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Everything posted by jfutral

  1. I do want to address this. I don't appreciate being misquoted or flippantly mischaracterized. I did NOT say "Modern Art is the logical result of the Enlightenment". I DID say "there was a definite philosophical underpinning in Modern Art that makes it the logical result of the Enlightenment project." Big difference. _Modernism_ is absolutely firmly rooted in the Enlightenment. That is not a logical fallacy, that is simply being mildly observant. The whole secular/sacred, reason/emotion, material/immaterial bifurcations, eschewing of tradition, and exaltation of self that Modernism tends to take to caricature if not from the Enlightenment, then where? Have you read Kandinsky or Klee or Rothko (or any of the Bauhaus group)? Or even Cezanne or Van Gogh? Now if you mean there are other forms of Modernism, I won't disagree with that. "Enlightenment-on-wheels"? Really? Joe P.S. "By the way, art movement have always been at war with each other. The Gothic was at war with the Romanesque. Mannerism was at war with the High Renaissance. That's how Western art movements...move." While I am not quite so quick to say Gothic was "at war" with Romanesque in the same sense, I certainly agree over all, especially from Enlightenment on. This is a primary characteristic of Enlightenment process and the notion of "Progress" with each new movement being superior to the last. That you fail to see this characteristic not only carried through, but heightened and accelerated, in Modern Art, surprises me. Novelty is what drives the machine. Just ask Dada. JF
  2. Conspiracy theory, no. But a mechanistic institution and prevailing method, built on consumerism and finding the next bigs thing to monetize that certainly does create an elitism, yes. Like I said, just ask the fore runners of lowbrow art who got shunned by the Modern Art institutions. Of course all they did was create their own thing. I agree about the aesthetic thing and the whole "return to realism". In the end that is just a preference and theological and philosophical theories are just that. More later, Joe Crap. I just lost everything I wrote by inadvertently closing the window I was editing in. I am completely deflated. Maybe I'll get back to this later. Drats. Joe
  3. Well, I do think there are many artists who were contemporary to the Modern art movements that would not be classified as Modern Artists. But there was a definite philosophical underpinning in Modern Art that makes it the logical result of the Enlightenment project. While Kandinsky may not have been a realist or representational artist, his philosophy is directly rooted in the material/immaterial dichotomy created by the Enlightenment project. Obviously many of the artists mentioned in rebuttal would not fit into the Modern Art machine that helped create the High Art elitism that is still holding tightly today. Just ask anyone involved in the Lowbrow art movement. The whole Dada movement was actually about ridiculing and parodying the Establishment, but was quickly consumed into the Art machine. But in Modernity, that is to be expected. Each new movement in Modernity is "postmodern" in that it is at war with what came immediately before. I do think over the last couple of decades much of that has been eroding and the hyper-individualism that Modern Art, and Modernity in general, was built on is what is driving much of the backlash NEA studies are witnessing. So while I think Modernism has failed, I love the art that resulted from those lofty attempts to define and discovery some unifying theory. I do not think there is anything more inherently superior in representational art. Sometimes it is even a stumbling block. I think all we have to do is look to music, which makes no attempts to be representational except briefly, deliberately, or for effect. I mean, ultimately it is the search for what it is that makes one painting of a flower more moving than another, whether it is a hyperrealistic painting by Josef Nigg, the impressionism of Renoir or Monet, the post-impressionism of Van Gogh or Cezanne, or the abstract of Klee or Picasso. And where would O'Keefe fit in? Anyway. Just some more thoughts, Joe
  4. While I agree with the sentiment about the current art "establishment", and apparently so does much of the U.S. if the recent NEA studies about attendance are any indication. As I mentioned in one blog elsewhere, there is a good chance that what is dying off needs to die off in the same way a forest fire is good for forest growth. I disagree with his opinions of Pollock, et. al. I am very fond of the Modern artists of the early 20th century. Joe
  5. Just a few counter points, but nothing substantive to the OP, so feel free to skip. The NEA doesn't give directly to individuals. They do give to organizations who do give individuals. Probably not directly to programs directed to individuals. I think the individual artist angle to strong arming is unlikely. But until recently the NEA (and influentially other granting organizations) favoured presenting organizations who are free to support individual artists. Been a part of several performance projects where Maya Angelou was a part. Usually the peer/citizen review panels have little to do with who gets money and more to do with how much they get. By the time it gets to that level of review, the grant recipients have usually already been determined. I would say that there are no government arts granting organizations with citizen review panels that the review panel has a say in who gets the money, but I don't know all the orgs to say that. Just because this event was not organized by the NEA, because it is probably unlawful for them to do so, that doesn't mean they didn't indirectly encourage. I've been a part of enough projects that the government arts granting agencies weren't allowed to actually participate (for example Georgia in particular has very tight restrictions on what the government employees like the Georgia Council for the Arts staff can say and do to avoid advocating particular projects.) that I would find it hard to believe that some level of involvement or aspect was not driven by NEA staff. All that said, I am a working artist who is not a fan of nor did I vote for Obama. But my take on this event is, "move along folks, nothing to see here". Joe
