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The cat came back

Post #733 • February 17, 2006, 6:05 PM • 37 Comments

Also, for those of you who follow that kind of thing, I installed a Peastat page, linked from the About page.




February 18, 2006, 6:41 PM

Off topic, but for those interested, The Drawing center in New York has a new boffo website:



February 18, 2006, 8:56 PM

Speaking of drawing, I saw the Rembrandt and company etching show at the Lowe today. It's more than respectable for a university collection (Syracuse University), but we're not talking major European museum, so Rembrandt's more famous prints were not there, and a number of the ones present were posthumous impressions. Still, Rembrandt is Rembrandt, and everything by him was more than worth seeing (and the other artists included weren't exactly chopped liver, either).

To give an example, an etching the size of a large postage stamp of the head of Rembrandt's mother was, to me, worth the trip by itself. The handling of the eyes, especially, was absolute mastery--a perfect example that it's not the size, it's the talent. A self-portrait in shadows was another highlight. In both cases, the people pictured were not only real and specific individuals but alive, far more than images.



Off Topic

February 19, 2006, 9:01 AM

World-renowned pop artist...Romero Britto headed over to Davos, Switzerland to speak on two panels at the World Economic Forum.

He was joined by Bono, Christo, John Currin, Angelina Jolie...

The panel explored how art is driving globalization, how artists react to various global influences and if artists can play any role in addressing societal issues.

You Go Britto!

Miami Herald 2/19/06



February 19, 2006, 12:06 PM

I hope #3 is an early April Fool's joke. If it's not, it might as well be.


Off Topic

February 19, 2006, 12:29 PM

It's no joke. I read it in this morning's Miami Herald. What I wonder is how was he chosen as a panelist.



February 19, 2006, 1:08 PM

You go, Jack!!!



February 19, 2006, 1:47 PM

franklin, check out the nelson gallery website (it's on newberry street) for jake berthot's paintings. hit available inventory. also check out john walker, and the show up now of drawings by ann harris.



February 19, 2006, 5:00 PM

Re Britto, please do not forget that art is now a full-time "career" just like any other. Britto is utterly without consequence as an artist, esthetically speaking, but he is enormously successful as a careerist. Most wannabe artists, and there are millions of them, seem to want a career at all costs. I imagine Britto can help them.

One would hope that eventually making gimmicks and novelties for collectors will be seen for what it is and that there is such a thing as "good/better/best" that is not necessarily tied to how much something brings at auction, but this seems to be slow in coming in these pluralist, uncritical and forgiving times.

In the meantime, virtue is its own reward, I suppose,.

Or something like that.



February 19, 2006, 5:04 PM

Re #5, what I wonder is whether we're living in parallel worlds. You know, the normal world and Bizarro world, like in Superman. Franklin should understand. If this ludicrous nonsense is in fact "serious," it's beyond cheesy. Talk about delusions of relevance.



February 19, 2006, 5:15 PM

But Jack, it's serious to the extent that it obtains a place in the world of money and exhibiting and all that. The problem we have at this time is that it has not shaken out yet. There are plenty of people who may sneer at Britto, just as they do at Kinkade, because their art sucks, but I don't see them sneering at Dali or Botero, who are just as bad. It takes a while.



February 19, 2006, 5:20 PM

Or, to move way up the scale of critical acceptance, Gerhard Richter, who I think is equally superficial and meretricious, but who would be stoutly defended by many who regularly read this blog.



February 19, 2006, 6:54 PM

Whoever is behind this World Economic Forum can't be too credible or respectable, certainly not when it comes to art. It's not just that calling Britto an artist is like calling hacks who write for Hallmark cards poets; there are other howlers on the "panel." The whole thing is like a PR move gone badly haywire, but come to think of it, a lot of the official art world is exactly the same, only much more pretentious.



February 19, 2006, 7:09 PM

Actually, I'm surprised that Currin would agree to sit on a panel with Britto, or that his handlers would approve that. Maybe he was persuaded by sitting on the same panel with Jolie and her Amazing Lips (assuming they're actually hers, of course, which is hardly certain).



February 19, 2006, 7:43 PM

I guess the onename wonders Christo and Bono are heavies, Jack. I have no idea who Angelina Jolie is anyway.



