This Date in Art History: Born 6 August 1928 – Andy Warhol, an American painter: Part I of II.
Below – “Campbell’s Soup I”; “Superman”; “Marilyn – Sunday B. Morning”; “Kimiko”; “General Custer”; “Eight Elvises.”
This Date in Intellectual History: Died 6 August 2012 – Robert Hughes, an Australian-born American art critic, cultural critic, and author of “The Fatal Shore,” “The Shock of the New,” and “Culture of Complaint.”
Some quotes from the work of Robert Hughes:
“The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.”
“What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and making whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn’t merely sensational, that doesn’t get its message across in ten seconds, that isn’t falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures. In a word, art that is the very opposite of mass media.”
“We have entered a period of intolerance which combines, as it sometimes does in America, with a sugary taste for euphemism. This conjunction fosters events that go beyond the wildest dream of satire- if satire existed in America anymore; perhaps the reason for its weakness is that reality has superseded it.”
“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt; perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”
“Far from affording artists continuous inspiration, mass-media sources for art have become a dead end. They have combined with the abstractness of institutional art teaching to produce a fine-arts culture given over to information and not experience. This faithfully echoes the drain of concreteness from modern existence- the reign of mere unassimilated data instead of events that gain meaning by being absorbed into the fabric of imaginative life.”
“Landscape is to American painting what sex and psychoanalysis are to the American novel.”
“In art there is no progress, only fluctuations of intensity.”
“When the war (WWI) finally ended it was necessary for both sides to maintain, indeed even to inflate, the myth of sacrifice so that the whole affair would not be seen for what it was: a meaningless waste of millions of lives. Logically, if the flower of youth had been cut down in Flanders, the survivors were not the flower: the dead were superior to the traumatized living. In this way, the virtual destruction of a generation further increased the distance between the old and the young, between the official and the unofficial.”
This Date in Art History: Born 6 August 1928 – Andy Warhol, an American painter: Part II of II.
Below (from the Endangered Species Portfolio) – “Grey’s Zebra”; “Black Rhinoceros”; “Orangutan”; “African Elephant”; “Pine Barrens Tree Frog”; “Siberian Tiger.”
This Date in Intellectual History: Born 6 August 1916 – Richard Hofstadter, an American historian, public intellectual, author of “The Age of Reform,” “Paranoid Style in American Politics,” and “Anti-intellectualism in American Life,” and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.
Some quotes from the work of Richard Hofstadter:
“A university’s essential character is that of being a center of free inquiry and criticism – a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else.”
“It is ironic that the United States should have been founded by intellectuals, for throughout most of our political history, the intellectual has been for the most part either an outsider, a servant or a scapegoat.”
“If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas, it is having an excess of commitment to some special and constricting idea.”
“We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.”
“One of the primary tests of the mood of a society at any given time is whether its comfortable people tend to identify, psychologically, with the power and achievements of the very successful or with the needs and sufferings of the underprivileged.”
“There has always been in our national experience a type of mind which elevates hatred to a kind of creed; for this mind, group hatreds take a place in politics similar to the class struggle in some other modern societies.”
“A university is not a service station. Neither is it a political society, nor a meeting place for political societies. With all its limitations and failures, and they are invariably many, it is the best and most benign side of our society insofar as that society aims to cherish the human mind.”
“In using the terms play and playfulness, I do not intend to suggest any lack of seriousness; quite the contrary. Anyone who has watched children, or adults, at play will recognize that there is no contradiction between play and seriousness, and that some forms of play induce a measure of grave concentration not so readily called forth by work.”
Contemporary American Art – Adam Collier Noel
In the words of one writer, “Through his education Adam Collier Noel worked to combine diverse materials and techniques with various photographic processes. The subject matter incorporated into the artwork is often appropriated from his extensive collection of one-of-a-kind antique daguerreotypes and mid-century snapshots. Each photograph in his acquisition is chosen because of its ability to simultaneously mirror intimate and universal facets of the human experience.”
Below – “Blueprint of Humanity XY “; “Finding Balance – yoga-handstand-beach-guy”; “Ineffable – warhol-inspired-pastel-pop-art”; “Shadow of My Former Shadow Diptych”;“Endless Blue.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 6 August 1809 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a British poet and Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland from 19 November 1850 to 6 October 1892.
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Below – R. A. Clarkson: “Illustration for Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’”
Contemporary Serbian Art – Ivana Zivic: Part I of II.
Below – “Music”; “Water Lilies”; “Leila”; “Spring”; “Shine II.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 6 August 1920 – John Graves, an American writer and author of “Goodbye to a River.”
Some quotes from the work of John Graves:
“Most autumns, the water is low from the long dry summer, and you have to get out from time to time and wade, leading or dragging your boat through trickling shallows from one pool to the long channel-twisted pool below, hanging up occasionally on shuddering bars of quicksand, making six or eight miles in a day’s lazy work, but if you go to the river at all, you tend not to mind. You are not in a hurry there; you learned long since not to be.”
