galleries and museums

My Silver Dollar Campaign Updated

Newtie

“I’d Rather Rendezvous With This Sexy Italian Newt Than Wait Around Here For Tasteless Billionaires To Win Again” 2016. acrylic on discarded press cleaning sheet, 7 x 17″ (In private collection of a friend)

Repeatedly, I suffer bouts of intense self-doubt that usually presages a light epiphany of sorts. I get a new idea or a reaffirmation of a past philosophy, and all is set back right with the world. Always temporary though. Another self-doubt monster will invade my pshyche in due time. It never fails to torment again and again.

Last night was bad. I won’t go into it, because the good idea that transpired has charged me back onto a positive path.

For some unknown reason, the life of my great grandfather sprang into my mind this morning. Henry Throop lived in the central New York area all his life. He was born in 1880, raised in Lebanon, N.Y., attended Colgate when it was still a prep school, went to Cornell to study civil engineering, married, and settled in Syracuse, where he worked as a railroad engineer, and then on his own as independent engineer/contractor until his death in 1956.

I use his life often in writing and conversation to juxtapose today’s culture to the one of a hundred years ago. Was it a better time? Who knows? I can say with certainty that Henry was a very mature twenty-something year old. He kept a journal—observations and day to day life for the most part, and also an expense account book, showing where every penny went. This morning’s idea was to use this account book to revolutionize the way I intend to sell my work.

My Silver Dollar Campaign

I have had it with business and art. It doesn’t work. The moment the painting gets offered, haggled, denied, etc, on the market exchange, the entire culture of the thing created gets violated. I lose all semblance of its original innocence as soon as the money door opens. Only once have I made a painting thinking about money, or a sale. Here it is:

_DSC2347

“My Heart’s Desire Is That One of You Is Drunk Enough To Buy This Painting” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16″

I was invited to a rock concert with some friends where there would be a section of the parking lot cordoned off for vendors. I painted this the night before, and had it sold before we finished putting up the tent.

It is stated in my great grandfather’s account book that on September 14, 1907, he purchased the following for one dollar:

2 loaves of bread
1 dozen cookies
toothpicks
paper
salt
chestnuts
peanuts
pound of butter

and a haircut…

A dollar in 1907 had the spending power of about $25 today, without the haircut (some small luxury to prove how contemporary inflation experts always seem to get it wrong). So, about $40 today would buy these goods Henry bought in 1907. A dollar was a dollar and it purchased what forty more dollars could buy today.

I love the silver dollar because it has an ever changing value on the money market. For several years I have watched its value move between about $15 to $35. And it’s just a dollar! It also feels good in the hand, and I bet many of them in a small pouch attached to my belt (a lá Rimbaud), would feel even better.

Henry’s items I listed above are worth any one of my paintings. No one is buying the luxury items I have made available. So I have sweetened the pot in order to avoid the money exchange problem for the rest of my life.

I will amass silver coins!

From this day forward, any one of my paintings not hanging in a gallery can be bought for a silver dollar. Not what a silver dollar will buy, but exactly one, shiny silver dollar. I don’t want to barter anymore. I want to jingle coins in a pouch. I have set the value, and it is universal. Any size. Any painting not in a gallery. Of course, the buyer must pay for frame and also shipping on top of the silver dollar. I have some very big paintings. If they were purchased, I would have to charge a handling fee. (Quite a bit of work goes into hiring a tractor trailer to pick up at a residence). Frames, shipping and handling could be exchanged in paper currency, however, the painting itself—always just one silver dollar.

Now imagine the creative time we could have. No more of that embarrassing “real” money exchanging hands. You can stop at the local pawn shop on your way to my studio and deal with the proprietor. He or she will certainly have silver dollars to sell you in trade for the paper money. Get it. Heck, get two, and stop by to pick out any painting(s) you want. If framed, I will price it fair, and you can give me the paper money that I will spend on groceries, or a dress for Rose at the second hand shop. I will mark your name, painting, and date of purchase in a little cardboard envelope, and if I make it to seventy-five, cash in on retirement fried eggplant sandwiches once in a while, thinking of you and our shared human experience.

