Tag Archives: Andy Warhol

Love/Hate – Dictate

andy-warhol-quoteTo Live is to Love is to Hate.  Have you ever stood in front of a painting, turned the pages of the latest hot novel, or sat in an audience at Carnegie Hall, experiencing a conflicting mix of feelings, where both love and hate, create  a toxic mix of ambivalent emotions as you looked, read, listened?

The renowned writer and author, Herman Melville said ” indifference is opposite of love, not hate. Hating art is like loving art.” It’s the same extreme emotion projected in a an upside down way.

hate-love-artist-blog-nyc-2014That’s the way it’s supposed to be. You are Not supposed to be 100% clear while engaging in any artistic experience because that would be kind of boring? Right?  Nobody wants it 100%. Yes or No. Easy to figure out. Mystery is key. A mixture of things to both love AND hate make it interesting, fun, edgy, create a story, spark our curiosity, essentially involving us like nothing else does. The yin and the yang forces necessary to life’s evolvement. And that is not a simple thing. It’s a bit of black and white, yes and no, up and down, that forces us to really get into it and feel the love/hate dichotomy that riles people up, makes them sweat, and sends them running to their therapists! Otherwise, what have you? Flat – lining into oblivion. “Dead Man Walking.” And who wants that?!??! We need to have that duality when engaging in whatever our art crush happens to be. Otherwise it’s easy to take it for granted, get bored, and loose interest. Not Cool!

hate-love-artist-blog-nyc-2014Falling in love with a painting, a song, a poem, a story, a film, a dance, can feel like a powerful emotional rush, driving the need to engage in an extreme relationship with the object of your infatuation! The reason someone will pay 20 million$ for a painting, or develop a cultish obsession for a writer, I’m thinking about David Foster Wallace, Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, for example, not to mention the obsessive crushes people get on rock stars and actors, creating fan clubs, on-line sites, stalkers, venting their obsessive emotions, that are indulged and stoked by the Technicolor images on stage and screen. The passions that the Beatles, the Stones, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Nirvana ,inspired in the past, certainly looked like love! Swooning teenagers screaming in the audiences, universally tells the story. The Love Story. But then, flip the switch, and you get Hate. The fine line, tightrope walk where Love & Hate get uncomfortably close in their emotional energy and feeling. Especially when it comes to art.

The hatred of an artwork, can be as emotionally charged if not more so as the love of it. Both require intensity of feeling. Hating & Loving, the dynamic duo, blending as one, a bipolar emotional cocktail, with the ultimate result being a feeling of Something whether —viewing, reading, writing, listening, thinking……. Superman & Batman jumping the Shark!

BukowskiBukowsky’s poem, “Nothing Subtle”, read twice will either break the stoniest wall, or add another brick to it. “There is nothing subtle about dying or dumping garbage, or the spider and this fist full of nickels…..”. Or E.E. Cummings’, “LVIII”,  a quintessential love poem, a possible  answer to telling your girlfriend how you Really feel. “Is there a flower (whom i meet anywhere)

able to be and seem so quite softly as your hair….”

Depending on who you are either poem has the possibility of evoking either Love OR Hate, as the poem is processed emotionally in that unique experience that art gives us. One’s identity confirms and affirms one’s feeling.

