THE ART OF DEATH VERSUS THE DEATH OF ART

Damien Hirst Humped The Shark:

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” (1991)

The arts are undergoing a crisis of relevance. People have been so alienated by the weird dysfunctions of the establishment art world for so long, there is little awareness of what is being advanced as the visual representations of our culture.

This stuff matters more than people know. Art shows us who we are, and it shows us how to be. Right now the arts are dominated by destructive nihilists. Look at what they do, to understand what the elites are trying to program as our way to live.

There is a longstanding artistic tradition of the momento mori: “remember you must die.”

The reality of our own mortality, and coming to terms with it, is a vital function of traditional art. Making something exquisite out of the way of all flesh is a transcendental act. It has been expressed in many ways. Throughout art history, skulls make appearances in paintings, on jewelry, on clocks and watches. Dutch masters painted beautifully naturalistic oil still lifes referred to as vanitas, which included images of bones, snuffed lamps, and hourglasses. They not only celebrated the refined talents of the painters, they implied pending decay.

Pieter Claesz “Vanitas Still Life” (1630) 

The tradition continued over the centuries. In a more recent example, Modernist American painter Georgia O’Keeffe utilized animal skulls and flowers to similar effect. It’s the kind of universal communication that makes art so powerful.

Georgia O’Keeffe “Summer Days” (1936) 

As Christians, we understand our true life is not limited to this earth, but is life eternal granted by the grace of the Son of God. Still, awareness of the briefness of our time here on earth is a powerful motivator. “I am writing this book because we’re all going to die,” mused Beat author Jack Kerouac. He was determined to deliver his story as a supplication to the Lord. Kerouac wanted to make something holy out of all his striving, opening himself to God before the darkness came.

Contemporary art has a different message for us: death as something awkward, gross, and shameful. This is typified by the richest living artist in the world: Damien Hirst.

Choke Artist: Damian Hirst

Hirst has been well rewarded for making death seem supreme. It’s said this hack is worth $1 billion. What put British artist Hirst on the fast track in the first place could be seen as a momento mori of a kind, but with some important caveats.

Hirst was trying to make that connection in his title. Called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, the 1991 piece was a fourteen foot long taxidermied tiger shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde. Since its creation it has changed hands several times, for a price suggested to be as high as $12 million.

Now, Hirst did not catch the shark. He did not stuff the shark. He did not build the tank, or suspend the beast in it. He is a “Conceptual artist.” The idea of Conceptual art is all the artist needs is to have the idea. Others execute it, often by just putting some already existing item like a shark into a new context of a gallery or museum. The artist then acts as a well-networked and “controversial” spokesmodel for their commercialized brand. This business model was most visibly pioneered by Pop artist Andy Warhol, who made some vanitas himself.

Andy Warhol “Skull” (1976)

While Warhol usually sold product placements and celebrity portraits, HIrst’s brand is carcasses. It’s claimed nearly 1 million animals have been processed through his industrial scale artistic abattoir, ranging from butterflies to zebras. He’s advanced from having them merely displayed; they are sliced, diced, contorted and flayed, as per his “vision.” As Hirst has callously stated, he wants to “kill things in order to look at them,” and “Cut us in half, we’re all the fucking same.”

Damien Hirst “Piggy” 

I don’t claim any special virtue for myself. I’m a happy meat eater, and I understand what that means. But what Hirst promotes is far from the traditional momento mori of art. There’s no acknowledgement of the urgency of human experience, the profound significance of life in the face of its certain end. The hands off approach from its originator removes the spiritual resonance of creation in spite of destruction. Hirst implies we are just meat to be manipulated and exploited. It’s an ugly and empty message.

Hirst doesn’t even provide quality in the work he has done in his name. Despite the hype, I’ve seen descriptions of encounters with the shark which say what was once was a magnificent animal looks about as impactful as an overstuffed sofa, lost in the white void of the museum. The original shark rotted away in its tank, and had to be replaced. The contemporary art market is place of such cognitive dissonance there is a hearty debate on whether swapping the shark out meant the artwork was now worthless.

My take? It was worthless in the first place.

Hirst seems to have gotten into the carrion business because he lacks real artistic talent or discernment. After Hirst became a brand name, when he wanted to come up with a mass production way to cash in, he produced the inane spot paintings. I can’t picture a bigger failure in imagination or interest than these generic Twister rip offs. Still, thousands of these have been cranked out by hired help, selling for tens of thousands of dollars each. It’s a way for tasteless but wealthy patrons to partake in Hirst’s rotten prestige in a sterile way, without worrying about formaldehyde leaks.

Damien Hirst

Some People Actually Pay For This: A Hirst Spot Painting

Hirst is still flogging dead horses and more to maintain his top tier art market status. His latest gimmick is ironically putting paint onto a canvas himself, though I wouldn’t go so far as to grace the efforts with the status of paintings.