(Please note: I can only accept silver dollars, and not paper money of what a silver dollar is currently worth on the pretend money market. I made the effort of the painting. Now you can go the extra mile to pick up the actual silver dollar).

Please think about this, and spread the idea far and wide. There must be some painting that you like for such a fair price. Think of birthdays, upcoming holidays. I am just so exhausted from these encounters with the self doubt monster. It’s time to kill the money.

Several of my recent paintings can be found here. I look forward to jingling coins in a pouch.

Ron

I’ve Decided I Don’t Want Nuclear Power It’s 9:00 A.M.

NuclearFlowersTumblr

“Nuclear Age Flowers” 2015. Acrylic on canvas board, 16 x 20″

Yup. I can declare it because I am an artist. I have determined that the atom is not ours to manipulate, so there—it’s all settled. I am late middle-aged, a father, one day a grandfather, and an artist. Therefore I have more sway than the Grand Poobah of the military, the political hack, the parasitic corporate executive, the plumber with a dream… Why? Because I am a failure at collective thought, groupthink, mob rule, democracy and all isms leading towards extinction. I live between four industrial plants splitting the atom for trucks and cars, and many McMansions where the atom-splitters dine on almost fine cooking. Ah yes, as artist, I am also a better cook than the atom-splitters and their ladder-up or ladder-down ilk. As artist, which is failure, I answer to myself and my love alone. Myself and my love alone want nuclear technology to cease. All except for medical procedures that uncancer the children who suffer tumors for the “greatest generation’s” psychotic fear of their own timidity towards men in lab coats. Back in 1958, instead of “ducking and covering”, little Teddy’s grandparents should have been disjointing the joint chiefs of staff.

No worries. Myself as artist has matured, and declared the end of the nuclear age.

The New God Nuclear

Last year I scoffed at the venerable Krishnamurti who once declared that the world problem is not the individual problem. Meaning that one should not bother about outside trouble until he has cured his own ailing soul. I rejected such a selfish philosophy after I woke up one morning to the doom that the world is being held hostage by nuclear weapons. There would be time I thought to play happy swami in full lotus after the earth was rid of the threat of six-hour annihilation. From this day forward, however, I will thank the new God profusely. Thank God—thank you real, honest, and true, new God-Nuclear… that to be born again is exactly what humanity has longed for deep in its heart of hearts ever since the first creative superstition helped the confused hominid choose the correct leaf to eat.
That is this:
We have it now. A final proof of God. Proof of an evil force, like satan, proof of hellfire, damnation, tortured souls, happiness beyond comparison, proof of extremely efficient punishment to sinners and infidels…
This God-Nuclear is real. We have seen him spit a gob at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and just like that—200,000 people, six million birds, a trillion plants and animals liquidated! That is a marvel. Barefoot Jesus made a blind man see? Whippety-doo! Small time trick of a holy, hack magician. Then this new God-Nuclear got an overnight head cold for the latter part of the last century, and now a billion women are destined to have one or both of their breasts lopped off. That is efficient punishment. Forget those whining Christians with their girly talk about “the rapture”. God-Nuclear wipes his ass with Revelations.
