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MTC
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 11:38 am:   

I do - although I don't really know or know that I want to know judging from what I do know about the modern world of contemporary painting. It seems to be a great deal like the world of contemporary publishing, but EVEN WORSE.

I bring all this up because I paid a visit to the newly rebuilt MOMA here in NY, and enjoyed myself there. For the first time I really got something from Seurat - the paintings were largely seascapes, and like nobody else he registered that cool airy beach light. It was palpable. But then, as I looked, heat started to come in, especially in the darker portions of the painting. They were like hot iron.

Also got off on Pollack. There was nothing abstract about the feeling - it was visceral enjoyment. You pick a part of the painting from a distance and then walk swiftly toward it - the experience of being engulfed.
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Carole C
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 03:57 pm:   

I think those impressionist paintings still have a lot of power - there is a room full of them (including the greats like Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, etc) in the Tate in London.

I used to love Pollock as well, and it's interesting what you said about being engulfed, as when he was painting it was like a tribal dance to him, and he considered himself to be 'inside' the painting.

I don't think there is as much enjoyment in painting now - it seems to be pretty much Verboten to paint anything beautiful or even representational (but no problemo if it's ugly, contains genitalia, chocolate, half-masticated chocolate, or shit).

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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 11:37 pm:   

Michael - Yes, there are a lot of good paintings there!

Carole - Actually, I disagree. There are a number of very good painters working these days. You just have to know who they are. The "new" London school of painting as well as the current New York scene is pretty much a joke. But in Germany and in many rural places in the US there are some very good artists at work.

Susan Rothenburg
Bruce Nauman
Gerhard Richter

to name a few.
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Carole C
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 01:35 am:   

I like Chris Ofili at lot (who's a Brit), and also was critically accepted, although his work is quite decorative. (But he did have to put the obligatory elephant dung on it).

Could not agree more that there still are loads of good painters out there - it's just that the current trend, on the whole works against that and they may be pushed to the outside.

For instance, Tracy Emin started out as a printer, then did loads of paintings, but absolutely could not be successful as a painter, so ended up burning them.

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MTC
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 11:08 am:   

Carole - You no longer like Pollock?

The situation is largely the strange fruit of the gallery system. This cycle seems to repeat itself endlessly - the new and interesting gives rise to a new shell of commerce which gradually becomes entirely preoccupied with its own perpetuation to the exclusion of anything else.

It's strange though - a big blue plastic square on the wall of a gallery is bullshit, but, if Grandpa were making big monochromatic plastic shapes in his garage, I'd think that was all right.

The bias against representation or "narrative" will be especially strong precisely because it has no substance. It's the truly arbitrary stuff that is most vehemently defended, since anything with a reason in it will presumably be able to hold up to criticism.
I think the aversion to beauty reflects a foggy, badly-understood notion of subversiveness, as if beauty could only be a matter of reflecting established values. And for that matter a thoughtless aversion to established values as such is liable to be pretty sterile.

Brendan - Yeah I saw an exhibit of Richter's stuff and thought highly of it. Do you know Bontecou (I just can't relocate her first name at the moment - was it Lee)? She's more of a sculptor, and it's blatantly obvious that her work is as excellent as it is because she avoided the gallery system altogether.
I know several painters who are doing good work - work that demands technical skill, and not simply a version of a marketing mind that thinks a grabby idea is all that matters - why not name them: LJ Lindhurst, Paul Joyce, and Hawk Alfredson (see also Brian Dewan, Tom Brown).

http://www.ljlindhurst.com/
http://www.themodernword.com/paul_bio.html
http://hem.passagen.se/hawkalfredson/

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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 03:07 pm:   

Michael - Don't know Bontecou, but did a google and her stuff looks interesting.

I will keep an eye open for the other artists you name. I like the bio of Paul Joyce!

Another artist I like: Lucian Freud

Certainly not beautiful, but cool.

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