Blackpaint 522 – Cartels, Carpaccio, Cheever


Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman (2015)

This compelling documentary, about a self-defence militia in Mexico, set up by a charismatic doctor to defend his local towns and  villages against the Knights Templar cartel, is rather problematic.  There are a number of scenes that must surely be reconstructions, as the camera appears to be always in the right place to get the crucial shot and soundbite for the purpose of the narrative.  If it’s just the result of bravery, luck and brilliant editing, it’s stunning.  I’ve no doubt that the shoot  outs are genuine; at one point, someone appears to give the order on the soundtrack for a suspect to be murdered – and these are the good guys.  In the light of the beheadings, hangings, torture and rape shown and described, it’s not surprising that the “autodefensas” are likely to be merciless to the perpetrators when they catch them, I suppose.

cartel

It all goes wrong, of course; corruption sets in, the “autodefensas” are infiltrated by gangsters,  who form their own cartel within, the doctor turns out to be a sleaze who chats up young women on camera; he ends up in prison, having been betrayed by his erstwhile “officers”, who are co-opted by a corrupt government.

There is a parallel story about Tim Foley and his Arizona Border Recon, an American paramilitary force resisting incursions by “cartel members”.  Their operations seem rather pathetic, in comparison.

More from Venice

accademia1

Carpaccio, Accademia

Love those hats.

correr3

Bellini,  Correr Museum

 

Albert Oehlen

Oehlen Hetzler

A beautiful catalogue published by the Galerie Max Hetzler of an exhibition seven or eight large paintings from 2014.  They are all on wood panels, with a white background; gestural, patches and flickering lines of fairly subdued colours, mostly including a grey cloud; no spray or computer work in these.  The trickle downs and freshness or the colours recall 60s Joan Mitchell.  And the cover unfolds into a poster of one of the paintings – pretty good for £14 odd.

John Cheever

I find his short stories just get better every time I read them; I’m on my third trip through the Collected Stories now.  They are polished, funny, often sad, sometimes shocking, sardonic, wise, brilliantly readable and they never pall, which is surprising, given the quite narrow social milieu in which they are set; New York/New England, upper middle class, servants, mansion apartments, holiday homes, leafy suburbs.  I’ve just finished “The Housebreaker of Shady Hill”.  I don’t think he’s a great novelist, however.  I’ve read most of them and the only memorable one, I think, is “Falconer”, his short prison novel.  The others just strike me as the short stories extended unnecessarily.

Finally finished a couple of new paintings:

Ospedale

Ospedale

black storm1

Black Storm

Blackpaint

27.11.15

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4 Responses to “Blackpaint 522 – Cartels, Carpaccio, Cheever”

  1. Russell duPont Says:

    With you on Cheever. Enjoy your paintings.

  2. blackpaint Says:

    Thanks Russell, good to hear from you. Keep reading!
    Blackpaint.

  3. memadtwo Says:

    Love Mitchell, see the influence in your work. I’ll have to check out Oehlen. (K)

  4. blackpaint Says:

    Praise indeed, memadtwo! Joan Mitchell’s the business for me (as is Joni); Oehlen’s AbEx stuff is great. thanks for comments. Bp.

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