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

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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

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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

 

 

PAINTINGS: A Year Later in Tangier I Heard She Was Dead

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Richard Bledsoe “A Year Later in Tangier I Heard She was Dead”

acrylic on canvas 12″ x 12″

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The genre was once referred to as History Painting, and it was considered the highest form of artistic expression. For hundreds of years, ambitious artists poured their skills into epic works which depicted scenes from not only history, but from religion, mythology, and literature as well.

The Modern Art era did a lot to sever visual art from this traditional engagement with story telling. This was a huge mistake.There’s nothing to be gained from trying to substitute theoretical intellectual stylings for the passion, drama and resonance of imagery inspired from narrative, whether derived from reality or imagination.

The Remodernist artist is a story teller, visually defining essential moments in the never ending action of the world, the mind, and the spirit.

A few years back I launched into a series of paintings inspired by a favorite book: Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs. Its controversial reputation obscures many of the elements that I really enjoy about it. It’s totally disjointed and incoherent compared to a conventional novel, but amongst the fragments it is built from are elements of hard boiled noir mysteries, adventure tales, paranoid science fiction, wicked humor, cheap porno, and most poignantly, autobiography.

Burroughs was the black sheep son of wealthy parents. His drug habits and homosexuality kept him in trouble and on the run in the 1940s and 1950s. He and his common-law wife Joan Vollmer wound up in Mexico City. In 1951 an awful event occurred. While they were wasted and partying, Burroughs suggested to Joan it was time for “their William Tell routine.” Joan put a glass on top of her head. Burroughs tried to shoot it off and missed, hitting and killing Joan instead. It was a stupid spontaneous act that haunted Burroughs for the rest of his days. He fled to Morocco and sank into severe addiction. It was in this deranged state he wrote the rambling pages that his friend  Jack Kerouac later assembled at random and typed into the manuscript that became Naked Lunch.

Many of my “Naked Lunch” paintings are crude, rough, and unfinished, which suits the subject matter. I flipped through the book, and just like Burroughs wrote by scrambling random words together, I pulled out random quotes to base my paintings on.

“A Year Later in Tangier I Heard She was Dead” is the best of the series, so far. Painted a few years ago, I remember how moved I was by the quote when I read it. I read into it the futility of denial, and how truth and remembrance must have kept getting through to Burroughs even through his drug haze. It’s haunting, and I feel this painting captures the same sense of sadness and accusation.

ART QUOTES: Henry Miller

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Henry Miller “The Procession”

One of my favorite writers is Henry Miller. I came to his work after absorbing the books of a whole generation he influenced, the Beats.

I continue to love the works of Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, but when I discovered Miller I found out who set the example they followed. Henry Miller surpasses them all with the exuberance of his language, his powerful imagery, his inventive obscenities, and some really thoughtful philosophic musings.

Not only did Miller write, he loved to paint as well. His observations on art and creativity are spectacular. It’s rare to find someone who can articulate the largely nonverbal process of art with such insight.

Here is a sample of Miller’s commentary,  from Book 1 of his roman à clef trilogy, The Rosy Crucifixion:

Art isn’t a solo performance; it’s a symphony in the dark with millions of participants and millions of listeners. The enjoyment of a beautiful thought is nothing to the joy of giving it expression – permanent expression. In fact, it’s almost a sheer impossibility to refrain from giving expression to a great thought. We’re only instruments of a greater power. We’re creators by permission, by grace, as it were. No one creates alone, of and by himself. An artist is an instrument that registers something already existent, something which belongs to the whole world and which, if he is an artist, he is compelled to give back to the world. To keep one’s beautiful ideas to oneself would be like being a virtuoso and sitting in an orchestra with hands folded.

-Henry Miller, Sexus

PERFORMANCE: “Don’t Touch That Dial” Spoken Word at First Studio

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Virginia Ross “How to Watch TV”

Don’t Touch That Dial-An Evening of Spoken Word

January 16, 2015 7pm Admission is Free

“Under Television Skies”  Third Friday Reception 6pm-10pm  

FIRST STUDIO 631 N 1st Ave Phoenix, Arizona 85003

The art exhibit Under Television Skies has been a wonderful event.  But during the January Third Friday reception, a whole different form of the arts will be represented when First Studio presents “Don’t Touch That Dial,” an evening of spoken word performance.

Once upon a time network television was the dominant force of media in this country, monopolizing communal communications and perceptions. Such limited choice seems quaint these days. Participating poet Shawnte Orion mused on how times have changed. “Before internet reduced the wide world to the convenient click of a mouse, we were tenuously connected to people on the other side of the country who also liked and followed the same television shows we were watching at thirty instagrams per second,” he observes.

Making use of the historic studio floor of the space, the performers of “Don’t Touch That Dial” will pay tribute to the vanishing age of television. The poets include: Manuel Arenas, Richard Bledsoe, Bill Campana, Jack Evans, Jeff Falk, Neil Gearns, Heather Smith-Gearns, Judy Green-Davis, Philip Haldiman, Trish Justrish, Deborah Berman-Montano, Joe Montano III, Ian Murdock, Shawnte Orion, Tracy Thomas, and more!

Although mass market TV tended towards lowest common denominator entertainment, every now and then a genuine work of art would slip in. Here is one of those moments of unexpected grace from 1959, when author Jack Kerouac performed accompanied by Steve Allen’s piano improvisations.