I'm a junior in college studying art history & french.
“Clement Greenberg, in his famous essay published in the Partisan Review in 1939, ‘Avant-Garde and Kitsch’, opens by asking why our ‘civilization produces simultaneously two such different things as a poem by T.S. Eliot and a Tin Pan Alley song, or a painting by Georges Braque and a Saturday Evening Post cover’. The popular song, the magazine cover and Hollywood films are all examples of culture for the new class of under-educated workers drawn to cities by industrialism. ‘Insensible to the values of genuine culture,’ the ‘new urban masses’ demanded a culture suitable to their unformed tastes. The result is ‘ersatz culture, kitsch’ a ‘popular art and literature’ that ‘operates by formulas,’ offers ‘faked sensations’ and makes no demands on its audience ‘except their money.’”
- Pop Art, Bradford Collins
Movie-Poetry inspired by Hugo Ball’s Karawane (Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, 1916)
Ball’s performance while reciting one of his sound poems, “Karawane,” reflects the iconoclastic spirit of the Cabaret Voltaire. His legs and body encased in blue cardboard tubes, his head surmounted by a white-and-blue “witch doctor’s hat,” as he called it, and his shoulders covered with a huge, gold-painted cardboard collar that flapped when he moved his arms, he slowly and solemnly recited the poem, which consisted of nonsensical sounds. As was typical of Dada, this performance involved two both critical and playful aims. One goal was to retreat into sounds alone and thus renounce “the language devastated and made impossible by journalism.” Another end was simply to amuse his audience by introducing the healthy play of children back into what he considered overly restrained adult lives.
Robert Rauschenberg in his Front Street studio, New York, with three transfer drawings, 1958. Photograph by Jasper Johns. Courtesy Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Rauschenberg was born Milton Ernest Rauschenberg on October 22, 1925, in Port Arthur, Texas. In honor of his birthday today, we shared an album of portraits from throughout his life on our Facebook page: page: http://on.fb.me/1a4MXo1
Happy birthday Robert Rauschenberg! Today would have been Robert’s 88th birthday.
Happy birthday to Robert, indeed! Check out two Rauschenberg pieces we are auctioning tomorrow night at the MASS MoCA Gala in New York City.
Edward Hopper said that Nighthawks was inspired by “a restaurant on New York’s Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet,” but the image—with its carefully constructed composition and lack of narrative—has a timeless, universal quality that transcends its particular locale. One of the best-known images of twentieth-century art, the painting depicts an all-night diner in which three customers, all lost in their own thoughts, have congregated. Hopper’s understanding of the expressive possibilities of light playing on simplified shapes gives the painting its beauty. Fluorescent lights had just come into use in the early 1940s, and the all-night diner emits an eerie glow, like a beacon on the dark street corner. Hopper eliminated any reference to an entrance, and the viewer, drawn to the light, is shut out from the scene by a seamless wedge of glass. The four anonymous and uncommunicative night owls seem as separate and remote from the viewer as they are from one another. (The red-haired woman was actually modeled by the artist’s wife, Jo.) Hopper denied that he purposefully infused this or any other of his paintings with symbols of human isolation and urban emptiness, but he acknowledged that in Nighthawks “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.”