Tag Archives: painting

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

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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.

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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.

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In the Studio: Nina Simone

Sometimes things don’t work out on the first try.IMG_8235

 

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Meh…IMG_0211

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Better.

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In the Studio: the process

On a Saturday…

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Back in the studio

Painting once again. 18×26 acrylic on canvas

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