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a country called art

Post #586 • July 21, 2005, 11:21 AM • 9 Comments

When I have been able to sneak it in, I have been learning Chinese. (Why? More on that soon.) This morning, with some time off to relax before a busy afternoon and night, I pulled a favorite Balthus book from the shelf. It fell open to an entry entitled Ideograms.

The Chinese characters. I know a few. Ideograms help a lot with drawing and knowing how to paint. The character is executed in a limited space, which leads one to call on one's sense of precision and aesthetics. The word "rest," for instance, is composed of the words "man" and "tree." Wonderful! I think it would be very useful to teach the art of ideograms in Western schools because it sharpens the sense of equilibrium in composition. I've never been to China, but I lived in the heart of the Swiss Alps when I was small, in the Wattenburg mountains. While reading a Chinese book one day, I discovered that the Chinese see things appearing and disappearing in the mountains just like me. I am drawn to Asian art because of its universal aspect, which Western art doesn't have. Unfortunately, few painters are interested in Chinese paitning these days. I am also fascinated by its economy. As for ancient Japanese painting, it's strange how much it resembles the Siena School.

With politics coming up here and there on the blog over the last week, I thought of how certain artists, regardless of where they work, live in a timeless, borderless country called Art.




July 21, 2005, 2:37 PM

Well, I have been to China. And while Balthus is quite the poet, I think his perceptions are based on a romanticized, outdated idea of what China is like. It's a pretty intense place.

Still, the point is well taken.



July 21, 2005, 9:17 PM

Timeless and borderless, hey? Sounds more like a universe to me.

But if I go along with the country metaphor: an inhabitant of Art might be called an 'Artian' (rhymes with 'martian'). As long as it was a romantic country I might like to indulge my idealism. And I always like reading artists' manifestos. And maybe I choose the theme of the landscape each day, like the colour scheme on my computer - I would most like to see my neighbourhood as Cezanne would've painted it, I've always felt especially able to move about in his country scenes. Art country. Country art.



July 21, 2005, 9:49 PM

Sure it was romanticized - he knew it through its art. And it wasn't outdated - it was timeless. Hong Kong and Guongxiao, where I was, and Shanghai, where you were, are something else entirely. But the timeless exists within the tangible. Balthus was quite good at finding it.



July 22, 2005, 12:31 AM

The thread from this post that I catch, Franklin, goes back at least to the "regionalism" post 16 days ago, followed by the furor around "Cuban art," and now emerges as "a country called art." Here and there in between were invocations of different art communities, whether here on or among Miami artists, or even that broad group I like to call poor mollys.

I was speaking with my neighbour yesterday morning, he's a composer. We were naming other local artists we new in each other's field of expertise trying to come up with some shared acquaintance about whom we might talk. No luck. The artists here, few though they are, might as well be separated by a hundred kilometers. And the couple of art groups that exist are small, disconnected from one another as well as the larger community, and further fragmented internally.

Even notably united, tight-knit groups of artists here have split and formed splinter cells. It is much like (I almost typed 'worse than') christian denominational and sectarian divisions. One artist I know tries very hard to get along with everyone, and be the rift-healer. Other artists despise the effort. There is not even the faintest semblance of solidarity.

I sense that this is not, strictly, a regional problem. Is it a national problem? Continental? Global? Maybe not a problem at all, but if not how does one embrace it and make the most of it. Apply for landed immigrant status in the land of Art?



July 22, 2005, 9:36 AM

Somewhat off topic, but: a number of years ago I was hanging out with my (then) housemate, who was a great guy, but not so much for the arts (he later went on to buy a Thomas Kincaide picture.) He spotted a Balthus catalog I have and picked it up and started looking through it, apparently engrossed. After a while he looked up and said, appreciatively, "this book is getting me hot!"



July 22, 2005, 12:04 PM

You should ask him what the Kinkade picture does for him.


Rene Barge

July 22, 2005, 12:13 PM

Currently the temperature is warm indeed and mostly cloudy. However, the town of painting keeps itself alright. What more could it ask for... it has warm coffee, cold showers, cold beer and plenty of paint to boot!
Oh yeah, and not one single artist in sight. The population guidelines are simple... NO PRETTY LITTLE HEARTS!
Beer Anyone?



July 22, 2005, 3:02 PM

Via MAN, Daily Show spoof leads to firing of Broward Art Guild chief:

The guild's board of directors on Wednesday fired executive director Susan Buzzi, who has worked there at least 10 years, after she appeared in a Daily Show spoof on an explicit art piece without consulting them.

"They called a secret meeting of the board and fired her," said board member Kate Barnett, who voted to keep Buzzi. "She wasn't `communicating properly with them.' I said, `Go for it. Publicity is publicity.'"


Buzzi she said she'd been given no explanation. "I think I'm going to pass out," she said.

A woman at the guild hung up when a reporter telephoned seeking comment.

Barnett added that most of the executive board is made up of new members looking to replace Buzzi so they can have more control.




July 22, 2005, 8:18 PM

Im convinced Thomas Kincaide is an alien



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