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camille paglia

Post #614 • August 31, 2005, 7:10 AM • 124 Comments

Camille Paglia.

You can make a killing in the arts or you can be struggling but it's an artificial, hollow world right now. Many people are trying to do art but absolutely it's subterranean in terms of the culture as a whole. The arts have never taken root in America. Ever since Puritan New England-this is a business-oriented culture as opposed to Europe where it's a part of the cultural heritage of the nation. .. It isn't fertile for the arts and therefore something is necessary. Artists, cultural organizations and the universities and primary schools have the obligation to put art more to the forefront. Instead of 30 years of badmouthing Western culture - and trashing it - I am for multi-culturalism - it's about the great artistic traditions of the world, whether it's Chinese culture, Hindi, whatever it is we are tracing in terms of history, chronology-chronology is out-value, greatness, quality. My god, Japanese culture, Chinese culture, high culture. That was about quality. But the idea of quality has been divorced in the discussion of the arts in our universities because, "Oh it's just a mask for ideology. There is no such thing as greatness. These are all completely subjective. For people who want to protect their own power elite-dead white European males." This is the garbage that has come out. I can see the point of where the argument started, OK. But what's the end result of it? We are now 30 years, almost 40 years down the line. What's the end result? Are we getting better art? Better writing? Better educated people? More knowledgeable people? ... We are getting worse writing, worse art.

Via Artsjournal.



Kjell Varvin

August 31, 2005, 12:11 PM

What we see is what all generations have seen before us: decline of our traditions and the standards of our esthetics. Why complain? We're soon gone. But art goes on, and cultures bloom and fade. Enjoy the ride!



August 31, 2005, 12:20 PM

Kjell, I think the attitude around here is to try to repainr the roller coaster, not just ride it.



August 31, 2005, 12:55 PM

Kjell, don't believe OPie, nothing gets repainred around here but we like to talk about it like we might. The endless days are over now? .



August 31, 2005, 1:04 PM

Thanks, George. You're a big help.



August 31, 2005, 1:39 PM

Endless days?

I doubt I can change much, but every now and again agreement rises up from unexpected quarters, like from Dr. Paglia today, or our Canadian sculpture contingent of late, or someone who writes in to thank me for being there. The very acts of believing in something and standing up for it reward me inherently, but in addition, I seem to be feeding the undercurrent, if only a little. If that means taking on the role of local irritant, I can live with that.


1,2,3 testing

August 31, 2005, 1:59 PM

Ok, so that means that what you do reflects greatness, quality, and that what others do (who're they?) does not? Self-validation, or lack of perspective?



August 31, 2005, 2:07 PM

I like the excerpt from the Paglia interview that's posted above.
Reading the whole interview has a strange effect though... I found myself being drawn in by some of the statements, only to be suddenly pushed away by other strange and contradictory assertions... She's kinda all over the place.
What I realy like is that the interviewer gives her a hard time, and questions her answers (as much as she answers his questions).
Maybe your pal Triff should read the full piece, Franklin.



August 31, 2005, 2:45 PM

Nice response, Franklin.

She is all over the place, Matty, you're right. What she is saying does not have feeling of a strong direction. More like genral irritation thrown into words. I agree with her, however.

123 - "Who're" is an unfortunate, if imaginative, contraction.

Instead of being testy and offering non-choices, why not try to take issue with Franklin in a direct, straightforward way.


Kjell Varvin

August 31, 2005, 2:50 PM

I read that interview with Paglia (too rapidly ) and knowing so many great American artists, writers and all, I couldn' t believe much of the quoted heading of this blog. Towards the end of the interview Paglia says she is an optimist and : " CP: I believe in cycles the way Yeats does. Civilizations have a growth cycle and they get to a peak and they decline and there is a destruction, and out of that comes a new one. Everything comes back, everything returns. It’s like this total loss and then recovery and restoration and a new efflorescence and then the whole thing declines again."



August 31, 2005, 3:21 PM

Kjell, we are adaptable, and we recover, but even a slight knowledge of history tells us that these "cycles" can be long, brutal and perhaps unnecessary.

We also spend time trying to prevent things like the Dark Ages, Nazi Germany and a city 20 feet under water. These are noble enterprises, in my opinion, and so, on a smaller scale, is resistence to mindless art and lilliterate art criticism.

Blithely saying "Oh, stuff cycles" is just being passive. It means you don't give a damn.



August 31, 2005, 3:26 PM

Sure, everybody who is up and awake do their bit. Sisyphos is happy.



August 31, 2005, 3:41 PM

Oldpro, thanks.

I support 123's contraction of "who" and "are," but don't understand his questions. Indeed, which others does he refer to? Regarding the latter part, I rely on my judgment. It has its limits, but also the benefits of regular vigorous exercise.

Matty, I agree that she wanders. I especially would have liked her to clarify the apparent incompatability between her anti-commercialism and her pro-capitalism, because I experience the same conflict. But she makes some interesting points along the way. Not only do I enjoy the questioner's criticism, I enjoy her combativeness as well.

Kjell, everything cycles, but each cycle moves in a particular way for a particular duration because of the efforts of its participants. I don't see these efforts as Syssyphian - on the contrary, they cause important things to happen.



August 31, 2005, 4:30 PM

Aside: occasional commenter Harlan will have work in a group show opening tonight at Ambrosino. Server problems with Go See Art prevent me from updating the opening; my apologies.



August 31, 2005, 4:31 PM

Isnt it more about the patronage system that supported the arts for so long is now gone and what we have now is Low IQ Low Dose patronage at best. Thats a cycle that allowed galleries to make the rules....
btw, she is always all over the map, thats her style.



August 31, 2005, 4:34 PM

What is the strategy against the decline of a culture, ruled by money and incompetent politicians? Discuss the remedies and how to act.



August 31, 2005, 4:34 PM

It''s "Sisyphus" and "sisyphean", guys.  

Don't make the poor fellow more frustrated than he already is.



August 31, 2005, 4:38 PM

Kjell is Norse, so I think Syssyphos is permissible - it better resembles Greek. I apologize for mine, though.



August 31, 2005, 4:54 PM

Kjell, right ...artists have to look to gov. grants or produce "sharks in tanks" to please the galleries.....



August 31, 2005, 5:30 PM

Is that all?
I thought this was an exciting theme for you all.



August 31, 2005, 5:32 PM

Sure, Kjell, I'm thinking about it. Also, dinner awaits.



August 31, 2005, 5:41 PM

They can also paint derivative impressionism or symbolism and make lots of money: Kinkaid is an example.



August 31, 2005, 5:48 PM

Kjell: You ask

"What is the strategy against the decline of a culture, ruled by money and incompetent politicians? Discuss the remedies and how to act."

I sent your question to God, who is probably the only one who could answer it, but I think he might be too busy right now



August 31, 2005, 6:51 PM

OldPro; God is too busy , so you answer it...hehehe
123 Testing, I have a theory, that when artists gang up, art improves; the Impressionist gang, the AbEx gang, the famous Canadian Group of 7 gang.....I think when artists find eachother , debate, support, inspire etc...well, the art just really takes off.


ms quoted

August 31, 2005, 7:15 PM

You wish for us to discover remedies to the 'artifical, hollow world' and how to change the current view towards art?

We could have a reality show of artists and see if that works OR have a Artist Idol Contest OR start a committee to begins polls and surveys!! yah! yah!!!!!!!

What a waste of time to even think of attempting such a thing. Let the greater world around us wallow in its own piss. A better use of our time is to make, support and talk about quality art.

My only hope is that others will catch a glimpse of the treasures we hold dear and gain some understanding.



August 31, 2005, 8:26 PM

very kewl MS, your so right!!
I forgot the Dadaists , the Cubist and the Fauvists...I'll be back as soon as I remember more hehehe
hey, Matty and Ahab can start the Cold North Sculpture group, they are both cutting egde creative and take no super senses of humour and all of that is a requirement to join!!



August 31, 2005, 9:41 PM

#12 the apparent incompatibility between her anti-commercialism and her pro-capitalism

Where is the conflict here? Commercialism is a description of a subset of capitalist market behavior. The pejorative bias is applied when commercial marketing is selected over the other alternatives. In contrast you might examine what the Dutch were doing with government support for the arts filling the warehouses to the brim. It was auctioned all off for zip. I don't see this as any better.

Regarding cycles, I tend to agree with Kjell. There is considerable evidence for economic cycles. In particular you could examine the presidential year cycles (Kitchen cycle) which tend to peak around the four year election years and trough at the midpoint at the congressional election years. They are not perfect but the up down swings in the economy are there and it doesn't take too much speculation to determine why. The Kondradieff cycle is longer term, roughly 55 years and seems to have effect worldwide.

It's been studied to death, see Foundation for the Study of Cycles for more information.