February 19, 2006, 8:03 PM

She's major tabloid fodder, Oldpro, on the cover of everything in sight at the supermarket checkout stand. A glorified Hollywood bimbo du jour, with suspiciously overripe lips, the likes of which are not to be met with among ordinary mortals (you know, the ones who can't afford top-of-the-line silicone injections). Look for her the next time you go to Publix. She's everywhere. I know I can't wait to hear her recommendations for what course art should take. In all fairness, though, they're probably no more fatuous than those of any number of certified art world authorities.



February 19, 2006, 8:29 PM

Gee guys, Jolie is a pretty good actor, don't you think? I admit her lips look a little odd, but everyone has something that looks odd. I'm not sure they have been worked on, but if they have, it isn't obvious, unless you assume anyone with lips like that is "unnatural". All and all, she typically looks stunning, which isn't bad, is it?

Like all of us, her glow will fade. I bet her acting ability won't though.



February 19, 2006, 8:31 PM

Er, should have added mine have faded. Someone told me yesterday I look like Buddy Hacket. A "young" Buddy Hacket. I'd rather look like Angelina Jolie.



February 19, 2006, 9:18 PM

Catfish, I agree she looks great, and if those lips are real, they're amazing. Still, I think you know where I'm coming from on this. This whole "panel of experts" business is largely a contrived waste of time. It will accomplish absolutely nothing of real substance or weight. Britto, obviously, is the smoking gun--no further evidence needed, your honor, and so forth. But the whole thing is lame.



February 19, 2006, 9:39 PM

Bono and Jolie have used their high profiles for humanitarian purposes, particularly Bono, who has met with heads of state regarding African debt forgiveness. Britto has also contributed to many humanitarian causes; he gives his work generously to benefit events and auctions in support of good causes. What I can't figure out is what Currin was doing there. (Don't tell me to read the Herald article - I don't care that much.)

Thing is, Bono has made a major contribution to pop music, Jolie is one of the most beautiful people alive and an Oscar winner, and Currin has been profiled in the New York Times. What has Britto done by comparison? Had his work on an Absolut bottle? Musically, it would be like Bono showing up with some Miami-based bar mitzvah band. Weird.



February 19, 2006, 9:52 PM

Franklin, for the ostensible matter at hand, neither Bono's humanitarian work nor Jolie's beauty is relevant. As I understood it, this is supposed to be about art, but maybe I need to read the Herald piece (but won't, certainly not with their stupid registration BS). Besides, I am higly, and I mean HIGHLY, allergic to celebrities attempting to tell me anything about anything other than what is actually their legitimate personal field of expertise (assuming they have one, which is by no means the norm).



February 19, 2006, 10:41 PM

World Economic Forum 2006 BBC article with pics of Lady Lips herself


Every year at the end of January, top politicians from around the world descend on the Swiss mountain resort of Davos to mingle with bosses of the world's leading companies at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) - but what is it all about?

What is the World Economic Forum?

The WEF was set up to "contribute towards solving the problems of our age".

It's a week of discussions, lectures and workshops, where business leaders and politicians are joined by artists, academics, religious leaders, trade unionists, and campaigners from organisations such as Oxfam and Islamic Relief.

The programme is packed, with sometimes eight or nine events running in parallel. 

Apart from the talking, the forum is mainly a networking event, an opportunity to meet friends and rivals, and to get close to high-powered people.

The forum's annual meeting is usually held in Davos, but it has also branched out into a series of regional meetings in places like Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Sharm al-Sheikh, Kiev and Singapore.

Hold on, you can't con me. Isn't this the meeting where they decide how to run the world and exploit poor countries?

Err ... no, not really. There are a lot of myths and conspiracy theories about Davos, but when the chips are down it is essentially a talking shop.

Yes, there are private meetings and deals are struck. In 1994, for example, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat  talked for hours and managed to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

But this event is mainly about exchanging ideas, and the discussions can be surprisingly frank.

Don't forget: many participants come from poorer countries and relish the opportunity to make their case and meet the people who have the money to help.

Last year the Irish rock star and anti-poverty campaigner Bono lavished praise on Davos and participants like UK prime minister Tony Blair and Microsoft boss Bill Gates.

Hmmm, what are they talking about?

The official "theme" of the Davos meeting - 'The Creative Imperative' - sounds bland, like in most years.

Organisers say the forum's unique creativity helps everybody "to make sense of a rapidly changing world and to connect the seemingly unconnected that joins us all in a common cause".

The real conference agenda, though, is not quite that woolly: The emergence of China and India, high energy prices, the impact of globalisation, world trade, poverty and other global challenges dominate the five days of Davos.