Van-gogh-the-starry-night-1889The large crowd always clustered around Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” masterpiece at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, can’t stop staring, at the mesmeric swirls of color as they click click click on their iPhone cameras trying to preserve the memory of this work of art that is so hard to walk away from. The agony depicted in Munch’s “Scream” is paltable, it is cringe worthy at best. Hate or Love? I call hate on this one.  It’s definitely not a pretty warm and fuzzy moment. “Scream” makes you want to cry and run away. But that’s great. It’s emotion. And that is a good thing when delving into arts’ caverns of love and hate. You will find both, living side by side, in harmony conflict. A duo of opposites.  Revealing the dichotomy of life forces as experience teaches the individual as he grows. Pop art will inspire a lot of hate, as Jeff Koons did with me at his latest exhibit at the Whitney in Nyc. People Love to Hate Pop. They often don’t get it so it’s easy to hate. They link the hate jeff-koons-wow-show-whitney-museum-nycoften with ridicule and laughter. That’s fine. At least they are feeling something and that’s the point. Warhol’s art was ridiculed and mocked all, over town. That Campbell Soup can was absurd! After all it was just a soup can. Sure. On the surface. Of course ironically, it became the trademark that helped turn Warhol into a pop icon legend, while the haters watched him laugh his way to the bank! So you never know. Hating an art work can be a good thing. When Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, was published, people didn’t know what to think!  A salesman, his protagonist, turning into a giant insect, with no real explanation, it was so bizarre, so hated, so dark, that of course it became his major work, the novel he is known for, the book on high school reading lists worldwide! The story, brought to the surface dark feelings, and confusing messages, all symptomatic of Kafka’s own personal life story.

Franz-Kafka-The-Metamorphosis“A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us” so said Kafka. He finished none of his novels and burned 90% of his work. “Metamorphosis” regarded as his seminal work inspire those conflicting love – hate feelings in any reader. His themes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, quest, and transformation are the substance of his writings, fascinating readers for over 70 years. One can either love, hate, or a combination of both, Kafka’s take on life, and it’s effect on his literary work. But one cannot remain unaffected. One cannot ignore!

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike” JK Rowling. She should know, waiting on the line for her literary blockbuster Harry Potter, to be recognized!

If the art has inspired ANYTHING other than indifference it has succeeded in cracking that emotional nut!

LOVE.  HATE.  The mirage where the train tracks appear to join as one in the distance, or the ocean and sky meet at the horizon.

Robert-mitchum-Love-Hate-tattoosThe actor Robert Mitchum, in “Night of the Hunter”, tattooed his knuckles with the words Love and Hate, in the 1955 film. Pulp. Dark. Cool.  Unforgettable!

Playing a psychotic preacher, he characterized themes of good and evil, as he flashes his knuckles as a trick to seduce women in the towns he visits, a predator using religion, with good and evil symbolism, as his ticket in, his entrance thru the doorways of womens hearts and cash. With the word LOVE, tattooed on one hand, and HATE on the other, he had his unique, convenient, creepy visual to back up his words. The common universal theme of good and evil as combative forces in religion, nature, and art, communicate an emotional feeling unavoidable for most of us. Mitchum, in the film, plays a character who is very aware of this power, and uses it to manipulate his naive victims, who fall for his preacher act, as he spins biblical proverbs while flashing his significantly labeled hands. A predator hunting his prey, using the themes of love and hate as his metaphorical bait!

beatles_magical_mystery_tourArt can have this kind of power. The viewer, the reader, the listener gets pulled in, on the emotional level that exposes feelings, good and bad, through the magic and mystery of the sublime presence and power that art evokes! Emotional Q or “EQ” dominates and supplements us with an energy like no other!  We experience our own version of a “Magical Mystery Tour”, as we visit unexplored artistic regions! Our EQ provides us with the perfect guide, helping expose and enhance our artistic feelings on the journey.

We see in the paintings and poetry of the genius William Blake, the spiritual power of his mind, translating, love-hate, good – evil, themes which permeate the great body of his work. Being a metaphysician, an alchemist, a painter, a poet, a printmaker, a visionary: he created  his art  from a very transcendental  place, and it shows. Love. Hate. Blake “GOT” it! Supremely gifted with genius, and possessing a powerful connection to the spiritual world, he combined both painting and prose to transmit his messages to the world.

The_Scream_MunchYes, love and hate dictate the emotional overlap in the art world to the outer world. People being who they are, relationships get messy,  and so it is with our relationships with art. Messy. There is rarely a clear definitive response, but when there is, it’s either one or the other. But both are related as the pendulum swings back and forth, like our reactions when faced with the Basquiet, the Lautrec, the monster insect of Kafka’s masterpiece, or the grotesque eviscerations of Francis Bacon’s men, Diane Arbus and her freaks, or Anais Nin’s narcissistic journals, Tennessee William’s anguished characters, Kurt Cobain’s angst ridden songs, Or John Water’s underground film personalities, the list goes on and on and on…….

