Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jasper Johns lost painting

Jasper Johns' two trick pony

The priceless Leonardo Da Vinci, sitting Signora Giocondo , holding his paint tools and rag in a cup, 1504

Why is it necessary for artists to incorporate Leonardo Da Vinci' work in their paintings and scuptures? What does it imply? Are you mocking or comparing?

Jasper Johns' sculpture, the light bulb and painter's brushes, 2009

After Milan, so what... Oh sacred oracles of Truth

In this study, I had doubted feinining a work so famous, so interpreted and debated that I wondered could there be anymore added to its mystery. But yet, in this self portrait, I felt lost again as I had with the Michelangelo study to the point I could not see myself. And then, I felt, a (lady) short, plumply, fidgety and excitable to be in the presence of a (master) who she greatly admired. Although my portrait had aged her, this was a hearty character who through her (flirtation), commented on da Vinci's wishy hands, his hooked nose and beautiful teeth. And during the sittings, they laughed, they gossiped.....

And in this moment, the intrigued over her smile may just have been her idiosyncrasies, her underlay of smirks which the painter captured so teasingly, so subtle, resonating her beauty, coy and tempting.

After Jasper Johns' sculpture, The best forgery, light fixture on a block, 2009

My mother's take on this." Nice, a paper weigh, (complete silence) I really regret sending you to art school. you are so talented, why don't you paint carnival instead?"

My aunt, " Boy, if you remove and spoil
meh bulb dat working since 1967, ah don't know, I don't know...Ah feeling sick, Lord give meh strength, she would then collapse on the couch.

In the words of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego

" Jasper Johns’ sculptural output informs understanding of his two-dimensional work, A life-size cast of a commonplace object, Light Bulb I is a rephrasing of Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades. ....the light bulb image became a recurring motif, appearing in various media throughout Johns’s career.

The smooth, industrial form of the bulb is juxtaposed with the hand-manipulated base in which it is nestled, creating a bridge between the gestural expression of Abstract Expressionism and the cool depictions of Pop Art. The underlying subject matter in Johns’s art is not the object represented, but the investigation of how we perceive, label, and categorize objects."

After working on the sculpture, if this was cast I wondered, would that make all the different? Is the precess of casting that makes it a work of art? Hence, fakes against originals. All in the spirit of deception.

Pay very close attention to these remarks:

You asked:

" why is it necessary for artists to incorporate Leonardo Da Vinci' work in their paintings and sculptures? What does it imply? Are you mocking or comparing?"

Why incorporate any work? You would probably answer this best but I'd say that it's a way to explore the mind, the process, the techniques, the milieu, the essence, the audience even, of the artist.

Sometimes, it is simply one creature encountering a creation which he/she finds useful and adopting/adapting it to his/her own needs. Maybe you want to bring to your work the associations surrounding a particular work...maybe it has become iconic and you find it's baggage useful for your project or maybe you want to be iconoclastic and in your work you want to attack and topple its privileged status.

So an artist can do this "borrrowing" with reverence, with the blatant intent to steal, with cynicism, with derision, with undisguised impishness or with a pure curiousity to see what turns out as a result of his/her investigations.

And the results can be enriching, surprising, upsetting, amazing, can allow viewers to see the incorporated work, the original creator and milieu from a different perspective.

WAPnin's interpretation of Bat Dressed As Man (Night). We have to be mindful of representation of that which is, a rose is a rose is a...............

So take my Bat Dressed As Man (Night). I am not an artist and I had no intention of making any statement about any aspect of the original work. I did with that painting what I automatically do with sentences. I reverse them in order to explore alternate perspectives or to discover if they can retain the originally intended meanings. If I hear "God made man in His own image and likeness." I think to myself, "Man made God in his own image and likeness." and I think "This might also be true!" Or, do you remember when you said in an earlier post that you are not free. I thought to myself then, "You are freer than you imagine." And immediately, I found myself rearranging my words and saying "Perhaps you are freed because you can imagine."

So when you introduced me to Doig's "Man Dressed As Bat," I immediately thought, "Man dressed as bat? What would a bat dressed as man against Doig's background look like?" For me it was simply a game, an exploration, and the reason why I deliberately used Doig's background maybe partially answers your question: Associations are portable and can enrich.

You've prompted me to read a bit about Marcel Duchamp and Jasper Johns. Very, very interesting...

