I went to a couple of galleries on Saturday.
I’m all for politics in art and vice versa; where I get annoyed/confused/disappointed is where the ‘artist’ tries to make the politics the art; the first gallery’s works did exactly that. In this group show, though there were several well executed pieces, without the printed manifesto explaining the politics of the show & works they did not communicate that. I want my politics embedded in the art. An example of exactly what I mean is a piece so well executed, such as Manet’s, it surely needs no title to ascertain its politics. Ah well.
At another gallery though I was delighted to see a new show, and meet the artist. “Intimate Perceptions: Painting the Light of Dark” was not political. Some believe the theory that the object is visible because it reflects the light. Sondra Olson shows that the light is the object. She has captured the essence of seeing night and the light that exists in darkness. In ‘Pier at Night’ the soft glow of the interior lights matches exactly the glow of the setting sun on the rooftop. ‘2 Women’ shows us the last of the sun drenching the wall & kissing the stairway, one ascends & the other descends, without touching the black forms that define these 2 women. Well seen, well executed; thank you Sondra.
Sunday my first visit to this museum. Surprise, I was recharged by pieces that were not Impressionist, though there was a nice Childe Hassam & a Renoir to see. The oldest, ‘View in Venice’ by Ludwig Theodor Choulant, was an example of why the Masters are called that. The ‘Shoemakers’ by Hung Liu has its politics embedded, just like I like it. And the most recent a very nice self portrait by Fred Dalkey. A good exercise in ‘new color’ with an impressionist feel.
The head twist from contemporary work was Robert Cremean. An accomplished technician, the work was well executed. Unfortunately the message was crude and parrots the bullshit line that ‘artists must be crazy’. I’m amused by artists who actually make a living with this line. It plays well with know nothing “critics” and the collectors who keep the galleries that exhibit this garbage, but it diminishes the appeal to and blunts the reach of potential patrons who ‘don’t understand’ this stuff. Hello! There is nothing to understand. Artists are much more creative, productive, and happier when they’re not ‘crazy’ ie. drunk, doped out, uncommunicative, and some actually untalented. I am NOT saying ‘crazy’ artists are untalented, only that an artist does not have to be ‘crazy’ and actually the less crazy the more artistic. The best example of this is Van Gough. The poor bastard was put in asylums and labeled ‘crazy’ when in fact he was epileptic, and so misunderstood by those around him he became so lonely he commited suicide.
Back to the drawing table till next time.