We all participate in the dictatorial symbolism emoting from the very genesis of what art is, and when we engage, by either making art or enjoying art we become the welcome victims indulging this power, because it takes us into worlds we can’t experience in any other way! Love and Hate are kindred siblings, that inspire, horrify, disgust, repulse, embrace, adore,  caress, shame, tranquilize, frighten, seduce, amuse, threaten, and often surprise!

Yes, Love/Hate – Dictate!

And

If invited-

We are always eager to attend THAT party!

“So What?” from the Pope of Pop

andy-warhol-diaries-pop-art-blog-nycIn “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol”, Warhol, discusses in a chapter entitled, Time, his “So What” theory.

It’ s pretty radical in it’s simplicity, and it’s an awesome freeing message!

Andy says ” sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, “So What?”

“My mother didn’t love me.” So what?

“My husband won’t ball me.” So what?

“I’m a success, but I’m still alone.” So what?

He goes on to say that he has no idea how he survived before he learned that trick, but that once he got it he never forgot.

WORD. To. The. Wise.

Andy-Warhol-quote-pop-art-blog-nycSo fast forward to Today Speak, we can translate Andy’s “so what?” Into “whatever”. Right? Nothing is THAT important, that serious! Isn’t it all kind of blown up from that deflated balloon reality where it all begins? Light hearted, whimsical, fun, POP!  The lofty, uber pretentious days can be historically interesting but in real time also a colossal drag!!!

His book, a masterpiece of ingenious witticisms, logic, and unique observations, is a real X-Ray into Andy Warhol’s Head. A head full of confetti. Like one of those old school bubble gum machines with prizes mixed in with multi colored gum balls. Put the penny in and you don’t know what you will get. But you will get something you didn’t have before. And that’s what Warhol’s book gives us – new ideas, a new way of looking at everyday things. It’s all about the NEW, because face it people don’t really dig the old. Not really. They may pretend they do, but actually— Noooooo.

We want it hip, hot, fresh, right off the grill, spicy, the day after Today!

Warhol-marilyn-monroe-pop-art-nyc-blogAnd his art was like that. The pop concept, everyday things become artworks. A soup can, a shoe, a dollar sign, a cereal box, Marilyn Monroe, anything really that caught his eye. And his method of reproducing his art using silkscreen, so there was no possibility of ever running out of a painting with a one time sale. He was guaranteeing the infinite, removing limits, his eternal dollar signs multiplying with every copy the silk screen spun out.  His photographic technique for his portraits of the jet setters he worshipped and who followed him around like the pied piper of NYC, were all inherent components in achieving his  popularity and fame. He turned the boring stuff of life into something exciting and new. But only through art, and his cutting edge, off the grid lifestyle, that attracted everyone from the down and out in Beverly Hills types to the hoity toity silver spooners of Park Avenue. They all wanted to join Andy’s fraternity of pop! Membership guaranteed your POPularity , the ticket to Oz, the trip from dullsville to Crazytown, where everyone wanted to live in the psychedelic sixties!

warhol-factory-nyc-pop-art-nycBut only the Cool could enter. And that could be anyone from his drugged out blue blood friend Edie, to his Factory drag star UltraViolet, to his best bud Samo aka Basquiet, Ingrid Superstar, and of course his telephone mate Bridgette, his alter ego earpiece from “The Andy Warhol Diaries”, his prime requirement is that they are funny and they entertain him. “Funny people are the only people I ever get really interested in, because as soon as somebody isn’t funny, they bore me.”

