Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Art Ramble

It just doesn’t do it justice. It is called “Ashchenblume”. A fella named Anselm Keifer assembled/painted, smeared it together. It is a little hard to tell but there is a massive sunflower turned upside down directly in the middle of it. It was finished in 1997. Flower out of ashes. The work is pretty damn massive. I don’t think I could even get it in the loading dock of most buildings much less the front door of my place. It takes up nearly an entire wall. The bottom part of it is pieces of concrete and busted, rusted wire. It is a picture of the Reichstag, think Congress. Out of the ashes of life this flower grew and was uprooted and yet it grew and flourished. I see some hope and perseverance in it. Fifty years after the ashes of WWII were buried and swept away this artist of Germany was still thinking about the resurrection from the fire.

I wonder why I post a lot more about this stuff we call modern art than I do what is called western art. I know Charlie Russell and Frederick Remington quite well. I grew up with their pictures of the American West and I know them by heart. They are approachable and graspable, far easier to digest and understand. Perhaps it is a change in taste, but I have not lost my eye for a good western either. Maybe it is that I think modern art gets sort of slammed by people on occasion. What the hell is it? We paid money for this? It is worth how much?

Let us drift back a few years to Jesse Helms, Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano and whether or not we were going to fund art that offended people. There were plenty of works that through the years had offended the sensibilities of the public at large. Michelangelo’s “David” had to wear a breech clout for a few years like he was Tonto. But, “Piss Christ” just shook’em all up. It wasn’t like Marcel duChamp painting a mustache on the “Mona Lisa” and putting some graffiti on the bottom saying she was hot in the pants, no this was offending religion and not other artists or artistic conventions. The only problem was nobody stopped to ask the artist, Andres, what exactly he was trying to say to the rest of us. Nobody took the time to even ask, the Archbishop of Melbourne condemned it as blasphemous and Jesse Helms and Al D’Amato got all fired up too. Damned hippie artists, well we will see how they like it when we jerk the purse strings back. We’ll just gut the National Endowment of Arts and see how they like that. It wasn’t too much longer after that and Mapplethorpe and his collection of photographs came out. Literally. I don’t think anybody in the art world was unaware that Robert was a four-alarm flamer, but it was shocking, shocking, that anyone could call that art. I still have yet to look at any of the photos in question, but I have seen enough of his other works to realize that the man was an artist. Personally, I don’t care what the artist has to say, I think they should be allowed to say it. I still haven’t said why Serrano, A put a plastic Jesus in urine and sealed it up in more plastic, but I think we, the collective should either go look and find the artist’s words for himself or at the very least read some discussion of it.


some really heavy plowing, only for the brave

I think some of us are here to defend artists and musicians. Every once in a while someone REALLY pisses off somebody else about their art or music. Hell, even Ozzy had to go to court about some messed up kid who ended his own life. We get to step in as a lawyer, an opinionator or blogistinian and say leave them alone, quit picking on art or the guitar picker.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

video games

At the risk of sounding too much like an old geezer, but I do remember a day when there were no video games. There was no room dedicated to the Xbox, Wii or Playstation. There were only pinball machines and skee ball. There were a few arcade games at the fair, like the one in "Jaws", I think it was called "Shark Attack". It was sort of a video game, but pale by comparison to games today. I remember when one of my buddies got an Atari. I remember "pong".
Those days are gone. I can't get through the salad at the pizza joint before my daughter is running to the game room. Even if I have laid down the law and said there is not going to be a single quarter spent on a game. I said earlier this week that we would go to the pizza place and she could play the games. She managed to wolf down two pieces of pizza before she went to the games. By the time I said that it was time to go I was ready to pull out a shotgun and start blasting away at these overgrown noisemakers.
I heard about an old boy who grew up before there were juke boxes. It was his habit to put out enough money on the machine to buy silence until he was ready to leave the cafe. I thought it was a little ornery of him when I first read it, but I can identify with him now.
I think I should not go into an arcade with fewer than two beers under my belt. I might do better with a set of earplugs too.