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RE: Signs of Neanderthals mating with humans   You are logged in as Guest
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Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010

RE: Signs of Neanderthals mating wit... (in reply to estebanana

Chairman Mao, hehe!

I understood your explanation of older styles and modern ones from first time.
A well done summry; however it spares two points, like traceability of skills and intended conveyance.

Customers and public of the past would not had rewarded a guy like Warhol.
A person in the market who´s one and only ticket was acquaintance with people who could push about anybody into "artist" scene and big money. ( Almost like with Picasso, whom we would had hardly heard of as a painter, had there not been a female gallerist who passionately adored him as a man. - Yet, Picasso possessed some skills in the realm of dealing with colour and canvas.)
Warhol had no ability that could be called artistic talent and was so uninformed in general that his supporter instructed him to not speak when among people.
With Warhol keeping silent, the high spirited and hysterical New York secene of his time perceived the silence of a clueless as the depth of a thinker.
His mentor gave him a polaroid camera with the hint to click on whatever he liked and that´s what Warhol did. The cola bottles, cans, daisies and VIPs he pictured with the means of a projector were then thrown on canvas and brushed.
He become one of the emost popular examples of artistic absense and none-message in the "art" market.

Warhol´s actual career was reported on in detail in "Der Spiegel" in the seventies / eighties.
Wanting to find the name of his promotor and other details, I just tried googling, and curiously found exactly nothing, but the constructed vita handled today. Seems as if profitable backgrounds had sweeping influence on sources ( and possibly on academies ).

- Which again was the reason for my initial question at you, whether commonly tought standards of art history would include historical and financial background of "Modern Art", put forth as political US reaction on USSR "Realistic Art" during the Cold War.

The case of Warhol and much of modern art represent the distinct antagone to prehistorical cave paintings.

While Warhol being example of image and pecuniary inflated content insignificance and crafting inability, the artistic proficiency in parts of ancient cave paintings on the contrary used to be just as astonishing as puzzling products to the viewer, in regard of commonly anticipated humble mindset of their creators.

Now, with archaeology recently and progressively unvealing how respective manual and mental skillfulness are reaching back tenth of thousands of years farther than thought of until late, the level of artistry on cave walls ( as well as amazingly shaped tools, basically formed same ways as todays engineering would design ) can be retraced and fathomed much better.

So, to me Andy Warhol and ancient cave artists don´t belong into a same bucket by any stretch ( not even within a discrete term like art ); having as much in common as nonesense and sense.

I understand art as quite relevant factor and indicator of culture, with its respective level of proficiency and idea being directly related to men´s state of intellect and social being.
Hence, arbitrariness in that field producing / mirroring associative, mental and finally ethical level consequently.

Or looking at the phenomenon the other way round:
Would the old cave paintings consist of merely random lines and stains, we with high eventuality would still be roaming woods and plains, scratching our backs with deer bones from the waste beside the fire ... err, cancel the fire. It likely wouldn´t even be around as a controlled feature yet.

If you know what I mean.

Afield from Neandertaler, yet not astray from it.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2011 12:47:02

Posts: 9391
Joined: Oct. 16 2009

RE: Signs of Neanderthals mating wit... (in reply to Ruphus


Which again was the reason for my initial question at you, whether commonly tought standards of art history would include historical and financial background of "Modern Art", put forth as political US reaction on USSR "Realistic Art" during the Cold War.

The person you really would have wanted to put this question to was Joseph Beuys, but he's dead.

Commonly taught classes in art history still mean sitting in a dark room watching slides flicker across a screen while some idiot tells you what you need to be looking for and then tests you on what you remember. So no.

Uncommonly taught classes would include anything worth discussing according to the level of visual acuity of the students and the teachers specialty. I'm sure someone would be capable of teaching that class. I took a class on 19th century European art history that was based on a Marxist /feminist materialist critique of culture and commerce. It was well taught, I think. The teacher happened to live down the street from me and once I had to run a paper over to her house after class. She tried to get me to bring in her garbage cans too. Then she flirted with me and I probably could have fukced her if I had brought in the garbage cans, but she was a condescending bitch who kept reminding me she held a Phd from the Courtauld Institute in London.

