For Those Who Missed Opening, Think On Squeezing Out a Fabric Ball of Alocasia Juice

alocasia
Alocasia Juice 2018. Acrylic on hardboard, 16 x 20″ (framed in metal under glass, 22 x 28″)

$130.

Christies’ Art Tulips in Amsterdam Auction House of Billionaire Rot just sold an artificial intelligence masterpiece to an art-hater for $432,500.00.

Undercut these oligarchs of grand stupidity this holiday season. Pack all your years of love and human tenderness into a tiny fabric ball placed beneath your pillow on a snowy December night. Think on your children and grandchildren, holiday decoration and cheer, loved ones lost and gained and maintained. Dream a long, deep sleep night of a world without Jeff Bezos picking his ear wax and the next minute the modern serfs of earth throwing a billion coins at his feet. Think of Santa Claus and Charles Dickens, why not? And then watch a tremendous time lapsed video into the future beginning with a solitary bird of prey landing on a mall roof and the same species of bird leaving the mall of the future, level ground of earth now grass, wildflowers, insects, worms and no human being you have ever known or will know upon it. A people unknown moving over the mall that was so long ago, that is no more. People of no history because history wasn’t worth repeating to idiots who purchase paintings made by a computer.

In the morning take the fabric ball from under the pillow. Take it to the kitchen and squeeze it over your favorite coffee mug.

Alocasia juice and a new day worth living. Drink up!

All for one hundred and thirty dollars. Created by human hands in a world shared by humans. Try it sometime. It won’t hurt you as much as celebrity worship has.

 

Pablo Picasso in the Cap of the Bullfighter Because Art is Work

PabloLena
Пабло Пикассо в шапочке тореадора 2018. Acrylic on board, 12 x 12″

I have written some imaginative work on Picasso. A few years ago I was getting ready for two exhibitions during the same week, and felt like I was actually working. Expecting substantial financial loss (as usual), I questioned art’s role for the working man or woman in a society bent on Netflix originals. There is hope for the individual. Picasso is alive, making paintings in Saint Petersburg Russia, and stepping out for a river stroll before the Finn winds bring the lake effect snows.