It was last year when I laughed at the selfish simplicity of the new atomic wise man, Krishnamurti. Now, after humbling myself to the new light, after meeting the new God-Nuclear face to undeniably magnificent warhead, I see that the skinny, big-eyed prophet was absolutely right, no matter what his initial reasoning. The world problem is not my problem.
God-Nuclear has knocked that huge chip off my shoulder. God-Nuclear, thank God-Nuclear, will take care of the world. Seven of his grand thermonukes detonated on the same day will strangle our dear atmosphere to death. That is a real, powerful force! Not likely Mohammed ever imagined such a blow! He was content with fire bolts shot from the clouds. Maybe a dark rider on a donkey wielding a magic sword to slay the wicked. When superstition was all guesswork and faith, who knew what the punishments would be?
So much confusion, too many impressive demigods, little miracles, maidens and buffalo boys, entire planets and stars teeming with the unpredictability of life and weather, existing together as one big family on the shell of a floating turtle…
Once, not too long ago, every devout Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Iroquois could go into himself to perfect existence, to maintain an almost ecstatic peace and harmony. Poverty was praised, for the religious life revealed successive rewards. Karma was very real. Should life, with all its intricate detail, ever veer off course, then watch out for some nasty personal consequences!
Back in those golden days of doing good for fear of God it was bad to be rich, good to be simple, bad to flaunt style, good to sleep under the stars…
It shall be like that for the visionaries once again. We will have our new Buddhas and Jesus Christs. They will carry on with amazing humility and silence, so beautifully, leaving nothing to the world but their fading inner light.
God-Nuclear exists for the increase of our spiritual bounty. No more guesswork. There truly is Kingdom come! Armageddon ain’t no lie. Why on earth are those crazy nuns beating weapons into plowshares? It must be a blind, raging jealousy of the greater, truer god. Their ancient spear and sword god comes from the darkest of dark ages, before Thomas Edison, Gatling guns and incendiary bombs. It was the Manhattan Project, not the knowledge of Jesus or Vishnu which separated the savage from the civilized.
God-Nuclear waits underground with a wide, knowing smile. There is one God and it just doesn’t matter what anyone gets from this knowledge.
What that means for the spiritual boobs…
It means get back to work all of you! You are absolved of sin. The superstitions have vanished. Droughts are explained. Famine understood. The plague is all about not washing your hands after drinking shitty water. Lawlessness happens mostly from having no fear of an angry god.
Get the most out of life. Forget about progeny if you must. Love is okay. Hate is okay too if it brings you joy. The only consequences left are those wrought by breaking man-made laws and the inevitable doom of eternal silence brought to you by the new and improved good God-Nuclear.
But this should only bring the happy ones closer together.
Spirituality, devotion, gentleness, compassion—these things make life worth living. More so with the knowledge of certain death for everybody, including the unborn’s unborn.

