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Post #738 • February 24, 2006, 7:38 PM • 3 Comments

New blogs: My friend Dave Bricker, and George Rodart. Dave is a top-notch Flash designer. If you want a Flash site that makes you look more professional than anybody else in your field, you want Dave. His site for Tony Vines Guitars has been awarded honors twice in the last week from the Flash community. Credit goes to Dave for my thinking that Flash may not be pure evil.

George has commented with great dedication on and has finally heeded my suggestion and that of many others to start his own blog. George has a remarkable grasp of financial matters as they apply to art. He makes art, and lives in NYC, both of which put him right in the taffy-pulling machine that is the art world.

Via Kathleen: lovely drawings by Lotte Klaver, and an interesting essay about how Wal-Mart baronness Alice Walton compares to robber-baron museum builders of old.

Via Tyler, if you can't attend the CAA conference this week, you can experience it vicariously through writers who can't spell. Excuse me, my Insipidometer is beeping.

Via Artsjournal: A recently discovered fresco may be a Michelangelo.

Ask yourself: can you make art as well as this guy plays guitar?




February 24, 2006, 9:40 PM

no way, Franklin - I call bullshit on that last question.

Now, first of all, playing the guitar (done right), IS an art. Secondly, in guitar-playing as in figure-skating, rapping, surgery, and even painting, technique is confused with art at your own peril. This guy is a fucking nerd. Nerds (god love 'em) are characterized (among other) by devotion to particular things, of which practice can be an example. Now, practice is a more important part of being a good musician then it is of being a good artist, but practice alone does not a great musician make.

It makes the guy in the video you link to. If you'r eimpressed, I encourage you to dig a little deeper - check out Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and the guy with the german name. It's impressive, but in a completely soulless (and, after awhile, soul-draining) way.

A painting equivalent would be super-accurate, slide-projector driven photorealism - impressive at first glance, but artistically hollow.

If this has gotten you interested in solo guitar performance, check out John Fahey, per somone's recommendatino (and George's second) from your recent music post.



February 25, 2006, 7:34 AM

Satriani and the guy with the German name (I assume you're thinking of Yngwie Malmsteen - Swedish, by the way, and a Miami Beach resident) aren't so interesting as musicians. But Vai can be pretty wonderful - he played with Zappa, remember. I put Justin King in Vai's league. Fahey is great too. It's not a matter of mere brute technical force, although King's got it - the song has to swing. I've seen people assume that art that is technically forceful isn't good art, so the converse of what you're saying applies as well. And I think it's worth noting that artists can get away with a lack of technical chops that would disqualify a musician.



February 25, 2006, 1:20 PM

I bought Steve Vai's Passion and Warfare (considered his best album, by the way) when I was about 15; even then, I thought lots of it was pretty silly. It's ponderous to the point of self-parody, and not just the silly voice-overs - the guitar parts are designed to present technique, not to carry melody (actually, I think there was one song on it with a "great melody" (big quotes), very obviously meant to demonstrate how he can play slow and with feeling . . . ugh).

Great with Zappa? Well, if that were true, then it serves to prove that his technique was most effective when subsumed within someone else's artistic vision.

Lack of technical chops does not disqualify a musician; sometimes, it doesn't even prevent them from artistic and comercial success (witness, variously, the Shaggs, and some punk).

Obviously, having some chops helps a great deal, but music with too much technique tends to become about the technique, to the exclusion of everything else, and I think the same applies for visual art. Rule-validating exceptions could no doubt be provided for both fields.



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