This blog traces my influences, studio practice, learning, and teaching of art.
A friend commissioned this portrait in 1980. We had a photo session on the roof of his apartment in Hell's Kitchen. That is the world trade center in the background. Brian was at first freaked out that his eyes were closed. I was making a contrast of inner & outer worlds. New York is so crazy that looking inward is one way to find peace. What freaks me out, now, is that lone white cloud at the top of the towers.
This painting was purchased by the Cleve. Clinic around 1990. The vase has an image of Herculese fighting an amazon woman. The mug has an image of Ms. Olympia, the body building contest for women. The Dixie cups have a cartoon of Linus insulting Nancy. Teresa DeChant the Clinic art consultant at that time thought this would look great in the cafeteria, because it's about health. It was. The shadow is of someone who made me heart sick. I recovered.
She was the goddess of women, childbirth, and marriage. Zeus cheated on her constantly. A nymph named Echo had the job of distracting Hera from knowledge of Zeus's escapades. She cursed Echo to only be able to repeat the words of others. Neoclassicissm can be a curse if the repeating of motifs leads only to the past. A painter, R. Ryan said, "Neoclassicism is cheating."
An art dealer informed me that these paintings were kitch. I said, "Of course they're kitch. I love kitch." I also love the late work of Picabia and the neoclassicism of Picasso. Carlo Mariani can really paint. Let's not forget John Currin. Have you seen what Jim Dine is up to? He used laser scanners to enlarge Greek figurines from 100 BC, at the Getty Villa. He then made wood carvings of them. Way to go, kitchmeister!
I painted this at the Edward Albee Foundation, in Montauk, N.Y. in 1979. It was quite an experience being there. It is a summer workshop in a barn. I had a huge studio. There were two painters, and three writers there. One of the writers was James Lapine, who has come to great success: "Sunday In The Park With George" was written by him. Nogouchi dropped by one day wearing shorts and flip-flops...and I had dinner in Mr. Albee's famous mirrored dinning room. Excuse me for the poor quality of the picture: It's from an old slide.
These are paintings of doors in the Society Bank building, designed by John Root of the Chicago firm, Burnham and Root. The 1889 design shows influences of Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance styles. I have since used this pointed Gothic arch shape and proportion in many of my paintings. The turn of the century produces a plethora of synthesized eclectic styles in all the arts. Look at our current art scene: any thing goes. Art and Architecture critics are mostly confused. There is one, Barbara Rose, who got it right. In a lecture at Yale, circa 1977, she predicted what I see and embrace as an expression of the convergence of cultures, styles, & historical references: Postmodernism. Long live Robert Stern and John Currin.
The monument honoring the four branches of the Union Army as seen through a Gothic arch window of the old Society Bank building. The Civil War memorial on Cleveland's public square was built in 1894. How different Maya Lin's memorial to the Vietnam Veterans is. They both contain long lists of dead warriors. Where are the lists of the dead civilians?