Who can overlooked the fact that he refers to his tape recorder as his “wife?” I could read so much into that but I am sure you could too, so I will just leave it alone for now.

andy-warhol-soup-cans-art-gallery-nycAnd boy, his pop art certainly fulfilled that need to be entertained, in it’s color, it’s whimsy, it’s humor, it’s cultural relevance, it’s 60’s iconography, they all integrate to promote his psychology, his pov, his kooky perspective, and he didn’t give a shit whether or not you dug him or not. Actually in his “philosophy”, he makes it clear that he goes for the opposite of the current reality. On purpose.  His take on money is beyond the pale because it is sooo radical, he loves money, clearly his shopping excursions on Madison Avenue attest to that, but he also dismisses it and has a voyeuristic attitude toward the rich and famous people he associates with who warhol-factory-party-pop-art-blogclamour around his factory parties looking for the newest kick to amp up their boringly money infested lives. He sells his art with this kind of ambiguous talking point, sealing the deal, because hey it was the sixties, and if it was hip and new , and involved drugs, sex, and rock and roll, it was a hit! Andy managed to do all of this and then some.   Capote got axed when he spilled the dirt on his so called friends in that hated tell all ” Answered Prayers”, taking him into a spiral of doom, as his friends banished him from their social circles, after he betrayed their trusts, in an embarrassing expose. But Andy does it differently because he philosophized from his own point of view about the generalities of people and situations without really getting specific, but you got the message! No harm. No foul. He managed to slide by, while Capote fell off and got stepped on.

andy-warhol-quote-pop-art-blog-brooklynThat’s art! Get the message or don’t get the message! I look at Matisse’s “Woman with a Hat”, and see stuff, that you don’t. Great! So What? Why can’t everything be like a big SO WHAT? Why are we soooo concerned by minutia, the idiotic crap that energy is expended on daily, that’s of no real importance or substance, just time filling misdemeanors?

In the Philosophy of… Everything is simplified according to Andy’s world. He turned his interests into art and business. A joint affair. He loved gossip! LOVED. Hence “Interview Magazine.” Loved celebrities, hence the pop portraits. He loved commercial style, and fashion, from his clerking days in Bergdorfs, and his store window dressing making a living 9-5 days at Bonwit’s,  hence his chosen icons and the neon colors he used coming  straight out of the sixties, and the  psychedelic moroelight show acid trip world he lived in at the time !

philosophy-of-andy-warhol-art-blog-brooklynI can read the “Philosophy of Andy Warhol”, and still get new crumbs from the golden nuggets of pop isms, after the fifth reading, because it’s just one of THOSE books, but for me it’s also a genuine artist book written by the Master of Pop Art, an art legend that the hipsters of today have only read about in art class or perhaps viewed his Gold Marilyn at the MOMA, or strolled by that funky silver statue in front of his old office building in Union Square in NYC.

His breakdown of philosophy into the major life areas: is genius. He is right on. Like what else really matters?

Love. Work. Beauty. Fame. Time. Death. Economics. Atmosphere. Success. Art. Titles. The Tingle. Underwear Power. That’s it!

The beginning. The middle. The end.

You want to paint? Paint. Want to write? Go for it . Act? Yes. Sing? Ok!

Think about cool stuff? Like Philosophy?

“In the 60’s everybody got interested in everybody.

In the 70’s everybody started dropping everybody.

The 60’s were clutter.

The 70’s are very empty.”

What about Today? in 2014, Millennium  years, what have we become? What would Andy call us ? How would he define us in  a chapter in his book, published in 1975? What kind of art would he be making today?

He wouldn’t.

15-minutes-of-fame-andy-warhol-nyc-pop-art-blogIt was a time, HIS time, HIS generation, and HIS mark in history, a pop culture icon, the most famous celebrity pop artist on the planet! He once said , “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”. It’s a universally known easily identifiable Warhol quote. Reality Shows of today prove his prophecy, as well as people’s personal Youtube videos, sex tapes, and the various computer resources available for publicity hounds seeking attention. Everybody seeks that fame Andy talks about , even if it’s fast and furious, the 15 minute in and out.

In his own case, however he didn’t need any of our super tech assets to stake his claim to fame. And it is a lot longer than 15 minutes! It’s Forever!