I bring up the economic issue here because I feel it is pertinent to the issue at hand. Art is a luxury commodity, the stronger the economic situation, the greater amount of disposable income is available to the art world. In line with the thinking here, when the money is available, the art marketeers go after it with a vengeance. They package up anything that will sell, put lipstick on the junk and hire the verbal promoters it's a party until midnight. For what it's worth, I've noticed that major changes in art styles (for lack of a better term) occur during recessions. When the economy is strong, the market system doesn't want to rock the boat.



August 31, 2005, 10:10 PM

She decries the educational environment as totally commercial and says "You can make a killing in the arts or you can be struggling but it’s an artificial, hollow world right now." And yet she's totally pro-capitalism and rebukes Tom Frank. I'd like to know where she draws the line between good and bad capitalism. This isn't a criticism, btw, I'm genuinely curious. In fact, I'd like to hear where you'd draw it, George - you always demonstrate great financial expertise.

I don't disagree with Kjell per se. I'm saying that you have to take an active role in the cycle. Well, you don't have to, but I think that even the forces of fate respond to pushing. This is sort of a free will v. determinism problem - do you "enjoy the ride," or do you try to drive somewhere? I favor the latter, but I wouldn't tell someone what to do.

Kjell's question in #15 has me sufficiently stalled that I'd like to throw it back to him. Kjell, what would you suggest?



August 31, 2005, 10:20 PM

#15 What is the strategy against the decline of a culture, ruled by money and incompetent politicians? Discuss the remedies and how to act.

I'll be glib and answer "what's new about this?" Politicians are corrupt, it is a job qualification, either they sell out to get elected or take power by force. One way or the other, money has always ruled. I doubt that Judas was the first to be corrupted by the coin of the realm. I also do not think that a different type of political or economic system can inherently correct these problems. I see it more as an issue of human nature which cannot be entirely eliminated.

#27, Franklin, regarding the educational system and the art market. The solution is coming on its own, a total purge of the marketplace. This has occurred before (early 70's) A different example was back in the 80's when the NYC real estate market was hot with a lot of buy it, fix it, flip it going on. At the time any jerk with a toolbelt and a hammer was a "carpenter" and charging top rates. The same was true for "contractors" but it went bust in 88 and purged the business of all the flakes. I hate to say it but I think the artworld is headed down the same path towards implosion. I can't say when but it is inevitable and will reduce the ranks of practicing artists down to the most committed. Nothing else will change the situation.



August 31, 2005, 10:36 PM

George, your #28 is brilliant. Total glow. Thanks.



August 31, 2005, 10:45 PM

Wait, George - you skirted around my challenge to draw a line somewhere. (Otherwise you're right, Flatboy - he's great when you get him going on this stuff.)



August 31, 2005, 11:30 PM

Whether or not to get on the bus. If I don't I have to find my own way. If I do, I have to let someone else determine the itinerary.

Current governmental mechanisms and social systems are so flawed as to cause feelings of serious personal dis-something or other - I tried displacement but that's not quite right; dissociation; dissolution, distraction? I don't generally want to affirm the stupid system by contributing to it. Mostly I am at ease with my self-imposed status of stranger in a strange land, but there are definitely times when I feel that I want to anarchically force change.

Then I remember that mine isn't really that radical an existence anyway. I'm typing on a wireless laptop after all. And I have my MFA. And am married (to a beautiful woman); we have children. All good, nonetheless. I guess I'm getting around to saying that the line I would draw is determined even in these areas by my sense of quality - by which I mean that I seek it.



August 31, 2005, 11:34 PM

Ignore this if you've heard it before:

X deems art to be specific visual evidence of an artist’s non-cliché engagement with his environment; it is appropriate for qualitative judgments – unavoidable, involuntary and often indiscernible in other situations – which are reified and made tangible by creative processes.

X considers a pursuit for personal integrity to be key in creating such value-laden art; crucial for discerning without fallaciously quantifying the same; and a prerequisite for ingenuous conveyance of his relational experiences, whether haptic or aesthetic, emotive or cognitive.

X recognizes within integrity-oriented art the possibility for a real-life-relevance which resists and, potentially, transcends current polarizing, market-driven, and scientifically-derived fashions of his society.

X anticipates that relationships affected by his creative exploration (person-person, person-thing, person-idea; hence, person-environment) will be as grassroots: shifting people’s understanding of society and consequently, though in imperceptible ways, transforming it as well.

X acknowledges the changeable and corruptible nature of these principles, not to mention the slipperiness of the words that embody them; they are declared neither with manipulative intent nor as rhetorical consumables but are rather a loose justification of further relational explorations.



August 31, 2005, 11:42 PM

George, money does not rule everything. That is too narrow and simple. Money is just a thing. What counts is people's attitude toward it.

There are many other countervailing attitudes at work, all the time. Ours, for example. Believe me, we are not alone. We are merely the ones who get vocal when getting vocal is unpopular. We are not doing it for the money, nor for the expectation of money.

I agree, more or less, about the oncoming implosion. The art business as it is now cannot sustain this blind idiocy much longer, particularly with the money that is being spent on it.



August 31, 2005, 11:46 PM

Ahab, boil it down. Edit it. Give us the kernel.



August 31, 2005, 11:47 PM

#30 Trying to draw the line between good and bad capitalism

My point was that you need to separate commercialism from capitalism per se.

One of the flaws of the socialist system was that there was no incentive for someone to work harder, entrepreneurship was penalized. Of course those with the impulse could and did operate in the black market but there were no Apple Computer or Microsofts spawned by the system. So I am a believer in the capitalist, free market system.

All social systems are inherently at the mercy of human psychology. By this I mean that regardless of how you structure the rules there are always people who look for the "loopholes" When you look at the art world as capitalist market I think it is important to realize that it is structurally full of loopholes. I am not talking about the lack of transparency, the open disclosure of transactions like the stock market, in the market but rather the undefined nature of the product which lends itself to promotional manipulation. So I would not draw the line at the gallery system, if it was replaced by a government program (read on the WPA) or an institutional program, the problems would be essentially the same.

When the problem occurs in the gallery system, we tend to label it "commercialism" but I think this is basically incorrect. The gallery system is a commercial system and I do not see a problem with this under normal circumstances. Even in an almost totally unregulated marketplace market forces are in effect and serve to act as a form of self regulation. Where the problem occurs is during periods when there is a lot of disposable cash, capital with no other place to go. This is an unprecedented situation not seen in over a century. Normally this would find it's way into fixed income instruments, equities or perhaps real estate. We are in a period with relatively low interest rates, a stock market which peaked five years ago and an over heated real estate market, cash is looking for a new investment.

So "investment" becomes a dangerous word when applied to the art market because it implies that your primary goal is to buy and sell for a profit. It implies there are new "investors" in the market, individuals with potentially less expertise but lots of cash. The capitalist system, being what it is, sees a way to make a profit from this and tailors the product (Art) and its marketing (critical theory) to move the goods. The process becomes self sustaining until it collapses. See, this comment I made on a NY Times forum which describes the process in the stock market.

So I don't think you can draw a clear line separating commercialism and capitalism in the sense we would like for this discussion. In this respect I disagree with the premise, commercialism is good when the participants behave. In periods of economic extremes the system becomes unbalanced but continues as long as the capital flows continue. Then poof.



August 31, 2005, 11:56 PM

BTW everbody, I strongly recommend Mr. Bronsteen's book, which he gave us the URL for a couple pages back. It is very funny and has endless samples of silly art, in a downloadable PDF form.



September 1, 2005, 12:00 AM

#33 OP, I was commenting on the market place, commercialism and capitalism. Although to some extent this affects what is produced .

In no way am suggesting that is a primary motive of the artist or necessarily even a concern. It may indirectly color the intellectual-emotional environment as fashion or style but these are quickly mutable and less of a concern.

The commercial structures, galleries, patronage, religion, the state all essentially are economic systems which were in place at one moment or another in history to fund the artists. There is nothing inherently wrong with this in my opinion.

Any unwinding in the art market will be caused by economic forces, a tightening of cash flows caused by a recession, for example, and not because we might dislike the current aesthetic.



September 1, 2005, 12:15 AM

Yes, I agree that minds ("tastes") will be changed when the economic situation changes, and it will go on from there.



September 1, 2005, 1:55 AM

Some loot but solidarity prevails when nature surprises. Stock markets follow like looters, solidarity is totally absent. Key word for solution of all socially dependent problems could be: solidarity. Then you need nothing more because it implies responsibility. Utopian.
More descriptions of the current situation are not necessary. There is war and censorship.



September 1, 2005, 11:23 AM

Elizabeth #25:
Matty and Ahab can start the Cold North Sculpture group, they are both cutting egde creative and take no super senses of humour and all of that is a requirement to join!!

"Cold North Sculpture Group" is so close! Click the URL above.



