Friday, August 27, 2010

Art reflecting

A Volcano erupts

Noise is heard 3,000 miles away in Madagascar.
A 175-foot tsunami wipes away 163 coastal towns and villages.
36,417 inhabitants die.


Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging symbolic elements in a way that influences and affects the senses, emotions, and/or intellect. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, photography, sculpture, and paintings. The meaning of art is explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.


Art creates, it reflects. In the words of some various artists if a work doesn’t connect to real life, it is not art. Many people know about the fact that Krakatoa erupted, and, many people are familiar with the art The Scream by Edvard Munch. But what is captured in the sky, in the background, and in other art of the moment, is the amazing sky created by the physical consequences of the eruption.

Art reflects, art creates.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Marc, writer for Poplitiko, has taken part in the creation of a comic and has agreed to let me link you to it right HERE

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Time and Motion

Pictured at left is Marcel Duchamp's controversial "Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2". When first exhibited at New York's Armory Show in 1913, it created a scandal.

"I see no nude! I see no Staircase!"

There were fistfights.

I visit this amazing work all the time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It's hard, at this late date, to understand the fuss. We 21st-century types are used to non-representative art. Of course there's no nude. That's not what the painting is about! It's about motion, and surface, time and space.

Pictured at right is another early 20th century masterpiece; a panel from E.C. Segar's Thimble Theater (April 29, 1932). While nowhere near the draftsman that Duchamp was, Segar here employs a very similar method for depicting time and motion in a static two-dimensional space.

Why no fistfights?

Is it because 20 years had passed, and Duchamp's methods had been asimilated? Is it because it's "just a comic strip" and therefore unworthy of the passion elicited by Duchamp?

I have no answer to these questions. I'm not even sure they're valid questions. I was just reading old Segar strips and said "Hey- that looks a lot like Duchamp's Nude!" I can't discount the possibility that I'm completely full of shit, but that's what I see.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It isn't the same, no matter how they wish it to be

We hear political pundits telling us how screwed we are. This is the next "Great Depression". But it neither informs us, nor helps us. This is how our popular culture avoids absorbing the full impact of bad news, and how it keeps us from carrying out actions that require great courage, and hardship. We are not averse to pain, if it brings us result. But we aren't talking about avoiding pain... I think our culture does something that makes us feel better about any given situation, without a moral commitment to change.

It isn't the same. We are often told that a certain event equates another event, or a certain disaster beckons to be as bad as a previous one. The current war is like a past war, a current economic downturn is like a previous one.

But we are victims of something in the media,
through no clear misbehavior or malicious intent. We live in a culture that seeks to make all events understandable. One way of doing this is by to assert that things are similar to another. Or that we can expect one event to play out, as another did. But, no matter how much easier it is if it worked that way, Desert Storm did not turn out to be Vietnam, nor did the later wars in Iraq nor Afghanistan. Before you suggest that they are equals in terms of failures or moral collapse due to various issues, Vietnam cost ten times more American lives than all three of the recent wars mentioned. The cost alone in lives suggests that any commentary equating the various conflicts to be at most surface level commentary, and worse, insulting to the complexity of each conflict.

There is no answer here to any problems, just a suggestion that every event, for good or bad is unique to itself, and the pain of the people in 1929 is nothing like it is now. We've changed so much that our lives cannot possible reflect the same, in the present to the past and vice versa.

If a movie, comic, television show, song, or piece of art, or literature can reflect that uniqueness we are the beneficiaries... because those who mold opinion seem to not want us to think seriously about change. Perhaps they have an interest in the status quo?