Thursday, September 9, 2010

Big Fish & Other Tall Tales

Some softly monumental images from the beautiful website of the great American illustrator Brad Holland.
They are accompanied by a selection of the artist's remarks on various art movements from Dark to light
the catalog of his 2006 exhibition in Torino (Turin) organized, designed and promoted by Orecchio Acerbo.

An archaic term. Formerly an art movement, no longer distinguishable from everyday life.

Pop Art
In aristocratic societies rich people used to commission exquisite paintings for their walls. Years later cheap
 imitations would filter down to calendars in gas stations. In our democratic society this works backwards.
Here art begins as the kind of picture you'd find on a matchbook cover. Then in a few years expensive 
imitations of it wind up on the walls of plastic surgeons and Hollywood agents.

Abstract Expressionism
After the Second World War the United States emerged as the world's superpower. American companies
like Cities Service and Esso, which had once been regional businesses, became international corporations.
They adopted abstract names like Citgo and Exxon to give themselves world-class status. Since multinational
 giants couldn't have little pictures of red barns or weeping clowns in the lobbies of their Bauhaus buildings,
 Abstract Expressionism emerged as the world's most prized form of interior decoration.

This was a movement of intellectuals who wanted to replace tradition with the modern world of machinery,
speed, violence, and public relations. It proves that we should be careful what intellectuals wish for,
because we might get it.

Currently, realistic paintings are valued for their craftmanship. In the next century, when art will 
be packaged as virtual-reality software, realistic paintings will sell the way Shaker furniture does now. 
Shaker furniture will sell the way Van Gogh paintings do. Pop-It Beads owned by 
Jackie Onassis will come to market only occasionally.



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