September 1, 2005, 3:29 PM

Matty....wowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowow thats what I was talking about and no one was listening apprently except YOU.
My incredible Psychic abilities get me into trouble most times, so I only use them for the good of art, not evil. The 'NEW NEW' got some laughs ...but I do see clearly the way for us to go....its not by bowing down to galleries owners (which I have never done) or wealthy patrons ( afew of which I refused to sell to hehe) its by solidarity ..being a group...and what is written on your site is exactly correct .....inspire and support eachother because no one else will....its about the heart, not the wallet and when you start making fking dumb stupid idiotic sharks, then one has lost his heart.
Im so proud of you and Ahab, you and the others have created something that I predict (psychic powers again) that as soon as I saw the work....will be held up as important and real' art of our time.



September 1, 2005, 5:06 PM

Oldpro, it has taken me years (no exaggeration) to whittle down my artistic raison d'etre to those five sentences (the unabridged version is seven). I don't know if I can reduce it further, not overnight anyhow, but I'll work on it and give it back to you in a pithier form another time.

the nugget
the kernel
it is the marrow

it is the substance
the center
the essence

And Elizabeth, now that you know the NESW secret, you are forbidden from ever mentioning it again. We must keep the flurry of creativity up here under wraps, behind an iron curtain, as it were. For fear of alerting financial funding agencies. This message will self-destruct.



September 1, 2005, 6:02 PM

OMG Ahab; my sides.....hahahahaaaaaaaaaa, only canadians do sarcasm that well....u and Matty,( I hold back for fear of killing via my words, Im told I can be deadly mean sometimes, I think Im just HONEST hehehe). Ahab, I will alert no one, but I must be allowed to join or else I tell..heheheehe .......



September 1, 2005, 7:12 PM

Ahab, each "X" can be said better in a third as many words, and shorter words, to boot. Not only that, when it gets shorter it becomes clearer, and when it becomes clearer you will start questioning what you said in the first place.

It is more a matter of attitude than editing.

Your X#3: "recognizes within integrity-oriented art the possibility for a real-life-relevance which resists and, potentially, transcends current polarizing, market-driven, and scientifically-derived fashions of his society."

"Relevance" doesn't "resist" and "transcend". C'mon! Get rid of all that garbage.

How about "My art will take from the world and be in the world on its own terms".



September 1, 2005, 8:05 PM

In #35 George concludes Then poof.

He is right too. But don't anyone think that will be a great day for good art. It will be a bad day for all art. There is greatly diminished interest in good art now, but when the big poof goes off, there will be even less. The "blood in the streets" will wash over everything as all those holding the bags rush to redeem their emptiness for whatever can be mustered. As the market crashes, already devalued good art will be further devalued.

I don't just mean money, though I mean that too. Interest in art will decline, museums will falter, galleries will close, artists will struggle and many will simply give up. It won't be pretty. It is nothing to look forward to, but that does not change the fact it is coming.

Ultimately the good stuff will come back to fill the near nothingness, but not necessarily in our lifetimes.



September 1, 2005, 8:14 PM

picking or fiddling, whatever...



September 1, 2005, 8:29 PM

not in our lifetime...sheesh, what pessimism and wrong to boot...go and look at what that 'group' is doing in Edmonton, go look at what Matty and Ahab and the others are creating and you will see that wonderful things are happening despite the 'art world' and 'gallery owners' and 'shark makers' and the 'market place' PFFFFt to them... and look to artists coming together and making amazing art depsite all the fools , opposition and diffiiculties in our profession.



September 1, 2005, 8:29 PM

#45 Catfish, It's not usually that drastic. There are a lot of factors involved and it is quite possible that the slowdown only affects the areas pushed too far too fast. In such cases that particular, stylistic market sector would get soft and loose financial support. In this kind of situation I would expect interest to be redirected to a different area stylistically. In a downturn, the overall size of the market would shrink but since the excesses are concentrated in a few areas these would most likely feel the greatest effect. I suppose I shouldn't say this has to happen, just that based comparison with models of other market behavior it probably will.



September 1, 2005, 9:12 PM

You are probably right, Catfish, particularly because the break will likely be part of a larger break in the economy, or something related.

I'm not so sure about the timing, however. That depends on too much that is unforeseeable to the point of being unguessable..



September 1, 2005, 9:17 PM

Elizabeth: No need to get upset about "pessimism". It is either warranted or it is not. If it is warranted, it is a virtue.

The art going on in Edmonton is hardly noticed by the "art world". But that does not mean it can't be even less noticed and less valued. There is a new appetite for barbarism that is manifesting itself over the past few years. Shooting at rescue helicopters in New Orleans shows that this barbarsim is not limited to "terrorists". Trust that I am not happy about these developments, but simply observing them.

George: Little meltdowns display the same characteristics as larger ones. In fact, one way that a larger meltdown takes place is to string out a series of lower highs and lower lows. I've been watching one "minor" meltdown after another, decade after decade. While I'm speculating about the future, it is clear to me a firm trend is in place. In financial markets don't they say "the trend is your friend"?

Our current situation is "drastic" if you ask me but I know deep meltdowns are relatively rare. But rampant over-valuation of the valueless is one of the conditions that is required before they can happen, as in the tulip mania of a couple centuries ago, and the stock mania of the 20s, and the same in the 90s.

The appetite for barbarism is ramant in visual art, at the most "civilized" levels. I can't ignore that nor can I ignore what it suggests. Hirst, Koons, etc. are not just overvalued in monetary terms, but they are so over-respected that it is as hard for me to believe where they are at as it is to believe someone shot at a rescue helicopter today.



September 1, 2005, 9:42 PM

I get your point about those X statements, oldpro.

Damn words - always getting in the way of what I mean. I'll have to let the sculptures just have their way with people. From now on. Again.



September 1, 2005, 9:43 PM

George, the picture of W strummin' his guitar is funny and relevant.

Bush's politics and Bush's science are effects of the spreading barbarism, not the cause. He is driven by right wing barbarism; the official art world is currently driven by left wing barbarism. Same difference, if you ask me.



September 1, 2005, 10:03 PM

#50 Catfish. Although I understand what you are saying and would agree in principle, I am not sure what you are referring to when you say a string ofof lower highs and lower lows. I'm assuming you are speaking of a degradation in aesthetics rather than a declining economic trend.

This creates a problem because it makes a value assumption about the changing aesthetic to create the decline. I would not be inclined to use the financial model this way.

The financial models are based on price behavior and the assumption that the participants will eventually arrive at a "fair price" Right after 911, the CIA opened a website to trade financial futures on terrorist events. The theory here, was that the "price" of the futures would reflect the current risk hazard. While distasteful in this particular case, it is a type of real world, real money modeling which has been used with success to predict the outcome of the presidential elections. At the time, I actually visited the CIA website and it was for real, complete with fully operational methods for creating "an account" and inatructions on the trading rules. Fortunately by the end of the day, public opinion held sway and the site was closed for good.

In the art world, the financial model does apply in the sense that it reflects the current strength of particular artists, styles, and movements. If we take this observation as valid than your postulation of a declining aesthetic does not hold true. Of course, over time these things tend to find their own levels and you might be right in the long run.

Before we go too far down this path I would like to say that while the financial models apply to certain aspects of the business of art I don't believe that they are the primary motivation of the artists. There is some value in understanding the world of markets and how it affects the art world. In the 1970's, primarily because of the oil crisis, the economy collapsed to a degree which was only comparable with 1929. As a result, the art market, in particular the market for artists who received favorable treatment in the 1960's, collapsed. This as about the time I graduated from art school, in L:A the gallery business was on the skids for 7 years or so. I think Oldpro might have a similar observation about the situation in NYC.

None of this means that committed artists stopped making art, it just meant that times were harder. This may appear to be a dark cloud but it has a silver lining in the respect that it removes the taint of the marketplace. By the taint of the marketplace, I am implying that it is a subtle barrier, like the cattle chute to the slaughterhouse, a subconscious consideration which is removed because it cannot exist without a market, at least a market for a style you favor. It is one form of artistic freedom.



September 1, 2005, 10:16 PM

Ran across this just now with an audible sigh

Found here, P1. and P2.



September 1, 2005, 10:36 PM

Ahab, I understand you....all your words. I know what your saying.
Catfish, the edmonton group may not be known in new york YET , but they will. I would bet money on it !! It makes me think of Van Gogh and his brotherhood and their debates and struggles and then Voila' we have the the Impressionists. They went through hell and yet they all produced masterpieces. Forget about the market place, it was meaningless then and is meaningless today when it comes to real artists creating real work. Unless your floating sharks.



September 1, 2005, 10:52 PM

Elizabeth, I understand Ahab too. But he has to say it better.

As for the Edmonton group, they know in their hearts they are doing good work. At least they have a community that understands.

If they get recognized it will be a function of the outside world catching on. They cannot control that. They just have to keep on truckin', Dark Ages acomin' or not. That's what I do.