Writers & Artists Love Affair

patti-smith-just-kids-art-blog-nycWriters and artists have always carried on a clandestine love affair between the pages and on the canvas. Life gets expressed through the visual, and the literal, and both genres meld as they influence and are influenced in a mutual admiration society giving to the world the unique perspectives through the combined literary and art expression. This is a blending of spirits, of like minded souls, and it’s pretty awesome! Check out “Just Kids” Patti Smith’s, personal expose of her artistic journey with her soulmate, the avant, underground, photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. These two comrades in their artistic journey into the unknown, wandered through the East And West Village, in the 60’s and 70’s, searching,  dreaming,  ultimately knowing that their future was intertwined in the Netherlands of art, its pain, it’s passion, the fuel driving it’s undeniable rewards. She is enamored of the French poet Rimbaud, and her dual identity as both writer and singer is clarified by her own words, “Please no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.” There. She says it. And she means it. Her story, ” Just Kids ” is pure gold, for us pioneers, the writers and painters, who have walked the walk so to speak. If you are a “creative”, ignoring this book is a BIG mistake! Get it ASAP! It is a love story, a trippy art journey, and it also gives the younger reader a chance to experience a glimpse of the downtown hippie lifestyle of the past, far removed from today’s hipster world of tech, commerce, and astronomical student loans!

patti-smith-quote-art-blog-nycOn the other hand, let’s go on a vastly different trip with Steve Martin as he takes us from North to South, literally speaking, from the authenticity and earthy Greenwich Village experience of Patti and Robert, to the cold culture where Cash is King, and art is a commodity of the pocketbook first, not the innate soul purity of “Just Kids”.

Reading Steve Martin’s, “Object of Beauty” took me into the upscale art world of business art, and the inner workings of the personal lives involved, as Martin illuminates his particular characters, these bodies, who define his novel, in his style, so that the reader not only reads it, but also lives it, meeting the characters, and recognizing them, maybe, or maybe not. His protagonist, Lacey Yeager, hot NY art dealer, social climber, Sotheby’s star, she exemplifies the apex of art world social climber, with dollar signs in her eyes, she is the “Monster Goddess” of Bill De Kooning’s “Woman I”. In “Object”, Martin combine his own personal art collectors vision, residing in this world, with a passion for writing, spinning his tale of the status driven art world, a world that Martin knows very well. He buys. Collects. Spends. Just like the characters in his novel. Included we find prints of images of artists work, from Milton Avery to Andy Warhol. As if to remind the reader that this is all about art, though it’s fiction, the truth is that art is the foundation of his novel! sometimes Truth can be translated through fiction!

gaddis-the-Recognitions-art-blog-brooklyn-nycBut getting into the nitty gritty so to speak one should start with “The  Recognitions”, published in 1955, Bill Gaddis’s, lengthy, detailed, wordy, story of the life of Wyatt Gwyon, art forger, describing his craft of fakery, this book is an expose of the contradictions life offers in Wyatt’s counterfeit world where real is fake and fake appears to be real, and the perception as seen from the outside is everything, similar to viewing a painting, so subjective, yet coming from that intangible mix of the inner and outer mechanisms of mind and matter combined. In this fat novel, books and paintings are intertwined. The philosophies expounded by the characters release so much expertise and insight from the writers, artist, painters, business, point of view, that though a heavy read, it’s challenging, and it forced me to delve in with the persistence of a miner digging for gold in that pit of dirt. The results SO worth it!

“The Horses Mouth”, by Joyce Carey, also another art novel, published in 1944, shows us the life of a painter, who doesn’t cater to the popular fads, and survives by criminal activity in order to afford to maintain his craft. Caught up in his passion, he is willing to do whatever it takes at any cost. Morality, and conforming to the social standards of his time are rejected as the painter, Gulley Jimson, exploits, and tricks his friends and acquaintances in order to further his own ambition driven artist needs. Keeping it Real – Not all artists are saints, not then, not now!

