Monday, January 15, 2007

Why lick the Bonnards? Why artists must be like a VIRUS to the museums.

(Here is a rough rant I want to develop into a full fledged soapbox flipout tirade.)

I need to write something about why the artist must not think that the museums are his friend. David Smith has a great remark on this in "Smith On Smith", and I think Ben Shahn made a good distinction between Art and Culture that still stands.

All I will say at the moment is that a "no sketching" policy at museum shows is proof that the creative person should neither expect nor give any quarter when dealing with the machinery of Culture, but just go, get the booty.

(There was a cool newspaper article about me fighting the law and winning back in the '90's at the Cezanne retrospective in Philly and I will link to it when I revise this post.)

The Vollard show at the MET was the latest one to have this idiotic policy. Fortunately the guards were human, inefficient and lax in enforcing it. Of course, they also failed to enforce the vital "no cellphone blabbing" rule, but I was happy to make a citizen's arrest in this case for some fucktard who thinks her weekend plans are more important than Picasso's Vollard Suite.

Didn't the Israelis have some way to make those cellphones blow up?

Anyhow a friend asked what is going on when we sketch in museums. It is like a cook tasting food before serving it. The index card size sketchbook doodle is not meant to be a precious little masterpiece, it is a way to DRAW and SEE what is in front of you. See what is there, not what you THINK you SEE. This is an old art school truism, but worth repeating for the curious.

The Bonnard prints, the Rouaults, the Picasso Vollard Suite all were great to see, make doodles of and remember the serious focus of the artists Vollard showed. Plus the shirtfront of Cezanne's portrait _is_ fucking majestic, a throwdown to all comers since 1899. The window to Vollard's side is pretty much a big chunk of Matisse as well! The Bros. Hernandez called Steve Ditko a killer cartoonist. Period." Picasso is a killer cartoonist. Period.

Bottom line: I get alot out of seeing great art and I do my job however I need to. Just gotta grumble sometimes about Das Kultur Machinen.