Posts Tagged ‘Polke’

Blackpaint 677 – Tate Mod; The Man

August 21, 2020

Tate Modern Regular Collection

Our second post-shielding gallery visit to Tate Modern for the regular collection.  No trouble getting a booking even on a weekend; queue (spaced and short wait); relaxed about times (we were let in a bit early); more people than at Tate Britain, but still mostly easy to avoid crowds; most, but not all, masked.  Some selections below:

Christian Schad

Strange, strange picture:  I’ve seen it many times but I’ve never even noticed the woman at the bottom of the picture in the apparently subservient position.  I’d plead the chest deformity and the supercilious expression as attention grabbers.  I don’t think it’s unconscious racial prejudice – it’s more that I’m extraordinarily unobservant.

 

And these sculptures – Wifredo Lam?  Germaine Richier?  Couldn’t find the wall plaque – they’re often in odd positions…

 

Aubrey Williams

I like the splurged nature of this; as if it’s dribbled and smeared somehow.

 

Beuyss

Lovely collection of little leaden turds in front of the huge one dangling from the girder.

 

Beuyss

Granite corpses or coffins flung up by some earthquake…

 

Edward Paolozzi

Beautifully sculpted (cast?) set of totally useless…. boxes and mechanisms.  I’m not sure if it’s all one piece or not.

 

Sigmar Polke

Big dotty print(?) with a statue and an angel or devil and spurts of some cream/yellow fluid – what could be easier to interpret?

 

I think the one at the front with the wheel is a Paolozzi – didn’t get the name of the other sculptor – sorry, appalling commentary.

 

Obviously this has to be called “Babel”.  I though Nam June Paik-but no, it’s Cildo Meireiles.

 

Max Beckmann

Beckmann’s strange collection of glum clowns and/or musicians – I notice it faintly resembles his famous “Night” in it’s structure (the way the masked figure curves round the right hand corner).

 

William Sasnel 

One of a series of the dead Gadafi.

 

In common with Tate Britain, the arches give great views.  Paintings by Dora Maurer.

Apocalypse Now, Coppola (dir) 1979

Recently watched the “uncut” version of this on TV; I presume the scenes with the French ex-colonials hanging on in Cambodia were restored – I don’t remember them at all from the film I saw back in 79 or 80.  Another thing that struck me was the night scene at the last bridge, where no-one is in command – I could have sworn there was Hendrix playing, “Voodoo Child” maybe; there WAS some music but nowhere near as prominent as I remember…

Hopper’s over the top hippie photographer gave me, along with “Eddie Coyle” below, the title for this blog; his crazed eulogy of Kurtz, “The Man” is this, “The Man” is that, “The Man is – the Man, you know”….

 

Everybody is deranged (except the Vietnamese and maybe some Cambodians) in this film.  Here’s Martin Sheen’s intense assassin’s stare, years after his Charles Starkweather turn in “Badlands” (1973) with the wonderful Sissie Spacek – and a good while before he became liberal President Bartlett in the West Wing.

American Dharma, Errol Morris (dir) 2018

This was in the Sky Documentary Channel a couple of weeks ago. A fascinating portrait, but hardly a fair and unbiased one, of Steve Bannon, ex-Trump adviser, self proclaimed “street fighter” (I think he means attitude rather than actuality). right-wing hate figure of the liberal-left “Establishment”.  Bannon was sweaty, scruffy, unshaven and unflappable, with a hard stare and a challenging grin.  He speaks with relish of media stunts in which he undermined Clinton (Bill, not Hillary).  His favourite animal is the honey badger, because it is obsessive and relentless in its pursuits.  He seems to look to old films to underpin his principles and has picked some pretty good ones: Gregory Peck in “12 o’Clock High”. John Wayne in “The Searchers”, Kirk Douglas in “Paths of Glory” and Orson Welles as Falstaff in “Chimes at Midnight”.  This last pertains to his breach with Trump – unlike Falstaff, he claims to feel no resentment at being cast adrift by his protege – it had to be, the time had come.

The director makes no real attempt to refute anything Bannon says, but periodically flings headlines from the US press onto the screen which may or may not relate to him or undermine him; you can’t tell. There’s no engagement, just another restatement of Democrat/liberal-left distaste and fear.  In an extraordinary sequence at the end, Bannon is portrayed walking through a blazing building – an aircraft hangar? – as if he were Stephen King’s cowboy Satan in “The Stand”.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Peter Yates (dir) 1973

To end this week, a film which must be seen by any fan of US crime thrillers, with a brilliant cast headed by Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle, based on a novel by George V. Higgins.  The first, I believe, of several films in which bank robbers use moulded rubber masks (cf. Bigelow’s “Point Break”).  There is a “Man” conversation between Boyle an a mob go-between – “The Man wants it done tonight.”

“Tell The Man I can’t do it tonight; too short notice.”

“The Man says it has to be tonight”….and so on, for several minutes.  The Man gets his way, of course.

A bank robbery.

Boyle and Mitchum at the ice hockey game, before the murder.

