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Razzle Dazzle at RISD Museum

Post #888 • October 17, 2006, 8:37 AM • 8 Comments

Providence — Razzle Dazzle at the RISD Museum installs a room of clothing from across Asia meant to impress with twinkling reflections, motion, and noise. Can we equate the impulse behind making clothes sparkle with our own tendency to bedeck country singers' outfits with rhinestones or game show hostesses' dresses with sequins? Maybe, but only if we add generous helpings of design and excellent taste. The works share astounding handicraft and great visual and material inventiveness, some of it driven by iconography (shells for fertility, mirrors to deflect the evil eye), but much of it clearly inspired by a playful love of pattern and color. One child's collar from China uses a familiar dragon motif, but rendered with rounded, bright gentleness that looks fitting to a child even to these Western eyes. We all have to cover ourselves, but I didn't expect to feel such kinship with these objects.

India, Gujarat, Kutch, or Pakistan, Sindh: Woman's blouse front (kanjari or choli), 19th century silk, mirror; plain weave with embroidery and mirror work

Chinese: Ceremonial child's collar, full description pending

Comment

1.

Dan

October 17, 2006, 10:21 PM

Come on where are the comments? At least Pollack and Klimt knew that tossing off the photo was the pictorial future...

2.

opie

October 18, 2006, 12:16 AM

"tossing off the photo was the pictorial future..."

??

3.

George

October 18, 2006, 2:05 AM

In order to understand our selves, we must first understand pictorial future. I find my self constantly drawn back to the subject of pictorial future. Given that its influence pervades our society, it is important to remember that ?what goes up must come down.? It is estimated that that pictorial future is thought about eight times every day by the aristocracy, who form the last great hope for our civilzation. Hold onto your hats as we begin a journey into pictorial future.

Comparisons between Roman Society and Medieval Society give a clear picture of the importance of pictorial future to developments in social conduct. I will not insult the readers inteligence by explaining this obvious comparison any further. When J H Darcy said 'fevour will spread' [1] she, contrary to my learned colleague Sir George Allen?s recent publication ?Into the eye of , could not have been referring to eighteenth century beliefs regarding society. A society without pictorial future is like a society without knowledge, in that it irons out misconceptions from our consciousness.

Special care must be taken when analysing such a delicate subject. On the other hand anyone that disagrees with me is an idiot. Just as a dog will return to its own sick, society will return to pictorial future, again and again.

To conclude, pictorial future must not be allowed to get in the way of the bigger question: why are we here? Putting this aside its of great importance. It enlightens our daily lives, invades where necessary and it is human.

Let's finish with a thought from star Beyonce Hanks: 'At first I was afraid I was petrified. Thinking I could never live without pictorial future by my side.' [3]

4.

opie

October 18, 2006, 7:28 AM

Thanks for the explanation, George.

So, is that dog "tossing off the photo"?

5.

jordan

October 18, 2006, 2:03 PM

I think that historically, Chinease artists had refrained from using photograghic sources. Picasso painted and drew from photos as did many impressionists. Photo based paintings are now the norm and are in abundance. I read somewhere that Gerard Richter "tried to kill painting" as he didn't want to paint from a photo source, but wanted to make a photo out of paint. Perhapes he "killed" photo based painting only - given that he has created a body of photo-realist works that represent a conclusion of sorts. He appears to be saying that his work is an 'absolute' photo based painting, or 'realist' painting.
Many contemporary Chinease painters are adopting a western sentiment for pictorial figuration that has it's sources rooted in the photograph. Marden, Twombly, Pollock, and Toby, for instance, seem to have similarities to Asian caligraphy. Who are some others ?

6.

jordan

October 18, 2006, 2:05 PM

I think that historically, Chinease artists had refrained from using photograghic sources. Picasso painted and drew from photos as did many impressionists. Photo based paintings are now the norm and are in abundance. I read somewhere that Gerard Richter "tried to kill painting" as he didn't want to paint from a photo source, but wanted to make a photo out of paint. Perhapes he "killed" photo based painting only - given that he has created a body of photo-realist works that represent a conclusion of sorts. He appears to be saying that his work is an 'absolute' photo based painting, or realist painting.
Many contemporary Chinease painters are adopting a western sentiment for pictorial figuration that has it's sources rooted in the photograph. Marden, Twombly, Pollock, and Toby, for instance, seem to have similarities to Asian caligraphy. Who are some others ?

7.

Darla

October 18, 2006, 2:22 PM

Can you imagine if these were items of clothing you made and wore?
Maybe you just decided that since you had to handmake your clothing anyway (no K-Mart or Sak's Fifth Avenue stores then, no matter what your station in life) you might as well take the time to make it pretty.

After all, there was no TV to watch, no PC or Internet to waste time surfing. Nothing else to do but decorate your clothing, and why not, it was fun. Maybe you made it as a gift for a friend and the friend thought it was SO beautiful and appreciated all the time you put into it, that they never wore it. And here it is in a museum and in an art blog, and if you had the ability to time travel, you'd be shocked that people were making a fuss about this item you made, but we'd have to convince you that yes, we should fuss over it because it is GORGEOUS.

8.

Marc Country

October 19, 2006, 1:34 AM

Well, what can you say... real work beats the best art-world posturing anyday...

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