Art and The Eye of the Beholder and Art and Quilts

Early in the summer, Mom and I toodled over to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown to see a fabulous visiting collection of paintings from the Prado. Here’s how it’s billed on their website:

Splendor, Myth, and Vision

“[It] might get you a little hot under the collar.”—New York Times

The New York Times calls Splendor, Myth, and Vision: Nudes from the Prado “a weighty but also steamy exhibition.”
Read the review here and plan your visit today!
Join us for the public symposium “Whose Nudes? Painting, Collecting, Displaying the Body in Early Modern Europe” on Friday, September 23 from 1–5 pm.


We went through the gallery rooms and were blown away by the huge size of the paintings as well as the realism and wonder at the masterful artists who had created them. Many were paintings of women with cherubs or women with women or women with men or women with god-like figures (generally male). All of these were round and zoftig, lots and lots of soft flesh and nothing held back. Some were male. These were equally eye-candy-ish, showing some fairly idealized and maximized anatomy, strength and power and sexuality abounding. Some were clothed in biblical dress, telling old testament stories. There were some that showed martyrs and other scenes.

We saw all this. We enjoyed all of what we saw. Some attracted our eyes more than others. Mom noted that there were several family groups, parents with children of elementary and middle-school age mainly. Some of the parents were doing a lot of narrating and art history type talking.

What we didn’t see: we didn’t see anyone gawking, or laughing or sniggering over all this expanse of flesh, even while reading the description of how yes, this really was the porn of its time, locked up in private rooms for viewing by the well-to-do. There were no protestors outside fighting against all this flesh, or even protesting from a feminist point of view on the sexualization of the human body.

People had paid their money to see these rarely traveled art treasures from the Prado and they were doing the standard gallery walk or they were actively enjoying it or they were thrilled to bits to have this opportunity. Many went on, I’d guess to go into the Clark’s main galleries where there are beautiful impressionist paintings showing bathing women, and there’s one huge painting involving a satyr and a whole lot of nymphs…

Nymphs and Satyr -  William-Adolphe Bouguereau, French, 1825–1905

All of this is a round about way of saying that the whole pulling of Kathy Nida’s quilt from Quiltweek Grand Rapids recently is still under my skin. Wanna see? OK, not that way. AQS put out some very hard-to-find statement about it and apparently refused to comment elsewhere when asked to discuss it on podcasts (go here for the podcast with Kathy Nida and other info about it all) or their website. SAQA put out a statement saying that they’d worked with AQS and understood that it was a business and as such had to worry about losing money etc etc but good news – they had agreed to show an additional SAQA exhibit of quilts at future shows. Which was a good thing because SAQA is all about getting public awareness of quilts as art.

Yesterday quite a good web article appeared entitled “How AQS Mishandled the Online Fallout After Pulling Kathy Nida’s Quilts by Abby Glassenberg. This was a good overview of what had gone down and an honest look at what happens if you don’t respond to people who reach out to you about a problem. (Note that I sent an email to the two top names at AQS at the beginning of this and didn’t even receive (as I expected to) a ‘Thank you for your kind email. We appreciate your taking the time and will consider what you wrote. Thank you again’ sort of response.

I had given up expecting any sort of response honestly and moved on to wondering what next steps might be good to keep the issue somewhere near the top of things when I opened my facebook and found a link to this, from AQS, offering a new challenge of making eighteen inch blocks of traditional patterns called “Big Girl Blocks, A Big Girl Challenge Just For You.” I doubt this comment will get moderated but hey, at least someone will theoretically look at it. They have lots of “please sign me up!” and “oh, I always wanted to make big blocks!” comments. Maybe they won’t notice mine. Someone earlier had commented: “Big Girl? What is this, 1955?” Whoever you are – love and kisses!

You know, I often comment that I didn’t live through the seventies so that stuff like unfair work/wage/financial stuff and gender bias and sexual discrimination could be allowed to flourish once more, all these years later. But, having realized that these fights never end, it’s up to all of us to keep putting our opinions in the ears of those who need to know them and to put our money and energy into fighting this nonsense.

