Louis Clark was an English music arranger and keyboard player, best-known for his series of kitsch masterpieces Hooked on Classics, disco-reinterpretations of classical music.
And the first covid-19 victims start to come in.
While the essay references Googie architecture and the kitsch of the roadside attraction, it fails to cite God’s Own Junkyard (1964).
It also fails to foreshadow the positive view of kitsch in Learning from Las Vegas (1972).
While in general I don’t ‘do’ negative criticism, I’m making an exception for the man from Köningsberg [the town where he was born and where he died and which he never left].
Innocence (1893) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Being charmed and moved, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Not for Kant it would appear.
And then I remembered one of my favorite definitions of aesthetics.
“Some of the meaning of aesthetic as an adjective can be illuminated by comparing it to anaesthetic, which is by construction an antonym of aesthetic. If something is anaesthetic, it tends to dull the senses, cause sleepiness and induce boredom. In contrast, aesthetic may be thought of as anything that tends to enliven or invigorate or wake one up.”
A matter of life and death, so to speak.
Unite these three and you get Pompeo Batoni‘s uncanny painting Il Sacro Cuore (above), a depiction of Jesus who is holding his Sacred Heart in one hand and pointing to it with another. The work has become a staple of Christian art and the flaming and bleeding heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, surrounded by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, is familiar not to Christians alone.
In all honesty, when I say kitsch, I’m not being fair to Batoni, since his original work (an oval portrait) is far less kitschy than the campy paintings that are derived from the original.
The visual trope of the sacred heart (with flames and blood) originates in a mystical vision by the French nun Margaret Mary Alacoque, who in 1674, described one of her visions:
- “The Divine Heart was presented to me in a throne of flames, more brilliant than a sun, transparent as crystal, with this adorable wound. And it was surrounded with a crown of thorns, signifying the punctures made in it by our sins, and a cross above signifying that from the first instant of His Incarnation, […] the cross was implanted into it […].”
Jesus holding out his own heart reminds me of Denis, the patron Saint of Paris, holding his own head in his hands after he was decapitated.
One of the finest versions of the Sacred Heart is the frontispiece to De Culto Sacro Sancti Cordis Dei (above), 1726 by Charles-Joseph Natoire.
it unites art and anatomy and reminds me of Goats & Heart (Ventriculi quatuor Caprilli) [image], a highlight from my days at Tumblr.
Let’s make some room for bad taste.
Enter Lolo Ferrari.
Lolo Ferrari, born Eve Valois (February 9, 1968 – March 5, 2000) was the stage name of a French dancer, actress, and singer billed as “the woman with the largest breasts in the world” though their size was artificially achieved. In 1995, she caused a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival with the presentation of the movie Camping Cosmos by Jan Bucquoy.
Camping Cosmos is a comedy film by Belgian director Jan Bucquoy, starring Lolo Ferrari. We see Belgians on holiday in a trailer park at the beach in the year 1986 with the first danger signals of AIDS. The purpose of the campsite entertainer is to bring culture to the common people; but they are not interested when the play of Bertolt Brecht Mother Courage and Her Children is shown. Then he launches a beauty contest, a song contest and a boxing match
In Camping Cosmos Lolo Ferrari comes out of the sea as an Aphrodite with the song of “Land of Hope and Glory” and having her first orgasm with the comic Tintin in the Congo. The influence of Jacques Lacan is imminent: Sex is the little Death. Arno Hintjens and Jan Decleir are a homosexual couple. The protest of the younger generation (Eve and her boyfriend) supposedly refers to Traité du savoir-vivre à l’usage des jeunes générations by Raoul Vaneigem. A character cites Louis Scutenaire and détournement publicitaire à la Marcel Mariën is used. Both were Belgian surrealists.
The film is awful but aged 34 and feeling you haven’t seen everything yet and after all, you are from Belgium, and you see it anyway. You rent it a second time (you must be bored) and thankfully the video store clerk alerts you to your mistake.
Introducing Lisa Yuskavage
Lisa Yuskavage (Born May 16, 1962 in Philadelphia) is a contemporary American figurative painter. She is a controversial painter with loaded subject matter such as that has been referred to as “outrageous quasi-pornographic sirens” and “anatomically impossible bimbos” as they mock the male desires of male fantasy.
Lisa Yuskavage attended Tyler School of Art and received her MFA from Yale in 1986 but came to prominence in the mid-nineties in a series of seminal museum shows “Figure as Fiction” (1993) Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; “My Little Pretty” (1997) Museum of contemporary Art, Chicago; “Presumed Innocence” (1997) “Pop Surrealism” (1998) Aldrich Museum; “The Nude in Contemporary Art” (1999).