Business leaders can join a series of workshops to discuss what risks their companies face, and how to confront them.

Broadening the horizon are softer topics such as 'what is your cultural IQ?', 'colour physiology' and contemporary art in China.

No doubt the lunch with Hollywood star Michael Douglas and rock legend Peter Gabriel on 'Celebrity inspired action' will be oversubscribed quickly.

Bono is due in Davos again, and last year's headturner Angelina Jolie has promised to return as well.

Angelina, Bono ... wow ... who else is attending?

The guest list is a cut-down version of the who-is-who of business and politics.

This year a record number of top business people will come to Davos, among them Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Sir Richard Branson, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Bryn, and the bosses of corporate giants like Intel, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Renault/Nissan and L'Oreal.

However there will be fewer politicians in the Swiss mountains than in past years. The organisers say that is deliberate, with Davos getting back to focusing on business. Still, the list of top politicians ranges from Germany's new chancellor Angela Merkel to Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai, US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice is expected to make an appearance and there will be about 15 heads of state or government in Davos, and dozens of cabinet ministers.

On the sidelines about 30 trade ministers are holding talks to get the stalled global trade negotiations back on track.

How do they manage to attract all these people?

Well, the forum is the brainchild of Swiss Professor Klaus Schwab.

In 1971 he invited European chief executives to Davos to discuss business strategy.

Over the years the event widened its agenda and attracted ever more prominent guests, which in turn made it interesting for yet more big names to come.

The forum is now run as a not-for-profit member-based organisation.

The paying members are about 1,000 big companies, while non-business participants attend meetings for free.

But ultimately it's all about boosting globalisation, isn't it?

Now this is a sore point.

The forum has been targeted repeatedly by anti-globalisation campaigners.

The organisers of the World Economic Forum, however, insist that their meetings are all about "improving the state of the world".

And they point to the fact that in the 1990s, well before the anti-globalisation movement got under way, WEF founder Klaus Schwab warned of a globalisation that serves only a few.

However there is a rival event, the World Social Forum, bringing together thousands of anti-globalisation and poverty campaigners.

This year, though, will see three World Social Forums. The first in Mali has just finished, and the second in Venezuela runs at the same time as Davos.

A planned World Social Forum in Pakistan has been delayed, but an event scheduled for Bangkok appears to have been cancelled.



February 19, 2006, 11:14 PM

Jack of course you are right that it is a waste of time. As influential as those people may be, they don't and probably can't make much of a difference. Just like art does not make much of a difference. Life as lived goes on. We can only hope for the best. But I still wish I looked like Jolie (or her father Jon Voigt, whom she resembles very much, so much I see him every time I look at her).



February 19, 2006, 11:44 PM

Thanks, George. I get it now. It's a see-and-be-seen deal, as well as a chance for rich but nameless business types to rub shoulders with entertainment world celebrities. How very, very predictable, not to say trite. I'm surprised Hernan Bas and his groupie Bianca Jagger aren't on the panel. Of course, Bianca's not A-list any more, and Bas may be a little too, uh, esoteric for no-nonsense tycoons who are bound to be more comfortable with stuff they know from vodka bottles. It figures.



February 19, 2006, 11:48 PM

Note to Catfish:

Of course you can look like them. This is 2006. Besides silicone shots and plastic surgery, we now have face transplants. Ah, progress!



February 19, 2006, 11:54 PM

P.S. to Catfish:

I have never once looked at Jolie and thought of her father. I must be too distracted by The Lips.



February 20, 2006, 12:23 AM

Jack, it's her mouth ... lips, teeth, the way they work together ... that reminds me of Voigt. Not for you, obviously.



February 20, 2006, 2:58 PM

Hi. I'm new to this blog; actually this is my first ever blog post. Your discussion of The World Economic Forum is intriguing. The initial "off-topic" post #3 said that the artists' purpose at the Forum was to discuss how art is driving globalization and how art responds to global influences.
My questions are - Is art driving globalization? How is globalization affecting art? I was googling other articles on the topic and found this article. The author says, "Our [American] art, music and literature currently dominate the Eastern and Western hemispheres the same way blue jeans and rock 'n' roll brought down the Berlin Wall." That's a bit exaggerated and arrogant, and his example of current American art dominating the world is Kelly Clarkston being piped into Milan train stations. Does that mean Kelly Clarkston is going to eliminate terrorism? If you look at the issue of art driving globalization from this article's perspective, it probably is driving it. I think it's a shame that most of what other countries are exposed to of American art is the most over-simplified overly commercial stuff. In terms of how globalization is affecting art, I personally think it's great. It seems that New York's significance shrinking, and there doesn't seem to be one single art center in the world anymore. There are a lot more influences to choose from and more ways to approach representing your art.
On the issue of Angelina Jolie’s lips - I think they are really real.