She was kind of horsey faced, but she knew a lot about post WWII German art, which turned me on and she had a hot body. Still being my own man I never liked that superior academic attitude she had. Her class was great however because she was a good teacher. She only had one flaw as a teacher which I hope she eventually outgrew. She loved to trap her students in some subtle point of logic as a way of making a point, problem is she rubbed it in and it was not nice to people. Her face and body would actually register pleasure when she trapped a student making a wrong supposition after she lead them down a path of trick questions. But she was probably trained that way at the Courtauld Institute.

We talked a lot about Orientalism, the text by Edward Said, we spent the better part of a semester taking that text to artists from David to Gericault and into the early 1900's. The basis of the discourse was on power relationships between cultures and how one culture in power can invent a narrative about another culture under its subjugation and how that narrative can be totally fabricated. Think of Gitanos and the narratives made up about them in relation to flamenco.

Off the top of my head I suppose you could superimpose those structures and arguments on your topic of US and USSR art and adapt ideas from Said's text if you want to read it. The other text you might want to delve into is John Bergers' Success and Failure of Picasso- which becomes in much of the essay a dragging ass Marxist tract, but he has some good things to say.

And if you want to get hands/eyes on experience with an artist who actually lived in both worlds, US - USSR and comes out of a Russian tradition of visual art I say Kabokov, the guy I mentioned before, is a good person to read about. I'm steering you to texts because to that to discuss that topic I would have to read up and that is what I call, beyond my pay grade.

I never brought up the idea of painting technique in a 19th century vs. modern art polemic because to me that there technique in those two periods of art is an a priori no brainer. ( a priori is Latin for 'no brainer' ) I see no binary opposition between the 19th century and the 20th when it comes to skill and execution.

I was on a date a few years ago with a beautiful, but exceedingly dull and arrogant woman. We were at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the new building designed by the Herzog and DeMeuron the snobby Swiss architects who's work I really like. I was looking at a Willem De Kooning painting and she said: "That's so stupid a child or anyone could have painted that mess." And I thought to myself, you could lie to her and agree and get laid later today, but you would be miserable dating her for even another two days after wards.

I guess that is a parable of some sort or another.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2011 17:05:01

Posts: 9391
Joined: Oct. 16 2009

RE: Signs of Neanderthals mating wit... (in reply to Ruphus

Ok Ruphus, here are the guys you want to talk to:

Komar and Melamid two Soviet trained artists who moved to New York. They take letters and answer them on the internet website they run through the DIA Foundation. They are academically trained in propaganda illustration from the late Soviet era and then moved to the US to make art based on a Soviet version of Pop Art that they began to do when they got here. Now they are more like a comedy team like NPR's ( National Public Radio in the US) Cartalk duo. Two guys who interactively discuss cars on the radio with the public. You can now hear this this on NPR via streaming radio.

Komar and Melamid would be the ones you want to contact. But don't blame me if you don't hear what you want to hear or see what you want to see. :)

Letters to Komar and Melamid:

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2011 18:02:47

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010

RE: Signs of Neanderthals mating wit... (in reply to Ruphus

Thank you, Stephen, for your thoughts and hints.

The teacher of the 19th century European art history you describe, reminds of the one I had in behavioural science, only that she was horrible in didactics. She grilled me badly for not reflecting her female appeal.

I belong to those "ignorants" who can distinguish between clumsyness and proficiency; and I am totally convinced that there would be much more differenciation around, if people had a notion of unrelated interferences that shaped contemporary arbitrariness under an actually discerning term like "art".

Before all students of art and art history should be provided with such crucial information; as without it they´d be left merely to symptoms without a hold on causa.

Here a NY-Times article on the background in question:

Traveling first class all the way, the C.I.A. and its counterparts in other Western European nations sponsored art exhibitions, intellectual conferences, concerts and magazines to press their larger anti-Soviet agenda. Ms. Stonor Saunders provides ample evidence, for example, that the editors at Encounter and other agency-sponsored magazines were ordered not to publish articles directly critical of Washington's foreign policy. She also shows how the C.I.A. bankrolled some of the earliest exhibitions of Abstract Expressionist painting outside of the United States to counter the Socialist Realism being advanced by Moscow.