Art is Work
Actually, in this case, painting is work. I have never considered myself to be an artist, really. I don’t even like “art”, the way my art-lover friend Dan does, one to leap at the chance to visit a gallery or a museum. I love painting though, any kind, and at an art show, I will make a bee line past all other forms of expression to see work of painters, more to learn and compare than to enjoy. Some times professional jealousy creeps in, especially when I see rendering that has a special hair shirt quality, when each stroke of the brush belies both a practical and encyclopedic knowledge of control or constipation—hard to tell which for sure until I meet the painter for beer and oysters. Unfortunately so many masters are either dead or practically inaccessible, and from my viewpoint in Oswego at least, painting is tolerated as a form of yoga, just another hobby distraction to the despair of the modern age. Thank God for family and friendship, and the blessings of the narcissist Internet. Otherwise by now I’d be eating my toenails at a local mental health spa.
In Providence Rhode Island I looked at my first van Gogh through a painter’s eyes. It was a religious experience. The great and powerful Vincent was a failure. Hurray! Another human being. It was a 14 x 17″ landscape entitled View of Auvers-sur-Oise, a day’s work in a village north of Paris in the year he took his life. I read into that painting like any tome of art writing could instruct. The great Vincent van Gogh was nothing much really. Just another proud working man, driven day after day, year after year with an obsession to perfect his limitations. I saw the human hand laying it on thick, always at the right place at the wrong time, a failure at night, hopeful idiot by morning. One life to live, and if he was determined to be a painter, to Hell with the greatest of art critics, Mssrs. Degradation and Poverty.
It worked! A few hours coloring a French village from a field, and he succeeded to live another day pretending to be a painter. It was the billionaires who got rich though. They took the dignity of pride in pretend and made a killing for themselves. Endowments all over the world buy up van Gogh’s paintings to prove unwittingly their dislocation to humanity. They “get” the history, but fear the present moment like a pathogen. I could count all the struggling van Gogh’s living today. But it would take a lifetime and more assistants in my employ than those pretending to be artists at a Jeff Koons factory.
One more point before my plea:
Kurt Vonnegut: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”.
Last month I checked out from the library a photo book about Picasso. Pictures taken of him at leisure and work in 1956. A mess of canvases and sculptures in every room, painting on the walls, dripped paint on the floor. His mansion had twenty foot ceilings and huge doors at the end of one studio opening out onto a balcony of palm trees. “La Californie” was the name of his hermitage in Southern France.
There is a brief passage in the book referencing his time in Montmartre, when he lived in poverty, painting. Somehow still able to acquire materials without the financial support of credit cards and/or a well-endowed sugar mama. I think poverty in 1905 was a world of difference from what we call it today. He must have made modern starving artists look like rich dandys sacrificing a week of television and a bowl of chocolates for art. Or, God forbid, cell phone service! The photos of him as a rich millionaire painting in a mansion, juxtaposed with my imagination of a poor Parisian painter holed up in some cold January flat over a hundred years ago, instruct and educate like nobody’s business. His wealthy genius in 1956 appears unchanged over 50 years time. He looks just as poor to me, but rich in determination and singleness of purpose. He eats, sleeps, voids excrement, laughs and paints. There is no stopping him. The art crazy old man.
I mention Picasso’s sameness to my wife the other morning over coffee. I asked her how differently would we live if suddenly Jeff Koons got cast inside one of his poodles, and Ron Throop went viral throughout the acquisition dreams of bored billionaires. “Our coffee and climate would get better. Other than that,” she admitted, “nothing”.
A few months ago I helped hang a show at our local art association. One of the helpers, a member my age, asked me what I do for a living. “Paint,” I said. “I am a painter”. It was more difficult for me to get that truism past my lips than if I told him I was an untouchable scouring latrines with my socks.
Picasso’s Picasso. Throop is Throop. We have nothing in
common, besides a heightened desire to perfect our limitations. My path for the rest of this life is to pretend like Picasso. It won’t hurt anybody. It won’t even help. Maybe, if I just work harder and dream longer, Rose will taste a better sip of coffee with her next husband, from the Florida room of her beach condo in Boca Raton.
Now finally, an explanation.
I found out last winter that I am a Stuckist, more or less. Their manifesto is available here at the show. Take a look. The strongest statement, #4, Artists who don’t paint aren’t artists, if not cryptic, is flat out silly wrong. I know nothing about ceramics, but I know a man, a teaching artist who would take his class to Chimney Bluffs along Lake Ontario to gather clay to be used for glazing. Ho boy! Show me a Stuckist in London who longs to extract cadmium from zinc ore. Or, take my friend the marble sculptor, who travels out of state to steal marble from parking lots. He approaches his stone like I do any canvas. As an ignoramus. I wish I had the knowledge (and time) to make my own paint and weave my own canvas. I’d rather paint on a log with berry juice, but the berry juice will never put out like my sweetheart dioxizine purple. And dioxizine sounds like painful chemical death to workers in that industry. So I just hold my breath while I paint.
Anyway, Stuckism. Good medicine. We are painter-workers. We get up in the morning to paint. We are international brothers and sisters in pretend. Yet we all need to get paid. Here is how I dream to be paid. Milton Glaser has the phrase “Art is Work” painted on the transom of his company door. Another tome of knowledge garnered from just three precious words. Art is work. The big painting I finished this week took exactly 40 hours—from surface, image, and finally to frame. At $13 dollars an hour (what I was making at my last job as “cook in the great north woods”, plus materials, and “element-X” fee (30%), I value it at $832.00.
So, any takers? I’ll have to add $100.00 for shipping.
There you have it! The first Oswego Stuckist to admit the truth. Art is work. So is toenail chewing if one can pretend really hard. I promise to play this game out to the end. My dreams tell me that buying up my work now, will secure some legacy to leave your children. Buy a signed book. Put it in the attic. Buy a painting to hang in the parlor. Its story will not die.
I apologize about the lack of framing for many of these paintings. The truth is I have another show going on at the Dyer Arts Center at R.I.T. in Rochester. Unlike Zink, I would be banished from furthering that avenue of pretend if I didn’t deliver framed work. We’re out of money now, and I blame myself for scheduling two shows in the same month. The gallerists at the Rochester venue must keep up appearances. R.I.T. needs to pretend too. And I need to pretend that I have a chance to break into a world that will provide me a line cook’s salary to paint. Please, if you find my art not practical enough for your tastes, patronize Zink Shirts® in any way you can. Glenn has offered this space to local color. Come here for holiday shopping. His work is sublime and corporate killing at the same time. Wear one of his shirts and flip a tall bird at the bottom-line world of men who care not a bean about your day to day. Glenn and I do. Look, we invited you all here. Open your wallets and pick out a record album to play. But first, open your wallets!

