Category Archives: art

RIP Mel Ramos (1935 – 2018)

Touché Boucher (1972-73) is an oil on canvas by Mel Ramos, is a pastiche of the Odalisque blonde by François Boucher.

Touché Boucher (1972-73) is an oil on canvas by Mel Ramos, is a pastiche of the Odalisque blonde by François Boucher.

Mel Ramos was an American painter, specializing in paintings of female nudes.

He was one of the pop art erotica artists noted for his ‘flat light’ photorealism.

He also interpreted the female nudes of European masters in paintings such as Touché Boucher (1972-73) [above], which is a pastiche of the Odalisque blonde by François Boucher.

One man’s junk is another’s man treasure

Researching Learning from Las Vegas occasioned by the death of Robert Venturi made me stumble upon God’s Own Junkyard [above].

Two pictures of that book are reproduced in Learning from Las VegasGod's Own Junkyard

God’s Own Junkyard is a work of cultural pessimism which laments the uglification of the United States landscape.

As happens so often, one man’s junk is another’s man treasure and the scenery decried in God’s Own Junkyard is glorified in Learning from Las Vegas.

RIP Paul Virilio (1932 – 2018)

Paul Virilio was a French theorist, urbanist, and aesthetic philosopher.

He is best known for his book Bunker Archeology (1975), a book I discovered one lonely night in Brussels spent with a young woman at her place. She had acquired it that same afternoon.

One of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall was photographed by myself in 2007 [1].

I’v yet to hold a copy of this book in my hands.

“War is good business – invest your son.”

GET UP, STAND UP![1] is the title of a wonderful exhibition held at the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art in Brussels, featuring numerous posters of the 1968-1973 civil protests across the West.

A sampling:

       

“Gone with the Wind, the film to end all films”, showing Reagan and Thatcher, a criticism of the atomic bomb.

“War is good business – invest your son”, a criticism of war.

“Milk in such containers may be unfit for human consumption”, a criticism of DDT.

“The age of nations is past, the task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the earth.” —Teilhard de Chardin, a criticism of nationalism.

A Roland Topor graphic on censorship used by Scanlan’s, criticism of Nixon.

A poster mentioning the “Chicago Seven trialG. Harold CarswellThe Cattonsville 9Jackson StateInvasion of CambodiaKent StateMy Lai MassacreAlaskan pipelineITT scandalWatergate Caper, 20,000 Americans dead, ? Asians dead, 26,000,000 bombs, General LavalleWheat ScandalUnemployment.”

Histoires d’A, On ne mendie pas un juste droit, on se bat pour lui (W. Reich), criticism of anticonception.

“Jesus was an only child”, criticism of anticonception. Correction: Jesus was apparently not an only child, he had brothers.

RIP Tom Wolfe (1930 – 2018)

Tom Wolfe was an American author and journalist widely known for his association with New Journalism, a style of news writing and journalism developed in the 1960s and 1970s that incorporated literary techniques.

The Painted Word (1975)

From Bauhaus to Our House (1981)

His best-known works are The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff but of interest to me are his essays.

The Painted Word (1975) and From Bauhaus to Our House (1981)

He wrote The Painted Word (1975) and From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), both critical of  high modernism and avant-gardism to the extent that they have been connected to the death of the avant-garde meme.

Rodin’s eroticism

Les dessins de Rodin, part 1

Les dessins de Rodin, part 2

While researching my thesis, I came across the text “Les Dessins de Rodin” (above), in which Arthur Symons says:

“The principle of Rodin‘s work is sex-a sex aware of itself, and expending energy desperately to reach an impossible goal.”

Also new to me was Rodin’s Iris, Messenger of the Gods  and “Rodin’s Reputation“, Anne Wagner’s deft article on it.

All my research on Rodin and eroticism can be found at Eros and Rodin.

 Spanish Still Life @ BOZAR

There is a wonderful exhibition in Brussels right now. Spanish Still Life – Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Miró has two Cotáns, apart from Zurbarán, the crème de la crème of still life.

Sadly, behind glass, but seeing this is such a blast.

Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber (1602) by Juan Sánchez Cotán. This is the central piece of the exhibition. Jaw-droppingly beautiful. Below detail of the cucumber.

Still Life with Fruit and Vegetables (c.1600) by Juan Sánchez Cotán. Another Cotan, a little too full to my liking but still a top work.

Still Life With Bream, Oranges, Garlic, Condiments, and Kitchen Utensils (1772) by Luis Egidio Meléndez (detail)

Vanitas (Goya’s Skull) (1849) by Dionisio Fierros. This painting has a nice phrenology story behind it. Kind of similar to what happened to Sade’s skull.

There were two Goya’s: Still Life with Golden Bream and one with a bird (I was  unable to find the title, it’s this one). There were no Zurbaráns. I would have paid the price of the entrance for the two Cotans alone.