philosophy-of-andy-warhol-art-blog-brooklynLa creme de la creme for me is “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol.”He NEVER disappoints. His philosophy is sooo simplistic, yet in it’s simplicity, abstract and really profound. I just Love his statement on page 112- where he talks about the “So What?” Saying “so what” puts every big awful “thing” in its place and instantly you feel better. This gem is full of nuggets like this one, and if you haven’t gotten acquainted with Andy’s philosophy than you are really missing some cool observations from the Master of Cool. This guy made a soup can famous! Remember??? The brilliant Voyeur whose quote “Everybody will be famous for 15 minutes” made headlines with it’ Andy Fabulous Truth! The Reality Shows of today prove Andy’s prophetic words beyond what anyone would have ever imagined!

max-jacobs-picasso-nyc-art-blogThere are many reminders of the indisputable link writers have with artists and vice versa. Witness Picasso’s best friend Max Jacobs, and the poet Appolinaire, known for his “AlCools,” devoted, bonded in their artistic life, in their Montmartre Bohemia, where eating, and sleeping came far behind creating, and dreaming. The true sustenance being, the preferred art of the subjects at hand, be it Satie and his classical Gymnopedies,Lautrec and his bordello posters, Picasso, and his circus paintings of harlequins and acrobats,  or Valladon and her nudes. Perhaps it was Baudelaire and his absinthe infected poetry, or Jane Avril, friend and model for so many of Lautrec’s posters, celebrity of Montmartre, as star attraction at the Moulin Rouge, they all had a common goal -Art- the making, living, eating, breathing, the food they thrived on that kept them alive, and provided them with nourishment that  no simple meal ever could!

Somerset Maughm’s, ” The Sixpence “, written about the painter,  Gaugin, ” Lust for Life,” Irving Stone’s, representation of painter, Vincent Van Gogh, and of course the famous , made for cinema, Girl with the Pearl  Earring, based on Tracy Chevalier’s novel, the subject originating with Vermeer’s masterpiece,  now prominently displayed in the The Hague. All chains in the link that is soldered together between artists and writers. We get a literary view to back up the visual experience we have while looking at a painting, and we get a complete picture.

henry-miller-pop-art-blog-nycHenry Miller, the novelist of all times, love him or hate him, he can’t be ignored! He was a self taught water colorist, which he claims was fulfilling, in a way that transcended his writing. Thousands upon thousands of watercolors, he produced joyfully, giving away randomly, at his will, to friends and fans.  Talk about a writer – art love affair, Miller, epitomized this duality with his novels , his Tropics series, and his future essays, where he talks as if he’s sitting with us , about his favorite subjects like, art, writing, spirituality, people, Big Sur, Anais Nin, and Paris! In Big Sur, The Henry Miller Museum, is a unique dream place, a stone’ s throw from his old hangout Nepenthe, the former love nest of Orson Welles and his lover Rita Hayworth. It was recreated into a bar, restaurant, hanging off a cliff over the Pacific Ocean, a favorite hangout for Miller and his friends during his Big Sur years. The museum, a picturesque cabin, and the former home of his best friend Emil White, displays his works, paintings, and obscure writings, not commonly found in your local Barnes & Noble. Standing under the majestic Redwood trees, Pacific Ocean crashing below the rocky coast, this humble cabin holds a wealth of artistic bounty, that only the fortunate traveller is led to discover!

henry-miller-canvas-pop-art-nyc-blogMiller’s watercolors are a spontaneous, pure, colorful expression of his thinking, always soulful and pure. In his novel, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, he confirms his spiritual relationship to the Divine, as authority for the creative genius he has expressed through his prolific writings, his paintings, and his individual life story, from Brooklyn to Paris to California!

Again, writer, artist, – Seamless!

Yes, IT IS the Love Affair of all time! This writer, artist combo. If you are writing, you’re also probably, in the galleries, or fooling around with your paints and brushes whenever you can. You enjoy a hearty discussion on the merits of Dadaism, and your disenchantment with the Fauve Period. If you are deep in the well of your studio, I know you are hitting the bookstores, and have a couple of novels on hand, and can talk for an hour about why you either detest “Infinite Jest”, or why you love it!

spending-mary-gordon-nyc-artist-blogOne of the most interesting artist stories in contemporary fiction is “Spending”, by Mary Gordon. A sexy, hot and spicy, page turner, depicting a tale of the relationship between a powerhouse commodities broker, who decides to collect her work while also being her Muse.  It’s a lush, witty, sophisticated story of this complex relationship in which art and commerce meet and lead to an emotional quagmire. He spends and she spends and both of them achieve an ambiguous cocktail of experiences as they mix the artist with the money man.