The Finality of Three Paintings on a Strange Yesterday, and a Fourth today, to Wrap it Up

tee

Two possible titles: “Donald Trump has Made his Decision. Now Let Him Enforce It!”, or “Stop Using the Master’s Freakin” Tools, Fools!” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″

Every few weeks I hit a low. I do not think I am bipolar any more than the next failed painter trapped inside a frozen, northern woe-box—I do believe that all inhabitants of industrialized nations suffer waves of confusion from time to time, whether or not they partake in a private economy bearing cyclical jags of elation and self-doubt. I even support and maintain a hypothesis that men have hormonal periods. Irritable Man Syndrome for some (the pick-up truck testosterone drinking cup type), or those artists like me who deal as loving butlers to the women in the household and suffer, what I believe, a hormonal derangement caused by the cross-gender dormitory effect. Science only needs to prove the theory. And to boot, last night was a full moon or close.
So the day began in heavy angst.
Propaganda radio informed me early on that Standing Rock is going to be slippery oil rock soon, or so everybody thinks. Everybody thinks that a sleazy billionaire will get his spoiled child way in the end. “Executive order” is the line, and the president and his pretend loyal “Army Core of Engineers” (the latter more than likely a euphemism for “recent high school grads with rulers”) have declared that business interests (if significantly dressed up in its moolah bag finery) trumps culture and ways of tradition always. Just what I would expect to hear from a rich pretend noble. What boils my blood is the expected response from thousands of disaffected, propagandized human automatons, who gleefully hand over unlearned and undeserved power to the wrong people. Then an unlearned debate ensues. Some rural nitwit neighbor of mine argues with an urban nitwit neighbor of mine, and the two opinions nitwittedly offered by nitwits to nitwits, constitute reality by a nation of nitwits fueled by nitwit news. And the whole manner is unnecessary to the one brave Sioux descendant who actually keeps the ancient soil in his heart and soul, and also has heard, or even read, a bit of history not told by the established outsider nitwit.
He destroys the problem.
Let the President enforce his “order”. If it’s a culture worth keeping (and I know that it is, then the culture as a nation will do what it must to protect itself. Just stop acting like slaves to nitwits, nitwits! Sabotage now!
Oh, that image didn’t win me many “likes” on social media. So friends and friends of friends, continue to protest and politicize like car payment Gandhi’s with smartphones. Even that bozo thought he did a grand thing. Freed India. To do what? Make an entire earth untouchable with threat of some nifty fisson-fusion fireworks?
Nationalism is always ugly, but nitwit nationalism kills. It kills an awful lot of people eventually. Mahatma should have known this, but the poor sap was trained as a lawyer, not a poet. Lawyers know how to say “boots on the ground” over and over, and the nitwits lap it up and sanction state-sponsored terrorism. The lawyer Gandhi, knowing his audience, dressed down for the occasion, fasted when necessary, led a nation to nationalism, and began India’s own state-sponsored terrorism—a glorious nuclear stockpile of its very own. Praise Shiva.
Onto the second painting…
greatartist
 “If I am Ever Going to be a Great Living Painter, Then All the Young, Talented Ones Must Take a Fast Leap off a Tall Building” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″
A bit of whimsy to disguise a solid truth about my psyche.
I am an envious tool.
And that didn’t help my mood one bit, but it did supply enough self-deprecation juice to nourish the next, and final painting for the day,
conceit
“This Bird Has Got the Disease of Conceit” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″
So true.
You know, all I ever dreamed, since delving into a lifetime of mixing words and colors, was the ability to make a living, receiving no more pay than a dishwasher’s wages. I used to be a dishwasher, in my twenties, before getting promoted to cook and then father, and then father-husband feeler. I never imagined then, or today, that I would ever make a profit from creative work. The angst is gone now, with the moon yanking on some poor Australian’s psyche, and I am feeling better. As some of my friends have told me, and I believe it more and more each day, that when it comes to making a profit, Mr. Throop is his own worst enemy.
And then the birds visited me this morning, as reminder. Which birds?
egobirds
“This is What my Soul Looks Like When the Little Birds of Profit Fly By” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22

