The Art Renewal Salon: 2006
This is the kind of show that no bourgeois Brahmin would ever curate
(so it would never appear in any major museum,
although something like it is now circulating among those small,
unclean midwestern cities that are beneath Brahmin contempt)
(Note: I'm applying the caste system recently
presented here by an internet savant named "Mencius Moldbug"
I haven't really given this schema
a whole lot of thought,
but isn't the internet, if nothing else,
the best place to try out half-baked ideas?)
So, continuing on a Moldbug line of thought,
The Art Renewal Center(ARC)
is un-apologettically Vaisya - where:
"status among Vaisya men is conferred by productive employment,
generally defined in monetary terms"
Indeed, they're secular evangelical Vaisya's,
i.e. Ayn Rand objectivists,
and their artistic catechism reads as follows:
The artist takes elements of reality and rearranges them in such a way that he makes perceivable an idea, a concept, an impression of the world. In other words, it is the artist, a human being, who is doing the selecting - not nature and not chance.
..where the convincing/accurate representation of that
"element of reality"
is the special, technical skill that is required.
.... because the Renaissance project is still ongoing --- i.e.,
in the words of John Berger
Oil painting, before it was anything else, was a celebration of private property. As an art-form it derived from the principle that you are what you have.
Oh, how those Vaisyas love their private property !
and how firmly they protest that
catechism of early Modernism:
Oil painting, before it is anything else, is marks on a flat surface
Despite being a certain kind of Brahmin myself
(the peasant kind -- who lives in remote areas)
I like private property, too,
and the paintings that I enjoy
can easily be said
to be more than just marks on a surface
The consequence of making
prior to making a visual arrangement
is usually (but we can't say always)
for which the ARC Salon
provides more than ample
(and more than tolerable)
Following the example of Sir Gawain, however,
nothing ugly will be shown on this site.
So.. what I am showing are my picks from
among winners and finalists of that online exhibit.
(too bad the thousands of losers weren't online as well,
I probably would have liked some of them as well)
The sculpture was all a disaster,
(i.e. zero sensitivity to visual design/impact)
and the drawing nearly so...
(as they made their fearful, meticulous charcoal renderings)
and most of the paintings were far worse (more insipid and lifeless)
than the photographs which they imitate
but foremost among the painters
I enjoyed Evan Wilson
Here's the Evan Wilson to which
ARC gave the highest marks.
It's got that big bedspread
fresh from a photo-display
in a mail-order catalog
(and I'm sure it's top-of-the-line)
That's why they like it ...
but that ugly little kid turns me off.
I enjoyed the effects of the first two
much more -- where the design is
actually making the scene interesting
(rather than just pleasantly acceptable)
Especially that girl at the top,
(especially in contrast to the fabrics)
(pulling that knee over her groin)
makes her feel so real to me..
so I can actually imagine myself in
the space with her
(and that's what I want from all landscapes --
Here's another un-approachable,
(who's not just a model in the studio)
..and that's why I like her
("don't touch me or I'll tear your head off")
I'm giving this landscape the benefit of the doubt,
since I didn't like any of the other landscapes,
and I'm hoping that in person,
that sharp foreground/blurred background
would make the space large and inviting
(and maybe it wouldn't look so purplish)
And I'm liking this fine example
of American magazine illustration,
because, of course, it's selling something,
but god knows what.
I just have to smile every time I see it.
While I like this illustration for similar reasons,
i.e. it's telling a story,
and seems to be full of conviction,
(the title is "Exodus")
but god knows what it's all about.
(though anything that happens in the piazza
in front of an old Italian church
has got to be important)
Wait! --- there was one more landscape
that I liked,
and this was it --
by the dean of American pastel painters,
and I like how it feels
to look through the eyes of
my parents' generation
A tribute to the
blue collar Vaisyas ?
OK -- I'll buy it,
they look both frumpy and important,
(because their tools/materials
are more important than they are)
I like these epiphanies
in the forest,
they feel so Russian,
(and so much like my art
club's very own Rose Frantzen)
Or.. maybe I just like
it's goofy space
(and it is pretty goofy..
I don't think it's three dimensional..
maybe four-or-five dimensional ?..
but at least it's been felt,
which distinguishes it from
all the paintings that I'm not
going to show you)
This was ARC's grand prize winner
..and it is a nice, clean, bright,
(African Americans in church ?
that's where they should be !)
but it feels
just a bit tight, small, and dead to me
(I keep wanting it to break out
and get crazy -- like those Haitian
paintings -- that really do feel
like Africans in church)