September 17, 2010

I Feel Very Lonely In This Culture

Coney Island, Fourth of July, 1958
Gelatin silver print by Robert Frank

From Robert Frank's column for Creative Camera, no. 60 (June 1969) titled Robert Frank: Letter from New York:

"... I don't really know why I'm going to put down Helen Frankenthaler, a New York painter who is going to have a big show at the Whitney Museum in NY. This is how it happens: I am at the printers where The Americans is being reprinted. There, on another press, the catalogue for Frankenthaler's show is run off. The paintings look at me and I look at them: a cold fury comes over me, what white emptiness, what meaningless elegance, what indulgence into TASTE and intellectual snobbery. What makes a show like Frankenthaler's possible is Power and Money; and that, especially the latter, is the mark of success upon which the system insists - Art or business or anything. That's the way it is in America ... true but sad ..."

Candle, 1983
Oil on canvas by Gerhard Richter

From Michael Kimmelman's article titled Gerhard Richter: An Artist Beyond Isms in the January 27, 2002 edition of the New York Times:

"I'm not young anymore," he (Richter) adds, and at that moment glances at his watch and notices it is nearly time for him to cross the garden to the house for his usual solitary lunch. He says: "I can bear this -- that I am not the young wild guy. I hope that the lust to work doesn't leave me. That would be sad. I am glad to get honors and high prices. But artists are valued today in terms of money, auctions. I wish society would need art more, but it doesn't. So I feel very lonely in this culture."

September 12, 2010

And why shouldn't they write poems?

From Migrations to Solitude: The Quest for Privacy in a Crowded World  by Sue Halpern, first published 1992 by Pantheon Books:

"... And why shouldn't they write poems? It is symptomatic of how civilized we have become that poetry must now be written by poets. But if poetry is left to the poets, it means that something else, picking apples, say, is left to the apple pickers, and not only don't we get good poems about harvesting apples, we get a society that believes that apple pickers can't write poetry - which is what we have. But not Ned and Mae. They have the society of each other, and they have poems, and they have fresh apples, and no one to tell them they can't."

September 6, 2010

Get Your Barbecue On

Barbecue, location unknown, c.1938-40
Photograph by Peter Sekaer

It's Labor Day in the U.S. today and it's time to celebrate the accomplishments and sacrifices of the American worker. Most people will mark this "symbolic end of summer" with food, fun and family gatherings.

We've all seen and heard enough by now about the different styles of barbecue (Memphis, Carolinas, Kansas City, Texas) on popular shows such as Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, and Adam Richman's Man v. Food. It's time to get your BBQ on. 

I've always loved the photograph shown above taken circa 1938-40 in the American South. Danish-American photographer Peter Sekaer captures a well-dressed couple's clandestine journey to the local barbecue joint. She has the goodies tucked under her arm and they're not about to share with anybody! 

Be well and gluttonous on this Labor Day my friends. You've earned it.

September 3, 2010

The American Dream

Thanks to my colleague Arshak for reminding me today of George Carlin's brilliance and insight into the world. Please be advised of the use of adult language in the following videos.

YouTube video titled The American Dream
posted by wutdaflek

YouTube video titled Religion is Bullshit
posted by rgbda

YouTube video titled We Like War
posted by Danielada2003

YouTube video titled You Have No Rights
posted by HomeReality