Web Treasures

Hey friends. I’d like to share a few goodies from around the web that I’ve stumbled upon in the past few days. We have an awesome mixed-bag here, so pick your pleasure! First, a thoroughly delightful article on “How to Be a Plein-Air Painter” by Flora Armetta. Flora is a wonderful writer and the wife of Robert Armetta, an artist and teacher whose classes I have been modeling for regularly at both the New York Academy of Art and Robert’s own school, the Long Island Academy of Fine Art in Glen Cove. Next is a sensational gallery of artwork by the 18th century English poet William Blake. Unconventional and iconoclastic, Blake’s paintings have a strange, enigmatic power. The new issue of Glasschord Magazine is out. This volume’s theme is “Dynamics”, with eclectic offerings in art, prose, poetry, interviews, and music. Organic gardening, photography, and emotionally honest writing come together on AmericanCountryGirl’s Blog. She is a formidable communicator through both her hard work and authentic voice. From Bob Dylan to The Who to Bo Diddley, I loved this slideshow compilation of iconic rock album covers and the New York City locations where they were taken. And, in the wake of the Aurora shooting rampage, Br. Gabriel Torretta presents a contemplative, eloquent examination of “evil” in a blog post for Dominicana. A must-read in my opinion.

And finally, a marvelous find courtesy of Andrew Cahner who retweeted it onto his Twitter page. Rare footage of the great Auguste Rodin, one of my all time favorite artistic figures and giant of modern sculpture. I will never forget my visit to the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia two years ago. How I loved that place. The video appears on Open Culture with accompanying text, and I have embedded the video below. Have fun gang! See you soon 🙂

12 thoughts on “Web Treasures

  1. Bill MacDonald says:

    In reference to the Dominicana posting:

    I think that one of the most momentous events of the current Olympics was was the Queen met James Bond. For me, this meant that the line between fantasy and reality, a line that is often fuzzy in the art world, had been culturally erased.

    So . . . Batman (aka The Dark Knight) is a comic book character. Bane is a comic book character — his embodiment of evil should be perceived as entirely fictional — a representation entirely suitable for that medium. But for all those people spending every waking hour immersed in World of Warcraft or living some other kind of fantasy (including middle-aged male art teachers 🙂 ) fantasy has officially become reality. So we have to be reminded of the ambiguity and banality of evil.

    I wonder when reality became so painful, or fantasy so seductive.

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      I agree with everything you said and I think you’ll appreciate this: someone posted on Twitter recently that at a showing of the Dark Knight movie, they saw all these 30 and 40 year old men dressed up in Batman costumes. Not kids. GROWN MEN.

      It used to be that it was children who couldn’t distinguish between fantasy and reality. Now it’s adults. This is how infantilized and delusional we have become.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

      Claudia

      • Bill MacDonald says:

        I don’t want to beat this to death — I tend to do that — but consider the consequences. If people believe in only a comic book, extreme form of evil, then they won’t recognize the more common variety. Maybe reality has become so painful partially because the formation of societal conscience is based on this misperception. Maybe many people commit evil acts because they have lost the ability to perceive them as such.

        • artmodel says:

          Bill,

          You’re not beating anything to death. Discussion is great! i totally hear what you’re saying. The way I see it, we’ve gotten to a point where the bar has been raised on virtually all life experiences – we have to be stimulated to the extreme, and this is particularly troublesome when it skews our perceptions of reality. If it led merely to stupidity and embarrassment it wouldn’t be so bad, but unfortunately it has led to a broken and compromised moral compass, which can easily lead to tragic consequences.

          Thanks so much for your comments!

          Claudia

  2. Bill MacDonald says:

    (Geez, you write well. And that’s not an idle compliment.)

    OK — let me bring it back to us. If the bar has been raised to the point where we have to be stimulated to the extreme, does this explain Damien Hirst and shock art? Andwhy would anyone want to look at my drawings/paintings, when they’re accustomed to seeing Raphael on Google? Or listen to a local singer, if they can get Bocelli? Or hire an art model, when they can pop their Virtual Pose CD into their computer?

    If reality TV is the new reality, where does that leave us?

  3. gavinpollock says:

    I hope comics aren’t going to get the blame here 😉 We’ve only just recently thrown off the censorship of them.

    Another treasure from the web you might enjoy, Claudia, is this blog from a local life model; http://www.sukithelifemodel.co.uk/

    • Bill MacDonald says:

      Just speaking for myself, I didn’t mean to blame the comics — Jim Lee’s artwork for Hush blew my socks off. You could easily get the same effect from the Evening News on TV. In some ways that’s worse, since it actually claims to represent reality, while it’s actually an edited version showing the most dramatic and, often, the most violent of the day’s human encounters.

    • artmodel says:

      gavin,

      Thanks for the link to Suki’s blog! Also nice to hear from you. Hope all is well 🙂

      Claudia

  4. gavinpollock says:

    No worries, Bill. I think artists are sometimes a bit disingenuous about censorship anyway. They want to deny art has any negative impact, whilst claiming it does have power and positive impact. Some comics are too violent and misogynous; claiming this doesn’t influence the readers makes the artform a bit pointless really – if it has no impact, why bother making it.

    That said, comics were blamed for all sorts of teenage crime in the 1950s and heavily censored in the US and UK and it nearly killed them.

  5. Bill MacDonald says:

    Maybe it comes down to whether the purpose of art is descriptive or prescriptive. If descriptive, the danger is that the violence/alienation in our culture will be overemphasized and escalated — with a resulting jading of sensibility. If prescriptive, the danger is sanitization, mindless political correctness, censorship and Barney the Purple Dinosaur for all

    Barney — or the abyss?

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      For what it’s worth, I am fairly close to what one would call a free speech zealot. The issue with assigning blame to the arts for society’s ills is seriously problematic because it causes us to treat the outlier as the norm. For every John Hinckley, there are a million people who saw “Taxi Driver” and never attempted to assassinate a politician. The second danger you listed – “sanitization” – is a depressing one indeed, especially for those of us who cherish living in a free society.

      I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do believe that moral values are at the core of individual behavior. If society holds dear the values of freedom, civility, respect for others, and nonviolence, it should – in theory – function as a corrective to the depravity. Forcible sanitization/censorship may have the same effect, but at what cost? A society content with mediocrity and cowardice, and one which restricts free expression.

      Claudia

  6. Bill MacDonald says:

    Well said. One of the great things about free expression is that we are also free to not express — and guidelines for declining to express something may well be provided by the standards of our moral position.

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