Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guernica..the end of war and the imminent manifestation of the Holy Grail

Image by Picasso, Thomas Brand and Robert DeFord
(Thank you Thomas)

3 D Guernica

...Picasso's artistic process

Picasso's sketch - composition 1
The first composition for the mural — drawn the very day word of the bombing reached Picasso in Paris — introduced characters that had recurred in the artist's previous work. Picasso shaped and reshaped these figures over the next weeks in a series of preliminary sketches. He brought out the vulnerability of the bull and the agony of the horse. He drew screaming women and children, perhaps inspired by his fear that harm might come to his own baby daughter. He seemed haunted by the many faces of anguish.

"Many of the drawings are much more expressive than the final painting," says art historian Tomas Llorens. "But that is inevitable because Guernica was conceived as a very public image. And some of the meanings and emotions that you can convey on a piece of paper cannot be conveyed in a mural that is seven meters wide. For instance, in one of the drawings there is hair — perhaps the hair of Dora Maar — pasted in a kind of collage. So, you would lose that meaning in a large public mural. But in a sense the energy, the emotional energy that comes from those experiments, is not lost. Picasso was always synthesizing in each image a lot of different possibilities."

On May 11th, just fifteen days after the bombing, Picasso stretched a canvas for the mural. It stood eleven-and-a-half feet tall by almost twenty-six feet wide - so large, he had to brace it at a slant to fit under the ceiling of his studio. He then began to lay out the images in full scale - a woman wailing over her dead child... a warrior clutching a shattered sword as his horse drops in torment to its knees... a jumble of bodies lying trampled on the ground — all part of Picasso's vision of the holocaust at Guernica.

Consequences of War by Rubens
According to art historian, Patricia Failing, "Picasso was very properly trained in the grand tradition of painting, allegorical painting about universal themes: the horrors of war, the massacres of the innocents. Characters that typically appear in these paintings reappear in Picasso's paintings as well. There's usually quite clearly a suffering woman, someone who's screaming, a woman with a child who's been injured, or may even be dead. And to see that Picasso was able to take that traditional academic motif and actually rework it and make it relevant again to this particular time and this particular circumstance, I think is really one of his great achievements in this painting."

With Picasso as he painted was his latest lover, Dora Maar, a young photographer who also became his collaborator. Dora's photographs of the work in progress documented Picasso's creative process and his struggle between political imagery and artistic merit.

Guernica - State I
As the focal point of the painting, Picasso initially drew a boldly raised arm and clenched fist, the familiar salute of the Spanish Republican forces. But the artist was dissatisfied with the obvious symbolism. Over the next several days, he created a more hopeful message of victory, the raised fist clutching stalks of grain in front of a blazing sun. Still, Picasso's artistic sensibility was in conflict with the political sentiment of the canvas. "The stand of Picasso was quite clear," says Llorens. "A work of art, in order to be really effective in political terms, has to work first of all as a work of art."

Pablo Picasso painting
A week later, the arm was completely painted over. But the center of the painting had lost its focus. To solve the problem, Picasso moved the body of the bull near to the woman and child, lifting the head of the horse to a place of prominence and making the spear more obvious. No longer was the battle between the horse and bull of the ring. Clearly, the mortal wound was caused by an act of man.

Picasso's inventiveness took him in many directions. He added color, pattern and texture with scraps of wallpaper; he gave the weeping woman a blood-red tear. Later, Picasso removed all color. Earlier in his career, in his Blue Period, Picasso learned that using a monochromatic palette could produce powerful imagery. He suppressed color because he felt color would distract from the impact of the painting. "There was certainly a long tradition that equated line with intellect and color with emotion," adds Failing. "And so, to not bring in the whole element of color and its associations with emotion and the sensual, in a way makes it a tour-de-force on another level."

Picasso sketch of hand - for Guernica
Picasso then sketched possibilities for the warrior. Not the heroic figure of patriotic fantasy — lifeless, broken, weapons shattered — the warrior in Guernica is no match for the engines of modern warfare. "It's not the clenched fist with the upright arm at the end that becomes such a moving part of the picture, but the outstretched hands with the kind of flayed fingers and the deeply crossed palm," explains Failing.

lightbulb detail from Guernica
As Guernica neared completion, Picasso added a single image of twentieth century technology. According to Llorens: "In Spanish, an electric bulb is called 'bombia,' and 'bombia' is like the diminutive of 'bomb.' So, 'bomba-bombia' is a verbal poetic metaphor for the terrifying power of technology to destroy us."