  6. In the OP, you wrote this: "It's about the drive to produce propaganda, and the inability of artists to see that this is what's going on. " I have serious doubts that the artists who involve themselves in this "outreach" really do not see what is going on. If anything they are probably sympathetic to begin with and gladly, probably enthusiastically, appreciate the call. So if/when Maya Angelou writes her poem, I have no doubt it will be as much from the heart as if she found other inspiration to compose. And I would be hard pressed to believe that she had not already done so. But what is the issue? That _this_ particular event has arisen? That the government is trying to use it's artistic financial leverage to propagate a _particular_ (with a few small attempts to prove otherwise) partisan issue? Artists participating (actively or coercively) in political expression? in this particular expression? That this is an inverse corollary to when funds are _denied_ based on content? I think George Will is correct. I remember back in the Maplethorpe brouhaha, Joseph Papp refused NEA money due to new restrictions that resulted. Few artists are in a position to be so bold. To someone else's point. I do think this is different than a commission. Commissions from the start often come with certain expectations—size, length of work, a particular event or person being attributed, mostly explicit, some implicit. Plus, I have a hard time likening this to getting celebrities to participate in general public health and welfare issues such as when Arnie was promoting fitness. There is still much political partisan power plays at work for this to be seen otherwise. Now if the implication in this instance were either "We've given you money now we want something in return" (not-withstanding exactly who is this "we" since this is public money) or "If you don't cooperate you won't get anymore money" or some other form of quid pro quo for a specific partisan position, this is where I would have a problem. Is there a place for political commentary in the arts? Musicians/poets like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell seem to think so. But should the government dictate or coerce the content or otherwise promote or petition a particular legislative content? I don't think so. But is this what is happening? [edited to add] "In the 80's I got paid money to play guitar and tell kid's to just say no. Was I a government shill? All the way to the bank." Dang! Missed that money! Joe
  7. I was also just wondering if the level of realism employed in the media also has an impact on how much deviation you, as a viewer, are willing to allow. Movies and books (print being more associated with "fact" dissemination) are more prone to a higher level of scrutiny than maybe dance or paintings, music being the most dis-associative. Joe
  8. Alright. A little more directly to the point. here is a youtube clip from our DVD called Last Dance. Maurice Sendak and Pilobolus collaborated on this piece on the Holocaust. I still don't know how to make active links. Last Dance nudity controversy If that didn't work here is the url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNBweJR8Wng There is brief male nudity in the clip so be forewarned. My point is whenever we are presenting history it is always an interpretation of history. Especially when it involves something as catastrophic as the Holocaust, we aren't just trying to list the facts of history, we are needing to convey the horror of the event, how it affected people, how we want it to affect us now as we tell/hear the story. Even if we held tightly to a sterile list of events, there is motivation behind that. My only concern when art "strays" from "facts" is if there was no struggle or thought to the action--gratuitous, as Maurice says in the clip The struggle between a sterile history lesson versus a particular perception wanting to be conveyed. Joe
  9. Wow. This is very much along the lines of stuff I've been thinking about lately. That's a lot of stuff to think about, all related yet can each be handled on it's own, what are facts? Is there ever really such a thing as "just the facts?" I used to do a lot of recording and frequented a couple discussion groups. One thread that I always remember was a guy who came looking for a microphone that did not colour the sound for a symphony recording he was doing. He wanted the microphone to reproduce accurately what was being played. He never did get the idea that there is no such thing. Every microphone colours what is being recorded. It is inescapable. A lot of discussion also centered around it is impossible to ascertain, even through all sorts of measuring gear, what that "true" sound actually is. So many things affect acoustics, even your own ears, that every microphone selection is always subjective. Even where you place the microphone will affect what the microphone "hears". A person may never hear exactly what the microphone hears and vice versa. I can't help but wonder if history and art are the same. When we try to tell the story about something that actually happened not only are we becoming like that microphone, but so is our placement not just in history, but also our placement in our environment is like the hall or room where the subject we are recording stands. Never mind all the wires and electronics along the path from the microphone to the recording media. And then there is also all the electronics and speakers we use to play back that recording and how they affect the sonics. Seems to me intent (of viewer as well as creator) is about all we have to go by as to whether accurate content is important. To a degree, everything is a story. It is just a matter of what the story being told actually may be. And what we want to hear. Or not. Just one consideration, Joe