September 1, 2005, 10:56 PM

OldPro; ok.....(smile)



September 1, 2005, 11:08 PM

#55 Elizabeth
When you say Forget about the market place, it was meaningless then and is meaningless today when it comes to real artists creating real work I am not sure exactly what you are implying.

I suppose you are inferring that, as artists, we shouldn't "play to the marketplace" and by this, I mean, to act strategically with the marketplace as a consideration. In this case I would agree.

I said in an comment several weeks ago, that I believed it was more important for an artist to find his voice than to be concerned with making good art. For those of you who didn't understand my use of the term "voice", what I was referring to was the internal source of ones art. This is buried deep in the subconscious, cannot be created by theory unless the theoretical is an inherent personal quality and cannot be a false emotion. It is a personal truth, which is unique, posessed by only you and cannot be copied. If you can operate from this center of your being, you have found your voice.It is a quest and everything else, technique, "good art", business, whatever follows with its own natural course.

I am making a point of this because the marketplace is just part of the environment which, each one of us, chooses to deal with in our own personal way. To be in the marketplace or out of the marketplace, it matters only if it matters.



September 1, 2005, 11:24 PM

George: Like the good Elliott Waver that I am, I am not applying price behaviors to anything. What I am talking about is a causality, from which prices and other "entities" move as an effect. The causality of which I speak is one of human group behavior. The madness of the crowd affects art along with everything else. The appetite for barbarism is the mode of a crowd in decline. That they divide up into right and left wing groups to do battle with each other, in the end, just makes them more destructive.

"Aesthetics" has not changed or declined, art has. Our collective social mood has turned destructive, so a lot of other things have declined too, including prices of stocks. Stocks are a convenient reference, because they are quantified and widely known. The economy collapsed in 29, true. It may be collapsing today as well. And New Orleans may be seen, in the future, as one of the markers for that, even though it is actually a matter of how we react to it.

When good art does appear while bad art is on the rise, it is suppressed by the most powerful censor of all - it is ignored. There is lots of evidence this is what is happening today.

Just because one aspect of our collective endeavor is in decline does not mean any other must also be. Yet, it looks like the regression is being taken up on many fronts. When too many "arrows" point down, they reinforce each other. When too many of the arrows for the Roman Empire pointed down, it and its art collapsed.

The relationship this has to the art buisness is simple: once the buyers refuse to buy valueless art, all art will be less valuable because even fewer will pay attention to it.

The silver lining, to me, is that all this will eventually lead to a reversal in appetite, a "new beginning" so to speak, with the system purged of its excessive involvment with false value because the appetitie for it will have unwound. My only problem with this scenario is it may not happen in my lifetime. Maybe not in the lifetime of anyone who is alive today. That view is irritating to many, including myself. But what if it is true? That changes things from "waiting for the turnaround" to the need to persist in the face of the lack thereof.

Elizabeth: you are assuming New York is the center of validation for important art. What art has it validated lately that you consider major? Does this validation compare with the validation New York has declared for, say, Jeff Koons?

Myself, New York, like Paris before, has run out of gas. Lots of pomp and circumstance, but less and less meat. True, the money still flows there, but money also flowed to Holland during the tulip mania. Besides, you want to forget about money.

Van Gogh, by the way, wasn't all that great an artist. That's probably why so many love him. His best work was on par with Picasso's blue period stuff, which also wasn't all that great.

I am a hard ass, not a pessimist.



September 1, 2005, 11:28 PM

George; I'll use Van Gogh again, who died impoverished....did the market place stop him and his collegues, No. Was the market place a judge of great art then, No again.
The artists who 'play' to the market place are concerned with celebrity and money,old story.... they are not genuine and history will remember them as nothing more.
Your right about the "voice", I said it very well.



September 1, 2005, 11:34 PM

I think you're right about bush-politics and bush-science being mere effects of spreading barbarism, catfish. At this point, religion (and most fundamentalism in general) is just so much more symptomatic evidence of our society's sad state of affairs. And I think this is Paglia's contention in a nutshell.

I had heard about Paglia's "Break, Blow, Burn" but written it off as unimportant reading because it threatened to be just more of the academic sludge that she actually claims to be railing against. I may look up her list of 43 poems to read them without her commentary. The bible reads better without footnotes, and I'm sure modern poetry worth reading does as well.



September 1, 2005, 11:45 PM

Catfish; I am hopeful of a new beginning, I have always been hopeful. And for better or worse, New York is the place. Nothing to debate there, there is no other place and quite frankly I hate gallery owners for controlling what gets SEEN and what doesnt. I have never subscribed to an artist waiting to be Discovered'.....artists need to do their own marketing. I dont care for Koons and his over sized kitch, but I'll give him credit for his marketing and thats all. I do agree with you about those cities and they are all pomp and no substance, but again Im hopeful that the GROUPS will command attention and recognition and get the acclaim they deserve minus the suffering the impressionist went through.
As for VG.....well he was great and a genius colourist in my to each his/her own. And do give him credit for staying on course, being incredibely prolific, despite illness and suffering.



September 1, 2005, 11:45 PM

So many things are (seem to be?) happening so quickly these days that it may not be a hopeless expectation that a second renaissance of the sort catfish mentions might occur inside the window of our lifetimes. Not that I know how old any of you are, exactly.

My dad, like his 96 year old father before him, believes staunchly that the second-coming of Christ will occur during his lifetime. The end is near. For grandpa at least.



September 1, 2005, 11:55 PM

Ahab, ur so funny lol



September 1, 2005, 11:58 PM

hey, maybe Christ was here and didnt like Koons work and left!!



September 2, 2005, 12:02 AM

Ahab: for a believer, the second coming of Christ is not the end, but the beginning of something purely great. Sometimes I think too many very talented artists are waiting for a second coming of the art-christ and, like you dad and grandfather, believe it will happen in their lifetime, or sooner. Olitski once wrote about how he waited for his "Kahnweiler". Kahnweiler never appeared. Olitski got over it.

Elizabeth: I don't hate gallery owners because they "control" what is seen and not seen. That's their job. Those that I do hate, I hate because of what they show.

So you are not going to tell us what major art New York has validated lately. OK. I'll just add that when the balance between "better" and "worse" tips too completely in favor of "worse", then that is no longer "the place". Nor is there any requirement that there be a "place". There was none in the dark ages. There is none that I know of now.



September 2, 2005, 12:11 AM

Catfish; I hate gallery owners ..job or not, because every show I have seen I hated, maybe Im really a hard ass hehe.....



September 2, 2005, 12:17 AM

#55 Elizabeth
When you say Forget about the market place, it was meaningless then and is meaningless today when it comes to real artists creating real work I am not sure exactly what you are implying.

I suppose you are inferring that, as artists, we shouldn't "play to the marketplace" and by this, I mean, to act strategically with the marketplace as a consideration. In this case I would agree.

I said in an comment several weeks ago, that I believed it was more important for an artist to find his voice than to be concerned with making good art. For those of you who didn't understand my use of the term "voice", what I was referring to was the internal source of ones art. This is buried deep in the subconscious, cannot be created by theory unless the theoretical is an inherent personal quality and cannot be a false emotion. It is a personal truth, which is unique, posessed by only you and cannot be copied. If you can operate from this center of your being, you have found your voice.It is a quest and everything else, technique, "good art", business, whatever follows with its own natural course.

I am making a point of this because the marketplace is just part of the environment which, each one of us, chooses to deal with in our own personal way. To be in the marketplace or out of the marketplace, it matters only if it matters.


#60 Elizabeth
I think it might be a mistake to use Van Gogh as an example. I think there were quite different characteristics to how a late 19th century artist fit both into the marketplace and into the culture as a whole. In the late 1800's the generic artists role was considerably different than it is today. In that era, one could say the artist functioned partly as an illustrator, using the term in a non pejorative sense. Van Gogh worked outside of this category, he was "avant guard".

In my view the situation today is quite different, a number of "artists" work in a category I'll loosely define as advertising, illustration and decoration. The big difference now is that the "avant guard" has become institutionalized and redefined as a market category in itself. It has its subdivisions, theories, styles, movements and fashions. I think one needs to be careful when making assumptions about how an artist "fits" into the contemporary marketplace.

I would suggest that an artist who artist who play to the market place are concerned with celebrity and money, old story.... they are not genuine and history will remember them as nothing more. may or may not be correct depending on the artist. There is nothing inherent about money or celebrity that would taint the quality of an artwork. Picasso and Dali both fall into this category and it does not seem to have been a problem.

Read carefully, I was inferring there is nothing inherently problematic about money or celebrity which does not mean it cannot become a problem. Further, I would say that some people are more predisposed towards these things, that they can act in a way to achieve them which is within their own natural qualities of being. This is honest art whether we like it or not.



September 2, 2005, 12:19 AM

I cant tell you what major art New York has validated because everything I saw the last time I was there, was bad...........But all we have is New York and you can KEEP Paris and those lovely Parisians....then its New York, Im biased ...I love the city and when it sees the error of its way will celebrate the New New'.



