DAILY ART FIX: THERE’S NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THESE PAINTED COMICS

In August 2021, I became a contributor to The Masculinist, a website exploring men, faith, and culture.

From August 9, 2021: THERE’S NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THESE PAINTED COMICS

Okay Hot-Shot, Okay!, 1963

Roy Lichtenstein “Okay Hot Shot, Okay” 1963 80” x 68” Photograph [Fair Use] Wikiart

I was a huge fan of the comic Calvin and Hobbes back in the day. As an artist, I especially enjoyed the commentary creator Bill Watterson periodically injected about art world pretensions.

In one example, the boy and his tiger exchange a dialogue describing different assumptions about art. Acting as a mouthpiece for creative class attitudes, Calvin describes a painting on a wall as moving, enriching, and sublime high art. He then looks at a newspaper comic, which he states are juvenile, commercial hack work – low art.

However, in the next frame Calvin contemplates a painting of a comic strip panel; this, he asserts, is sophisticated, ironic, and philosophical high art.

When Hobbes inquires what a cartoon of a painting of a comic strip would be, Calvin defaults back to claiming it is sophomoric, sterile low art.

This is a comic strip as a Mobius strip, a perfect little meta-package. It’s more effective, insightful, and telling than a whole museum-load of what passes for art these days.

Read the whole article here: THE MASCULINIST – THERE’S NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THESE PAINTED COMICS

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

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: Before Roy Lichtenstein Went Pop

Art world links which caught my eye…

The artist wearing a hat sits at his easel painting an abstract work.

Roy Lichtenstein “Self Portrait with Easel” circa 1951-1952

Roy Lichtenstein is best known for his paintings that look like comic book panels. But before he hit on the formula that brought him fame and fortune, he experimented with a body of work which frankly seems a lot more interesting.

In fact, almost the whole of Lichtenstein’s pre-Pop œuvre consists of boyish renderings of boyish enthusiasms: battle scenes, mechanical devices, cowboys and Indians, medieval knights, pilots, deep-sea divers (probably inspired by magazine coverage of the scuba diver Jacques Cousteau). There is a brief stretch of pure abstraction late in the decade, although that work, too, seems like a pastiche or an imitation of abstract painting. By 1958, you start seeing the face of Mickey Mouse, and you sense that landfall is near.

An exhibit of these early works is currently on tour.

Read the full article here: THE NEW YORKER – Before Roy Lichtenstein Went Pop

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

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!

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

ARTICLE: Can You Get Away With It? Then It Was Probably Art This Year

Spaced

The art world is Spaced out

GIVING CON ARTISTS A BAD NAME: Article on Can You Get Away With It? Then It Was Probably Art This Year

Lots of what’s wrong with the art world is touched on in the article linked above, albeit somewhat unwittingly.

The assumption that art isn’t something worth being passionate and committed about: “Can you imagine anyone in today’s art world getting that worked up?”

The emphasis on marketing: “If there are trends, they appear to be more about the presentation of the art and how it’s consumed than about content”

Cloying elitism: “Everyone who is anyone – meaning collectors and curators – is always jetting off somewhere else to see and buy.”

Attempted accountability dodging by artists: “…new artists are sidling up to their own buzzword: provisional.”

Sycophantic emphasis on insider power games: “Koons is in a position…to demand whatever he wants from the art-world infrastructure.”

A jaded attitude towards towards the irrelevant train wreck the visual arts have become in our culture: “These days, diffidence is the default aesthetic response…”

What the author is describing is the decadent behavior of a tiny clique that has declared itself “the art world.” They presume to speak for us all, and this arrogance, weakness, hedging, brown nosing, and posing is what they have to offer?

Pathetic. We can do much better than this.

The author, James Adams, begins the article with a little anecdote about painter Willem De Kooning angrily confronting Andy Warhol about the evil banality of Pop Art. The author’s intent was to illustrate how out of touch De Kooning was.

I see in this vapid little puff piece of establishment flattery as the equivalent of De Kooning’s tirade. The cultural momentum in the 1960s was shifting from Modernism to Postmodernism, and the old guard were trying to shore up their status against the newcomers, to no avail.

The same dynamic is unfolding now, as the delusions of Postmodernism fail and fade, reduced to a mere conceptual trinket for cloistered, pretentious intellectuals. The rise of Remodernism engages art with the mass audience again, celebrating creativity as an expression of spiritual connection and communion. The empty mind games of Postmodernism don’t stand a chance in comparison to the return of art as a means joyous universal communication.

So the author, part of the contemporary old guard, does his best beta male version of an attack: a passive aggressive paean to how ironic and cool he and his cronies are.

He might sneer about De Kooning rolling over in his grave, but James Adams and Postmodern apologists of his ilk are the ones whistling past the graveyard now.