  10. A friend of mine was his lighting supervisor. Our conversation about Shen Wei being a recipient is what prompted my thread about art without the pressures of life. Joe
  11. I'll second this. I was just in Philly and went to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit. Excellent museum. Decently priced for all that is there. Lots from Rodin. Joe
  12. That's pretty funny! Not to detract from the humour or irony of it all, but I've met a couple of collectors and buyers and the hot thing for now (and has been for a short while) is modern art along the lines of the abstract expressionists. I know you aren't into that sort of thing, but just sayin'. That's where the big money is, although I've also heard that some socialist realism is coming up, too. I met a collector in Dallas who is big on found art right now. So maybe you can combine those three styles and REALLY hit it big. Joe
  13. Speaking english. That was amazing. Joe
  14. First let me say, I think this is the great thing about art. People can be drawn to different things. Yeah, that Francis Bacon and the Modern Project affected everything didn't they? It all became about the material world. In that way, Realism is more Modern than Modern Art. That's an interesting perspective. I think it all is missing something, or rather, representational and non-representational art/artists all try to show what can't be seen. I don't think non-representational is "missing" anything more than representational or realistic art. Well, I don't think abstract or non-representational art is trying be like music any more than a realist painting is trying to be like a photograph. Why bother trying to be a realist painter when you can take a picture? It is all about capturing something and then conveying that something, whatever that something is, and it usually is an immaterial quality of some sort. No reason to think representational is the only way to achieve that. And who determines the created purpose other than the artist? Who says only music is allowed to convey abstractly or non-representationally? I don't think Klee and his ilk were trying to imitate music. But certainly they were inspired by what music is able to do and by how it does it. Which is funny, because that is what I sometimes feel realistic painting does. Further I sometimes find realism trying to subjugate, if not dismiss entirely, the spiritual, not explain or reveal it. Just goes to show YMMV. Well, honestly most people didn't know what to make of much of Pollock's work, and still don't. I just try not to impose my necessity on his work to be anything other than what it is. As such I can relate to it much better than needing it to be something else. We have much the same conversations in dance. There are some who think only story book ballets have value, never mind a modern dance company like Pilobolus. And even some modern dance artists have issues with Pilobolus saying what we do is not dance. And I remember the flack Phil Keaggy got when he wanted to do his first instrumental album (and still one of my favourite albums). How would anyone know what he was communicating if he didn't use words? Go figure, Joe
  15. I like Pollock's work. Seeing his stuff live, as with most any visual artist, is a far more rewarding experience. Klee and Kandinsky, as with much of the Bauhaus group, were greatly influenced by music and wanted to do visually what music was doing, producing beauty non-representationally. Representational story telling can be great, but there is no reason to think this is the sole purpose of art. The way I think of it is much like Fujimura once posited on his blog, premodern art asks how do you depict a flower? Modern art asks what is a flower? And postmodern art asks is there a flower? Another quote of his I liked goes something like "How do you paint glory?" It has been a while, I can't remember exactly. To me the abstract artists are looking for what that "something" is that makes one realistic painting, of say a flower, more appealing that another equally realistic painting, yet does little but look like a flower. I appreciate that search and the resulting art. Anyway. I like Pollock's art. I also like his wife's work. Good stuff. Joe
  16. I hope you will post back a simple (or not) summary of how it went or what was discussed for those of us who can't be there. Thanks, Joe
  17. I'm a little annoyed with myself because I can only vaguely recall that I think this was an important question in my post, but I can't remember what caused me to ask it. I guess it is like when Jesus talks about how easy it is to love those who love you, but to be more like the Father we have to love those who hate us. So, does great art come easy or does it come from struggle or discomfort? Sort of like the quote about kicking darkness until it bleeds daylight. Did the great artists fight their art? Are those the moments we recognize their contributions? Joe
  18. Only in as much as it's presence or absence affects the well that artists draw from (no pun intended, OK, maybe sort of). Kind of along the lines of how sometimes it seems one gets more accomplished when one has less time to accomplish things. I wonder how much being free from the "burdens of life" might actually pull the rug out from under the artistry. I guess it depends on what burdens and what inspires an artist. But then there were the artists who were driven to use their art to earn money. Van Gogh wanted to and was convinced he could make his money painting portraits. If he wasn't trying to deal with the burdens of life, how might he have turned out different? As talented as Bach was, he was still trying to make a living with his art. Or maybe on the other end there was Rembrandt. Wasn't he fairly well off, but then died a penniless artist? And sometimes an artist's earlier works look completely different from the work after they have "made it". I can think of a few choreographers like that. I don't know how or even if one should try to quantify such things. Just fodder for thought, or even just self examination, mostly. Is art always responding to something? I guess it is like the verse, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, or from the life of an artist the artist creates. I'm still curious what might have inspired God to create. Joe