September 2, 2005, 12:30 AM

George I understand the historical implications, I was saying how he painted under terrible circumstances of illness and suffering and stayed the course. he was in my opinion true to his Voice'.
I also see him and his impressionist collegues as a group Voice'. They debated and inspired and certainly pissed eachother off enough, but each one found their individual Voice, amid great criticism. Thats what I see as the base of the new art that will push aside all this crap we have been seeing for so long. Not since the AbEx has any art really held my attention, we are long over due now for some of that. And what is happening with the Edmonton sculpture group' is just that.



September 2, 2005, 12:34 AM

I in fact admire my grandfather greatly, he has lived a righteous life more than not. You are right, catfish - he and my dad don't highly anticipate the end of anything, agonizing though life can be, but rather the glorious new beginning they foresee. My poor humour made light of their deep-rooted faith.

Personally, I'm looking for the art-prophet. Maybe a Jonah, or an Ezekiel. I would settle for an art-psalmist.



September 2, 2005, 12:39 AM

George; it might just be that there is so much that is bad art out there because the lines are blurred and there are too many catagories and I think most artists are trying desperately to FIT into a catagory that the market place will recognize.
I like the way the impressionists created despite the market.
as for Picasso and Dali, both 'played' to the market and were right up there with Koons for marketing their art whether it was good or bad. Now we have shark boy doing it...but I hear his star (or shark) is sinking.



September 2, 2005, 12:41 AM

Whatever reservations I have about the New New, they are too good for New York to accept, much less celebrate. Sorry Elizabeth.

Renoir's color walked all over Van Gogh's. What Van Gogh could do pretty damn well was draw, but when he applied it to painting, he went kinky. (I know, lots of people love kinky.) I've always wondered what he would have accomplished if he had lived long enough to work out of that.



September 2, 2005, 12:50 AM

Catfish; I like kinky, but as it applies to VG. as for colours, well i guess we see colours very differently. VG's colours vibrate (no reference to sex here) for me. His drawings are terrific, I agree....a freedom of line, just wonderful.



September 2, 2005, 12:51 AM

ahab, here is some more gloom and doom. Decaying systems support false prophets. Peter Scheldahl, Donald Kuspit, Suzie Gablick, Barbara Rose of late, and so on. They ignore real prophets like they ignore real artists.

So the current perdicament is one our side cannot win. We can hope, we can pray, but in practical life, all we can do is persist with what we do. Like I suggested originally, don't expect any miracles when it mets its demise.



September 2, 2005, 12:52 AM

#59 Catfish,

OK, that's more or less what I thought you meant. When I used the term aesthetics I was implying a distinction between good art and lesser art which is what I think you meant. Be careful of Prechter, he's smart but went off into the wilderness with Ewave and has been more or less wrong for quite awhile. I read RN Elliot, paid attention to the psychological reasons, that was enough.

A quick note on New Orleans, I had the same thoughts but then decided that economically it's a problem but not to the extent the 70's oil crisis was, so I think it's affects will be less structural and temporary.

You said, When good art does appear while bad art is on the rise, it is suppressed by the most powerful censor of all - it is ignored. There is lots of evidence this is what is happening today. Again I find this problematic. If there is "good art", as you define it, out there today, it may be ignored by the art press but I would bet it still has a market. I don't think "good art" is ever ignored, it's audience may be less Hollywood but it should have an audience. The distinction here is really about fashion, what is fashionable and what is not. Things that ate fashionable may or may not be good art for fashion can be fickle in this sense. The converse is that good art may not always be in fashion but that distinction does not change its quality.

One characteristic about the art market and it's ups and downs. It is a rarities market, different works from the same artist can widely differ in value. Additionally, if the owner may choose not to sell, so the fluctuations in value have no effect. The group most affected by the price fluctuations are the speculators and they deserve what they get.

Regarding your idea of "new beginnings" I would suggest that if it cannot happen in your lifetime, something is wrong. I am not speaking of achieving a splashy Hollywood success but of being able to make a case for your beliefs, your vision, in a way which finds its own audience. There is a mistaken assumption here that the "art world" is a monolithic machine grinding along and pulverizing those who do not believe in enirule into dust. This is not the case, at least this is not my perception of the situation in NYC, there seems to be room for everybody.

Finally, I utterly disagree about Van Gogh who I think is one of the greatest artists who ever lived, of course this is just an opinion.



September 2, 2005, 12:59 AM

George; he was for me also.



September 2, 2005, 1:06 AM

Well George, good art is never totally ignored - right. But it is ignored as a practical matter. Olitski having his retrospective in a Miami warehouse is a good example of the practical application of "ignore what's good". He is having a mini-retrospective at a nice NYC gallery too, but what is called for is a retrospective at the Guggenheim or MOMA. That won't happen.

I have an audience for what I do. It is small but rewarding.

Prechter is a strange writer - his views are interesting as hell but not anything to bet money on.



September 2, 2005, 1:16 AM

Catfish, I have one final thought before I sleep.

Like the term or not, the postmodern artworld is like Pandora's box, once opened it can never be the same again. No force or individual can reset the clock. Painting will never be the same in a future present as it was for Rembrant. It is just not possible. So while you may disagree with the "false prophets" I can only suggest you read something else. Nothing, I repeat, nothing I am saying invalidates or diminishes your vision if it is from the heart of your being. Whatever you make draws its strength from this vision and takes its place in the world of the present, finding its own audience. There is nothing in current of history which says otherwise. To doubt this means you are paying attention to the wrong thing, great art coexists with all art and its greatness is an attribute which is persistent



September 2, 2005, 1:39 AM

New Orleans is a little off topic, as they say, but interesting and perhaps relevant.

With the oil crisis, we immediately set about resolving the problem, on multiple fronts. Our attitude was frustrated but positive.

New Orleans may never be rebuilt because our collective attitude is different now. I find myself wondering why rebuild a city that is surrounded by water that, under the most favorable circumstance, sits six feet higher than the city.

But if it is not rebuilt Louisana is in dire straights economically for a long time. The psychology of this is working in a negative fashion on the rest of the economy. There is actually plenty of gasoline in the refineries and pipe lines (including the ones that run through Louisiana), but already the government is saying it will dip into strategic reserves. That contributes to the subtle panic that is driving the price up even though supply is good. It is this attitude that lets sellers charge more for gas even though there is no shortage. Why sell it for $2.50 if the rumor driven crowd is willing to pay $4.00 and the government is fanning the flames with its use of the reserve. Because of crowd psychology, the new value of a gallon of gas is $4.00 and that's what any dissenters will have to pay, no matter how rational the case using the law of supply and demand.

I'd be a lot happier for the economy if and when it looks like we are committed to solving the New Orleans situation. Anarchy is when essential organization breaks down and that is what is happening within that city, and without ... insofar as the breakdown is not resolved.

The "ripple" from that could become too large to handle. Shooting people may make the local scene better, but the effect of such events will be far reaching and possibly quite disasterous.

Nor did I take any solace when Bush announced that the government would do its part but the private sector must do its as well. That seemed like a form of anarchy to me - essential organization gone kaput. Why does the government collect enormous sums of money from its citizens under threat of jail if it can't resolve a problem like we have in New Orleans? It seems like looting of a different sort to suggest they won't provide the resources.



September 2, 2005, 1:48 AM

George, I don't wish to "reset the clock". I want to go forward, upward, whatever, but not into the abyss.

It isn't a case that I "disagree" with the likes of Scheldahl and company, it is the fact I KNOW they are full of words and empty of meaning. That's right, I know it and that is sufficient. There is no need to prove it. Proof does not count in the studio.



September 2, 2005, 8:14 AM

I think the Catfish statements I have read here are pretty good. They are certainly trenchant and extreme enough to be interesting. More of this would be great for the blog.

I don't know where that comment about Renoir's color comes from, unless he is talking about early Renoir. The late color was ghastly. Van Gogh's color never went off like that. He's right that VG is overrated and that his drawing is better than the painting. I was wild about VG when I was 20, but it does not keep on giving, it turns leaden after a while.

George a lot of what you have been writing is good too, #80, which I just read makes sense. But that "find your voice" stuff is way too nebulous for me, sort of a romanticized "I gotta be me". An artist's goal is to make the best art possible, pure and simple.

Furthermore, as I recall, your original statement, some time ago, about "voice finding", to which I took strong exception, was more directed toward just the opposite, that is, shaping your art to be distinct in terms of the market.



September 2, 2005, 8:38 AM

With all due respect to my colleagues, I have the best commenters in artbloggerdom. Thank you all for your intelligence and participation.

I have hit upon a theory that capitalism is belief in money as a means; commercialism is the belief in money as an end.

Mid- to late Renoir reminds me of an accident involving cranberry sauce and I find a favorable reaction to him over Van Gogh perplexing.