Saturday Morning Love Theme Now!

I Love You More Than Madness More Than Dreams Upon the Sea

“I Love You More Than Madness, More Than Dreams Upon The Sea” 2013. Acrylic on panel board, 64 x 48″

This is an old post and introduction to the book below. Please read it to save the earth from eating itself out of disgust at the human “progressive” trajectory.

From Leopold Courting Rose:

Leopold Courting Rose 2013

Why Love Letters?
Who is Leopold?

Curse this political world! Last month I signed up for a free online course in social psychology hoping it would sedate my inner anxiety fool, and get me thinking about other stuff besides doom and gloom. Over the past ten years or so I have let the wrong people in. Unknowns, rabble-rousers, political cry-babies. So much in my mind not of the family and clan has focused its attention on strangers and their woeful struggles. I deemed myself the silent Sally Struthers’ spokesperson for civil liberties (of others), individualism (of others again), and freedom without war and atrocity (others again and again).
Silly me. I have always been free to speak, individualistic more so than Henry Thoreau, and anti-war with an internal, red hot passion. Seeking it for others? Why? It already exists. Don’t tick off the King in a super economy, and one will be showered with gifts and glory unbeknownst to the Gods and emperors of yesteryear. I can speak or write any blasphemy under the sun as long as I can prove no child molestation. I can walk out this door and keep walking to Utah, provided I keep myself looking a cut above meth abuser. And war? Don’t need it. Don’t have to join up. There are millions of neglected children jonesing for a chance to be loved by anyone, even a sociopath sergeant or general. I am not one of these millions of fools. So why attempt to be their social pastor? Especially if I’m not getting paid for it? Amazing freedom in the western world. But little wisdom. Even though all religions and philosophies swear the latter leads to happiness. Our freedoms are apparent, and they have made us very sick in the mind. Nero, for all the power he possessed on a diminishing empire’s credit, was just an insane freak of nature like a Rupert Murdock or Barack Obama. Not happy. Never secure in love. Yet it seems all the non-political commoners dress up to be like them, and would become them if they won the lottery. The common men who stop to admire a jet ski on display at the mall, and the women who consider purchasing the latest issue of People magazine with a dead Patrick Swayze on the cover. These folks are certainly not happy in their ignorance, which is never bliss, but rather chimera. Also, wrong acceptance of careerism and its habits of middle age has blown our happiness path to smithereens. No wonder so many are plagued with regret and night sweats of bitterness.
So why did the political world move into my brain and push out the wisdom-to-be that I swear was thriving in my younger years? Maybe this course I am taking in psychology will shed light on the social/anti-social animal I have become. Maybe it will speak about first love or second love, the born again feeling that arises when energy is directed at discovery, and bliss becomes everyday reality through the auspices of blind love for another human being. Probably not. Love is never taken seriously at the college level (although every single university affiliate has fallen to its power). Still, I would think it a doctoral track more necessary to happiness that physics or English literature. What else needs to be discovered in order for the “good life” to be realized? John Donne’s snuff habit? Another dimension of reality that we’re told we can never see (perhaps heaven)? What specialization need we focus upon now that cholera can be defeated? Have we in the western nations not enough potable water, clothing, shelter and fuel? I would argue that all we lack is proper distribution of these necessities. And that can be fixed overnight by determined revolutionaries in love. Sack a congress lobbied to corruption with rotten tomatoes and “We are the World” mantras.
I think that this college course will uncover some awful truth about modern humanity. That is this: We eagerly make efforts to go against the grain of the heaven on earth existing before our very eyes. It will show by experiment that humanity has always been subject to groupthink and group censure, from caveman times to the atomic age, and that this was necessary as far as groups go. Geese form a “V” to fly south. People arrange a militia to fight other people who covet their stuff.
But we moderns have made the blunder of taking social conditioning way too far, and have ignored the wonders of love, art, and beauty, which in older times the royal classes gravitated towards in their grateful acceptance of good fortune. Who in Jacksonian Democracy could foresee an Iphone with every volume entitled “me” in its Library of Congress-sized memory reading room? What Japanese noble of the Kamakura Period would not mutilate his own bowel after realizing he forsook his only son’s wisdom education for a shiny red Ford F350?
Unfortunately my free social psychology course will not lecture me that the above modern condition is abnormal psychology chomping on steroids. It will not instruct me on wisdom, nor on how to find it, nurture it, and use it to achieve happiness in this life. No, it is a social boo-boo to voice a strong opinion against the mountain of crap our society drops on us day after day. Normalcy is to be authenticated after 8 years of intense tunnel vision university study before society even allows an educated guess at what might be wrong with it. And then it won’t have credence without publication, which will only come if approved by an editor, himself overeducated to the point of fearing his own vocal opinion without first undergoing five years of proper research and testing.
