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Beats - good art - some stray thoughts

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  • Beats - good art - some stray thoughts

    I recently saw the exhibition on the Beats at the Beaubourg in Paris. Much of it has not aged well. However, I did emerge with a stronger sense of their place in mid-late 20th century art and culture.

    Yesterday I followed up with a trip to the Abstract Expressionists exhibition in the RA. Pollock and Rothko particularly strong. Also some of Smith's sculptures. To some extent my reaction reflected the gallery's commentary: I favoured the works in dark colours and (Rothko aside) those with vigorous (let's not say violent) strokes.

    Along the way I noticed a piece of sculpture that looked like the sort of thing I had seen in the background of some of photos in the Beaubourg. Formless rustic space-fillers thrown together from bric-a-brac. Such things had seemed unremarkable in the context of a boho "anti-art" living space. Placing it on a pedestal, literally, in the RA exposed it for what it is. For my part, if I want to consume some art, I want to consume some art, not "anti-art" (or "non-art" or "Sunday art", or call-it-what-you-will).

    In the art shop afterwards I noticed a CD of jazz that goes with the exhibition. I imagine that the track list well represents what your average Beat will have listened to. All very nice. But it struck me that the musical equivalent of the "anti-art" thing gained ground somewhat later; in jazz anyway.

    I came way thinking that it is hard enough to produce art that works. What are your chances of producing "anti-art" that works as art? If you manage, all you have done is produce some art anyway. So, you have failed on your own terms.

    Best consumed in small quantities, I find.

    Those who know their art will forgive my canvassing of hackneyed themes.
    Last edited by Grim Lounge Cowboy; 26-09-2016, 04:15 PM. Reason: On-going rant

  • #2
    Funktionnaire, you jet-setter, you. 'I'm at the Beauborg... and now I'm at the RA'. I fully expect to hear your critique of the toilet flush at The Hermitage, next.
    I can't find it in myself to like Pollock. My hard-line aesthetic will only allow Barnett Newman into it's rarified orbit. I even find Rothko a trifle fuzzy- and, really, not that interesting. He's certainly been well marketed. I think Turner anticipated him by about 100 years.
    "You don't want to kill the cash donkey"

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    • #3
      Listen to the toilet-flush track on my proposed 2016 swap CD.

      That's how to do it.
      Last edited by Grim Lounge Cowboy; 26-09-2016, 04:08 PM. Reason: The "that" is in italics

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      • #4
        Rothko's impact diluted nowadays? It suffers from being the precursor for the IKEA style lite-art that you see everywhere.

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        • #5
          I once came home from work to discover my flatmate had baked a chocolate cake. He was always nicking my stuff from the fridge so I helped myself to a slice with a cup of tea, unaware of the fact that the cake's principal ingredient was not chocolate but ganja. When he got home after midnight I'd munched half the cake and was deeply engrossed in a book of Rothko reproductions I discovered that the artist had cleverly hidden incredibly detailed battle scenes with horses, cannons and ranks of charging cavalry in his seemingly minimal works.
          Later I discovered that whoever painted my ceiling had done the same.
          Vardy.....¡¡¡PELIGRO!!!

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          • #6

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            • #7
              By an amazing coincidence I spent half an hour or so yesterday looking at the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall. Chock full of meaning, according to the audio guide. All I could see was a riot of dead kings, flying babies, monsters being vanquished and other odd images.

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              • #8
                Have you seen 'Pull My Daisy'? I remember enjoying it during an all-nighter at the Scala cinema many years ago. Mind you I was young, and foolish then. It's bound to be on the internet somewhere. It's also a song by the fabulous Nectarine No 9.
                "You don't want to kill the cash donkey"

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                • #9
                  In the art shop afterwards I noticed a CD of jazz that goes with the exhibition. I imagine that the track list well represents what your average Beat will have listened to. All very nice. But it struck me that the musical equivalent of the "anti-art" thing gained ground somewhat later; in jazz anyway.

                  I'm not sure what's classed as "anti-art" these days. I'd start with Dada and I'm not sure the Beats ever really embraced that much - I'd associate them much more with surrealism. Christo, Cornell and other artists that moved towards conceptual art in the 60s weren't really Beats, and I wouldn´t describe the abstract expressionists as anti-art at all. I'm not sure what the jazz equivalent of anti-art is, but I wouldn´t include free jazz, which is absolutely rooted in the music's early roots.

                  I've always suspected the love affair between the Beats and jazz was a bit one way, to be honest.
                  Vardy.....¡¡¡PELIGRO!!!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shere Khan View Post
                    Have you seen 'Pull My Daisy'? I remember enjoying it during an all-nighter at the Scala cinema many years ago. Mind you I was young, and foolish then. It's bound to be on the internet somewhere. It's also a song by the fabulous Nectarine No 9.
                    Snap! First saw "pull my daisy" at a Scala all nighter too - also saw "bucket of blood" for the first time on the bill that night.

                    Perhaps Funktionnaire could play the role of the poet in any remake?



                    Was obsessed with the opening vocal on "pull my daisy" sung by Anita Ellis, the next day in HMV Oxford Street I couldn't remember her name and instead purchased my first Anita O'Day Lp - a happy mistake

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SirSlim View Post
                      Snap! First saw "pull my daisy" at a Scala all nighter too - also saw "bucket of blood" for the first time on the bill that night.
                      Yes, I may have been sleeping just behind you-you had to nod off at some point. We were regularly at those all-nighters In fact, in the days of cassette culture, I called one of my tapes 'Posing At The Scala'. Always a whiff of a particular brand of cigarette in the air at those nights. I picked up my copy of this at an all-nighter which mixed live groups with films.
                      "You don't want to kill the cash donkey"

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                      • #12
                        I've not seen either. Best if I skip Bucket of Blood. I would want to be able to come fresh to my role.

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                        • #13
                          There are a couple of other things I might mention, but they will have to wait until I am back home.

                          I also bought some records which I might mention.

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