George #76: I am not speaking of achieving a splashy Hollywood success but of being able to make a case for your beliefs, your vision, in a way which finds its own audience.

I agree with this completely. In fact, this only ought to become ever more viable thanks to the Internet. The hegemonic entities in other creative professions, notably publishing and music, are getting their heads kicked in by the possibilities of new technology. Artists have a disadvantage here because they need a physical space for their work, but my guts tell me that possibilities exist now that we're not being clever enough about exploiting. I think about this a lot. Once Drawww finds its footing with some simple projects, I want to start tackling the issue of alternative success.



September 2, 2005, 8:57 AM

All I can really say about Renoir and his color is look again, which I would guess Franklin and oldpro already have. Even though he was going blind, his late color remained integrated with the picture. Stary Night, well, color was plenty intense but it does not integrate.

Today's headline on CNN: Battle For New Orleans ... the gov down there is talking about shoot to kill and the mayor may have been the one who created the picture of W that George brought to our attention and there are reports of bombs. Meantime, essential organization continues to dissolve. As that happens, the number of options available gets smaller and smaller. Lots of people are dead and more are dying but anarchy is doing quite well. Ironic that anarchy seems like a quest for ultimate freedom but in practice it leads to severe constriction.



September 2, 2005, 9:11 AM

Regarding Van Gogh, while the Met has a decent selection, better than MOMA's, I visited the Van Gogh museum in the Netherlands a few years ago and all I can say is that the term "leaden" never came to mind.

I always assume an artist is attempting to make "the best art possible" Where they might run into difficulty is in the consideration of what good art is. Before you go off on this one, I am assuming a generic artist, one of the pool, who may have a very different criteria for art than you or I. Within their own criteria, I believe they are trying to make the best art possible.

Regarding, the voice. Watch yourself paint. I think there are times, while one is working, especially times when you are trying to assimilate an idea or method and directing your hand with a certain intent, you will find that in spite of your intent, your hand has a mind of its own, it knows how it wants to paint the mark. It has to do with the clarity or diffusion of an edge or the thickness of a line, nuance, in particular, which muscles are brought into play. These qualities can be chosen or controlled consciously but there is also an automatic response, a sweet spot which fits personally.

In the same sense, exists the source of the image. What we are willing to accept visually and what we desire to conjure into existence. Among all the choices, we have our biases which we use as a source, or as a foil to work against, in the process of making the invisible visible. I don't think this is a romantic notion, rather it is about the assumption of our own psychology, through understanding or misunderstanding, into the process. It is about the personal, as the source of the work but not necessarily the output. It is not about "personal expression" in the external sense which is often fey and disinteresting. The personal, is an underpinning, an emotional-conceptual structure which gives the work authority, presence in the world. Then you also have to make it a good painting.



September 2, 2005, 10:23 AM

Catfish, knowing your elevated take on art, all I can say is that I will certainly go look again. As it is now I have to go along with Franklin's "accident involving cranberries"

No, George, there is no "then you also have to make it a good painting." What you are describing is already part of the process of making a good paintng, and not bad as a description, either. There isn't much point in calling the various fugitive and subconscious workings of the brain that go into making art a "voice"; it misdirects and oversimplifies.

My "voice" is actually my voice, because I talk to myself while painting. People who have observed this without my knowing say it is very weird, but it is sometimes the only way I can get those hidden impulses out in the open so I can reflect on them.



September 2, 2005, 10:27 AM

New Orleans, a rant…

Events in New Orleans are becoming more tragic by the moment it is heartbreaking. It demands a deep soul searching within the bodies of government of this country, who knew in advance New Orleans would be a major disaster and failed to take the necessary precautionary steps.

The president has been tested by three major crisis in his term of office, Iraq, NYC and now New Orleans. I find it incomprehensible how two of three of these events disintegrated into anarchy when history has provided ample warning for the potential disintegration of social order. No, Mr. president, it's not "two out of three's not bad," you have it backwards again.

Mr. president what did you expect to happen? Where is your bullhorn now, what no batteries? How about a photo op to cheer people up? Cool? Ok, don't forget to tell them "help is on the way" Overseen in the background, one of the thickset men, in a dark suit with a bulge and a receiver in his ear, whispers to the similar appearing man next to him, "Don't let him step on the ground down there, that @#%#*% sniper is still around somewhere."

What do you expect, when people are desperate for food and water?

Why, am I so angry? Because any intelligent educated person knew what to expect. None of this surprises me at all.

Who is minding the store?



September 2, 2005, 10:32 AM

Franklin, a large part of the reason this blog works well is your management.

I agree with you & George that you just have to keep on making the best art you can. There is not other choice, really.

Drawww (excellent name) would get more action if it said a little more about itself. People are hesitant to send emails out to unfamiliar places. The article about the incised piece of ochre was interesting.



September 2, 2005, 10:38 AM

#86 OP, I don't see what the problem with the term "voice" is, it is a literary term which has been used to describe this type of situation. Also, I don’t feel that the process I described will necessarily produce a "good" painting. A "good" painting, using your criteria, is something one recognizes either intuitively or through experience. This ability to recognize, in its clarity or diffusion, is used to guide the process to completion.



September 2, 2005, 10:39 AM

The New Orleans situation seems to have been anticipated & handled very badly, George, but I read a very interesting article (sorry, don't remember where) about a recent disaster preparation exercise down there that was strenuously resisted by everyone who was affected by it. Preparing for something like this ain't easy.

On the other hand, once I uderstood how precarious the city was, how utterly vulnerable to the "Big One", I particularly thought of New Orleans every hurricane season. I think if I were someone in charge down there I would have made it my business to be a pain in the neck about it.



September 2, 2005, 10:45 AM

George, I know about "voice" as a term of literary criticism. I see it all the time, "finding my voice", and such like. In my opinion it is an overused cliche. It is one of the words I do not allow students in my writing class to use unless they mean an actual voice, or make a hell of a good case that they are "hearing voices", in which case I refer them to the university clinic.

I never said the process you described would "necessarily" make a good painting, I said it is part of the process of making a good painting, period. It undoubtedly is part of the process of making a bad or mediocre painting, too.



September 2, 2005, 11:15 AM

re #90
No doubt there is some line, a demarcation point where the magnitude of a problem is not yet clear and a course of action is considered but not acted upon. FEMA studies had already noted that a major hurricane in New Orleans would be a significant disaster requiring government intervention. I thought it was both intelligent and courageous that the mayor of New Orleans ordered an evacuation of the city. Unfortunately it appears that no plans were made for dealing with the poor or elderly who did not have the means to leave. I am also distressed preponderance of racial minorities in the photos of those who remain, it is a dark skinned tragedy. Further, I can understand the confusion in the first days whirlwind of devastation, but at some point it must have been obvious that the logistics of the disaster were unprecedented and would require action on part of the federal government. They had time to think about it, to set in motion a contigency plan just in case action was required.

At some point someone has to say "this is really bad" and put into action what we will surely see in the days to come. Meanwhile, the castaways are dying of dehydration.

This is a once in a lifetime event, lacking experience, a certain degree incomplete planning leading to confusion is to be expected. But certainly after 911, when an entire bureaucracy was created to anticipate and plan for such problems, we should expect a much more measured response from the federal government. This was natures form of a terrorist attack, with advanced warning, and so far, the response leaves me believing we have just created another bureaucracy as a palliative against admitting we are powerless.



September 2, 2005, 11:23 AM

Re: #92: Do National Guard shoot-to-kill orders apply to this fool?

Mayor Nagin came out and layed it down last night. CNN has a recording of the interview linked from the front page - it's worth a listen.



September 2, 2005, 11:46 AM

What a total ASS this man Brown IS. The elderly, poor and infirm couldnt get out because they had NO MONEY. The checks for assitance were to come out on the following friday, so people who did want to leave simply couldnt for lack of funds. They did not THINK of these people, they assumed it was enough to say GET OUT and then these same people would just get up and fly............
And what of the hospitals?? The people stranded there and having to also the defend the buildings against looters as well as keep babies and the ill alive!!!!!!!! I cannot believe the incompetance of not sending the army as a priority for them????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have allowed by their lack of foresight to realize it is all out anarchy now with stories of carjackings and rapes.......this is a surreal nightmare that could have been lessoned to a great amount by intelligence and common sense.
Knowing the checks for the poor would not make it in time.....send in a convoy of buses....they should have given these people a fighting chance.
Once again the poor get HIT.



September 2, 2005, 11:58 AM

plz excuse my spelling, I dont look when Im angry....



September 2, 2005, 12:08 PM

What FEMA chief Brown said is indeed unfortunate and it reflects the attitude of many people engaged in public safety and public health and well as litigation-avoiding administrators and media who love a good scare. They often get too preoccupied with their own issues and forget about human nature. People have been hearing them cry wolf so often and so loudly they have stopped paying attention. We should not have a disaster and then blame the people who did not (or could not) react "properly"; we need to figure out how to convince people to react in the first place. This must be a part of disaster planning policy.

