Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Aht With Heart, People

The bullets are at the end of this piece...

Over at wowOwow, they were asking, "Who's Your Favorite Artist, Toots?"

Too many to choose from, but off the top of my head: Henry Ossawa Tanner, J.M.W. Turner and James Whistler, and all for the same reason. Each began his creative process thoroughly engrossed in depicting their world in finely tuned detail: Tanner and African-American culture (The Banjo Lesson):

Turner’s masts and waves:

Whistler’s ….Mother.

As each artist grew in skill and his search to see with new eyes, they became more and more abstract. (This is true also of Michaelangelo’s unfinished pieces where you can sense the figure in motion, trying to emerge beneath the chipped stone):

Later in their careers, Tanner’s "Annunciation," becomes an angel that is no more than a line of blinding gold:

Whistler’s "Nocturne: The Fallen Rocket: Black and Gold" leads art into Impressionism:

and Turner’s Abstracts from the Biblical Book of Revelation, "The Angel Standing in the Sun," that swirls with the blur between heaven and hell.

Drown in Eternity, Suckahs

Footnotes? We gotta have footnotes and musings, and I did promise you "bullets" and such:

* Bill Cosby owns a lot of Tanner paintings. This reminds us that Bill Cosby is a very rich man.

* Not "too" long ago, The National Gallery of Art had a Turner exhibit. I went on my birthday, taking on the Christmas crowds. I "did" the ships rooms, but I soon tired of the pressing crowds and loud critiques, "Look at that whitecap," and headed for those Bible paintings. That's where I spent the bulk of my time, letting myself fall right into them and hang out for a while."

*You want to see some Whistler? Go to the Freer Gallery of Art, but first go to the National Gallery of Art to pay a visit to "Symphony No. 1, The White Girl," a painting I went to see FIRST, every time my Mama took me to the gallery. Also, often told, but here it is again: the infamous story of being five years old, and my mother and I were going down the winding (and massive) back staircase of the Gallery, me holding Mama's hand and saying "I want to live here." She said,"Oh no, Little Cubie. Wouldn't you be afraid to live here all by yourself? Me: (shooting her a look) "No." Then go on over to the Freer Gallery and do "The Peacock Room." Ask the guard to show you the secret window. Charm him. Get him to say "Okay, but don't tell." Then hit Whistler's "Nocturnes." Old man Freer was loaded and bought a ton of them. Think about fog. Think about London. Think about why London doesn't have fog like that anymore.

*Michelangelo's stuff screams to be touched. We won't go into why David screams to be touched, and how you'd be screaming if you did. Walk tall and carry a big stick, indeed.

*Tanner's "The Annunciation." Lemme tell ya something. I became so obsessed with this painting, that when I was presenting a paper at Georgetown University (with slides people, but no snacks,) I was so gaga over it, I heard a loud "AHEM" from the back of the room, basically my professor saying, "Wind it up." Back then, you could not shut me up about Tanner.

Don't even ask me who my favorite artist is. Talking to a friend while I wrote you guys just now? We both went off on 1) Georg Groz; 2) David Stone Martin; 3) Friedensreich Hundertwasser; 4) Edward Keinholz; 4) Barnett Newman's Stations of the Cross; 5) The Belarusian School of Icon Painting and 6) the Desert Eagle large-bore, gas-operated, semi-automatic pistol.

"Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual. " ~~ Arthur Koestler

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Blogger Phil said...

The Late, Great Bob Ross.

End of discussion.

I loved to be lulled into a nap listening to Bob's brush-work and talk of happy trees and squirrels.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Gilahi said...

What? No Charles Schultz?

9:46 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Washington Cube said...
Gilahi: I know the man (or knew him,) who wrote the latest Schulz biography. At one point we had even discussed my doing some research for him on Schulz. I also, through strange means, inherited a massive "Peanuts Gang," collection from a serious collector, which I continue to sell off on eBay. How serious? Houses and warehouses full of it. It seems...bottomless. I am probably one of top ten possessors of Peanuts crap in the United States. I would throw it away, but I can get money off of it.

Turning around and looking in my bookcase, I see two "sellers guides to Peanuts collectibles," I have yet to unload, since I still need them as reference tools, and here's the kicker...since life can be strange and asked for Schulz....

I had to take off work today because my toilet (new) overflowed twice early Tuesday morning sending a torrent down through the ceiling into the kitchen, where there was even more damage, so I had to call a plumber for today. It was a wax ring issue, but while I had him in the house, I had him put a new washer and handles in the kitchen sink, look at why my laundry tub keeps backing up into the washing machine (it's not a clogged sink thing, it's some valve thing he's coming back to fix," plus he worked on the bathtub and the bathroom sink, then tonight the toilet started backing up again, despite the replacement parts and recaulking, so I had to go out and buy a drum auger.

It turns out the plumber is into death metal and I let him go through the cd's and DVD's and take a bunch of stuff, just cause he was a nice guy. He flipped when he got to take a DVD of Lamb of God. Then when he was already out at his truck, getting ready to drive down to Annapolis and work on his back under a pier, on a special platform, under a marina base for the rest of the week.

Plus he's living where a gang just had a shootout in the house next to him and he desperately wants to move, I ran out and gave him a huge Snoopy stuffed head pillow and several plush Snoopys that I was going to sell, but I wanted to do something to make him feel better, and so Daddy could come home tonight and give his children these really nice playthings.

You just had to ask about Schulz, didn't you. So there's your Schulz. More you say? Ok. Schulz died when his last strip ran, and I hate to even begin to dig into the psychodynamics of any of that viz a viz how much his ego was tied to that cartoon strip; not even beginning to touch on Mr. United Feature Syndicate himself and how he sold those images to anyone for anything until the world became glutted with it.

You want MORE? Japanese girls are obsessed with Snoopy-San. You want MORE? They are constantly checking eBay for Snoopy cards and paper products.

You want MORE? The most expensive thing of Schulz I ever sold was a poster created specifically for NASA and the space program. Very rare.

That's enough about Schulz. I need to go use a drum auger.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

P.S. When I said I was talking about the Desert Eagle pistol today? That was my plumber. He also owns two collector's muscle cars, one of which I would die for. He said he went to a show out in Aberdeen, and some Japanese man threw his checkbook down on the hood of the car and said, "How much?" Told him he would pay him whatever he wanted. The car had belonged to his father, (still living,) and the plumber told him "I am never selling this car. Stop asking."

And Peanuts Gang? I hate them. I guess I've overdosed on them. There is one woman (several really) in the U.S. and all they collect are Woodstock. More? Lesbians love anything Peppermint Patty and Marcy (the girl who calls her "Sir.")

...and Phil? I'm not ignoring you and Bob Ross. I shouldn't have overlooked him in discussing art.

I have GOT to go mess with this drum auger. Enough. Goodnight.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Cube this is fabulous for so many reasons. My favorite artists also started out following all the rules, but later on eased up and just let the muses take them into the flow.

The paintings you've chosen are gorgeous, truly!

Drown in eternity, suckahs? You are SO funny!

10:02 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

p.s. I hate Peanuts, too.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Oh, oh. Now you've really pissed me off - talking ill of Peanuts and Sparky Schulz.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Phil: Tell it to the Red Baron.

10:37 PM  

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