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When it comes to this art stuff your species is completely nuts

Post #1019 • June 13, 2007, 4:37 PM • 8 Comments

Lots of new content at the WDBA, particularly around 2000-2002. See especially Excellence and Postexcellence (2000) and Bannard's review of the Pollock movie. These 2001-2002 articles correspond to my tenure as editor of the Miami Art Exchange, and represent early intimations, to me anyway, that the best art writing had a better opportunity on the web than in print.




June 14, 2007, 10:27 AM

it will prevail, but sometimes, as some artists have reacted to, seems futile.

my heros have all been modernists


Peggy's Fireplace

June 15, 2007, 10:48 AM

What's with this usage of the word "artist" in the Pollock review?

"I would like to have seen more of the artists and less of Lee, good as she was; the competitive, wiseass alcoholic bantering between these guys says so much about what was going on and it is neglected by the film."

Lee Krasner was an artist. Is "artists" here being used as a synonym for "guys"? Does "good" refer to her as a person, or as a painter? Does her life and role really not describe 'what was going on" as well as a bunch of alcoholic guys' bantering?



June 15, 2007, 11:11 AM

It was the mid 40's, so no it doesn't. Times were different.



June 15, 2007, 11:58 AM

Like it or not, Peggy's Fireplace, Lee Krasner's work was not much of a part of "what was going on" in the 40s when AbEx was fomenting.

"The artists" refers to those whoose work was in the middle of all that WAS happening. Their "alcoholic bantering" was the glue that held the social aspect of the scene together. That and the Cedar Street Tavern where they engaged in these encounters is a well documented part of the history of the time.

"good as she was" obviously refers to Bannard's own take on the worth of Krasner's work.

Myself, I looked at the movie as a drama first, documentary second, very second. Accuracy was necessary only to the extent it did not distract from the drama. Bannard is, by education and practice, more of an art historian than I, so his threshold of distraction is different than mine. I thought Marcia Harden deserved her Oscar for how she played Lee Krasner, and that Lee's character was developed just about right to make the movie work. The "bantering" was fine as far as it went, but like all bantering, it seemed superficial. Had it been deeply explored, it might have proved to be a distraction for me. That's a second guess, of course.

What would have really destroyed the movie would have been manipulating the story to make it "politically correct". Likewise, had Bannard reviewed it from that point of view, he would have contributed essentially nothing to my own take on the thing. As you might expect, and although I would rather avoid belittling your remarks, they did nothing to expand my take on the movie either.


Marc Country

June 15, 2007, 12:19 PM

"Lee Krasner was an artist. Is "artists" here being used as a synonym for "guys"? Does "good" refer to her as a person, or as a painter?"

Neither, I'd say... I figured Bannard just meant, "good as she was" in the film, he would have prefered less focus on the husband-wife relationship, and more on the scene around Pollock, and his interaction with the other leading figures of art of the time.



June 15, 2007, 12:44 PM

Maybe we need Bannard to furnish authoritative info on what he meant by certain specifid phrases.

Plunk your magic twanger Darby - please.



June 15, 2007, 12:51 PM

I thought this thread was dead - just noticed it wasn't.

Maybe the distinction could have been clearer because taken literally it can be read as making a distinction between "artists" and Lee as an artist. What I meant , and what I thought was clear, was that we see a lot of Lee as wife/girlfriend and not enough of "the guys" and all their talk & interrelating, which was so much a part not only of the "scene" but of the formation of one's painting back then.



June 15, 2007, 1:06 PM

And I hasten to add from yet another "spinpoint", this in no way means to diminish her tremendous service to Jackson Pollock and thereby to American Art by getting him out of the city and out to the end of Long Island in1945, thereby enabling him to to do what he did and probably extending his short life. As I understand it whenever he got back to the city in the reamining 10 years of his life he behaved badly, getting horribly drunk, thrown out of bars and the like. Let's not allow PC considerations to diminish acts of love and devotion and positive reinforcement. As Greenberg liked to say, "life is more important than art".



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