I realize that it is a way different order of seriousness, but I have been involved with a lot of problems with building codes lately. Some of it borders on lunacy. For example, I learned yesterday that a door into a teaching area which has been used for years as an entrance must be locked and no one be allowed to enter there because it is a "designated exit", forcing students to go all the way around the building, down a narrow hallway, through another door and into the back of the room. This is a "safety issue", so I am told, despite that it makes no safety sense at all. The point is that when these things get looney people are not going to take them seriously, and if we do not differentiate between real danger and hyped-up danger people are not going to believe it.



September 2, 2005, 12:41 PM

If we allow for confusion, the "fog of war" as it was described by an official earlier, maybe, coupled with poor advanced planning and just plain stubbornness on the part of some, I could understand how so many who remained behind ended up in the stadium. The day after, the problem was already apparent, there were tens of thousands left behind in a flooded city with no food or water and sanitary conditions which were primed for an epidemic. At that point it must have been obvious that regardless what had been thought 24 hours ago the city would have to be totally evacuated. "Alley, alley, oxen free!" leave now.

For the life of me I cannot believe that this possibility was not anticipated. Sure, some bureaucrat will say, "We had to decide where to take them, we had to plan and it took us a few days" and then "OK, we have a plan, but we have to wait for 500 busses, they are on their way, just be patient awhile longer, but don't drink the water and don't pee"

I don't have much sympathy for the shooters, but anyone stealing food is probably smart.



September 2, 2005, 12:50 PM

George, the police are allowing looting if its food and diapers...but not ATM machines. I suppose its a free for all now, which is insane as they did have ample warning time to bring in those 100's of buses especially into the poorer neighbourhoods, where the majority of people who live week to week just didnt have the funds to rent cars or get on planes. And speaking of planes, there was enough of a warning to allow friends of mine to send a private jet to scoop their kid from university there as well as few other students. So it didnt have to BE THIS BAD, but the politicians do not have foresight and really have their heads up their asses on this one.



September 2, 2005, 7:04 PM

For Bush & Co., I'm sure it's all a calculated risk... most of the dead will probably turn out to be registered as Democrats.

I'd be curious to know the record for American cities lost during past presidencies, and the current one...



September 2, 2005, 7:05 PM

Sorry... I just thought "lost" is too sanitizing a word... I meant destroyed.


Jerome du Bois

September 2, 2005, 10:42 PM


For Bush & Co., I'm sure it's all a calculated risk... most of the dead will probably turn out to be registered as Democrats.

I always knew that compassion was the monopoly of the left.

You travel in some despicable company, Franklin.




September 3, 2005, 1:03 AM

Love your Daffy Duck'isms

alas, the truth hurts, overriding
pole counted compassion, lipstick
on this pig, call it carcinogenic
waste my time rube, oh it's



September 3, 2005, 2:21 AM

Finally... a short post from Jerome du Bois.



September 3, 2005, 8:18 AM

That comment was unnecessary, Jerome.

I am not a liberal (nor a conservative) but one must acknowledge that the folks in Washington have behaved badly here: indecisive, ineffective and betraying a culture which has some degree of contempt for the people. Matty's comment was offhand and perhaps excessive but it was not inappropriate.



September 3, 2005, 9:49 AM

Jerome, I note that your famed compassion has shed no tears for the victims of Katrina over at the tears of things.


Jerome du Bois

September 3, 2005, 11:08 PM


It's the Pharisees who pray on the street corners.

Our blog is miniscule. Everybody knows what to do. We respect that.

What Matty said was despicable, and George's doggerel simply pisses on tragedy. I'm not surprised.




September 3, 2005, 11:23 PM

hey rube, you missed who I was pissing on



September 3, 2005, 11:57 PM

JdB's deep moral indignation over my offhand comments would be more appropriately roused by real-life tragedies, don't you think?

JdB, is there a refutation of my comment forthcoming, or is the label of 'despicable' intended to suffice?



September 4, 2005, 11:34 AM

Jerome, it is the Pharisees who come around and tell everyone else what to do and how to act and then go home and indulge in their own little rituals without regard to what's happening to everyone else. it is not the sort of comparison someone like you should be throwing around unless you are referring to yourself.

You may not agree with Matty's comment, and you might think it extreme, but it is nothing more than that. It is not despicable. That's not the right word. Besides, of you don't like it, tell us why. Otherwise you are just another self-righteous drive-by shooter.


Jerome du Bois

September 4, 2005, 3:36 PM


Okay, oldpro, here you go.

Matty more than implied that our President and his "Co.," --and everyone, winkwink, knows who they are-- was happy about thousands of dead people because, after all, they were, like me, Democrats.

But this was just an "offhand comment," made while they are tying the floating bodies to the street signs.

Matty, why don't you save your offhand comments for offhand times?

Despicable means "fully deserving of contempt." I stand by my characterization.




September 4, 2005, 3:56 PM

...and everyone knows who they are.

Where was the compassion before the flood?



September 4, 2005, 5:00 PM

OK, Jerome. Whatever you say.



September 4, 2005, 8:42 PM

Yeah, George, where was Noah when we needed him?



September 4, 2005, 10:16 PM


Noah? In this age he would be still filling out paperwork for some bureaucrat.

FWIW, I think this is a major societal inflection point.

It will have an affect an art one way or the other. The Bush "soak the poor, spare the rich" tax policies are going to meet ever increasing resistance bolstered by now clear historical evidence that "Supply Slide Economics" doesn't work. Reinstatement, or upward pressures on capital gains taxes, will put downside pressure on the stock market starting sometime next year as profiteers run for the exits at the lower rate. This same affect, delayed a bit, will put a stick into the spokes of the "investment" driven art sales at Sotheby's and Christies, we probably will not see a collapse, something more along the lines of "soft results"

It is increasingly clear, that the marginal elements of society have been swept under the rug as if they were not there. No matter how you look at it, this weeks news was ample evidence that racism is still an issue to confront and that "property over poverty" is not a fitting aspiration for this nation. From where I stand, FOX news's "rape and loot" diversion from the truth of political failure will not stand. The pendulum of political opinion, hovering high at the far right, is changing direction as a nation comes to realize that not everyone is always capable of helping themselves. That some times the Christian thing to do is to act Christian (or Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or Jewish, or just plain good)

As an artist, these events will affect the zeitgeist. Pogo, "we have seen the enemy and it is US." We cannot use slight of hand to deflect morality on mother nature, it is US.

I suspect some questioning of the current course in the arts is forthcoming but not in a way the academic theorists expect and…



September 5, 2005, 12:13 AM

Just a little 'TIDBIT' everyone, from someone raised in an Orthodox Jewish family ( my family is both Cohen and Levy on either side) and spent 10 years being educated in a private Hebrew school, which included having to read and study the Torah daily (as you know it 'The Old Testament' ) in the Hebrew language.
To those not interested....dont read.

The Pharisees were the High Priests/Cohanim or Cohen's as we know them today by the family lineage, of the "Temple" in Jerusalem (1st Temple destroyed by the Babylonians; 2nd Temple destroyed by the Romans 2000 years ago). There were 12 tribes of Israel and two of the tribes were assigned the duties of High Priests (Tribe of Cohen) and Guards (Tribe of Levy). The "Temple" is where the Ark of the Covenant, (the chest containing the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments) was kept .
The Pharisees "didnt tell everyone what to do and go off and do their little rituals" ....they were the religious leaders and the High Priests of the Temple. It was their JOB to remind the Jewish people that there is ONLY ONE GOD AND NO OTHER, and to lead the people according to our Laws which are the Ten Commandments and the Torah/Old Testament.

That said, please get the facts straight. I hope this clarifies who they are to those who are interested.

A side note, the muslims built the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem exactly on top of the Temple site and did it on DELIBERATELY in the hopes that a 3rd " Temple" would not ever be built again. Thats why the archeologists are digging 3 and 4 stories below the Wailing Wall which surrounded the "Temple site" and will reclaim the property. And for any Cristians out there waiting for the Mesiah, as told in the New Testament, they blocked up with bricks the specific Gate in Jerusalem he is said to use when he enters Jerusalem. I saw that also when I was there.
And as for Noah, he had foresight and should have been on the Bush Cabinet.



September 5, 2005, 12:24 AM

An added note; the Pharisee in its Hebrew form means separated ones , they were 'Holy and the Only Ones' ever allowed to enter the Temple. They were also known as Chasidim which means Holy in plural or Chasid, Holy One....also meaning loyal to God or loved of God.
ok Bible lesson over for today...everyone put your notes away.



