Norton Simon Museum: ballet will hunt me down and find me

The grandstands for the Tournament of Roses Parade are set up on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena, CA right in front of a building with the name Norton Simon on the wall. That unremarkable building is full of remarkable art.

VanGogh,  Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt, old, new (ish), Europe, Asia, and American.

But mostly they have Degas.

I’ve seen the Little Dancer Aged 14 many times in several places, but I hadn’t previously seen her with all of her class, instructors, the corps de ballet and a bunch of ladies in bathtubs. The Norton Simon Museum has three rooms of Degas and ballet.

I didn’t know they had these there.

I often joke that I spend the majority of my life driving and the majority of that driving is to ballet classes. I don’t dance, but I have a little dancer not yet aged 14, and even when I left her home, I cannot escape.

So to balance out the lady dancey dance I ventured out on a personal quest to find artistic depictions of true manliness.

The European artists had quite the offering in every period and across several genre but when it comes to athletic fopishness and swagger, the Asian artists were the clear winners.

The French did not take the loss well.

But in my search for artistic manliness, meaning a little bit of stylish swagger expertly and intentionally executed in oil marble or ink, I found a little extra bit of manliness that wasn’t so pretty.

Like how the painting below done in the 1500s features two older men plotting the “seduction” (word on the placard) of a younger woman and after failing, accuse her of adultery for which she is condemned to death, only to be saved at the last moment.

Then, in another room, where I see Adam and Eve portrayed as the original man and women together, I turn around and see the natural next step where the man is sexually assaulting a woman.

There were additional depictions of assault that I have chosen not to post.

I will add that the Asian artists scupltures while much more explicit also appeared much more consenting.

But most of this art was old- from the past, and art museums aren’t just about what is on the walls.img_4326

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Not Afraid to be Cliche: hangin’ ten on the bear flag republic

I am afraid of neither cliché nor dumpster. I may be a little bit afraid of going all Johnny Utah and trying to teach myself how to ride a cliché in Red Hot Chili Pepper infested waters, so I settle for sitting on the couch and painting what should otherwise be a sporting good.bearflahboard

I found it in a dumpster. I saw it as a low rent project that would allow me the tools to learn my next sporting hobby. I had dreams of riding waves and floating just out beyond the break.

Two years later I have ridden very little beyond a sofa and sadly, I float a bit too easily in the pool.img_9405

Then I got an idea.oitq1198

It is still rideable. At least in theory.img_4990

No Pictures at the Barnes: they don’t follow rules so neither do I

If you want to completely hate every angle of the art world do like I did and watch the documentaries “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and “The Art of the Steal” back to back. But, then after watching it, don’t be like me and wait 7 years before you go and visit the Barnes.

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So the short story is that there was once this guy named Albert Barnes who got rich and amassed one of the world’s greatest private art collections. But he was new money and the Philadelphia art crowd relegated him to the little kids table. So for paybacks this Barnes guy left his collection to a small historically black college outside of the city and wrote into his will that his collection could never be moved or sold.

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He basically wrote into his will that everything he knew the established art world would want to do, was not allowed.

So of course once he died the art world, and the city of Philadelphia, broke every one of those rules.

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So now, as is so often the case with wonderful, beautiful, and historic things that are worth money, we, the general public, can enjoy and consume said beauty, but not without some bit of moral compromising.

Having broken my seven year hunger strike, I advocate for this compromise.

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Van Gogh, Modigliani, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Seurat, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, and then more Van Gogh, Matisse, Cezanne, Monet. so much. Just. So. Much.

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Taking pictures inside is absolutely not allowed. I learned that they do in fact enforce that rule. Had they not enforced that rule I would be treating you to what I consider the highlight of the place (the Matisse triptych up in the arches), but the guards gave me my second warning at that point.

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So worth it. And besides, I don’t really advocate breaking rules… but they do.

White Shoes and Picasso

Most people don’t realize that Picasso really knew how to paint. He is known for being the chief inspiration of people worldwide saying “My five year old could paint that”, but what these critics don’t know, or rather one of the many things they don’t know, is that those squashed square faces with yes on the sides of their heads were painted that way for a reason other than lack of skill. They were intentional. That is the right word, intentional.picasso

I was given a white pair of shoes for Christmas. They were, or rather are, great; no logo, all leather lace ups with a cap toe. So I wore them, on Christmas. I wore them again in January and again in February all the way up through March. I’m not wearing them today; not right now. Right now I’m wearing brown shoes with my navy suit because I’m not wearing a tie. Had I on a tie I would be wearing black shoes.IMG_1072

I’m in no way a Picasso but I know a little bit about how to paint. When it comes to painting I know what sort of images I like and I know the limits of my abilities. With some more work and training I could probably further my abilities, and with more money I could definitely further my collection, but for now I’m alright. For now I have no problem wearing white shoes in the winter. Mostly I’m okay with this because right now I live in Southern California.