Spotty Accomplishments: Hirst Cherry Blossoms

Ultimately elites celebrate artists like Hirst because they have a death wish: they wish the rest of us would die, or at least be as passive as corpses while the powerful abuse and pillage our society. The establishment contributes to our destruction by replacing art with icons of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual deterioration.

A previous version of this article appeared in The Masculinist.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: ANDY WARHOL AND NICO DRESSED UP AS BATMAN AND ROBIN, 1966

Art world links which caught my eye…

Favorite live Action Bat-Suit? - Batman - Comic Vine

What Costume Will the Poor Girl Wear to All Tomorrow’s Parties? Nico and Warhol as Batman and Robin

A little 60s cosplay from art scene icon Andy Warhol and singer Nico, for Esquire magazine.

The Batman TV series had taken to the airwaves in the start of 1966. Before the year was out, it would spawn a feature movie. Almost certainly the caped crusader was on everyone’s lips that year; as we all know, the show is simply a supreme example of kid-friendly absurdism that even something like Pee-wee’s Playhouse can’t quite touch. Warhol was interested in Batman as a subject of pop art. In addition to the image above, there was also his 1964 movie Batman Dracula, which is said to be the first camp treatment of Batman.

The photographer who took the pics was Frank Bez. One of the images was used in an interesting little feature called “Remember the Sixties?” It seems likely that this was the introductory page for a series of photographs. The point of the feature was how incredibly much of note had been squeezed into just six years of our nation’s history, which is the exact thing that we all think when we think about that era. The really strange thing is that from our perspective, they were just getting going, the next five years or so would be incredibly active on the cultural front.

Read the full article here: DANGEROUS MINDS – ANDY WARHOL AND NICO DRESSED UP AS BATMAN AND ROBIN, 1966

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: A prized $400 million art collection given to Seattle Art Museum goes on view

Art world links which caught my eye…

A portrait of Jane Lang Davis by Andy Warhol greets art lovers at the entrance to the exhibit “Frisson: The Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection” at Seattle Art Museum. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Andy Warhol “Jane Lang Davis”

It began simply enough: with the wife’s desire to decorate a new home. It lead to an art collection worth $400 million. Now the works have been donated to the Seattle Art Museum.

“It’s a chance to peek at the midcentury art movement not through the eyes of scholars, but the eyes of people who looked carefully and only bought what they loved.” – The Seattle Times

“Frisson: The Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection” opens 10/15 and The Seattle Times is giving the scoop on what viewers can expect. The landmark Lang Collection gift by the Friday Foundation is comprised of 19 outstanding artworks that transform SAM’s holdings of postwar art. 

Lee Krasner’s 1960 work “Night Watch” was painted during a long season of insomnia after several heavy losses, including the death of her husband,  Jackson Pollock. It’s part of SAM’s “Frisson” exhibit. (Spike Mafford / Zocalo Studios)

Lee Krasner “Night Watch”

See the full article here: SEATTLE TIMES – A prized $400 million art collection given to Seattle Art Museum goes on view

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: There’s a Tiny Art Museum on the Moon That Features the Art of Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg

Art world links which caught my eye…

One Small Step For Art: The Apollo 12 Ceramic Wafer

Turns out art and photographs, in the form of tiny ceramic wafers, were smuggled into 1969’s Apollo 12 lander. They were hidden in the portion left behind when the manned capsule took off back to Earth. As far as anyone knows, there is art on the moon.

It’s a shame it isn’t better art, though.

As you can see, the six kept it minimal. Rauschenberg drew a single line. Abstract artist Novros created a black square with intersecting white lines that look like a circuit board. Sculptor Chamberlain also created a geometric shape like circuitry. Oldenburg left his signature, which at the time resembled an old Mickey Mouse. Myers, who initiated the project, drew a “linked symbol.” And Andy Warhol drew a “stylized signature” but let’s be honest, it’s a penis. Yes, Warhol put a dick pic on the moon.

Read the full article here: OPEN CULTURE – There’s a Tiny Art Museum on the Moon That Features the Art of Andy Warhol & Robert Rauschenberg

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

Artist Quotes About America

Reposted from July 3, 2017 

Thornton Dial “Don’t Matter How Raggly The Flag, It Still Got To Tie Us Together”

“If we going to change the world, we got to look at the little man.”

Thornton Dial

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Happy Independence Day!

In large part, the creative classes are saturated in globalist propaganda. The institutional indoctrination is very thorough, and of course most funding opportunities rely on conforming to the elitist gentry agenda.  Sad!

However, there are examples of artists who spoke their minds about the fantastic nature of the American experience. In the United States our culture is currently experiencing the death throes of manipulative, oppressive Postmodernism. As we enter the new era of Remodernism, the return of art as a revelation, expect to see more artists express the ethos of liberty in deeds, words and pictures.

