The Fate of the “Fountain”

Richard Bledsoe isn’t impressed with Conceptual Art

A certain segment of the glitterati like to flaunt their ability to see shit as sophisticated art as a badge of honor, for some reason.


and tells a delightful story about its early critics (“It broke!”).

I have to agree, and now I’m off to learn more about William Glackens, The Eight, and the Ashcan School.


Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize

Everybody’s got an opinion on this one, and here’s a doozy:

The Nobel Prize is in fact the ultimate example of bad faith: A small group of Swedish critics pretend to be the voice of God, and the public pretends that the Nobel winner is Literature incarnate. … Mr. Dylan may yet accept the prize, but so far, his refusal to accept the authority of the Swedish Academy has been a wonderful demonstration of what real artistic and philosophical freedom looks like.

Glamour from the 20th Century

Recently finished Virginia Postrel’s The Power of Glamour, and finally understood what all the fuss has been about.


Although people often equate them, glamour is not the same as beauty, sylishness, luxury, celebrity, or sex appeal….Glamour is, rather, a form of nonverbal rhetoric, which moves and persuades not through words but through images, concepts, and totems….By binding image and desire, glamour gives us pleasure, even as it heightens our yearning.  It leads us to feel that the life we dream of exists, and to desire it even more. (p. 6)

After reading the whole thing, I’ve concluded that America has entered the Century of Anti-Glamour.

Which doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate it, or are not susceptible to it. Just look at this catalog of old posters going up for auction.  Here’s an example


Tip from SF GateDon’t ask me how I found this, even I don’t believe the tortured route I took.

Update:  Did I say anti-glamour?  It didn’t take long to get a great example with this Yoga Pants Parade.

Once seen, this cannon be un-seen.

Update (23 Jan 17):  Glamour is back!  On steroids!  What woman wouldn’t want to look like Melania?


Art Meets Science

On a day that I’m overbooked, running around campus doing minor, but essential chores, and feeling a bit grumpy about the whole academic enterprise, I stumble upon a jewel like this:

Not in a gallery or the administration building, but in a hallway between classrooms.  Where thousands of students, and the odd faculty member, can marvel at what talents sometimes pop up where we least expect them.

Uh-oh. More Art that actually looks like something.

David Clemens interviews and reviews post-modern, neo-classic artist David Ligare in “Art that Thinks and the Gravity of Our Own Time.”

David Ligare, Penelope

I believe that much if not most of [modern and contemporary art] is now academic and because all things shocking and transgressional have become clichés, I believe that going `in’ is the answer. By `in’ I don’t necessarily mean back but `back’ is where the true thinkers are and we need art that thinks.
You can see more Ligare’s work on his website.

More Revolution

A few years ago, I was chatting with a professor from our Art Department.  He startled (poor, ignorant, unsophisticated) me saying “Art is not about beauty anymore; that’s not what we study.”  My unspoken response was (and is) “If not you, then who?”


Enter Jacob Collins:

“My general feeling in terms of art making is the train got off the rails in the 1860s and 1870s, and my practical instinct is to go back to where it was, try to put it back, fix it up, and start going again.”

“Our culture,” he continued, “has inherited the idea that if artists are not avant-garde they cannot have a significant role. That’s a fallacy we’ve inherited from some Parisian nut-job radicals. The rejection of beauty is so accepted. It’s high time that we as a culture attend to our beauty position.” To much of the New York art world, Collins’s “beauty position,” which he applies to his own paintings of nudes, still lifes, and landscapes, might look embarrassingly retrograde. He enjoys the support of a small minority of critics and writers—most of whom, like him, regard modern art with skepticism. Novelist Tom Wolfe has called Collins “certainly in terms of skill, one of the most brilliant artists in the entire country.” But you would never find the Collins style in a commercial gallery in Chelsea, say, or in a museum survey of contemporary painting. Morley Safer of 60 Minutes, another Collins admirer, told me that he believed that the “current art establishment, the so-called gatekeepers, hate the kind of skill and craft and vision that an artist like Collins has.”

Tip from American Digest.