Sadventures in missing the point

There is a very popular belief going around that humanity is basically good, the nature of people is on the whole very positive, and that the real capacity for evil is reserved for very rare occasions of bad nurture. A recent bloggingheads vlog went as far as to explain a few “reasons” why Charles Darwin completely solved the “problem of evil” and why some people don’t even possess the capacity for extreme wrongdoing.

The symptoms reflected in Art throughout the ages have shown evidence that often depict a different story. Countless artists have directly responded to their experience of the world and humanity, weaving a rich history of outcries against a deep brokenness. A brokenness that fewer and fewer people seem to be willing to admit is there, while it’s symptoms are masked away.

Edward Keinholz. 5 Car Stud. (1969-72).

Beatdown captured on Youtube. (2012).

Most of my childhood I thought art was fascinating, but essentially recreational. There wasn’t much of an art scene in Hawaii, and no community I was a part of ever really acted like art could be a source of prophetic wisdom. Sadly I am starting to notice themes, as if they were new and shocking to this day, that have been recurring for ages. Art is a proven accurate means of reading the times. If it communicates that everything isn’t in fact fine, and people do indeed need revelation daily, it’s not something that we can simply stroke our chins at and then drive home to forget.


Remedios Varo

María de los Remedios Varo Uranga was a Spanish-Mexican surrealist painter. She was friends with the Kahlo and Rivera, yet remained in close contact with many overseas exiled artists, such as Leonora Carrington. She was fascinated with ideas held by philosophers such as Carl Jung, and also held a keen interest in concepts such as sacred geometry and alchemy. It’s noted that  in general, the male surrealists did not respect their female artists in the same style, and the women needed to work within the restrictions of the conceptions of women within the confines of the art form in order to attempt redefinition. Varo’s work often features her characters in seclusion or isolation, perhaps as a response to reflect these themes. From a technical standpoint, it’s observed that her work often focuses on line and form, whereas perhaps Carrington is known more for her color and tone.


Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington was a British born Mexican surrealist painter, who lived most of her life in Mexico city. Her first big exhibition was in 1947 in New York City, after which she essentially became instantly successful. Her work depicts dreamlike visions of mythic, pseudo religious/occult imagery and folklore. Carrington, also a successful author, had quite a few dramatic personal stories herself, including running away with established and married artist Max Ernst, suffering abusive treatment in a mental hospital after Ernst was captured in the wake of WWII, and then remarrying to a friend of Picasso, then again to one of Robert Capa’s darkroom assistants, making friends with other artists along the way. Definitely a formidable creative force in the Surrealist movement, as both painter and writer.

Katy Horan

Katy Horan creates some beautifully haunting imagery with gouache paint and a well researched background of mythic stories, women’s roles through history, and film language. Her artist statement provides a good primer for her work, but that is not to say that she needs a lengthy intellectual preface for the average person to enjoy it. I find it all as accessible as it is memorable, and judging by her impressive resume of featured appearances, most contemporary art magazines and blogs seem to have a similar opinion.

Hyman Bloom

It seems a worthwhile idea to post some artists once in awhile, since I believe art is a vital part of the daily intake of reality for every human being, contrary to the statements of low importance education or culture might allude about it. There is a tumblr called Cave to Canvas, and it’s run by a young art student who meticulously features an artist daily, with about ten works by each artist. Today he featured a painter named Hyman Bloom who is rather fascinating:

Hyman Bloom was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in southern Latvia and emigrated to America at the age of seven. Bloom, his classmate Jack Levine, and Karl Zerbe became associated with Boston Expressionism.
Regarding Bloom:
“the greatest artist in America…” – Clement Greenberg, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, circa 1940.

“The first Abstract Expressionist artist in America” – Pollock, Kooning.

Another favorite music of 2011 list

I spent a good deal of time writing a bunch of mini-reviews for all these, but then my laptop, which had been freezing daily for months, finally died the other day, and the document along with it, but I’m guessing that in the age of instant information, you’d probably just want a strict list anyway, so I just sighed and quickly reproduced the lists I had. The word “favorite” is intentional. I knowingly didn’t like things that I recognize the objective artistic value of, and knowingly enjoyed what might be seen as rather banal. The order of these is not necessarily a big deal. Without further ado:

Most Disappointing Albums:
Cults – Cults
Mutemath – Odd Soul
Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne

“Best Albums” that I cannot haz dig:
tUnE-yArDs – W H O K I L L
Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
Drake – Take Care
The Weeknd – House of Balloons

Favorite Album Honorable Mentions:
Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
Washed Out – Within, Without
Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise

Favorite Albums:
20. Adele – 21
19. Yuck – Yuck
18. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
17. Tom Waits – Bad as Me
16. Wilco – The Whole Love
15. Beyoncé – 4
14. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
13. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
12. Panda Bear – Tomboy
11. The Antlers – Burst Apart

10. The Caretaker – An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
9. Cut Copy – Zonoscope
8. Real Estate – Days
7. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
6. Radiohead – The King of Limbs
5. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
4. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
3. James Blake – James Blake
2. Destroyer – Kaputt
1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Albums that sound good but didn’t make lists because- They were just released/ I just started listening to them:
The Roots – Undun
The Black Keys – El Camino
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Cass McCombs – Catacombs
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Atlas Sound – Parallax

Weirdest Things In Music This Year
James Blake’s Lindisfarne I  Music Video
fun. Records First Terrible Single Ever
Girls’ “Vomit” actually works as a song
Tyler the Creator says he is “over” rape and murder lyrics
Tyler the Creator in general
Daft Punk records the TRON soundtrack
90% of humanity hates Bon Iver’s album at first, Bon Iver gets 4 Grammy noms.
Justin Bieber’s Voice Becomes identical to Colbie Caillat’s

Some dreams

should be real.

(This is kind of old, but my housemate saw these recently and I feel the need to bring it up again. The idea of the imagination of children being used as inspiration for the aged, or older people bringing them to another glory is something worthy of re-claiming.)

Also, this is another project similar.

p.s. for anyone who follows this blog, I’m sorry for the lack of posting, It’s been the busiest semester I’ve ever had. There’s a good chance I will be posting more about readable issues rather than wordblurbs that are trying to get by as poesy, perhaps starting with another end of the year music list which will be twice as long as last year’s to make up for the dearth of posts. I write that there so that I, on record, am bound by my word to actually do it. Happy Advent Season.