Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Holding Pattern

Yesterday I cam across a tattered copy of the January 1970 Artforum. There's an article by Walter Darby Bannnard called "Notes on American Painting of the Sixties" in which he looks back on the developments in art from the preceding decade. He's a curmudgeon to be sure, but an awful lot of what he writes could be applied word for word to the present day, particularly in respect to the rise of the "new and important" as central criteria to the evaluation of art:

"The present generation of critics, museum directors, and the lot, endowed with a strong sense of history and a determination not to be "wrong," have been clever enough to take in not only the successes of recent art, but also the failures of past criticism as a negative guide to assure that they do not pick against history. They live with the spectre of the critic who denounced new art which proved to be important, and these are the key words of the sixties, the all-purpose catch phrase of the eyeless art public: new and important.

[...] The mediocre ambitious artist is always a few jumps ahead; he has a keen nose for what's "in the air" and he wastes no time bringing in into his art. It is still true that good art is new and important. What is unique to the sixties is that bad art is now new and important. As always, bad art takes aim at assimilated taste. But it has taken until now for assimilated taste to demand these qualities. This has produced something else peculiar to the sixties: the co-existence of many very different-looking styles of art-making, each claiming to be as much "high art" as the others, each with its defenders and detractors. [...] The fear of being "wrong" fosters acceptance of bad art as long as the art public is not sure it is actually bad. History has told them to go along with whatever seems to persist. And their own indecision sustains the very persistence they seek."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stanczak Interview

Julian Stanczak, Confrontation, 1964. Acrylic on canvas, 54" x 66."

Here's a short interview with Julian Stanczak from the Myartspace blog (thanks for the tip, Gabriele!).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Paulie Report

You may have noticed that I haven't posted any new paintings on this blog for a damned long time. Believe me, it's not because I haven't been working - most of 2007 has been devoted to coming up with the follow-up series to "Circles and Stripes," but it's taken much longer than I had hoped. You know what they say: if it were easy, then everyone would do it.

The good news is that the new paintings are finally starting to flesh themselves out, and I'll be posting some of them as soon as they're shot. I've been lucky enough to have the use of a great studio in Brooklyn for a nice chunk of the summer (thanks, Don!).

I have to (and hate to) vacate the space in early August, though, and if anyone knows of a reasonably priced studio in Manhattan or Brooklyn (on the "L" would be best), please e-mail me at pcorio@nyc.rr.com.

In other news, I'm returning to the academy this fall after a long hiatus. I'll be teaching "2D Integrated Studio" in the Freshman Foundation department at Parsons (thanks, Dan!). A lot of the summer has been devoted to brushing up on the computer programs that are part of the course, preparing my syllabus, and practicing my whip-cracking.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Paintings I Like, pt. 11

Jackson Pollock, One: Number 31, 1950, 1950. Oil and enamel on unprimed canvas, 8' 10" x 17' 6."

I was at MoMA this past weekend with a bunch of artist pals. When we came to this picture, my former painting professor and good friend George Hofmann said "this could hang in the same room as a Velazquez and hold its own." I couldn't agree more.

The only thing that I find to be less than perfect about this, and virtually all the horizontal drip paintings from '47-'50, is that that Pollock chose to leave a larger space at the top than at the bottom, which tends to give them a little "sag" as opposed to emphasizing their weightlessness. If it were up to me, I'd flip an awful lot of Pollocks over.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The 2003 Kentucky Derby: Funny Cide

Funny Cide was retired last week. Since he's a gelding, he raced for much longer than most Derby winners; there's no lucrative stud career in his future. But with career earnings in excess of $3.5 million, he's not going to end up at the glue factory, either.

He was one of those Seabiscuit/Lava Man stories that people love (including me): a cheap(ish) horse that slays the giants. He was only the 2nd gelding to win the Derby, and the first New York Bred to do it. He went on to win the Preakness, but lost the Belmont Stakes in the slop to Derby favorite Empire Maker.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The John Coltrane Quartet: Afro Blue, 1963

Today is the 40th anniversary of Trane's death, of liver cancer at age 40. What a loss!

This clip is from Ralph Gleason's "Jazz Casual" series, and features McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and the one and only Elvin Jones on drums.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Paintings I Like, pt. 10

Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait of Joseph Roulin, 1889. Oil on canvas, 25" x 22."

Agony is generally upon as the animating factor in Van Gogh's paintings, but I tend to disagree. When he's really good, it's because of the color; he might be one of the best intuitive colorists in western painting. It even took him by surprise - in his letters to Theo, he describes in great detail his struggles with drawing, and expects to wrestle with oil paint as much as he did with charcoal and watercolor. But in a letter dated August 20, 1882, he states with wonder: "Painting comes easier to me than I imagined, and perhaps the right course would be to put all my effort into it, toiling away at the brush before anything else, but I must confess I'm not sure." His reservation was the cost of materials: "I don't want to push either of us into unnecessary expense, but it is plain that the painted things have a more pleasing aspect."

Van Gogh painted this portrait of his friend Joseph Roulin at Arles in 1889. The entire picture is essentially oppositions of blues and greens against reds and oranges. The effect is most striking in Roulin's green eyes, which are rimmed with strokes of red-orange. They strobe a little (as close-value, high saturation complements tend to do) and this same color treatment is applied to the postman's cheeks in a much more muted way. The face, portrayed in a calm expression but vibrating with energy because of the touches of color dissonance, is then framed with that swirling wallpaper and beard, again using controlled flashes of color opposites. The whole thing is anchored with the large areas of blue in the coat and hat, which keep the composition from just turning into a spinning blur.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Belmont Results, 7/7/07

Cute Lady and Silver Knockers both let me down today; isn't that always the way? I've learned my lesson this time, and set it down in verse:

There once was a painter named Paul
Who bet horses in summer and fall
He sometimes could guess
who was fastest and best
But bet big when he should have bet small

Friday, July 6, 2007

Paulie's Picks, Belmont, 7/7/07

What could be luckier than going to the track on seven-seven-seven? Here are Paulie's picks for tomorrow's card at Belmont:

1st race:
6 - Cute Lady
2 - Sun Shower
3 - Perfectly Natural

2nd race:
2 - Flying Dismount
4 - Lumen
5 - Globalization

3rd race:
1 - Nerve
2b - Tenacious Star
2 - Devil's Concierge
6 - Oh My Stars

4th race:
2 - Port Royal
10 - Sensational Humor
6 - All Verses

5th race:
6 - Stormy Kiss
8 - Fantastic Shirl
3 - Calla Lily

6th race:
5 - Storm Dixie
7 - Jesse's Justice
3 - Visual Candy

7th race:
1a - Inside Info
7 - Defrizz
6 - Here Comes Carlie

8th race:
1 - Silver Knockers
9 - Dream Rush
2 - Cash's Girl

9th race:
8 - Tsunamic
7 - Senor Musician
4 - Victory Assured

Tune in tomorrow night for results.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Scooter Skates

In September 2003, George W. Bush said: "If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is and if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of."

Today he took very good care of that person.