September 5, 2005, 9:49 AM

Thanks, Elizabeth. I was brought up Christian and Protestant, with a grandfather who was a deacon of the Presbyterian church and an uncle who taught me in sunday school, so I was given the new testament spin on" Pharisee", which also happens to be the meaning given to the word in common English usage and how I was using it. Obviously this is a very one-sided view. The passages below should clarify this conflict.

1. Pharisee A member of an ancient Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the Mosaic law in both its oral and written form.
2. A hypocritically self-righteous person.

An important binary in the New Testament is the opposition between law and love. Accordingly, the New Testament presents the Pharisees as obsessed with man-made rules (especially concerning purity) whereas Jesus is more concerned with God’s love; the Pharisees scorn sinners whereas Jesus seeks them out. Because of the New Testament's frequent depictions of Pharisees as self-righteous rule-followers, and because most scholars agree that the gospels place the blame for Jesus' crucifixion on a large faction of Pharisees, the word "pharisee" (and its derivatives: "pharisaical", etc.) has come into semi-common usage in English to describe a hypocritical and arrogant person who places the letter of the law above its spirit. Jews today, who ascribe to Pharisaic Judaism, typically find this insulting if not anti-Semitic.



September 5, 2005, 12:42 PM

Oh Jerome,
Matty, why don't you save your offhand comments for offhand times?

Let's just say I'm enjoying my freedom of expression. As a proud Democrat, I'm sure you'll be the first to defend my right to speak my mind... Beyond that, clearly we disagree, so I can take comfort in that.

You travel in some despicable company, Franklin.

Jerome... maybe you can explain this thinly veiled imputation of guilt by association. Unfortunately, I've never actually had the pleasure of travellng with Franklin, although I have posted comments on the same page as him... and as you too, Jerome!
Uh-oh, looks like you "travel in some despicable company" too then!
For shame!



September 5, 2005, 1:46 PM

OldPro; I do and have found it insulting, but I also recognize the fact that anti-semitism has been promoted by the Church FOR AGES.
The facts in Judaism have always been that there is "One God" and no other, not Jesus or anyone. This is at the Top of the Ten Commandments. Jesus was seen as a man who was loving and kind, but crossed the line when he called himself the son of God. He wasnt, he was a jew, born a jew...circumcised at birth and Bar Mitzvahed at 13......he was, in my opinion a Prophet and a good kind man. He was also crucified along with 10's of thousands of other Jews who were tortured and killed by the Romans who occupied Israel at that time in history. This was their favorite way to kill those who didnt fall in line with their rule, this was also the time of the Maccabes (warriors who rose up and challenged the Roman occupation of Israel, (as well as the sacking and soon after the destruction of the 2nd Temple.)
The walls of the Arch of Titus show in relief panels the triumphal return of Titus from the conquest of Jerusalem and Israel at the end of the Jewish wars 66-70 AD. The Archway reliefs show in detail the Roman Army carrying the Spoils from the 'Temple', including the famous 7 branched Menorah/ Candelabrum from the Holy of Holies. NO ONE BUT THE HIGH PRIESTS WERE EVER ALLOWED INTO THE INNER SECTION OF THE TEMPLE. NO ONE. This was a massive desecration.
Let me now address your statements; The Torah/ TenCommandments is based on LOVE. It says any Law of God should and must be broken to save a is precious. It is also written that " When You Save One Life, You Save The Universe". The Ten Commendments ARE rules that instruct us to Honour life....Thou Shall Not Kill..etc...basically to live life with honour and to commit no evil to eachother.
The High Priests followed rules of the Torah strictly which effected daily life and still does. Kosher=means=clean.....regarding the consumption of only allowed animals. This is just one quick example, but again it goes to the rule of inflicting no pain on the animal and that death MUST be painless.
The Gospel / Church used the New Testament as an instrument to spread antisemitism throughout the last 2 thousands years (since the Romans in Israel and the diaspora).The last Pope knew it was time to correct this evil and apologized to Jews world wide for this evil.
Antisemitism took many forms throughout history, as you must know, from explusion from Spain and England which facilitated the mass theft of goods and property, the mass murders of the Inquisition.....all the way to the Holocaust, where again we see Hitler taking a page from history committing mass murder and an unbelievable theft of goods and property all through out Europe, the scope of which is probably in the trillians.
The property taken by the British Gov. in 1946 from 'one' Nazi who was caught is now calculated at 500 million. This is the case my Foundation is based on and will be going before the Courts soon.
Maria Altmann successfully won the right to sue the Austrian Gov. in the American courts to regain the most famous Gustav Klimt paintings taken from her family during the Holocaust. As you can imagine, the Austrians refuse but will be forced to return the art.
This entire experience, OldPro, has taught me that the Holocaust wasnt just about killing Jews, it was in fact the largest theft in history. Thefticide, if you will. On the topic of art, the theft is beyond words and work is being found and claimed all over the world in Museums and Galleries. It wasnt just about stolen bank accounts as with the Swiss being forced to pay back the heirs 1.25 billion almost two years ago.
All this is timely, when I think of New Orleans and the disaster, because the people have homes, no property, just what is on their backs.
It seems misery never stops.............
It also makes me think of the Spanish Jews who fled to Holland for refuge. The Jewish Bride and other master pieces are reflective of a people escaping with only their lives and starting over safely in Holland.
OldPro, what infuriates me is the twisted misuse of a word ( Pharisee)
that is not even in the realm of historical reality or truth, but used in an abusive, anisemitic fashion against the very people it belongs to!!!!!!
The days of this are long me on that.



September 5, 2005, 3:08 PM

I am aware of these things, Elizabeth, and deplore them as much as any other civilized person. The fact is that the Pharisees were negatively characterized in the New Testament in the way that I learned it, and I was using the term correctly as it is defined in the language, however wrong or misleading that may be. Furthermore, however unfortunate the consequences of this characterization, it very well may have been an accurate one at that particular time.

Now that I am aware that this can be taken to be antisemitic by current sensibilities I wll use it more carefully, if at all.



September 5, 2005, 3:57 PM

OldPro; I understand and appreciate what you have written with one exception and its a BIG ONE.
"Furthermore, however unfortunate the consequences of this characterization, it very well may have been an accurate one at that particular time."

"UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCES" ; The mass murder, torture and theft over a period of two thousand years and from almost every country in europe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I (Including my father and his family of over 300 people, leaving him and then us with NO family. or posessions) and all this again I repeat sanctioned by the Pope of that time who made sure to take plenty of PHOTO OPs with Hitler.
holy fk!!!!!!!
It was NOT accurate at that time, how can you even say that??
The High Priests were doing exactly what the rules according to Judaism demanded of them at that time or even Now and nothing less.
If Jesus were alive today and in a synagogue, where he belonged since he was a Jew , and claiming the exact same things, he would be decried.
Please understand OldPro, your a very very smart man, nothing would be different from then and now.
The painting that Jules Olitski did for one of the largest synagogues here in Toronto is really amazing, but also its imagery goes to the very heart of what Im saying. Its a Star of David (Jewish Star) and its made up of components, opalescent and quite exquisite in effect also due to its commanding size in the Great entrance hall. The very ESSENCE of the Star in the synagugue goes to how no imagery that could be even interpreted as figurative is NOT ALLOWED IN THE TEMPLE.
The Pharisees did what was demanded of them, the Jews have paid with their lives for 2000 years.....its over!
Also, I'd like to add that after history challenges a people over time, it can go two ways, the choice and fate of either being a victim or a survivor.
My father was a survivor, but in so many ways I dont think very many of us could achieve. He survived physically, but also his value and love of life.
He caught one of the worst Nazi War Criminals in Germany in 1946, fascilitated the arrest and then the confiscation of the stolen gold and diamonds from the Jews of his city that this Nazi had amassed throughout the war. He found the monster and stood alone when he confronted him concerning his war crimes, and he could have killed the man easily, they were all alone in that house in Germany, but my father didnt because he was taught that each life has value and is a he didnt kill him for the revenge, that I can say honestly I might have done. I wont go into the war crimes here, but they are beyond anyones imagination.
OldPro, I have felt that you are an understanding and kind man, I hope now you 'understand'
I will get a pic of the Olitski piece soon for you when Im there next.
I think you'll really enjoy it.



September 5, 2005, 4:11 PM

OldPro; I should explain that anything figurative has connotations of Idol worship, which goes against the precept that there is ONLY ONE GOD AND NO OTHER (one of the top 10 Commandments). I can tell you know that Jesus could not have invented a more unbreakable rule. He picked the Ultimate deal breaker....I cannot even begin to stress that more.



September 5, 2005, 4:25 PM

Elizabeth, please don't lay all this on my doorstep. I am not a biblical scholar. I only used a bit of information based on the biblical teachings I got when I was a child, which, right ly or wrongly, have entered the language.
I won't do it again, believe me. Let's be done with this.



September 5, 2005, 4:31 PM

Oldpro; Im done.......and its not about being a biblical scholar its just about knowing and understanding which you do now. thanks.



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