I know the rule that you aren’t supposed to wear white shoes, or pants or whatever after Labor Day or before Memorial Day. I get it. I’m all for seasonal dressing and it makes perfect sense if you live in a place that actually has seasons. Most rules grew out of reason and in my mind keeping or breaking the rules should be based in those same reasons, not in simple obedience. Not that I am off hand against obedience; not at all. But I have seen how obedience to trends and norms and magazines and television has led to giant big box stores and people in LA wearing pea coats in February.

I love pea coats. LOVE them. But I don’t love them when it is sunny, dry, no wind, and it is 75 degrees. Where I live now it is almost always 75 degrees and because of this, though I love my pea coat, I mostly miss it. I also miss snow pants. In the office I miss gym shorts and while at the gym I miss my blazer. At the beach I miss tweed and in snowstorms I miss linen.IMG_9317 (18)

I see it most pronounced when I venture to the mall (an evil suburban necessity). I see trends and groups much more than I see people. This is normal. All people, no matter how individualistic, follow some sort of group pattern or norm, I’m okay with this. What I am less okay with is that prevailing norms appear dictated by some odd unnamed other who is obviously somewhere else who appears to be dictating what everyone should be wearing. Tight clothes, loose clothes, warm clothes, cool clothes, collar up or collar down, all worn without regard to situation, unless of course that situation is defined narrowly by magazine ads, box store mannequins, and TMZ.

Mannequins and advertisements trump body type and climate. We should all learn a little bit more, how to paint. For instance the wearing of stripes and or tights (which are not pants) may best be determined by body type than celebrity imitation. Sportswear and accompanying gear may best be determined by activity rather than brand popularity. Color, composition, and form, should come before cubism or pop art exposition.IMG_3507

And while I live in a year round sunny desert clime, I will wear white… and do a lot of laundry because I will also eat salsa.

Paintings in Progress: A Study in Inertia

I had a commission due during my holiday.

I dusted off my brushes, brushed the dust off some canvas, and got to work.paintson desk

Large format individual portraits for a family of five, seven including the grown ups. crewinprogress

I finished them on time, mailed them in the nick of time, and they arrived about  four hours too late.

Then what? Looking around the office at all this paint and extra empty canvasses I felt a flood of ideas. No matter I already have a laundry list of pre-planned paintings, I started new ones.NRAin progress

I’m back to the day job.

Christmas break equals ten paintings. Christmas break equals minus ten hours of sleep. My inertia is being acted upon by an outside crushing need for rest. Just in time for work.kinardprogress

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Images will be available on Dalynart.com soon.

 

1924 Olympic Rugby

In 1924 the world gathered in Paris to participate in gentlemanly competition and sport.  This gathering was brought to modern memory, well… relatively modern memory, in the 1981 best picture winning film, Chariots of Fire.  In this film, and in history, a group of British runners excel against great odds to earn victory and honor.

That film missed the best part.

image found at http://www.dalynart.com

The day before the track and field events, the United States Rugby team defeated France to win the gold medal.

By 1924 the United States had fully embraced American Football and forgotten the oblong ball.  In the lead up to the Olympics, a group of interested men in San Francisco raised funds to send a team of Yanks to Paris.  They scraped up a few familiar with the game, then added a number of Stanford basketball and football players to round out the squad.  They learned the game while steaming across the Atlantic and arrived ready to play.

And play they did, beating Romania 37-0 and then capturing the gold against the hometown team 17-3.

Sporting the best looking uniforms the Americans have ever worn (true to this day), the Californians not only kicked, but stomped, the hornet’s nest.  In the opening acts of the game, Stanford basketball captain Lefty Rogers, knocked the French star unconscious.  By the end of the game a riot had erupted in the stands and the American national anthem could not be heard over the chorus of boos and rabble of the crowd.  One player was beaten with a walking stick and the team was granted a police escort to the locker room.

Rugby was never played in the Olympics again.

Next month the world will gather to play rugby.  The world cup, held every four years, is the planet’s fourth most watched television event.  The American’s are not expected to win… a game.  But the games have not yet been played and time will tell.

But there is more than hope on the horizon.  When the summer Olympic games kick off in Brazil, rugby will be represented.  We will enter the games as the sport’s defending gold medalists, and as such, we can dream of defending that award and hopefully we will be wearing that shield on our chests.

Starting New Things

I’ve been in the studio quite a bit as of late.  Here is why…

Today I launch a new blog, not instead, but in addition to this one. www.dalynart.com

I have long loved the advertising illustration of times past.  When I have looked back at Leyendecker or others of that time I am amazed that the work, meant as a modern advertisement, could still look so appealing; not dated. 

Of course most don’t wear straw boater hats today but after viewing these ads, one might want to.  There are of course great ads out today, but these old ones were done with a brush.

So are mine.

It feels appropriate to kick it off with the blog that started the menswear or fashion blogging craze that exists today, Scott Schuman of the Sartorialist.

As I’ve spoken with other bloggers, successful ones, there was a common theme; they saw the sartorialist, loved it, and were inspired to do something of their own.

I make no claims to being a Leyendecker, Rockwell, or Eakins, but I will be posting illustrations of blogs, bloggers, brands, or others, that I think deserve a hand painted ode to when things had style and beauty.

Enjoy… and tell a friend.