Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fathers and sons, Part 2

This morning I was honored to read a comment from the director of the Galerie St. George on Staten Island regarding my opinions on George Pissarro.

George Pissarro is a funny person to have emerged as a preoccupation of this blog! It is like how my Leonard Pennario blog became mysteriously haunted by the ghost of Peter Piccolo.

The director of the Galerie St. George is named Gary Brant. He said -- nicely, for which I am grateful -- that all I knew was a tiny fraction of George Pissarro's work so I should reserve my judgment.

That is nice of Mr. Brant, to say I knew a tiny fraction of George Pissarro's work. The fact is, I know zero about his work! I wrote what I wrote because I love Camille Pissarro and I did not know how any abstract sculptor could live up to what he had done. That is a painting of Camille Pissarro's pictured above. I never pass up a chance to display one on this blog, that is for sure.

What the heck, let's look at another Pissarro. Camille, that is.

I have to admit, I have this reaction now against contemporary abstract art. And music. It is not my fault. It is an attitude I have learned.

Real quick: I do not think an audience should have to work through what amounts to a doctoral thesis in order to grasp a piece's quality. And over and over I find that is what is happening. It is boring and I am beginning to resent it. Here in Buffalo our Albright-Knox Art Gallery did not help things when it sold off pieces people here loved so they could buy things that, I am sorry, they just do not touch us the same way. It is as if they slapped us in the face and said, "What could you possibly know, you stupid plebs? We are the experts. We will tell you what is best."

Here is a recent acquisition of the Albright-Knox.

Ha, ha! It has an otherness about it! That is what someone said in Woody Allen's "Manhattan."

But I know, I'm the idiot. Once upon a time people said the same thing about Mozart and Rembrandt. If I understood geometry, trigonometry and physics better, I would grasp the importance of this piece. I cannot live in the past. Blah, blah, blah. I have heard all the arguments.

So yes, I am afraid that poor George Pissarro unjustly became my scapegoat. Every artist deserves consideration as an individual, and cannot be made to pay for the sins of his generation (or generations, this goofiness has been going on for a long time).

There are artists in every era whose work deserves appreciation. The trouble is, it is getting harder to find them. New art and new music are a lot like dating. You have to sink a lot of time into it, and kiss an awful lot of toads.

How is that for a screed? That is a word I like, screed. I just looked it up. The meaning that comes closest in this situation is, "A ranting piece of writing."

Here is me living in the past and writing my screed.

That is Vermeer's "A Lady Writing." It is not found at the Albright-Knox.

Well. As Woody Allen says in "Manhattan": "Too angry. I don't want to be angry." I am cheering up watching the link to "Manhattan" above. That is the playing of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra! I found that record on vinyl a while ago at Goodwill. I now own a bit of Buffalo history.

Here is the beginning of "Manhattan." In which you hear "Rhapsody in Blue." And the "too angry" line.

As I fritter away my Saturday ...

La la la la la la la.

1 comment:

  1. An event in my past made me sympathetic to creators, but...someone I know from out of town and who knows the visual arts (I don't trust my visual sense) recently visited the Albright-Knox and called a lot of what they're buying and showing kitsch. Another friend, a musician, called a lot of new stuff " the audience". You are right that a lot of people making new art want to give their listeners and viewers a mugging. Years ago Dimitri Mitropoulous said he wished that some composer would send him a happy piece. I don't know the answer, only questions. H. L. Mencken thought Joyce and Stein were frauds.

    Some call giving money for new art a waste. Then I read about someone spending 35 millon dollars of his own money to joy ride in space and I wonder "what's wrong with this picture"? Anyway...