The Last Call of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn
2018. Acrylic on cardboard, 12 x 16″

I’ll be heading down to New York City this week to galleries, museums, and many public places to promote the one and only Lena Ulanova! I went to the Guggenheim a couple years ago brandishing enthusiasm for an exhibition of Lena’s work with three other painters working in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It was a funny place. Funny sad. I wrote about it in the exhibition book.

I Went To The Guggenheim and All I Brought Back was Gnostic Insanity

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I just returned from New York after a couple days in the city that should go to sleep. A warm February afternoon in New York stepping off the E train eager to take a stroll through the park with my family. Crossing the street to look at a map and immediately accosted by a thug pushing a ride in a soiled pedicab. For three dollars a minute one of his desperate coolies will pull human flesh and bone a few hundred yards to give the feeling of what it was like to be an English snob of Calcutta a hundred years ago. The company does not take good care of the cabs and drivers. They look already chewed, broken, miserable. No dignity or devotion. Each might have been happy as a little boy licking snow. Now they survive on the street like starving pigeons with arms and their hands held out.
A walk through the park, past the Metropolitan Museum of Art where one can purchase from street vendors what appears to be art, but leave you suspecting that it’s resale of anonymous stuff that’s been passed around for years. The sellers look so damn unhappy. It can’t be joy they’re exhibiting. Must be impostors.
Then on to The Guggenheim where you believe high art will liberate you, and help build a trust again in human potential. $68.00 for the family of three to enter. By this time we’ll give whatever we got just to use a New York toilet.
Relieved and excited to see the work of painters past the army of dead-eyed ushers. Besides a small room hanging paintings from a few French and one Spanish master, and a special exhibit of five Kandinskys, that you cannot get close to for all the uninspired children huddled on the floor, there is nothing but work that looks like it could be showing right now at ANY local art association across America. I would add that it might even be worse. I have never been angry at a museum before, until this day.
Look… Art!

gug2
Ha ha ha. They’re not really cleaning supplies. Gotcha! It’s formed plastic that’s been painted to look just like the thing that it was. Wow!
Dear young people of earth, with remarkable patience birthed from the boredom of tacit slavery, (which is school), you too can achieve this milestone. Find an over-educated, non art-maker to authenticate your clever genius. Make sure she has access to money. A ton of it. An overrated architect got enough to design and hire coolies to construct teeny tiny bathrooms that barely fit a person’s knees between the toilet and the wall. He too is on display in the basement of the Guggenheim. Here the back-scratching descends in a self-congratulating staircase all the way down to hell.
Seekers of fine art, my subjective brilliance shall not be humiliated by a Guggenheim ever again. A pretty building with barely workable bathrooms. Perfect to house an army of unwashed pedicabbers and their shredded, stained vehicles. Both they and the Guggenheim offer imaginary crap for pay. I just feel like kicking the juice out of them for accosting my wife and child in the park on such a beautiful false spring day.
But all is not lost of your legacy multi-millionaire Guggenheims of no taste. The Internet has been invented. For free you can come see on my blog what living artists are producing on any day of the week. And I’ll never charge you to squeeze your knees into a poorly designed toilet room.