"Marcel Duchamp really revolutionized avant-garde art practice by going out to a store, as Johns did, looking for ready-made objects, like a snow shovel, a coat rack, a bottle rack, a urinal, and purchasing them and, then, taking them to the studio and signing them and declaring them to be sculptures." Source

"Bravo!!!", I say.


Anonymous said...

I AM honoured and as I said before, you have always been doing this for your readers by simply being accessible. Whether you have agreed or disagreed with comments, I've noticed your responses and your openness to synergistic engagement. You seem to work "alone" but you are also very open to collaboration and this "wiki" inclusiveness is a very unique and attractive feature of your blog. With thanks,

Anonymous said...

What you said here really struck me:

"After working on the sculpture, if this was cast I wondered, would that make all the different? Is the process of casting make it art?"

I'd like to discuss this but I want to be sure that I understood the question as you intended it. Were you saying...if this was a cast instead of an encasing, that might have elevated it to "art"? Were you making a distinction between the comparatively simpler process of encasing an object in sculpt-metal, for example, with the more complicated process of actually sculpting an original, making a mold and casting an object?

Personally, I don't see much difference although you could suggest that more skill is needed to do the latter. Maybe Johns wanted viewers to ask that question also and wanted to encourage them to revisit the qualities of the object that he had encased? Maybe he was using encasing just a stand-in for the effects achieved by the more complicated process of casting?

thebookmann said...

I mean as a cast from which a mold is made to cast the above object in bronze

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification. So that would be like if someone had given a pine cone a coat of paint instead of painting a still life of a pinecone. You would have asked us to consider whether the "real" artwork had been accomplished via the painting of a representation rather than the simple coating of an object with paint.

Is the process of casting making it art?...

To try to answer your question, I would say that in the representation of everyday objects, the casting adds another layer of artistry but that implicit in the casting is a recognition of the original artistry that was there before. I think that it is possible therefore to see the "ready-made" as a work of art.

OK, so Duchamp would have taken the lightbulb as it was, added nothing to it, signed it and displayed it as art. I think what he was doing was saying that this "ready-made" IS art if it can be beheld as such. Being the owner of a substantial collection of "objets d'art" a.k.a garbage, I identified with that when I said "Bravo!!!". I don't know enough about Duchamp though to say that he was suggesting that the "ready-made" SHOULD be beheld as art. Jasper Johns is saying something similar but he is taking it further by examining not only that initial appreciation of the "ready-made's" potential but exploring the transformative intervention that artists can and do bring to the ordinary.

Prior to encountering this blog, I was thinking that real "art" was created by real "artists." Well, some of my earlier comments would have betrayed the narrowness of my definition of what is art. I think you were being very patient on that occasion when you asked this question in response to my rather uppity comments about what constitutes art,

"Then what are the qualities necessary for an Art work to defend itself?"

Outside of the products of this real "art" I had not seriously considered that I was already encountering and appreciating art and that it might have been a thinly disguised snobbery on my part to even suggest that art needs to defend itself.

Bookmann, as a result of your questions, I am thinking more and more that "art" , like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and that it is everywhere. It is in the eye of the person who watches a sunset from beginning to end and does not have the skill or inclination to take a photo or to paint it. It is in the eyes of the persons who can and do take photos or paint sunsets. It is in the eye of the person who approaches the completed paintings or photos of sunsets.

And it does not matter and should not matter to anyone and especially not to the artist when some viewers conclude that an his/her work is not art (except maybe when an artist hopes to make a living solely from his art). There are people who will close their windows on a sunset without even noticing it and there are people who will not marvel over a pine cone or a bird's feathers and there are people who will use the contents of a beautiful bottle and will fling that bottle into the garbage without appreciating how the curves of the bottle feel against the palms of their hands or the fact that the glass is a most bewitching shade of blue....

Thanks so much for that question.

thebookmann said...

Now you see what artists see and to those of us that take observing daily things for granted.

Dem focking rain cloud coming, go run out and pick up all meh jumbo pantie.

But mamee dem cloud pretty eh. Boy dough let de neighbor hear you say ting like dat, is only girle chil-dren goes look at dem cloud make fairy tale picture.

I just saw a lamb kissing a hippopotamus from

Anonymous said...

Ha! Brilliant... I am laughing out loud. Well despite any intentions they might have had to repress your artist's sensibility, I suspect that it was from those same females (your aunt and mother) that you inherited "the eye." You can hear it in their verbal flamboyance, which is just glorious by the way. I would have been a devotee and willing student if I had had the good fortune to encounter them in my childhood. Thanks for the laughter.


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