The cultural cold war began in postwar Europe, with the fraying of the wartime alliance between Washington and Moscow. Officials in the West believed they had to counter Soviet propaganda and undermine the wide sympathy for Communism in France and Italy.

An odd alliance was struck between the C.I.A. leaders, most of them wealthy Ivy League veterans of the wartime Office of Strategic Services and a corps of largely Jewish ex-Communists who had broken with Moscow to become virulently anti-Communist. Acting as intermediaries between the agency and the intellectual community were three colorful agents who included Vladimir Nabokov's much less talented cousin, Nicholas, a composer.

The C.I.A. recognized from the beginning that it could not openly sponsor artists and intellectuals in Europe because there was so much anti-American feeling there. Instead, it decided to woo intellectuals out of the Soviet orbit by secretly promoting a non-Communist left of democratic socialists disillusioned with Moscow.

Ms. Stonor Saunders describes how the C.I.A. cleverly skimmed hundreds of millions of dollars from the Marshall Plan to finance its activities, funneling the money through fake philanthropies it created or real ones like the Ford Foundation.

"We couldn't spend it all," Gilbert Greenway, a former C.I.A. agent, recalled. "There were no limits, and nobody had to account for it. It was amazing."

When some of the C.I.A.'s activities were exposed in the late 1960's, many artists and intellectuals claimed ignorance. But Ms. Stonor Saunders makes a strong case that several people, including the philosopher Isaiah Berlin and the poet Stephen Spender, who was co-editor of Encounter, knew about the C.I.A.'s role.

"She has made it very difficult now to deny that some of these things happened," said Norman Birnbaum, a professor at the Georgetown University Law School who was a university professor in Europe in the 1950's and early 1960's. "And she has placed a lot of people living and dead in embarrassing situations."

Still unresolved is what impact the campaign had and whether it was worth it. Some of the participants, like Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who was in the O.S.S. and knew about some of the C.I.A.'s cultural activities, argue that the agency's role was benign, even necessary. Compared with the coups the C.I.A. sponsored in Guatemala, Iran and elsewhere, he said, its support of the arts was some of its best work. "It enabled people to publish what they already believed," he added. "It didn't change anyone's course of action or thought."

But Diana Josselson, whose husband, Michael, ran the Congress for Cultural Freedom, told Ms. Stonor Saunders that there were real human costs among those around the world who innocently cooperated with the agency's front organizations only to be tarred with a C.I.A. affiliation when the truth came out. The author and other critics argue that by using government money covertly to promote such American ideals as democracy and freedom of expression, the agency ultimately stepped on its own message.

"Obviously it was an error, and a rather serious error, to allow intellectuals to be subsidized by the government," said Alan Brinkley, a history professor at Columbia University. "And when it was revealed, it did undermine their credibility seriously."

What is left out in this discription of the New York Times is how preferably and explicitely untalented people were selected who had never thought of artwork before, but were merely lucky to be familiar or related with corresponding CIA agents and from there came to a living as millionaires without qualification of any sort.
If you research you will find the info about it.

All their works are high price "art" today and substantially shaped what is being modern art since, which means actually anything, nothing, but merely corresponding people at hand to sell and generate brands. Completely independendly of performance.

Many of thelike "artists" finally went to the utmost and provoked reveal of the granted selling principle and cynism with anything from greased bathtubs to holes in the ground ( Beuys that you mentioned ), but the image industry reached indestructibility and went on inflating the conception of artistry to infinity.

Meanwhile the unskilled market fraction outstripped the classical works in pricing.

Besides, I had a similar museum visit like you with a nice of mine, only with swapped roles.
It was Francis Bakon´s clumsy scrawls in a museum in Munich, and I couldn´t resist to leave a corresponding remark in the guest book, which again got her really heated in her precocious premisse of: "Millions of flies can´t be erring; eat sh!t people!", as I name it.

