"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Monday, 30 June 2008

Painting for Joy at the Cornell Museum and Jasper Johns and Carol Diehl on Art

Winter Park is lucky to have quite a few museums and most we have visited but one we had never quite got round to was the Cornell Museum of Fine Arts which is on the campus of Rollins College. Yesterday we rectified that. There is an elegant exhibition space on the extensive campus, over looking one of Orlando's many lakes. They have exhibits old and new, beautifully displayed and with the added attraction of few people......but really this is just an excuse to share this painting with you. It comes from the current exhibition "Painting for Joy" ( what a great title) which showcases the work of nine contemporary Japanese artists.

This big painting " Dog" 65 x 53 inches by Takanobu Kobayashi is just adorable.



There is also an exhibition "Corps Exquis" exploring images of the body from different periods with an extraordinary film of Vanessa Beecroft's "VB55" installation of 100 women, naked from the waist up standing in a gallery for 3 hours staged in Berlin in 200. It is a strange and moving film (see a youtube video here ) accompanied by Mozart's Requiem. (but as the very enlightened lady guide so rightly said.. "you couldn't show this in Orlando. This is a very conservative state")
More about Cornell and their exhibitions here and no doubt I will be going back there.

Also today, a quote from Jasper Johns telling it how it is about creativity without, mercifully, the need to fall into appalling contemporary artspeak.

"It's simple. You just take something, and then you do something to it. Then you do something else to it. And then something else. Keep this up and pretty soon you've got something."

A couple of months ago there was a big commotion when the artist and art writer Carol Diehl dared to draw attention to the 'emperors new clothes' syndrome of the art "writers" at the Whitney. I just hate that self perpetuating rubbish they write about art. If the art is so bad and banal itself that it has to be propped up with incomprehensible jargon, then it shouldn't be even on display. The whole argument had me cheering Carol on. The over intellectualising of visual art is such a monster these days. She recently questioned Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth , the crack in the floor of the Tate Modern, which was billed as " addressing a long legacy of racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world.” "Sometimes" she says "a crack is just a crack." How true..
To read more about it all go to her blog, the excellent Art Vent

One of the problems of course is that our future curators are currently being brainwashed with artspeak at art colleges all over the world. As I know only too well and to my cost, to stand up in a lecture theatre and to question such rubbish even from an extensively researched and informed standpoint will result in some icy cold shouldering of those tutors whose fragile and insecure campus world is precariously fabricated from artspeak alone. You will be regarded from then on as an ungrateful dog biting the hand that was feeding you your passport to a well paid arts funded job in the self perpetuating, self aggrandising world of the fine art academic.

I remember one dull and wispy fine art graduate came to give us new hopefulls a lecture of her most recent and fragrant work about faeces. I asked one tutors later if 'faeces' and 'facecious' came from from the same orifice. He was not amused, he also said on one a occasion that he found painting flowers an obscenity. Hey I don't defend what I am currently doing as 'fine art' these days but at least it is honest and does what it says on the tin. But wait!! .... if flower painting ever does become pornography I would at least make some money.

Painting for Joy? well why not?

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