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Andy Warhol “Van Heusen (Ronald Reagan)”

“I met someone on the street who said wasn’t it great that we’re going to have a movie star for president, that it was so Pop, and when you think about it like that, it is great, it’s so American.”

-Andy Warhol

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Thomas Eakins “The Champion Single Sculls”

“Of course, it is well to go abroad and see the works of the old masters, but Americans… must strike out for themselves, and only by doing this will we create a great and distinctly American art.”

-Thomas Eakins

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Arthur Dove “Me and the Moon”

“What constitutes American painting?… things may be in America, but it’s what is in the artist that counts. What do we call ‘American’ outside of painting? Inventiveness, restlessness, speed, change..”

-Arthur Dove

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Jacob Lawrence “The Migration Series Panel 58”


“Maybe…humanity to you has been reduced to the sterility of the line, the cube, the circle, and the square; devoid of all feeling, cold and highly esoteric. If this is so, I can well understand why you cannot portray the true America. It is because you have lost all feeling for man.”

-Jacob Lawrence

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Willem De Kooning “Dark Pond”

“I feel sometimes an American artist must feel, like a baseball player or something – a member of a team writing American history.”

-Willem De Kooning

.

Georgia O’Keeffe “Cow Skull: Red, White and Blue”

“One can not be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work.”

-Georgia O’Keeffe

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Jack Kerouac “Untitled”

“I felt like a million dollars; I was adventuring in the crazy American night.”

-Jack Kerouac

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Grant Wood “Stone City, Iowa”

“I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa.”

-Grant Wood

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Richard Bledsoe “The Pop Star”

Remodernism is the latest iteration of the American character: ordinary people working as explorers and inventors, optimistic, self-reliant and productive.”

-Richard Bledsoe

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Remodernism is not a style of art, it is a form of motivation. We express the universal language of inspired humanity.

We do not imitate what came before. We find in ourselves the same divine essence of love and excitement which has inspired masterpieces throughout history. We are strengthened by drawing on traditions thousands of years old.

We integrate the bold, visionary efforts of the Modern era into a holistic, meaningful expression of contemporary life. Remodernism seeks a humble maturity which heals the fragmentation and contradictions of Modernism, and obliterates the narcissistic lies of Postmodernism.

Remodernism is the return of art as a revelation.

**************

I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: Video – Andy Warhol meets Andy Kaufman by Bob Zmuda

Art world links which caught my eye…

An anecdote about two Andys: Warhol and Kaufman, and the surprising thing they bonded over.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: How Andy Warhol Came to Paint Campbell’s Soup Cans

Art world links which caught my eye…

Campell's soup can by Andy Warhol

He was talented and prosperous, but the young visionary worried the art world had left him behind. Then he discovered soup.

See the whole article here: SMITHSONIAN – How Andy Warhol Came to Paint Campbell’s Soup Cans

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art Christmas Cards

An Andy Warhol Angel 

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“Andy was a Catholic, the ethic ran through his bones/

He lived alone with his mother, collecting gossip and toys/

Every Sunday when he went to church/

He’d kneel in his pew and he’d say/

“It’s just work, all that matters is work.” 

-Lou Reed, from Songs for Drella

 

It’s true. Pop artist Andy Warhol, the legendary, ironically blank scenester, was also a devoutly religious man. He attended church faithfully, volunteered in soup kitchens, and made a late body of Christian themed works that have been largely overlooked by the hostilely secular art world.

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Warhol Meets Pope John Paul II, 1980 

As a person of faith, Warhol used his artistic skills to celebrate Christmas. Before Andy found fame in the gallery scene, he was a successful commercial artist. From 1956-1962 he produced box sets of Christmas cards sold by Tiffany’s. He rendered these as quirky doodles, far removed from the slick screen  prints he’s known for.

Here are just a few examples of Warhol’s holiday spirit.

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c

Christmas

Christmas

Christmas Cards 

 

As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, Warhol left a mixed legacy:

“As the prophet of the Postmodern, Warhol was another harbinger of the mess of a culture we are currently slogging through. It’s not his fault. Do you blame a reporter for the news he covers? The cultural traits Warhol portrayed didn’t start with him. He fulfilled the role of the artist giving us foresight into the culture’s momentum.”

1978: Truman Capote and Andy Warhol Celebrate the Season

Maybe a Little Too High Spirited 

But I like to think behind the facade of celebrity and detachment, there was the real human Andy, who celebrated Christ’s birth with sincere joy.

Merry Christmas!

An Andy Warhol Nativity 

 

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a paintingPlease send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you! 

 

 

COMMENTARY: 1962 – The Changing of the Avant-Garde

 

Andy Warhol, 1962

“As disturbing as it was, we continued with the Pop generation, which in the meantime has made its own reputation.”