February 20, 2006, 2:58 PM

I paint for a iiving. I know Gerhardt Richter has been making the same painting for the last few years. I accept his raison d'etre for painting, quoting journalistic photo's w/ a technique approaching Photo Realism and his token abstract paintings. Two years ago the copious Donald Kuspit spit all over Richter for perpetuating this empty postmodernism, the artist as literal mirror of culture leaves too much subjectivity out. However, as a painter, i would just like to point out how insensitive this knifing is. It is very hard to make a living as a painter. One does not simply make one successful painting and the rest of life falls in place. Just to equal a teacher's salary of 60K, national average figures, a painter has to sell at least 12 paintings a year, (sell, not simply make, and don't forget the dealer's percentage) in addition to a suite of prints, drawings, mono's, etc. For anyone, I encourage you to try it. Don't forget cost of materials and housing, and if u have a family.

As an aside, I don't get why everyone picks on Richter when I think two others of the same ilk do the same thing, namely Close and Pearlstein?



February 20, 2006, 3:51 PM

Not everyone picks on Richter, Alizarin. He recently had a retrospecive at MoMA and his paintings sell for millions at auction. Don't get too sympathetic just yet. Yes, Close and Pearlstein are similar in some ways and equally boring as artists. Our blogmeister disagrees with me about this, about Close, anayway.

Margaret, "globalization" oiffers us less choice, not more. Everyone reads the same art magazines and does the same thing everywhere, more or less.



February 20, 2006, 5:47 PM

The things that make Richter's career admirable don't make me feel differently about his work. He has made some interesting paintings during a career marked by extraordinary lifelessness and illusory gravitas. I prefer Close and Pearlstein.

Margaret, welcome. You may be on to something in that the mechanisms that publicized NY art to the rest of the world may be diluting its power, although OP's point is well taken that there's now more homogeneity than ever. They're not contradictory ideas.



February 21, 2006, 11:35 AM

Thanks for the welcome and for the insight about New York. I see OP's point, as well. Still, I think there is opportunity for greater cultural expansion in art. Even if everyone is trying to stick together right now in order to speak the same language, we still have our very different backgrounds.



February 21, 2006, 1:07 PM

Margaret, great art is uisually created by a small number of very talented people who are lucky enough to be in or get to an environment that helps them make great art, and by help I don't mean graduate programs and the National Endowment.

"Cultural expansion" is something else. I am not sure what, but it does not interest me.



February 22, 2006, 12:10 PM

Hey, Franklin,

Some of the 10 latest referrers in your peastat list are fake blogs; they're not splogs--they are not ganking anyone's posts, but they are just websites for pills or lotteries. There's no mention of your site anywhere on them, though (er, I didn't actually check thier links), so how do you suppose they are referring anyone to your site?

I'm totally curious (and dismayed) about the awful inroads which skanky spammers seem to be making everywhere. It's like trying to fight the borg.



February 22, 2006, 12:16 PM

Um, the word "their" is my Achilles heel. I just can't spell it correctly. Ever. I've kind of learned to get around it, but every now and again I relapse.



February 22, 2006, 4:43 PM

Basically, they're writing spiders to crawl websites with spoofed IP addresses. I'm hoping that hell opens up a new circle for spammers.



February 22, 2006, 11:15 PM

I have an "ei - ie" problem, too, Kathleen. Try making up some kind of silly rule that spells it for you, like "thE IRritating spelling problem"

Spammers will be in a circle with Geryon, a three-bodied shade with an honest face, a colorful and intricately patterned reptilian hide, hairy paws, and a scorpion's tail: an image of fraud, Their punishment will be to feed continuously on, well, you know...



February 23, 2006, 1:50 AM

For those whom spelling 'their' is a chief grief, rules like "I before E except after C" are no help at all. Rules are also a problem for spammers, counterfeiters and thieves - heinous fiends all.

The word that gives me the most difficulty spelling is any that I've stared at too long.



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