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This piece, entitled An Adagio for Boredom, is on display at the Institute of Art here in Chicago. My daughter, who was getting bored with the Lichtenstein exhibit and other art after an hour or two, viewed this thing and started cracking up. It made her day!
A remarkable thing happened at Clif’s event last night, and it had nothing to do with the campaign or even politics. My daughter was playing with a friend of hers – my daughter is seven and her friend eight. There’s a little side room towards the rear of the Scotia Inn dining hall and the kids were allowed to leave the grown-up world of politics to enjoy themselves. At one point I decided to check up on them.
The story actually begins before last night. I had met her friend once before at Arts Alive a couple of months ago. She, my daughter, and two other girls were wowed as we veered as a group of parents and kids off of the main drag to visit artists in their studios – the first time I had ventured into those buildings during Arts Alive.
One of the artists had a studio jammed full of paintings, so much so that it’s actually hard to navigate. I was nervous as the four girls started running through the place because it would have been easy to fall or trip and ruin a painting or two, but the artist wasn’t even fazed. He called the girls over to him, gave them a little bit of a tour and lesson on what he does, and then gave each of them a small painting as a gift. The girls were, of course, wowed. My daughter proudly displays her painting on her dresser. But it’s not Lilith’s first piece of original art. Her friend, whose family doesn’t have a large amount of money, was even more profoundly affected by the gift.
Last night when I walked into the room she was resting from play and I asked her if she still had the painting. She nodded. I jokingly said, “well, maybe someday it will be worth some money.”
She actually turned and looked at me in response – spoke politely but emphatically, and without a contraction of I and ll, “I will never sell it! It was the first time I ever met a real artist.”
I don’t want to name the artist, because I don’t want him put on the spot to give other kids the same kind of gifts. He does have to make a living. But I intend to return to his studio and tell him the story. And buy one of his paintings.
I didn’t really cover Maine’s Tea Party Governor’s decision to remove the labor history mural from the state’s Department of Labor, but the SF Bay Guardian points out that it’s far from the first act of history-art censorship. Progressive politics are not indefinitely sustainable, and so I assume that someday the Lincoln Brigade exhibit at Embarcadero Square in SF will face a similar challenge (even though former Secretary of State George Shultz himself attended the opening).
Probably one of the more ridiculous moments came in San Francisco during the 1950s. In the Rincon Center near the waterfront are a number of murals inside. One of them depicts four canons pointing at a monster or something with a swastika on it, each canon containing the logo of one of the four major Allied nations. There was an effort to have the Soviet cannon painted over on the basis that Stalin’s regime was worse than the Nazis (an early volley in the body count debate) and therefor their participation in the war should not be “celebrated.” Never mind that the Soviets took a burden which probably outweighed all of the other nations combined, and never mind that they were in fact allies during that war, however uneasy the alliance may have been.
Another silly censorship act was at Brigham University where Joseph Smith’s portrait was removed and replaced with a beardless depiction of their prophet. Students were not allowed to grow beards while attending, so he was setting a bad example.
During the McCarthy Era there was actually a proposal to ban abstract art as part of the communist conspiracy – the irony there being that communist art, or “socialist realism” has always been straight-jacketed, and despite the radical impulses behind art movements like surrealism and dada, they were rejected by the Soviet authorities as decadent and of course bourgeois. I’ll try to track down some of the quotations from pro-realism dogmatists of both cultures later.
Will take place on Friday, October 1 starting with the Farmers Market at 12:00 p.m. where they’ll be serving a Barbecue Lunch with NPK playing. They will be showcasing local food & drinks.
Then at 5:00 p.m. there will be an Arts Alive Barbecue Dinner. The Lost Coast Marimba Band will be playing. The Arts Alive featured artists will be Blackmith Monica Coyne and Potter Sue Moon.
All proceeds will go to benefit development of the Garberville Town Square.
This was found on a wall in the Tenderloin of San Francisco. It obviously took some effort and time. It’s, well, what it is.
This is nice. Some computer art is worthwhile.
by Philip Scott Johnson
500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art
Music: Bach’s Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 performed by Yo-Yo Ma
Nominated as Most Creative Video 2nd Annual YouTube Awards
For a complete list of artists and paintings visit http://www.maysstuff.com/womenid.htm
Higher resolution version at http://www.vimeo.com/1456037
Contact information: email@example.com, http://www.myspace.com/eggman913
The blog is headwrapper. The emphasis is on art.
I’ll update my blogroll soon.
From the Redwood Times article it seems like it’s most likely just one angry person making the fuss. The objectionable material is apparently a anatomically detailed squirrel peeing, two rats going at it, and some naked women doing something or another with a cloud being, either “deific or demonic.”
At least it looked demonic to the person who posted an anonymous note in the Miranda Post Office. Among other things, the writer objected to women “having relations with cloud demons.” There was also a letter objecting to the mural’s content in the Independent newspaper, and an email was sent to the Redwood Times drawing attention to the nudity, the lascivious rats, and the naked women.
You know…, well, whatever. The article is accompanied by a photo which for some reason doesn’t depict the portions of the mural under controversy, but instead a tree with octopus tentacles for roots. I haven’t seen the painting as a whole, but the subject matter in question obviously didn’t make it past the Redwood Times censors.
Dave Arnold, the artist, appears to be willing to turn the art over to some quasi-democratic process. But that’s a horrible proposition for an artist trying to express whatever it is he’s trying to express.
Either way, I hope this doesn’t degenerate into a cold forces of Inquisition-inspired censorship vs. the decline of western civilization into the chaotic abuses of the moral relativism of hedonistic paganism frame. We’ve got enough to scream about lately.
The above painting is entitled Scene from the Life of St. Thomas Aquinas: The Debate with the Heretic, by Bartolomeo degli Erri, believed to be painted around 1465. It’s part of the collection at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco (you can zoom in on the image here). I’ve seen it so many times over the years and probably thought too much about it.
I’m assuming that the black robed figure is Aquinas. He appears twice in the painting, arguing and piously praying to St. Mary. But wasn’t Aquinas accused of heresy? Is he the heretic, or is he arguing with one? The commentary on the wall of the museum suggests that his opponent is the heretic with the darkness of the outside of the church behind him. It also speculates as to whether the heretic is Jewish, or something I read makes the suggestion anyway. On the other hand, the heretic appears to be backed up by clergy, unless their physical positioning is coincidence.
Don’t know why this painting has my attention, but every time I visit the museum I spend some time looking at it. It’s not particularly brilliantly crafted. Has to be the subject matter. Aquinas is of course credited with paving the way for the Renaissance and ultimately the Enlightenment at least in terms of the power of reason, except as it applies to “theological virtue.” But he gave license to reason.
Now the object of the theological virtues is God Himself, Who is the last end of all, as surpassing the knowledge of our reason. On the other hand, the object of the intellectual and moral virtues is something comprehensible to human reason. Wherefore the theological virtues are specifically distinct from the moral and intellectual virtues.
The theological virtues assigned to humanity are faith, hope, and charity, all of which are to be independent of reason. All else is in the human realm is within the purview of reason. From the same source:
Faith and hope imply a certain imperfection: since faith is of things unseen, and hope, of things not possessed. Hence faith and hope, in things that are subject to human power, fall short of the notion of virtue. But faith and hope in things which are above the capacity of human nature surpass all virtue that is in proportion to man, according to 1 Cor. 1:25: “The weakness of God is stronger than men.”
I can live with that. Even a secularist like me acknowledges faith, that despite all of the aspects of human nature that divide us, there is something above (or beneath the surface) that connects us and can’t be broken by our shortcomings. At least I like to see it that way.
Time for bed.