jack the Dripper' quip. His, “Number 5” was behind the wall. Next to it, and in view, was a Franz Kline,Accent Grave. I compared it negatively to chinese, and japanese calligraphy, which used selected hair brushes, and prepared ink to gracefully draw characters that have been valued for its artisanship, and beauty of line for centuries. Another guard remarked that it looked like someone was cleaning off his brush in a few slap strokes.

I blame Picasso. Cleveland has a Picasso half room. Picasso showed himself, as a young man, quite equal to any realist. He could draw and paint a recognisable canvas. He chose to go off in other directions, yet he still used color, line and form. He chose to make ugly art, it was no accident, nor inability. The first essay on this journal was partially about a Picasso line drawing I enjoy. I have his peace dove on a shirt.

Also, nearby is a repeating image of Marilyn Monroe with additional paint. Cleveland has the largest of Andy's Marilyns, it is in an hundred views. He silk screened photos of soup cans, and celebrities; one not much more important than the other. Warhol was criticised by many, whom promoted abstract and other forms of modern art. He openly treated his products as products to be created and sold in quantity. He enjoyed plastic, commercial, vapid trivialities. He honestly presented a meaningless nihilism. Andy Warhol believed, “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art”. Some of the criticism was prejudice against his social background: working class ethnic, a people newly arrived from some, byzantine, slavonic backwater now living in an industrial city with thousands of similar folk. Being fey, frail, and peculiar was not a problem. It was not that he was without talent, or using so little of it; but being brutally, and carelessly blatant about producing kitsch, wanting fame and money, and i think, knowing it was empty and valueless.

Back to the Masterpiece analogy, this art can be formed into the following groups, and these rooms [225 a-f] fell into that pattern: white and shapeless, colored and shapeless, black and shapeless, mangled junk, assembly of pre-fabricated geometric forms into nothing in particular. For several of these works, the title, is 'Untitled'. Then what is it? Nothing. And the proof is often in the written descriptions, on the wall, inches away [
rather than describing reality, the painting describes the artist's making of it]. It is a 'con'. They may be artists of a sort, but they are not craftsmen.

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