“I would be annoyed if I were any more in tune with modern sensibilities. I was shaped differently. The world in which I grew up was Texan and Southern, and it had many, many failings. I think I’ve gotten rid of most of the bad things in myself from that earlier age, but I don’t adjust to the way things are progressing now.”
“Neither a land nor a people ever starts over clean. Country is compact of all its past disasters and strokes of luck–of flood and drouth, of the caprices of glaciers and sea winds, of misuse and disuse and greed and ignorance and wisdom–and though you may doze away the cedar and coax back the bluestem and mesquite grass and side-oats grama, you’re not going to manhandle it into anything entirely new. It’s limited by what it has been, by what’s happened to it. And a people, until that time when it’s uprooted and scattered and so mixed with other peoples that it has in fact perished, is much the same in this as land. It inherits.”
“Of all the passers-through, the species that means most to me, even more than geese and cranes, is the upland plover, the drab plump grassland bird that used to remind my gentle hunting uncle of the way things once had been, as it still reminds me. It flies from the far Northern prairies to the pampas of Argentina and then back again in spring, a miracle of navigation and a tremendous journey for six or eight ounces of flesh and feathers and entrails and hollow bones, fueled with bug meat. I see them sometimes in our pastures, standing still or dashing after prey in the grass, but mainly I know their presence through the mournful yet eager quavering whistles they cast down from the night sky in passing, and it makes me think of what the whistling must have been like when the American plains were virgin and their plover came through in millions. To grow up among tradition-minded people leads one often into backward yearnings and regrets, unprofitable feelings of which I was granted my share in youth-not having been born in time to get killed fighting Yankees, for one, or not having ridden up the cattle trails. But the only such regret that has strongly endured is not to have known the land when when it was whole and sprawling and rich and fresh, and the plover that whet one’s edge every spring and every fall. In recent decades it has become customary- and right, I guess, and easy enough with hindsight- to damn the ancestral frame of mind that ravaged the world so fully and so soon. What I myself seem to damn mainly, though, is just not having seen it. Without any virtuous hindsight, I would likely have helped in the ravaging as did even most of those who loved it best. But God, to have viewed it entire, the soul and guts of what we had and gone forever now, except in books and such poignant remnants as small swift birds that journey to and from the distant Argentine and call at night in the sky.”
“If a man couldn’t escape what he came from, we would most of us still be peasants in Old World hovels. But, if, having escaped or not, he wants in some way to know himself, define himself, and tries to do it without taking into account the thing he came from, he is writing without any ink in his pen. The provincial who cultivates only his roots is in peril, potato-like, of becoming more root than plant. The man who cuts his roots away and denies that they were ever connected with him withers into half a man.”
“Sunshine and warm water seem to me to have full meaning only when they come after winter’s bite; green is not so green if it doesn’t follow the months of brown and gray. And the scheduled inevitable death of green carries its own exhilaration; in that change is the promise of all the rebirths to come, and the deaths, too. … Without the year’s changes, for me, there is little morality.”
“In terms of the outdoors, I and the others like me weren’t badly cheated as such cheatings go nowadays, but we were cheated nevertheless. We learned quite a lot, but not enough. Instead of learning to move into country, as I think underneath we wanted, we learned mostly how to move onto it in the old crass Anglo-Saxon way, in search of edible or sometimes just mortal quarry.”
“The rain thickened; then slacked, then came down again in floods; the night crackled and roared with change and iron cold. Drunk with coziness, the pup wallowed beside me and groaned, and I remember wondering, before I slept, a little more about the relationship of storms to man … If, being animal, we ring like guitar strings to nature’s furies, what hope can there be for our ultimate, planned peacefulness?”
“Canoes, too, are unobtrusive; they don’t storm the natural world or ride over it, but drift in upon it as a part of its own silence. As you either care about what the land is or not, so do you like or dislike quiet things–sailboats, or rainy green mornings in foreign places, or a grazing herd, or the ruins of old monasteries in the mountains. . . . Chances for being quiet nowadays are limited.”
Contemporary Serbian Art – Ivana Zivic: Part II of II.
Below – “Shine”; “Underwater”; “Dive, Vintage”; “Red Bather.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 6 August 2018 – Anya Silver, an American poet.
by Anya Silver
I stand in Walgreens while my mother sleeps.
The store is fluorescent and almost empty.
My father is ailing in a nursing home,
my friend is dying in the hospital.
What I want tonight is lipstick.
As pure a red as I can find—no coral
undertones, no rust or fawn. Just red.
Ignoring the salespeople, I untwist tubes
and scrawl each color on my wrist,
till the blue veins beneath my skin
disappear behind smeared bars. I select one.
Back in my mother’s apartment, silence.
I limn my lips back out of my wan face.
There they are again: smacky and wanting.
Below – Kume Bryant: “Red Lipstick”