Monthly Archives: December 2011

Today’s drawing

Two drawings done earlier today.

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More iPhone photos

After downloading the hipstamatic app I’ve been trying out the different combinations lens, film stock and flash gun options it offers.
I’ve uploaded early efforts to my Flickr page including a set taken at the end of a drunken night in Newcastle that I feel carry a Capa-esque D-Day feel to them, full of movement and blur.

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Art of America 2

I watched the third and final part of Andrew Graham-Dixon’s Art of America. As with the earlier episodes it was a well made and interesting account of the state of recent (approx pop art to present day) art in America and how it has got to where it is now. According to Graham-Dixon American art has, post 9/11, entered a new age of anxiety as American’s become less sure of their place in the world. I think this is probably a fair assessment and echoes the direction European art took after the second world war; think of Francis Bacon, Debuffet, Giacommetti. The young artist that Graham-Dixon met, as an example of this new tendency, created (or rather it seemed his assistants did) wooden reliefs that looked like town planners or architects models, which he then set fire to. The blackened and charred results looked effective but the artist himself seemed to struggle a little to articulate exactly what he was up to. Mind, so did Warhol and Graham-Dixon thought he was the most significant American of the late 20th Century, so maybe that doesn’t matter.
The final programme didn’t pick up on the theme of American art being used as propaganda against the ‘Soviet menace’ (see previous post) but perhaps the most frustrating thing about it was the way it skimmed through the years, touching on this, highlighting that, when it would have been more interesting to stop and consider in more depth a particular artist or group of artists. For example Graham-Dixon suggested that the minimalists such as Judd and Flavin, were reflecting in their work the empty consumerism of American culture. I’ve never been very interested in the minimalists and this is something that had never really occurred to me. I always took the line that they were following late modernist dogma of reducing art to its simplest, most basic form. I would have like to have heard more, for Graham-Dixon to have developed his proposition (it might not be original but I don’t know) but before you knew it we were whisked off to the next significant movement. Ah well

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Art of America

I watched the second episode of BBC4s Art of America. Presented by Andrew Graham Dixon it covered early 20th century American art, beginning with the ash can school of painters. However as interesting as it was to see some of the ash can school (generally neglected) i was puzzled by Graham Dixons conclusion about the abstract expressionists.
It seemed according to the programme that the AEs, Pollock, Rothko, Kline etc would be as happy to be ash can painters as abstract expressionists. It completely ignored artists like Demouth or the influence of expat surrealists and other Euro-modernists, or the promotion of AEs by the CIA as an example of the triumph of capitalism in contrast to socialist realism. Maybe that will be covered in the final programme.

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