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Friday, 14 December 2012


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I like (if that is the right word) the first one. It looks like any nondescript and unloved corner of any big industrial city, yet somehow it conveys a sense of rightness. This should be like this.

I don't know how he does it, because if I were to draw or photograph such a scene it would surely send you to sleep or irritate. My best guess is that he somehow has a formula for formal perfection (check out Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park series) but deliberately applies it to crappy scenes. They are abstracts that give happiness when there are no normal triggers for such an emotion present.

It would be interesting to photo-shop or otherwise diddle with them to see if changing angles and sizes of the blocks of colour makes them look awful.

I bought The Times on Monday - golly, it's poor, isn't it?

I see the Saturday one occasionally; it has Matt Paris and Jane McQuitty, but is otherwise poor.

I'm mildly baffled that the paper still exists. The Telegraph has been horribly weakened (being written now for children, teenagers and, can you believe it, the more empty-headed sort of woman) but even so knocks The Times into a cocked hat. It's all very odd: I'll bet damned few children and teenagers read the Telegraph, and not many dim Guardian-reader-type women either.


You ought to look at the Guardian from time to time. Its rapid slide into total and utter nonsense and inevitable bankruptcy is actually quite heartening.

W, we used to take the Nurdgaia, but cancelled it lest its insanity proved infectious.

"There is in France a deep and wide streak of disdain for all things American"

Oh how wrong you can be!

"There is in France a deep and wide streak of disdain for anything not French"

There fixed it!

As for the rest of that thar cultoor stuff! Don't do it myself.

(NB. Comments may show some bias due to having lived in France for some time and having been barred from most polite establishments for, in revenge, constantly mentioning Waterloo, Vichy, onions and Gerald Depardieu - sometimes in the same sentence. 'France, a lovely country - shame it's full of French people')

I will start by saying that reaction to art is subjective. I have never liked Hopper - I find his work empty, cold, and lifeless. Perhaps very fitting art for this modern age, however. You asked for my opinion so I am giving it.

I am 100% with missred.
Cold, empty and dead.

"They are abstracts that give happiness when there are no normal triggers for such an emotion present".

Well spotted, 'W', some of his cityscapes or 'housescapes' are indeed abstract in style. Take the interior/exterior of the empty beach-house and remove the 'realist' element leaving just blocks of colour and you have a purely abstract painting. The fact that it, the picture, is uninhabited with an open door serves to raise the hairs on the back of one's neck.

DM, I see your few brief 'away days' have not improved your temper! Don't buy any paper, just skim-read them on the net and stick to your favourite writers. But please do try not to be rude to my mate 'Rupe' who is my new best old friend!

Miss Red, you are entirely right to remind us that art is subjective and, I would add, that it is also visceral and immediate. Having instantly liked or disliked or simply been unmoved by a work of art, we then spend the rest of our lives trying to sustain our re-action. Difficult to remember but I don't think I have ever changed my mind about my immediate re-action to a work of art.

Don't kid a kidder, Able, you, I suspect, have a keen cultural eye, or, shall we say, a good nose for tripe when you see or smell or tread in it! Actually, I love to have a dig at the French but the fact is I do rather like and admire them.

I think they, the intellectuals, call it 'alienation', Andra, a facet of everyday life in Big Cities, so I am told. In which case, Hopper captures it perfectly.

I agree with you about Hopper. I love his work. I think the secret is to see that he ennobles the ordinary things and people around him.

Do you really think Picasso is a fraud? I don't.

You know David, I'm finding myself agreeing with Dom.

Fr'instance, here's Picasso on painting, "What a sad fate for a painter who loves blondes, but who refrains from putting them in his picture because they don’t go with the basket of fruit!

With that sort of sincerity, how could you possibly assert the fellow "a fraud"?

Dom, herewith a copy of a post I wrote in 2008 entitled "Picasso 'fesses up'":

I have always been under-whelmed with the works of Pablo Picasso and, no, I cannot put it into words because art works, immediately, at the visceral level and only afterwards, if you can be bothered, does one try to formulate the 'whys' and the 'wherefors' of one's re-action, or indifference. However, these words from the 'master' himself provide a clue, and also a confirmation of my suspicions:

"In art the mass of people no longer seek consolation and exaltation, but those who are refined, rich, unoccupied, who are distillers of quintessences, seek what is new, strange, original, extravagant, scandalous. I myself, since Cubism and before, have satisfied these masters and critics with all the changing oddities which have passed through my head, and the less they understand me, the more they admired me. By amusing myself with all these games, with all these absurdities, puzzles, rebuses, arabesques, I became famous and that very quickly. And fame for a painter means sales, gains, fortune, riches. And today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone with myself, I have not the courage to think of myself as an artist in the great and ancient sense of the term. Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt, were great painters. I am only a public entertainer who has understood his times and exploited them as best he could the imbecility, the vanity, the cupidity of his contemporaries. Mine is a bitter confession, more painful than it may appear, but it has the merit of being sincere."

--Pablo Picasso, Jardin des Arts (March 1964), trans.

You're probably right about living in big cities DD, which is why I prefer to live in a beautiful small city, where every day I am surrounded by wonderful hills (well, we call them mountains here) covered in trees and the like.
I can also see the sea from my house, and that's always a good thing.

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