This discussion, highlights that YES, in fact and fiction, art and writers share have a metaphoric womb, like Siamese twins. The poets of the day hung with their artist friends with the common bond that painters and writers intrinsically possess. Gertrude Stein,  with her famous salon in Paris, at 27 Rue de La Fleuris, were legend as the hotspot for all up and coming painters, of the day with only the best writers thrown in, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and and while Stein’s talent was writing,  “a rose is a rose is a rose” everyone knew that  she had an insatiable passion for art and collecting! In “The Autobiography of Alice b Toklas,” by Stein, when asked had she ever met a genius, she states that yes, she indeed knew three geniuses: Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Alfred Whitehead. Not exactly the humble, shy type, Gertrude made the unknown painters and writers of the day in Ex-Pat Paris, the “Lost Generation” as she coined that infamous phrase; crave her attention, and sit at her feet, beholden to her charisma, intellectual brilliance, and her love of art! These qualities drew those pioneers to her like the moth to the flame! . That’s heady stuff. It’s interesting when I read her quote on genius: “Being a genius means sitting around doing nothing nothing nothing.” Tongue in cheek, so typical of Stein, when what she is really saying is that it LOOKS like they are doing nothing, but their thinking is so far beyond most people, that nothing is actually Everything! Amen to That!

Her writing involves a lot of repetition and perplexing statements. One can only interpret subjectively, because of the vast collection of multi meanings. Always with a question attached. And of course the artists, the painters, flocked to her, she cultivated her favorites, and they went on to great success.  She was one of the highest standards for acceptance, the 27 rue du Fleuris, where Hemingway sought an invitation,  when he arrived in Paris , an unknown at age 24. He got the “word on the street”, that Stein was his ticket into the art world. And he was right, and along with his mentor Sylvia Beach, of Shakespeare and Company, he moved to the head of the line, working hard at his craft, and eventually became a published writer.

Painters and writers. Writers and painters. Ny, Paris, Rome, London, from the depths to the heights, from obscurity to fame, they create an indisputable bond throughout eternity.

john-lennon-quote-art-blog-nycThe San Francisco Beats, hung at the Cedar Tavern, in Nyc with the ab – ex painters of the day like, Kline, De Kooning, Pollock, all sharing a similar life force, mutual interest and ambition. Rarely will you find a division. when people love painting, they usually have a fully stocked library as well. It’s a natural match.

Bookstores adorned with posters is a given expectation. A shared and compatible pairing like wine and cheese. Like Gertrude Stein, and her lifelong roommate, Alice B. Toklas! Like Picasso and Max Jacobs, like, Lautrec and Avril, like Warhol and Basquiat, like KiKi and Man Ray!

The Love Affair, is documented historical evidence of the shared passions between artists and writers. It is and will continue to be a match, an arrangement natural to this psyche that embellishes, and enhances the artistic world, giving it an infinite and profound character, a blending of the written and the painted, the sculpted, the designed, the ying and the yang, the color with the black and white, the multi dimensional personalities that bring these individuals together, in a harmonious blending, providing for everyone, a concert of harmonious notes, entertaining and nourishing the soul.

We experience this Love-In is right here in our city! NYC has cast us into the vortex of a hyper creative atmosphere, as the voyeurs watch the scene, groove to the beat, living vicariously off this powerful synergy, that brings Everyone here and Keeps them here!