  19. While I have more recently come to appreciate Cezanne's work, it isn't as an artist as much as a technician. This could explain part of that sense. Joe
  20. As someone who works for a dance company that is associated with nudity and partial nudity on stage, and some of it very sensual, I think the question boils down to what the person (viewer or performer) can handle. I've said this elsewhere before, some people can handle a glass of wine, some people fall into alcoholism. Some people can eat nuts, some can die from eating nuts. As for profanity, I think one of the most hilariously ridiculous ideas is watching a movie on TV and the profanity is overdubbed. Most of the time it is quite obvious what was really said and the overdub is more of a distortion than making anything safe. And it is not anything that anyone it might offend doesn't hear almost every where else in the world. I am amazed by the artists who complain about how Apple sells their "art" on iTunes, but nary a peep is heard about how their "art" is brutalized and butchered on TV. The point of that is while maybe profanity isn't always "necessary" (in whatever way you want to define that) to avoid it because it might offend someone is not honest. So to me is, how honest is the use of the profanity in question? Even if it is gratuitous, how gratuitous is it in the world off the stage? If what is being performed is attempting to reflect or address life, how much of your life are you able to avoid profanity? I am not necessarily talking about what level of realism is trying to be achieved, but I am talking about honesty, not just in portrayal, but also in reflection or addressing. But those are artistic decisions the writer, director, and actor need to ask and answer. To me, ultimately if it is a sin for you to eat meat, then don't eat meat! Joe
  21. Is art always creativity responding? Does art need to be created from a point of inspiration? I was thinking about the genius grants and wondering is there really anyway for an artist to create free of life? If the idea is to allow an artist to create free of the burden of paying rent, buying groceries, etc., is that really possible? I remember hearing Frank Lloyd Wright say his biggest regret is that he was allowed to create unchallenged. When an artist has a muse, isn't that creating in response? Can we truly create being totally "set free"? Do we always require some sort of push back? And if God is an artist what was his inspiration for creating us? Joe
  22. I'm no actor. I don't even play one when playing around. But I will say that Shakespeare never made more sense to me than when I lit (Atlanta's) Jomandi's production of Julius Caesar and it was set within the Nation of Islam. Somehow, giving the lines that southern, african-american, full-gospel accent and drawl _without_ changing any of the words, I finally understood every word. But that's just me. I'm a southerner. Joe
  23. (Shameless self-promotion) My company (Pilobolus) is performing at the Joyce (on the corner of 8th Ave and 19th St) until the 11th. Joe
  24. Along the lines of searching museum/art galleries, can anyone suggest places for live music? Preferably jazz, secondarily blues or folkish (think CSN or Joni mitchell). Right now I have come up with the Blue Note, Les Paul's Iridium, and Jazz Gallery (Roy Hargrove will be there when I am!) and of course B. B. King's place, although I didn't see anything all that interesting happening there on the calendar. Any other less known but worth the effort places to check out? I usually need something late night as our show won't really be over until 10:00+/- and we have no shows on Sunday. Again I am in NYC from July 13th-August 11. Thanks, Joe
  25. Almost two weeks ago Pilobolus premiered a new work at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC, at Duke University. It is a collaborative effort with Israel choreographers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak. Someone I'm told, probably with their cell phone, had already posted clips of the work on the internet. I haven't found them, myself, But this really got me thinking more about this issue from an artist's perspective. The art world, not just the RIAA , is going to have to confront this either to acceptably work through it or be blindsided by this phenomenon. Granted, there are lots of artists who would love to be desired enough to have this kind of thing happen, but what I really think this calls for is a rethinking of the role of art in a culture or society. We sometimes talk about the responsibility of the artist to the community, but what about the community's responsibility to the artist? Should the community have free reign over others' art? If not, really with technology becoming what it is, how do you prevent it? When I visited museums in Florence and other Italian museums, they were adamant about not taking pictures. The opposite, thankfully, is true at the National Museum of Art in DC, with the exception of featured exhibits. Does the artist need to accept that their work is not necessarily devalued if it becomes commonly accessible? To be sure, the more people know of someone's work, the harder it should be for another to steal from them, at least not without getting called on it or otherwise caught. Although, I worked with another performer, Fred Garbo, who was very protective of his work. Some might say to an obsessive extreme. But when someone as big as Ringling Brother's Circus clown Bello "borrows" from Fred, Fred's pockets aren't deep enough to fight the fight and Fred gets no compensation or recognition for the "inspiration". But legal issues aside, art, it seems to me, is about to go through a major evolution because of technology. Not necessarily with what is or how it is created, but how it is presented. What do you think? Joe
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