 

A couple of old ones of mine, gone to good homes, one in England, one in Finland, I believe.

 

Blackpaint

22/08/20

 

Blackpaint 177

August 19, 2010

Frederick Cayley Robinson

At the National Gallery.  He died in 1927.  The NG has a suite of paintings he did for a hospital which has been demolished and one in particular on show now.  It’s sort of a cross between Pre-Raphs and very high class children’s illustration, although he said he was influenced by Puvis de Chavannes.  The painting is a pastoral scene – a river winding through its plain in the centre of the picture, with a blinding column of sunlight striking down onto its surface.  Flock of woolly sheep in bottom left, Mabel Lucie Attwell-ish shepherd girls on right, under a couple of silver birch trees, I think, or maybe some sort of willow.

Beautifully painted, and when I looked closely at the sheep, saw a number of small, randomly distributed red dots, which disappeared when I stepped back.  Went in again, to make sure it wasn’t  my eyesight – no, there they were.  Is this some well-known technique of which I am ignorant?  The birch bark was fantastic too.  Interestingly – perhaps – there was a very  thin black outline round the figures, giving them the slightest Rousseau-type, “stuck on” effect. 

As well as this picture, there was a great self-portrait, signed in a cod-mediaeval way; I think he was going for Holbein (about two thirds there).

Fakes exhibition at the NG

Forgot the proper title – worth a visit anyway and it’s FREE (I suppose they can’t really charge you for looking at fakes…).

Not all, or even most, are fakes actually – there are some restorations, different versions by same artist, wrongful attributions  made in  good faith, reconstructions from original  materials – and some genuine  ones (Madonna of the Pinks, Uccello’s St.George and the Dragon) that were originally thought to be fakes.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff on materials, especially pigment – Prussian Blue, invented in early 18th century, seems to have been crucial several times.

There’s a “Madonna of the Iris”, purportedly Durer, actually by a bunch of different artists.  I have to say that, although the madonna is no great shakes, the red fabric of her gown is beautifully done in that International Gothic style.

By contrast, the “Poussin” picture, “The Plague at Ashdod”, was terrible – see the boy in the right hand corner!  It was traced too, I think the blurb said; the faker must have been tired by the time he got to that bit.

The Verrocchio with the two angels (right angel done by a pupil, they think) – his distinguishing features are the lips and eyelashes; always a little prominent (check out  Tobias and the Angel in the main gallery – the one with the little dog they think was done by Leonardo).

There are a couple of Botticellis, featuring his beautiful hippy women with their sleepy, serene eyes, but the star has to be that Uccello – I never thought it looked much upstairs, but down here in level -3, it glows.

Per Kirkeby

Got the book of the recent Tate exhibition reduced (£6.00) – I like the stuff better now.  Maybe there was just too much in the exhibition.  Anyway, as well as himself, he reminds me of a bunch of other painters, as I flick through: Rauschenberg, in the car ones with the dots; Peter Doig, in some of the landscape-y things; and Sigmar Polke with his cartoon figures on horseback.

Rubens

Back upstairs, I was rather disturbed to find the Rubens women, reminiscent as they sometimes are of the Captain  Pugwash cartoons, somewhat erotic.  I clearly need to take up some sort of hobby.

Blackpaint

19.08.10

Blackpaint 105

April 6, 2010

A History of the World in 100 Objects

“Did” 30 of these yesterday, being marched round by my eldest son who duly photographed each one, allowing a minute or so for contemplation before continuing.  This was a minute more than many visitors, who contented themselves with the photo – in one case, a photograph of the label, rather than the object.

The most intriguing object for me was the 13,000 year old swimming reindeer (actually two reindeer, the male in pursuit) carved out of mammoth tusk and discovered in a French valley.  The experts have been unable to discover or surmise a use for it, which raises the possibility that it was carved simply for the pleasure, satisfaction, call it what you like, of “artistic” production.  Is this the earliest example of such a piece?  It may, of course, have had some ritual purpose, like animals in cave paintings or fertility objects; but unlike these, it seems to record an observed event. 

The Olduvai stone chopping tool makes you wonder how they knew it wasn’t just an ordinary rock – presumably it was part of a site.

German Expressionism and colour

I have some serious doubts about that stuff I was saying in Blackpaint 102, about “German” colours being dead, washed-out, livid.  I think it’s true, or at least arguable,  for Beckmann, Neue Sachlikheit people like Modersohn-Becker and Schmidt-Rotluff, and on up to Polke, Baselitz, Kiefer and Kippenberger.  But then there was Marc and Macke – OK, they were earlier but they were vibrant and limpid, like Dufy and the Fauves.  And Rouault and Soutine were as dark and/or livid as anyof the Germans I’ve mentioned.  and the Bauhaus people, like Schlemmer, they were bright too – so possibly, it’s all nonsense.  Probably more to do with movements than nationalities.

Beckmann’s “Night”

Surely that’s Lenin in the cap on the right??

Here’s an appropriate one of mine, in dark, dead colours:

Blackpaint

06.04.10