Any Exhibition Worth Its Salt Needs Decent Signage

Lenasign2

Lena Ulanova is an aristocrat of the spirit.

I copied her stance in self portrait from a painting she made a couple years ago, and placed it in a Saint Petersburg vista I saw in dreamland. There is also a mute swan late to migrate, and autumn leaves swirling.

The mute swan was brought to America to ornament the gardens of grand estates. I invited Lena to send her work over here to teach my countrymen, especially those immersed in the arts and art professions, how to dream again, like they did before treading water for a lifetime in a sea of art bureaucracy, which is an enormous oxymoron pool that no one thinks beautiful. Like an atomic sea, or an ocean in hell.

Dear private galleries and museums… You don’t need us now, but you will one day. Like van Gogh, we do this for free, and we also take van Gogh in a direction he desired, of this I am certain. Communion among fellow artists! For art for the masses to survive to the next century, I advise all and sundry to take another look—perhaps to do a Timothy Leary— “turn on, tune in, and drop out” now to save your souls, or just to make yourselves more deserving of a better time, like you had when you were young and hoping foolishly.

The thought of art in your 20’s was like the anticipation of a wine buzz on a night out with friends, (in)complete with all the unknowns and surprise that could happen without cars and money. Art in your 40’s, 50’s, and beyond is like a bottle of wine for coping—a kind of temporary medication to the constant duress underpinning every sought after good time.

Established galleries and museums are missing the point. They cannot represent art. Living artists, (and I don’t mean the image-makers with polished dot coms and paid for Brooklyn studios), but the ones turning old man and old woman wine drunks into born again songwriters, the aristocrats of the spirit—they are the artists worth seeking and promoting, else you’ve learned nothing at all from van Gogh. Nothing art anyway, above rich endowment and $75,000 advertising budgets. Your end of the art spectrum is so necessary to art and artist, however you worship a bottom line declaring that the only path to art’s survival is more money.

In America, an aristocrat like Paul Allen, owns a football team and attempts to buy art. And therein lies the rub. Art cannot be bought, or sold. One can share it for a price, in order to keep moving artistically. No one pays a plumber to dig and install an old ceramic French drain (even one his great grandfather might have lovingly fired in a plumber’s kiln). Paul Allen must be an idiot to think he can pay a million times more than what a French painting costs a dead painter, and move an art world toward a gargantuan tax write-off. No. He is a dead product pusher, a little rich boy with no depth, an aristocrat of avarice and emptiness, with the spirit of a greedy flea.

And he boasts of a 10,000 bottle wine cellar for his hopeless admirers and wannabes.

There has always been an easy greed to spot in art, even of the 19th century, when any cough around the corner could spray blood, and a cool drink of water on a hot day spread the cholera to babies. Vincent van Gogh was an artist. Jeff Koons is not. Any person who speaks of the latter in art does not know art. He or she knows image, like Paul Allen. And the three of them can go figuratively hang themselves on a Seahawk’s goalpost for all I care of their loud mouths. I’m gonna put up this sign I made for Lena, quieter than most swans, and show her paintings to the world, expressively like an angry goose.

Lena Ulanova is an aristocrat of the spirit. In any age she could fall and complete a painting to uplift and inspire. There is an easy marker to tell art from artifice. Would a painter have the determination to magically land and express in any century, or is she just another contemporary middle or late age wine drunk dreaming about owning a football team?

Wake up galleries and museums. Stop selling your stuff like losers.