-Sidney Janis, American gallerist, 1896-1989

*Update: Richard Bledsoe will be offline for an extended period due to an unexpected medical situation. I am Richard’s wife, Michele Bledsoe – and for the interim I will act as his hands and eyes. 

The following is a section from a major work-in-progress about art and culture Richard is writing. 

1962 was the end of the Modern Art era. Much like the Salon des Refusés ushered in the Modern Era in 1863, it was another art show that gave evidence of a definitive shift in the culture.

The influences had been gathering for years, before coming together in a definitive event. In this case the tipping point was an art show located in a temporarily rented store front – a pop-up gallery, we would say these days.

The International Exhibition of the New Realists opened on October 31, organized by New York City gallerist Sidney Janis. With this show, the Postmodern era had arrived.

International Exhibition of the New Realists, 1962

We’ve come to call it Pop art, the opening gambit of the generational shift in art and culture the Janis show encapsulated. It featured future superstars Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claus Oldenburg, Yves Kline, Christo, and many others.

The reigning dominant critic Clement Greenberg’s grip has slipped. His preference for abstraction had dominated the 1950s art world. After the exile of representational art, it was back with a vengeance, but also with a twist.

Pop art was easy to like. On the surface it was bright and playful; instant gratification art. It aspired not to inspire, but to be ironic. The recognizable imagery depicted was coming not directly from life, but was reproduced from the filtered and stylized presentations of industrial mass media: advertising, Hollywood, newspapers, comic books and television. From its inception, The Postmodern era was informed by the illusions, distortions, and manipulations these mediums employed.  Postmodernism is very useful for those who have something to hide.

But back in 1962, it was a scary Halloween for Janis’s existing stable of abstract expressionist studs. Some of the biggest names in Modern painting quit his gallery after the audacious show. Departing artists Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, and Adolph Gottlieb had struggled for decades in obscurity before the agendas inflicted on the art world turned in their favor. For a brief time, they were the pinnacle. But in the early 1960s a new set of ideas was rising.

The art on display in The New Realists show was not just another variation on Modernist priorities, another facet of Modernism’s typical fragmentation. The new way was basically a repudiation of everything the aging Modernists thought they stood for.

I select this Janis show as the Postmodern starting point because of its consequences. The changing of the guard was plain for all to see in the tempest in a teapot scale of the art world. The Action painters were driven to take action, but it was already too late.

Displaced: Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko

Artist Quotes About America

 

Thornton Dial “Don’t Matter How Raggly The Flag, It Still Got To Tie Us Together”

“If we going to change the world, we got to look at the little man.”

Thornton Dial

.

Happy Independence Day!

In large part, the creative classes are saturated in globalist propaganda. The institutional indoctrination is very thorough, and of course most funding opportunities rely on conforming to the elitist gentry agenda.  Sad!

However, there are examples of artists who spoke their minds about the fantastic nature of the American experience. In the United States our culture is currently experiencing the death throes of manipulative, oppressive Postmodernism. As we enter the new era of Remodernism, the return of art as a revelation, expect to see more artists express the ethos of liberty in deeds, words and pictures.

.

Andy Warhol “Van Heusen (Ronald Reagan)”

“I met someone on the street who said wasn’t it great that we’re going to have a movie star for president, that it was so Pop, and when you think about it like that, it is great, it’s so American.”

-Andy Warhol

.

Thomas Eakins “The Champion Single Sculls”

“Of course, it is well to go abroad and see the works of the old masters, but Americans… must strike out for themselves, and only by doing this will we create a great and distinctly American art.”

-Thomas Eakins

.

Arthur Dove “Me and the Moon”

“What constitutes American painting?… things may be in America, but it’s what is in the artist that counts. What do we call ‘American’ outside of painting? Inventiveness, restlessness, speed, change..”

-Arthur Dove

.

Jacob Lawrence “The Migration Series Panel 58”


“Maybe…humanity to you has been reduced to the sterility of the line, the cube, the circle, and the square; devoid of all feeling, cold and highly esoteric. If this is so, I can well understand why you cannot portray the true America. It is because you have lost all feeling for man.”

-Jacob Lawrence

.

Willem De Kooning “Dark Pond”

“I feel sometimes an American artist must feel, like a baseball player or something – a member of a team writing American history.”

-Willem De Kooning

.

Georgia O’Keeffe “Cow Skull: Red, White and Blue”

“One can not be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work.”

-Georgia O’Keeffe

.

Jack Kerouac “Untitled”

“I felt like a million dollars; I was adventuring in the crazy American night.”

-Jack Kerouac

.

Grant Wood “Stone City, Iowa”

“I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa.”

-Grant Wood

.

Richard Bledsoe “The Pop Star”

Remodernism is the latest iteration of the American character: ordinary people working as explorers and inventors, optimistic, self-reliant and productive.”

-Richard Bledsoe