Shortly after, although he was not at all certain the mural was complete, Picasso delivered Guernica to the Spanish Pavilion.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The stunning, the beautiful, the incomperable, Jamaica

Hooker 99 and friends

About 99 hooker

Despite a defining high school moment as the guy who makes dying whale sounds during a Kill the Whales - teenage punk band Meltdown (really) - and after being kicked out of the school jazz band due to a pharmaceutical mix-up, 99 Hooker needed to be reawakened to the saxophone by college mentor David Krakauer. Somewhere in there he took lessons from Matt Darriau at the New England Conservatory of Music, attended John Cage's Norton lectures at Harvard, and released a self-produced cassettes and videos including Das Luv Boat - a mix of pornography, black face and The Love Boat, which resulted in his being blacklisted from his alma maters AV department, which he had mistakenly thanked. He moved west, and had a few stints at Fredrick's of Hollywood, LACMA and an L.A. Guns video before heading south.

After a year in Mexico, Hooker found himself in San Francisco amid a burgeoning noise scene where he would play with numerous musicians. Here, 99 was recognized as the Bay Area's most ferocious saxophonist (SF Weekly). Hooker also founded Casio Shack, a live street sampling quartet that hounded the drum circle hippies with cascades of the other white noise. Still in San Francisco, 99 studied saxophone and composition with Glenn Spearman (Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons) and toured both Europe and the US with Happy New Year (Megaphone). Then came Bible Launcher. San Francisco was also where 99 Hooker first began working with video master Benton C-Bainbridge and his multi-media ensemble Lord Knows Compost.

Moving to NY in 1998, he assembled 99 Hooker's Generica (Donald Miller, Borbetomagus; M2, Mecury Rev, Chemical Brothers). The long delayed CD of intense genre bending was released in 2005 (Francois Couture, All Music. PAX Recording 2005). In New York Hooker recorded and toured with laptop wizard Akio Mokuno.

In New York, Hooker would stumble into a Unity Gain event to realize that structured improvisation with media was his calling, his Folk Form, his Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting. In 2000 rev.99 was born as a multi-media collective. Various configurations of rev.99 have performed at stages big and small including a series at Bowery Poetry Club and the opening of the Smithsonian's Image & Sound at the Hirshhorn, cable TV, schools, squats, apartments and museums. Their work has been featured in Not Still Art, Dallas Video Festival, Synesthesia (Walter Reade) and numerous international venues.

Since moving to New York, 99 Hooker has maintained a bi-coastal life including an iteration of rev.99 including Thomas Scandura, Ernesto Diaz-Infant, Jessie Quatro, LX Rudis, Rent Romas, and Thollem McDonas.

In addition to his work with rev.99, Hooker continues to perform and record separately including recently David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness Bubbemisisis (

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Future Shorts", Short films seen around the world and on the internet

Future Shorts is an avant garde concept created for filmmakers that appreciate and utilize the internet for their audiences as well as the traditional live audiences, (with a severe twist). Not only are their films very creative and pioneering in their style, content, and art, but their collaborations in the "live", non internet festivals are a wonderous sight to behold.

The story of future shorts..

Future shorts .com

"Peter and Ben" and Zen

Jo jo in the stars..a very touching, romantic, (albeit dark), story..

Monumental Video is just that.

The Black Hole..a study of temptation, larceny, and then justice..

Monday, November 17, 2008

a bit of insight and a peek into the cascading Niagra of Art throughout our sordid and questionalble evolution..

"Art", a measly three letter word that has stood alone forever and tossed around aim;essly, like a perennial, multi cultural, mostly commercial, all too pedestrian, frisbee.
Art, what a curious word with such bewildering meanings, some enigmatically hidden and some staring and double daring the viewers and audiences to comprehend its purposes, meanings, and applications. What does it mean that three letter word
A R T? (of course sometimes it is short for the name Arthur which conjures up a multitude of romantic tales shrouded in mystery, intrigue, magic and sorcery, trepidation, danger and deliverence, death and destruction, phantasms of the mind and heart, mental morphine opulent opiates madness and migraines, bewitchments, and enticements, frivolity and excitements, Trruth and Consequences, Errors personified, sordid sex savagrey and soiled sorcery,

Tidying up art..a bit Ursus Wehrli:from the T E D comferences in Monterey California

Let's ask Wiki..

"Traditionally", (now there is a catch all word for you..ambiguousness personified),
the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery. This conception changed during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science".[1] Generally, art is a human activity, made with the intention of stimulating thoughts and emotions. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art.

Art is the process or product of deliberately and creatively arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions, especially beauty. In its narrow sense, the word art most often refers specifically to the visual arts, including media such as painting, sculpture, and printmaking. However, "the arts" may also encompass a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature. Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy which studies art.