Wednesday, December 28, 2011

obit commentary

The recent deaths of John Chamberlain and Helen Frankenthaler raise some sad thoughts. I am not a fan of either ones work, there is the occasional piece that is pretty good but overall their work does not move me, too much second tier stuff by my reckoning for what it is worth.

However what I find partially distressing is the hostility in the comments section of Frankenthaler's obit in the New York Times.

DaveW from Tempe, AZ writes
I don't see talent or art in the example painting. Instead, I see a perversion of art and a misrepresentation of man and man's relationship to nature. I don't have insight into the effort Ms. Frankenthaler put into her work, but I do know that many abstract artists spend little time on their creations.

and Joe Dokes from the Midwest posts
She seems like a nice lady but like all this "abstract" art, it is nothing but a big fraud. The fact that the NY Times buys into it just shows how clueless the NY Times is.

Why don't they present both sides - someone who says the truth - that like all modern art, it is supported by our corrupt ruling class to buy off artists to prevent them from showing the truth - that the US is a decadent, corrupt country with a parasite upper class that feeds off of the working people? No, that might make people think dangerous thoughts - like back in the 1930s - and allow people challenge the system that is about to collapse from rot. Better to show meaningless images and call it art. You people disgust me with your lies.

B. Mused from Victoria, BC, Canada "muses"
One of the last lines in your obituary says it all;
"As the years passed, her paintings seemed to make more direct references to the visible world."
Well, gosh! To what else should a painting refer but what can be seen? Whatever did the work of the NY abstract expressionists refer to if not to the visual world? It referred to a set of ideas, advertising copy I should call them, concocted by Clement Greenberg and his ilk - Post World War 2 US ascendancy gave him and others what looked like a golden opportunity to get away with saying anything at all with no reference to what could be seen by anyone with eyes. Of course accidental effects can have beautiful aspects and potential for incorporation into art work, but there is a long distance between accident and art. One cannot make a worthy career out of having unintended accidents, neither on canvas nor in chemistry labs, racetracks, or building construction. Only in the rarified atmosphere of NY's art world can the essential omphalism of such an approach pass unchallenged. Nice to see Frankenthaler as the years passed took notice that whatever convoluted notions filled her head (and supported her economic life), they could not be seen and valued unless there was at least some detectable reference to the world we all live in and can see.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion... opinions are like .... everyone's got one.

What I find distressing, annoying, words fail me regarding this feeling. I won't lose a lick of sleep over it or think of it after lunch so it isn't distressing, maybe annoying like a fly in the room or a mosquito is the willful ignorance and self satisfaction and surety of their opinion. Hey this isn't new and I lived out west in Colorado for 8 years and I'll never go back regardless of how beautiful the mountains are. The average person there and you can find them here in NYC too in certain parts of the five boroughs just love to be uninformed and 9 times out of 10 wrap themselves in the flag with the bible in the other hand.

I don't have insight into subatomic physics or string theory (not true I actually studied hard science in college) but I can't see atoms so they must not exist is akin to this rationale. I could make comment on the comments but will let them lie as it were.

Upcoming my thoughts on the De Koonings in the current and soon to close show at MoMA. After three visits with the most recent lasting over three hours I have a series of jumbled thoughts that I will try to unify in a coherent essay regarding one of the most important painters of the 20th century, IMHO.

No comments:

Post a Comment