Monday, September 19, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
This is a painting by Phillip Knoll. I bought this painting from the best gallery in Washington DC, Irvine Contemporary Art. The Assistant Director at the time, Leslie Geddes, is a brilliant and personable art historian (Columbia and Princeton University), who made it a pleasure to visit simply to discuss and to learn about art.
The painter of the above piece, Phillip Knoll, is a friend and contemporary of Chris Ware, a cartoonist who has revolutionized the graphic novel. Knoll's art is reminiscent of Ware's and Robert Crumb's cartoons, the difference being that Knoll markets his cartoons as "fine art".
I've always been intrigued by the question of "what is art" and in particular the distinction critics have often made between "high art" (or fine art) and "low art" (cartoons, illustrations, etc.).
Picasso, undoubtedly one of the great artistic geniuses of the last century, broke this distinction down by creating collage work that incorporated low art into his fine art. Warhol and Lichtenstein brought the experiment to its logical conclusion by copying cartoons as an ironic commentary on fine art.
I think Knoll has taken the concept an inch further and probably as far as it can go by making an original cartoon as fine art, absent any irony.
I am now giving away this painting as a gift. While in D.C. I had the privilege of knowing two wonderful patrons of the arts, Sandy Duncan and Jim Kearns, who hosted dinners with interesting persons. One evening Sandy shared a film her daughter made where she narrated the story "The Giving Tree" by Shell Silverstein. The above painting reflects the same melancholy pathos of that story. I later learned that Sandy's son is friends with the founder of McSweeney's, and thus has an indirect link to Phillip Knoll through Chris Ware via Dave Eggers.
Thus I purchased this a few years back as a gift for them as thanks for their kindness and friendship. However, as it turned out, before I could give it to them life intervened; they moved and my life became...complicated.
But these many years later we've reconnected thanks to Facebook, so I can finally give them this painting, Bluebirds by Phillip Knoll.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I went to the MLK memorial in Washington, D.C. this weekend. I love the memorial. Despite the press criticism, I think it is very powerful. I tried to make some drawings but found it a real challenge to capture his essence. These drawings are quite bad, so I have a new challenge...I will keep going back until I get a drawing I'm happy with....
Sunday, September 11, 2011
We will rebuild...