But love? No degree necessary. And we think we’re very good at it, yes? We have experienced it, studied it, woke up eager to practice it, mainly during the courting stages, when it was as important to life’s mission as finding a career and establishing oneself an accepted player in society. So what happened? Why no mention of love promotion in the press other than hitting the 50th anniversary mark? Awards are many but private to be sure, credentials boxed up in the basement, photographs nonexistent to present-day visitors to the marital abode. Yet it was one of the three or four most significant moments in the life of every human being. It has been relegated as a social taboo to communally recollect and organize hard copies of examples of falling in love. A kind of embarrassment, almost a mild shame that prevents each and every one of us from “yawping” our love out from the rooftops.
I have a hypothesis to share with the social psychologists. By virtue of the 200,000 year old struggle for survival, modern well-fed human beings, who have no immediate threat to their existence, haven’t the slightest idea how to process the ecstasy of courting after the mate has been won. A species-wide denial of poetic joy that practically everyone has experienced pervades.
I would argue that by covering up real memories of courting happiness to the extent that they exist on par with other childhood rites of passage, like losing teeth or leaving the familial nest, we have denied ourselves and loved ones a published account of what could very well be an example of burgeoning wisdom.
So we forget about early love to make room for the tough, grown-up stuff, (ex., career, child rearing, keeping a clean house, grocery shopping, finding hobbies), and no periodic reference to the good ole days can be used to repair broken dreams. Hence dissatisfaction with our wife or husband, the seven-year-itch, and recycled ideas of how great life would be if we could just “get away”.
Separation in the mind, if not actualized, is all too common. And divorce becomes an option, since all reminders of why this girl or guy moved you in the first place, have been buried and lost to time.
I believe we all possess this poetry of love’s beginning. I think it is a course worth deep study, if only to research why its virtue has been lost to all and sundry. I have brought up these old letters and poems from our musty basement on the eve of my wife’s 40th birthday. Lately I have been feeling the overwhelming strain of practicing a repetition of days toward cliché goals. Security, conservatism, wealth, retirement—all notions I would have smirked at when I was in my twenties looking for answers to “why” and “what for?”. Then I started chasing Rose, and during the process, saw opportunities arise and abilities executed that I thought could never be. Not quite feelings of invincibility, but close. More like insight into the power of dreams to encourage positive action with another human being. That is I dreamed of a day, maybe a picnic and a movie, woke up and arranged it, and then experienced it with her. Success! Tenderness. Lovemaking. Sleep. And the promise of more. I already had a five-year-old daughter, and her well-being was much improved day-to-day as I courted Rose. The creativity, optimism, hope, excitement of new love was carried over to the nurturing of my little girl. There was no neglect, nobody pushed aside so abstracts like “job security” or “personal success” could make room.
So why did those feelings of wellness and “all is right with the world” ever fade away?
Now is when Leopold enters the concert arena.
The other night while doing dishes I made Rose laugh out loud as I explained to her my concept of Leopold. He is Bugs Bunny on the cover of this book, and can be found in action on Youtube or Vimeo. I told her that for once in my life (and hers too) I want the world to shower the praise on us that was given to that “wrascally wrabbit” when he was imitating some maestro of the time, real or imaginary. A necessary feeling to pull us out of the repetitive funk we find ourselves locked in. To spend it all on just one night! A suite booked at the Plaza, reservations at Daniel, a private car with driver, black disco dress with sparkles, tickets to the opera at Lincoln Center, where Rose and I conduct music for the worn and weary.
We had this feeling one time not so long ago. Every letter I sent to her was a promise for a night like this. And Rose was all about reciprocation, even if it was not literary. No doubt, we both believed wholeheartedly in each other and had faith in the future. I do not doubt that you, reader, have felt the same many times not too long ago…
So, what is the theory we can test? How do I institute this landmark study that will get the comfortable masses to recapture romantic love without relinquishing the urge to relieve social pressures in their every day lives? That is, how to find wisdom in love again, and save for retirement? Well, for starters, I wrote and edited this book. My private hope is that Leopold spends it all on one night to reinvigorate dreams which he believes were visionary in their wisdom. Of course none of this effort will matter if Rose is not convinced, and vies for austerity because the pay is never enough, keep working. John Lennon was about forty when “Starting Over” was a popular song on the radio. Those lyrics are poetry of what this book is trying to recapture. Also the following, written when I was feeling a little bit Leopold thirteen years ago:

