Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Is For Art & Literature Too

Last night a friend gave me a book for Hannukah. The Family by Jeff Sharlet is the kind of book that is right up my alley. The sub-title reads, The Secret Fundamentalism At The Heart Of American Power. I have seen Jeff Sharlet on MSNBC many times talking about his book, so, I am curious to learn more about what he has researched and written.

Anyone who has ever walked through an art museum will recall that early European paintings used religion as their subject matter. In an era when few people knew how to read, religious paintings help tell the stories of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments.

Twenty years ago, I painted the above painting in oil on board, and I gave it the title Mother and Child: An American Icon. I built the frame out of wood and covered it with gold metal leaf. (There is a difference between gold leaf and gold metal leaf, and the difference is cost.) I exhibited this piece in a show at the Carnegie Art Center in Covington, KY in May, 1992 and in June, 1992 in Chicago at the R.H. Love Contemporary. The exhibit was titled STARS & STRIPES FOREVER The Flag in Contemporary American Art. This piece, I thought at the time, was political art.

If this piece survives a hundred years, I am wondering to what purpose it may be put? What the painter had in mind at the time can easily be distorted when he is no longer around to explain his work. Well, it is something to think about.

Stay tuned.


Summer Smith said...

There's a lengthy and informative article on Wikipedia about "The Family." Although I'm certain it's not as interesting or well-research as Sharlet's book, it does grab your attention.

Maybe you will provide your readers with commentary on how their influence has or is affecting the current administration and monetary policy. It is reported that the founder was wedded to laissez faire politics and economics -- the antithesis of the needed regulations to - as you so aptly put it - level the playing field.

What I'm getting from the book reviews and Wikipedia is THEOCRACY. Facist and theocratic -- the framework of the Nazi Party and all the other "modern" dictatorships. Orwellian.

It's a cruel irony that people with this mindset intend to destroy the very system that allows them to exist. Much like a virus.

I'll definitely stay tuned...


Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox said...

Hi Fred,
I will look at out for this book. It sounds like it would be right up my alley too. I may have to order it.

Your questioning about how an art work and the artist's motivation might be explained many, many years after the artist has died is interesting. There are some contemporary artists, who luckily or unluckily for them, have a distorted importance attributed to their work now. History and time can recalibrate this kind of inflated significance.

I suppose I would like to think that my work 'spoke' to people over time in a way which just made them wonder.