So, go if you can to see Kathy’s quilts at Spool, get your “Where’s the Penis?” button and wear it proudly on over to Quiltweek Chatanooga. Let’s see how that goes. Maybe you could ask for you money back when all of the quilts aren’t on exhibit as promised by the AQS website?

To be continued. No doubt about it.

What’s A Sunset Photographer To Do…

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…when not one but two planes fly through the scene and then, just as I was turning off the camera, a whole ‘nother type of flyer appeared.

Yes, It’s That Day Again

There’s nothing like folding a whole lot of fat quarters to start a new day and year off right. To my eyes this is not color accurate but to give you an idea of my ironing board when I got done (does not include all the fabrics that followed me home from my vacation with mom)

Following the breadcrumbs

I had to go look up Ad Reinhardt and what he was all about. Found this recounting of “The Twelve Technical Rules (or How to Achieve the Twelve Things to Avoid)…”

12. No object, no subject, no matter. No symbols, images or signs. Neither pleasure nor pain. No mindless working or mindless non-working. No chessplaying.

Supplementary regulations are: No easel or palette. Low, flat, sturdy benches work well. Brushes should be new, clean, flat, even, 1 inch wide and strong. “If the heart is upright, the brush is firm.” No noise. “The brush should pass over the surface lightly and smoothly” and quietly. No rubbing or scraping. Paint should be permanent, free of impurities, mixed and stored in jars. The scent should be of “pure spirits of turpentine, unadulterated and freshly distilled.” “The glue should be as clean as possible.” Canvas is better than silk or paper, linen better than cotton. There should be no shine in the finish. Gloss reflects and relates to the changing surroundings. “A picture is finished when all traces of the means used to bring about the end have disappeared.”

The fine art studio should have a “rain-tight roof” and be 25 feet wide and 30 feet long, with extra space for storage and sink. Paintings should be stored away and not continually looked at. The ceiling should be 12 feet high. The studio should be separate from the home and living, “away from the claims of concubinage and matrimony.” A fine art department should be separate from the rest of the school.

Doesn’t that space seem appealing, filled with your materials and ideas? While I can’t hold to all the other “rules” since there are many great pieces of work that are well outside them, I can respect them and that last part.

Robert Genn would tell you

The easel is an altar to productivity. Traditional altars have been places of worship and sacrifice, and the studio easel is no exception. He who would do well at one must respect and honour the gods of quality, truth, composition, imagination, pattern, perspective, story, drawing, colour, fantasy and flair. To stand or sit at one, even in play, you need to prepare yourself for labour.

The easel is also a place of sacrifice. Substandard passages or whole works are summarily struck down at this often troubling altar–but rebirth is its usual fruit. Both honour and responsibility go with your easel, your altar.

TGIF and TG for Postcards

What a long, harried, worrisome, angrifying week or so it’s been. Not to say it’s all been that way but it sure has had moments and stretches.

Today I took a pokemon pause of the way home just a half hour space of listening to the inspirational and funny and wonderful Neil Gaiman reading his View From The Cheap Seats and throwing little virtual balls at little, often annoying, virtual critters. I’d stopped on the way because after replacing my printer, I ran out of postcard-sized paper! What???? Fixed that.

Got postcard supplies for future cards. Caught pokemon. Came home and there, in the mailbox, two postcards! Two wonderful and most extremely appreciated cards and poems. Thank you two fabulous group one poets! (and there was a box of something to be revealed in December!)

Day off, filled with geeky-poetry-ness

As the 2016 Postcard Poetry Fest starts to wind up, I decided I needed to reorganize the links to the other years. Maybe it would be better to do them as a gallery. That will only take a few minutes, right? Yeah right.

Anyway, Up at the top of the quiltr.com page, you’ll see the PoPoFest link. Now you can view 2014 and 2015 as a gallery. No names or addresses… Obviously 2016 isn’t complete yet.

 

Things I do…

while listening to other things: