Posts Tagged ‘Lenin’

Blackpaint 678 – Andy, Ed and Death in the Snow

September 1, 2020

Tate Modern – Andy Warhol

 

Great, clean, single line drawing – wish I could do it too.

 

From the Ten Most Wanted series.

 

Red Riot

 

 

Elvis.  touch of Bollywood in the image, I think.

 

More violent death in the media…

 

Older readers will remember those retouched photos you used to get of murders and murderers in the 30s and 40s in American magazines like True Detective.

 

 

Touch of Rauschenberg here – or maybe Richard Hamilton, more like?

 

Never noticed before that the mauve (purple?) blotches were little Maos as well.  Must be more observant…

 

Great use of colour in these laughing skulls.

 

Don’t know who the woman in this portrait is…

 

…but no problem with these two.

 

Lenin in red, with a touch of ruthlessness around the eyes – surely not…

 

Her expression strangely reminiscent of Lenin’s above.

 

Although this is such an iconic picture, it’s an unusual image of Warhol, who was more often photographed smiling vaguely, or peering thoughtfully at something.

Ed Ruscha

 

Typical Ruscha – the incongruity of the slogan and the image; see also John Baldessari.

 

Love these pipes. straining at the edges of the picture.

 

You can hear Johnny Cash reciting  “Ragged Old Flag”, looking at this.  Or I can, anyway.

 

Started with a typical Ruscha, so ending this bit with an unusual one.  Something Chinese about the image, I think, or maybe Vietnamese – makes me think of peasant revolutions.  Maybe it’s an age thing, all those marches and posters in the 60s and 70s.  I do have a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book still…

 

And This…

What a great photo.  There were actually two photos, both showing resigned commuters forced against the glass – but the other one came out blurred (my picture, not the original, of course).  Sorry to say I didn’t get the artist’s name.

The Victors, dir. Carl Foreman (1963)

Oddly reminiscent of “All Quiet on the Western Front”, the Lewis Milestone classic of 1930.  I think it’s the episodic structure, the scenes with the various civilian women and families, and the general anti -war message.  The most famous scene, of course, is the execution in the snowbound countryside of the American GI, which takes place as Frank Sinatra sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on the soundtrack.  More shocking though, is the arrival of George Peppard at the British hospital where his sergeant is a patient, to find him badly disfigured and not wanting visitors…

The scenes are separated by newsreels and headlines; it’s raining – well, pouring – most of the time in Belgium, France, Germany and especially Britain.  The film is full of stars – Peppard, George Hamilton III (pre – permatan), the great Eli Wallach, Peter Fonda, and is that Robert Mitchum? No, it’s his son.  The women – Melina Mercouri, Elke Sommer, Romy Schneider, Senta Berger and Jeanne Moreau.

The film ends with a knife fight in the ruins of Berlin, between Hamilton’s character and a drunken Russian soldier.  Who plays the Russian?  Albert Finney!

 

 

And so, to my offering; I have actually managed to complete a couple of paintings since last blog.

 

Seated Red

Blackpaint

1/09/20

 

 

 

 

Blackpaint 446 – Poured Paint, Pigs, Saddam and Crocodiles

May 16, 2014

Helen Frankenthaler and Turner at Margate

A fantastic exhibition at Margate, unfortunately just finished.  I thought the comparisons between the two artists were totally fortuitous, but this didn’t matter at all, given the quality of work on show.  The Turners were all well known, I think; my favourites as always were the  watercolour sketches – and of the paintings, “Evening Star” and “Calais Sands at Low Water; Poissards Collecting Bait”.

The Frankenthalers were a revelation; the earlier ones from the 50s and 60s were oils, the later acrylics.  there was a wonderful film playing of her producing a painting by pouring thinned paint on a canvas on the floor and pushing the puddles around with sponges and mops.  A few below:

frank lorelei

Lorelei

frank 2 cromagnon

Hotel Cro-Magnon 

frank 1

 For E.M. (Eduard Manet)

Frank mountains-and-sea-1962

Mountains and Sea

This last one wasn’t in the exhibition; I include it because it was her famous “breakthrough” picture, painted (or poured and painted) in 1952.  In the literature, there is, as with several other abstract expressionists, a degree of dispute over representation and abstraction.  No problem here, though; it’s clearly a green rhino with blue feet and a body made of flowers, charging towards the sea.

Orwell – Animal Farm

Must be the sixth or seventh time I’ve read this, but I found I had tears in my eyes after the first of the massacres, when the dogs that Napoleon has been rearing in secret rip the throats out of the pigs who have been “assisting Snowball”, in his sabotage activities.  Robert Colls, in his “George Orwell:  English Rebel”, describes how Orwell was criticised for implying there was something inherently bad about the pigs (the Communist Party) in the book; there is no “mechanism” to explain why they behave as they do.  In reality, the revolutionaries in Russia came from a long tradition of clandestine, disciplined activity against the Tsars, involving terror and counter-terror, assassination, ruthless self-sacrifice and a readiness to use violence to further their ends.  This must surely go some way towards explaining the way events developed under Lenin and Stalin; you can’t blame Orwell for leaving this out – the book’s an allegory, not a history.

It brought back to me that appalling film of Saddam Hussein addressing a meeting of his Ba’athist party, while secret police tapped a succession of unfortunate members of the audience on the shoulder and led them out of the meeting to be shot.

As Orwell’s allegory stands, of course,  it seems that the pigs, under Napoleon, take over leadership and exploit the other animals because they are the most intelligent and organised and this leads to corruption – eventually, they are indistinguishable from the humans.  It’s unlikely that Orwell would have thought this an adequate explanation – to that extent, the criticisms are justified, to my mind.  Still one of the greatest works of the 20th century, though.

Autumn of the Patriarch, Marquez 

The author’s recent death sent me back to this book to finish it, after 20+years; should be easy, since it’s full of colourful sex and violence, skinning alive, feeding to crocodiles, assassinations and terrible revenges – but it’s hard going, there being no paragraphs and only one full stop every 5 – 10 pages.  I thought Krasnahorkai was tough going.  Makes Conrad seem like Stephen King…

Exhibition (again)

Re-visited Joanna Hogg’s new film at the ICA (see previous) and some new thoughts; the “trouble”, whatever it is, depression maybe, is his, not hers.  I’d forgotten the scenes in which she is obviously afraid for him when he’s locked in the toilet or bathroom and when she is so afraid that something has happened to him in the street that she runs out of the house in her underwear, barefoot.  The artspeak is good –  “Yeah, she’s totally into what I do…” – and the excruciating little exchanges on the intercom – “Do you still love me?”  “I’m cold”  “Do you want me to turn the heating up?” (pause) “Wouldn’t mind…”

I mentioned the “crazing” on the window pane in some of the shots – this was actually the reflection of thick, small shrubbery on the glass.

I’m really struggling with my latest canvas, which is a raucous blast of blood red, black and grey at the moment, so an old one to be going on with…

001

Blackpaint

16.05.14