Stuffed with painting skills herself ( far above those of Bakon )/ basically capable of seeing lack of control on the brush, yet she couldn´t withdraw from common sense.
What hangs in a museum, adored and highly priced can´t be clumsy.
And the artist´s woesome vita got to be a PC background for appreciation at the latest.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2011 8:42:22

Posts: 9391
Joined: Oct. 16 2009

RE: Signs of Neanderthals mating wit... (in reply to Ruphus


You're certainly entitled to your opinions about what you like and dislike. I'm not down on your personal taste. I'm not even upset as your niece was that you obviously value or not value different art than I do. I can say the art market is an appalling mess and it is part of how art is experienced, but I find it soothing to set that aside and look at the work itself.

Some art is married to market place in terms of how it tries to work. Conceptually some art makes a statement based on its critical relationship with the art market. That art does not seem to interest you.

My advice is: Don't look at it! Don't give your self a heart attack over art you don't like! Art is not worth it. But remember there is a public for many kinds of art and you just have to share the public museum space with those you disagree with.

The writer Henry Miller was an watercolor artist when he could get away from writing, he once said: Paint what you like and die happy.

My post script would be, as far a Francis Bacon goes, it might help to look at him as a colorist. Or read the fascinating interviews he did with David Sylvester. Bacon like you was very interested in history and the history of painting. And the only thing I'll disagree with you on is that he was a virtuoso with the brush, as much of a show off as Fragonard, or John Singer Sargent -

I like screaming caged popes, seems natural.

I also think this thread has become too much like a raving private correspondence between you and I and it's excluding any other participation. I'm always interested in hearing the voice of others on art and all these topics in this thread. I already know what I think. So I hope we can tone down the disgruntled swipes at art we don't like. Maybe someone else will chime in with a brilliant thought that I would like to hear.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2011 16:53:10

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010

RE: Signs of Neanderthals mating wit... (in reply to Ruphus

Hi Stephen,

In the way that my perspective on the matter seems to have come accross to you so far, I appreciate your good-natured approach.

However, it is not that I - like you and common sense - think that the way cultural products are being evaluated, would not matter to societal conditions.

As I understand it, introduction, promotion, support and marketing of undemanding cultural products have several severe consequences.

The most immediate is that a vast occupation of a limited arts market by undemanding products will render a corresponding number of talented people with little to no outcome, whilst their bread being wasted on those who´d better be enaged elsewise with their actual talents.

And much more implication than that will a distorted world of arts have on public´s differenciation ability.

A marketing ( and after it, common sense ) that equals none-talent with talent / erases fundamental criteria of the individual fields of art / lowers criteria to alien factors like capriciousness of well-connected gallerists or publishers, in the same time reduces general understanding and discerning, hence the intellectual and simultaneously societal standard.

With us as a species fully specialized on cognitive skills, such arbitrariness will not at all equal a random phenomenon like say whether seals would learn balancing a ball or whether not ( which would not effect their specific state ).

A society that can´t distinguish high skills from low skills ought to end up in a detouched / inhuman mentality.

That and other inabilities to distinguish levels, like equalling superstition with wordly phenomenons, lack of basic education on universal matters like of ethics etc. directly determines the repercussions of a 7 billion individuals on themselves and their environment.

And if I´m not mistaking those effects leave no leeway for misinterpreted imponderables / "tolerance".
( The 3800 left over tigers I mentioned above, a number cited merely weeks ago, as of yesterday is being quoted as 3200 by WWF. - If you get the urgent tendency / my drift.)

People not too far in an irretrievable future, will be pulling their hair for having been unbelievably indifferent. And it will have a lot to do with the cultural situation ( and with what has been dealt with in the above newspaper article, which hardly anyone is aware of, lesser even of what its strange plot actually resulated in ).

Having said that, I hope that you might at least be guessing by now what my practical concerns are about.
( - Of which I can say that it is not about whether I couldn´t tolerate differing opinion in vague matters.)

Like you, I would had appreciated participation of other members in this thread too.
But the farther away things get from common outline, the less attention there usually will be; instead of the other way around.

That´s how it seems to be in a thinking sloth area.

Having tried to get my point accross, I´ll shut up for now.

Thank you for your kind attention,

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2011 18:45:26
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