Reading Art

Artists like reading about artists. Their crazy lives, their tilted reality, the fuel that drove them to the power of creation. Yes it’s true! Gerard de Nerval walked his pet lobster on a leash through the streets of Paris, Toulouse Lautrec carried his absinthe in the hollowed out flask in his cane, Picasso never threw anything away (Classic) hoarder, and Mapplethorpe entertained his boyfriends in his apartment at the top of 1 Fifth in Greenwich Village  Before it became an expensive luxury condo. Sure, there are so many stories of the eccentricities particular to painters poets musicians actors dancers that convince the reader that YES the artist is not like you. Or, no, the artist is not like you.

strand-nyc-famous-artistsMy favorite place for this exploration of artist bio is The Strand in NYC, one of the remaining bookstores still alive and well. Their art book floor is a wealthy vault stocked with riches only an art lover would appreciate, providing a bounty of info, a gluttonous feast! one can spend days overloading with the vast bios, pictorials, history, essays, waiting to be explored. And I have done just that..Sometimes I need to get out of the studio. Refresh and revitalize and my way to do it is to explore past artists lives. It’s a great way to escape and enter another world. Familiar yet distant exotic and surreal.

Picasso ClownsWhether it’s Suzanne Valladon or Francis BaconToulouse Lautrec, Modigliani, or Caravaggio they each have a story and each story is a unique revelation giving an insightful view into the mind and methods,the how and why this painting came to be, this photograph was taken, or how this sculpture  came alive out of a block of stone. The mystery unveiled in the written word documented often by the artists themselves. Van Gogh’ s bio is a revelation! Picasso’s lover, Fernande Olivier indulges us with a peek into the starving artist world of Montmartre in the early 1900’s when Picasso found the clowns and harlequins in the circus life a welcome escape from the dark brutal reality of painting by candlelight huddled in the freezing hovel called Bateau Lavoir the studios of Monmartre where genius was born. And we can’ t overlook The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, his up close and personal account of life as he saw it and his motivations for popping out his Warhol creations in his Dream Machine called The Factory! Pop Art Andy style integrated his life with literature,  and his creation of Interview Magazine gave him a venue for putting that Andy philosophy onto the pages he knew would get infiltrate the readers minds who perhaps knew next to nothing about art but were fans of pop culture and cool celebrities like the ones he featured on the covers every month! Interview was one of my favorites and I never ever missed a copy! The Liza’, the Halstons,  Blondie , Mick, Bianca, Jackie-O, we’re thrilled to be included in Warhol’s stable of Interview celebs!

pop-art-gallery-NYCSo I go to get a glimpse, distant it may be, of a world of art where the sterile gentrification the expensive and expansive environment of today, did not exist. The perfect studio Joseph Cornell created his magical boxes of wonder at his mothers kitchen table in College Point Queens, so opposite to today’s celebrity gathering at the Hottest NYC gallery in Chelsea, or is it Bushwick ,or wait maybe Williamsburg, no Harlem? SoHo is Over for art and artists that’s a given. The only thing even slightly reminiscent there is the closed down frontage of OKHarris, on West Broadway, the 1970’s Gallery that was the Kilimanjaro for any aspiring painter. But now it’s most likely scheduled for a glitzy condo building that only the 1%’can afford.

toulouse-lautrec-artistWhether it’s KiKi of Montparnasse, the salon of Gertrude and Alice, the martyrdom of Suzanne Valdon as she cared for her prolific painter son, Utrillo as he in his alcoholic rages and fits of insanity managed to keep painting under her watchful eye, the absinthe ridden Lautrec, deformed and hindered in every way – except the way he was meant to follow – painting the brothel scenes of Monmartre and the nightlife at the Moulin Rouge, or the ravaged Modigliani cut short in his prime as he suffered the freezing winters in unseated ateliers, drinking his way thru the Paris of the early 20th century, the stories are here in the books, documented between pages of memories, letters, research, conversations, poetry, journals, dungeons of lives waiting to be discovered.

Like at the Strand.

Art is Art. The painters of yesterday reflect on today’s emerging And established artists . But they should know who they are dealing with and what. For Me it is a perfect blend of new dimensions, fresh insights and fantastic possibilities! Traveling through chapters of artists lives takes me, a NYC artist, on an adventure- past to present that  opens doors, revealing fresh ideas and inspiration , and leads me to an expansive creative territory as I travel page after page after page……..

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