Posts Tagged ‘Vantongerloo’

Blackpaint 653 – Belem and Burns, Lisbon and Vietnam

September 15, 2019

Centro Cultural de Belem, Portugal

Just back from Lisbon, with a plethora of images from several of the brilliant art museums in and around the city.  I’m impatient to get some of these out so there will be an absolute minimum of my usual perceptive and trenchant comment – sorry.  This museum in Belem has a collection that is so extensive that it matches the Thyssen – Bornemisza collection in Madrid.  So here goes:

Alan Davie

Belem is particularly good on British pop art, as can be seen…


Pauline Boty

Obvious similarities to the famous Peter Blake self portrait with badges.  Martin Gayford compares the Blake picture, interestingly, to Watteau’s “Pierrot”, in Modernists and Mavericks.


Alan Jones


Larry Rivers

Why isn’t there a Taschen or some other book on Rivers?  I love his stuff.


Ed Kienholz



Martial Raysse

Not well enough known in UK; ideas man, like say Richard Hamilton.


William Scott

Strangely Klimt-like, superficially

Willem de Kooning

Not a great one, but any DK worth a photo, I think.


Karel Appel

Out of order really; Kline should go follow DK – but who cares?  There was a nice Asger Jorn to go with Appel but it was too dark…


Franz Kline

No comment necessary – so, no comment.


George Vantongerloo

Deserves inclusion for the name, even if the work were no good – which it is (good, I mean).


Max Ernst

Again, out of place here,  but definitely the best of the extensive surrealist section.


James Rosenquist


Andy Warhol


Derek Boshier

Some more from Belem and from the Gulbenkian and other collections in Lisbon next blog.

The Vietnam War, Ken Burns 

I’ve been watching the repeats of this great series – finished here a week or so ago – by turns horrifying, desperately sad and infuriating (My Lai and Tet, survivors and families on all sides and the deception practised by the succession of US presidents involved).  I thought Burns did a staggering job of even-handed analysis – there are those, however, who regard even this as something of a whitewash, of the US role that is.  They would refer to “Kill Anything that Moves” by Nick Turse, a book that examines several other incidents that resemble My Lai, the body count obsession, Rolling Thunder and other special ops that, Turse contends, make atrocities appear to be routine in the US war effort in Vietnam.  Then, of course, there is Michael Herr’s classic, “Dispatches”- not an analysis but a memoir, and one which sits more squarely with the Burns view.

Computer is acting up so I am bailing out now with my latest work in prog (or lack of prog).  Tons more from Lisbon to come soon, along with Ayres, Hoyland and Blake (William, not Peter) at Tate Britain.

Unfinished, Blackpaint 15/9/19



Blackpaint 60

February 6, 2010

Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde

Got to this this afternoon at the Tate Modern.  It’s massive; 11 rooms, some subdivided into three sections – took about an hour to go round.  some highlights to look out for as follows: in room 2, little pictures by Marthe Donas, particularly “Child with Boat”. 

In room 3, what I call the “blip” paintings by Bart van der Leck – look like genetic coding to me – and VD’s cow; I thought it was a house at first.  Also Georges Vantongerloo, great squares, great name. 

Room 6 is the Dada/ Bonset room – definition on wall by VD: “Outlook on life opposed to anything we imagine to be of vital importance”.   A few beautiful, Picabia -like fantasy machines in singing blue and rhubarb colours by Jean Crotti; also in this room, some tiny, lovely collages in yellow and red by Thijs Rinsema.

In room 7a, the perfect  model “Kiosk” by the Hungarian artist  Lajos Kassak.  In 8, two lovely red based squares by Peter Keler called De Stijl Flat Compositions, I think, and a sharply defined yellow diamond shape by Karl Peter Rohl.

Then there’s room 9, architecture, with Rietveld’s great Schroder House – love to live in that – and the Sophie Tauber-Arp squares.  The last couple of rooms have several of VD’s diagonals as well as Mondrian’s squares – as if glaring at each other, shouting “Square!” “No, diagonal!” like Big Enders and Little Enders in Gulliver.

I got an idea that only VD did a squares painting with no white, looking at Counter Composition X (grey, red, dim glowing yellow), so went back through – there were actually only about four “squares” paintings with no white.  then of course, I discovered that one of Mondrian’s most famous paintings has no white, so another theory blown.

All in all, a brilliant exhibition; just, after an hour – too many squares and triangles!  wanted a nice, big, splatty, drippy CoBrA or Joan Mitchell or de Kooning to mess it up a little.

Listening to Dallas, by Johnny Winter –

“You know that I ain’t evil,

I’m  just having fun,

So much shit in Texas, Lord, bound to step in some –

Goin’ back to Dallas, take my razor and my gun;

Anybody lookin’ for trouble, oo-hoo,

Sure gonna give ’em some”.

I think he would be a diagonals man.