Posts Tagged ‘Picasso’

Just musing

There are a few art myths (or not) that appeal to me – “starving artist in garret” being one I find romantic. I am also intrigued by the concept of the muse. Are these out of vogue or something? Maybe the upkeep is too expensive…

The Muses at the College of Arts and Letters Faculty Center of the University of the Philippines

In another life I think I’d quite fancy the job and the Dylan song in a similar vein has always appealed.

Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point had been left unresolved.
Try imagining a place where its always safe and warm.
Come in, she said,
Ill give you shelter from the storm.

Not quite a muse but being a safe haven has its strong points as well.

Maybe you’d have to be photogenic – or what ever the painting/sculpture version is of that. Which reminds me, are some people simply not photogenic or is it also about the photographer? Maybe both?

Who are some great ‘muses’ in the art world? I am being generous with the term here…and am thinking along the lines of Picasso’s Marie-Thérèse or someone like Angeline (Laura San Giacomo) in “Under Suspicion

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In my recent ponderings on iconic figures and separating artists from their art (or not), I remembered a comment I’d made about auctioning off investment artists’ shopping lists. After researching a little further I found this:

“…speaking of genius is always talk about artistic hierarchies, about the experts who wield the magic wand that makes something art, placing an art work within a context of previous and subsequent events, and creating authors and oeuvres in the process – the experts create the author and define the art work, separating Picasso’s art from Picasso’s shopping list…As Foucault has discussed, the author (of which the genius is a specific type) is a functional element in the discourse, not a natural category or a real person. It helps us to group the incoherent fragments of the past into understandable segments, and to rearrange the life of an individual into a narrative that can have meaning for our lives.” Hanna Järvinen

As I am now in possession of a metaphoric shopping list, I think another layer could be added. That is – the “non-expert” brings their own value system in making artistic judgements and of course “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

Eve Armstrong – Arrangement: Cush 2007

Speaking of Foucault and icons, makes me wonder if anyone has run the Foucauldian lens over McCahon – I mean they must have. If so, please forward any references in the comments. I mean:

The collaboration of word and image engenders what Foucault calls a “calligram” ,a composite text-image that “brings a text and a shape as close together as possible” . The calligram is a figure of knowledge as power, aiming at a utopia of representation in which “things” are trapped in a “double cipher”, an alliance. Word and image are like two hunters, “pursuing its quarry by two paths…By its double function, it guarantees capture, as neither discourse alone nor a pure drawing could do
From Picture Theory By W. J. Thomas Mitchell

And just because thats all very heavy – something funny and serious all in one. Happiness is a warm gun.

Anna Campbell Warm Gun Series

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Windmills of your mind

I had a bit of a snipe recently about the layout of the Rita Angus exhibition. What I didn’t mention was the reasoning for that layout. Again I refer to Bronwyn lloyd.

Rita Angus’s own description of the ideal way to present her art has determined the structure of the ‘Rita Angus Life & Vision’ exhibition, beautifully curated by Jill Trevelyan and William McAloon. Angus’s friend John Money recalled that she imagined her work displayed as a ‘kind of temple of art’ with her three Goddess paintings at the centre surrounded by a series of small chapels containing smaller paintings and watercolours related one to the other.”

On reflection and when I put aside my personal aversion to mazes (a true but long story) I am reminded of the film Being John Malkovich where apuppeteer discovers a door in his office which turns out to be a portal that allows him to enter the mind and life of John Malkovich. So maybe my discomfort with the exhibition design was that we were being led into Rita Angus’s imagination? I have enough trouble with my own mind without going on trip into anyone else’s.

This week the main art in my life has been dance with my 5-year-old in her first ballet show. It all seems a bit intenseto me, and I encountered for the first time the monster they call “stage-mother” (no – not me). I was wondering if there is a visual art equivalent and then recalled some stories about Thelma Clairmont, so I guess the answer to that is “yes”.

Picasso Curtain for the Diaghilev Ballet Le Train Bleu*

Following on from my post on McCahon’s Victory Over Death, it was pointed out I made little mention of style, technique etc. Although I am even less qualified to discuss that, I may look at it in a future post. One thing I did think of was that if it was painted in house paint, then wiping the vegemite off wouldn’t be too big a problem.

*Ballerinas actually appear to be much smaller in real life – don’t get me started on impossible body images and dance though

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The school holidays and tax returns have snuck up on me to yet again its a time of barely keeping my head above water and sadly still contemplating my lack of a compost bin (while the wood to build it languishes in the tardis garage).

My attempt to lighten things by reading fiction went totally awry, although I am enjoying “The Witch of Portobello” to some degree. The library requested Waimarino County back for their Montana Book award display so I couldn’t slowly go over that again and I don’t have the heart to more than briefly open two poetry books** that unexpectedly arrived, after hearing the author’s comments on his poetry. I will have to force myself though as they are due back soon. Libraries are fantastic but sometimes owning a book is required so I keep putting my gold coins in the piggy bank and forgo coffee for a while – I’ve actually started drinking tea!. I have also been offered the Dean Buchanan book “Wild Beast” at a knock-down price so am mulling over that as my next prospective purchase.

Things do improve as the days lengthen and I was pleased to see the extensive web resources related to the Rita Angus exhibition at Te Papa. Its all good for shut-ins like me and I think Te Papa has really picked up their game on the internet front, although I suspect they have a backlog of work to get through. And a tip – you can download the audio resources for the exhibition and take them on your own ipod (or the like) and save yourself $5.

Art writing is taking some interesting turns and I am curious as to why Tom Cardy has been doing the visual arts writing for the DomPost in the last few weeks (interesting look at Fiona Halls “Force Field” today), Jill Trevelyan writes about Picasso’s collection in the Listener and on a more literary note anyone interested in the Bloomsbury group (that would be me) would do well to read Diana Witchel’s excellent article on her tour. On this subject though, I can’t go past the movie Carrington with Emma Thompson in the title role and Jonathon Pryce doing a wonderful Lytton Strachey.

(Giles) Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), by Dora Carrington, 1916.

*common English for Hotch-Potch, a mixture; mutton soup thick with pieces of meat and all sorts of vegetables, also Hot-Pot
**”Houses, days, skies” and “Streets of Music” by Martin Edmond

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