Say, What’s Cooking In Oswego?

A plate of truth and a bottle of blood?
No, no numb skull, far from that!
There used to be fishermen here
but baby perch wiggle tougher
than our men do nowadays.
I think they kept chickens
back in the 1800’s
She already had an egg
and a log on the fire
before cock-a-doodle-do.
Whisk the egg with two fingers of sugar
and a dash of salt
Mix with yesterday’s milk,
pour into flour
then a pan on the fire
Eat with your hand and smell
her dirty apron and stinky toes.

There was one poet here in 1936
He went nuts
Walked up to his old Aunt Beasel
raking leaves into a pile,
and punched her square in the eye.
She kicked his ass of course
right in front of Joe and Mickey
and even their pet rabbit seemed to be laughing.
That was all of him
He took a bus to New York
Got a job washing dishes at Delmonico’s
Got rich, lived rich, died super-rich
with nothing at all.

What’s so wonderful about New York
that ain’t happening here in Oswego?
Well, now that everyone’s a sissy
(Joe was a truck driver
Mickey got a restaurant),
Now that even the cock swaggers down the street
terrifying the plump little bib drippers we’ve become
It’s nice once in a while to forget
about manhood, womanhood,
Aunt Beasel’s hairy mole next to her eye…
It’s good to forget about our legs and arms
and things like where water comes from
Now that we’re self-proclaimed half truths
and walking lies
why not enjoy life to its fullest plate of food?
And what’s cooking in Oswego
is only fitting for what Oswego cooks up.

Our restaurants mix powdered demi-glace,
deep fry their hairy ninety-five cent broilers,
Some chefs I know
should just piss on your plate
One place thinks rigatoni in Italian means
“looks and smells like Great Nana’s big toe”
At least in New York we can still pretend
that all life left is imagination
and get a king’s meal at a fair price
and window shop and make ourselves
smell real good for dinner.

“Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Throop
May I take your coats?
Chef Beasel saved a perfect egg for you tonight
You look so good, smell so sweet
Mrs. Throop,
your arms are bare and beautiful,
your neck perfeect
Right this way
Right this way
Right this way

Let this book be a reminder of what I believe makes the best humans in a comfortable world. Spend it all, and let the chips fall.

And thank Keith Richards for reading my books.

 

From “Lucky Seven Series” That Became “Fortunate Eight”

dole

The Spanish-Philippine-American War

Since we all prefer to live in a progressive society, where time functions on a linear plane, I would have the abstractionists of my land recall the true histories of war, and not the always distorted, outright lying  political attitudes about it. The latter always fits the story to its own imaginative power and glory. For instance, we’re not allowed to watch television about World War II unless all our great and grandfathers are of pure hero stock, and not frightened pimpled teenagers mowing down other acne-infected children, or fire-bombing entire cities because Roosevelt and Truman were too sissy to fist-fight Hitler and Tojo on “Leader Island”.

Back in April 2013 I received a pile of discarded press-cleaning sheets from my wife’s workplace. At the time I was fed up once and for all with the dandy-o’s—the Bushes, Clintons, Obamas, and their light and easy approach to the murder of other people’s babies. I sought to do with paint what every artist desires upon threat of violence, that is, immortalize the filthy cowards. So on a string of inclement April nights, I descended into my painter’s foxhole to depict the history of popular U.S. wars in two hours or less. I called the series “The Lucky Seven”—however this one happened to make eight. The extra might have represented the 300,000  Filipinos murdered for the crime of being born poor onto a big island. Why not? It’s all cuckoo when the unread refuse to read. So I made pretty pictures of war to participate in this progressive march to the end of the world. My favorite one here is when Teddy Roosevelt took San Juan Hill with pantaloons infested with crabs. Our great grandparents made him president because many of our great grandparents were frightfully stupid. If hindsight is 20/20, why are so very few among us seeing correctly? For an answer, go back to the first paragraph and the inevitable failure of all progressive societies… The winners get to tell the stories.

And the losers paint in a basement.

All paintings are acrylic on press-cleaning sheets, about 15 x 7″ Please read the titles carefully.

lynch

sanjuan

marines

hawaii

maine

senator

bourbon

The Everson Vs. The Memorial Art Gallery

everson

“The Everson vs. The Memorial Art Gallery” 2013. Acrylic on press cleaning sheet, 15 x 7″

From Last Communion:

Two feelings today. First individual. Second communal. In the second I fix museums. In the first I fight despair.

I am weary of thinking. S.A.D. covers me like a fog at this time of year. S.A.D. with financial worry is a toxic cloud sizzling acid into my frontal lobe.
Depression? I don’t think so. It is what any man, of any culture, of any time feels when he possesses creative energy and spunk but has no waiting outlet for his expression.
“Keep it to yourself for six months mister, then in spring we’ll be committed to the same routine, and not have time for you then, either.”
Lows like this always bring me back to Henry Miller. He is the artist whose legacy champions the driven failure. He is the dreamer’s Jesus, and Tropic of Cancer the New Testament. Forty-four year old man coughing up green gobs in a Paris artist ghetto delivers pure hope to the future neurotics inhabiting modern earth. Nihilism with warm bread and salted butter. Joy as a routine of failure. Happiness with no expectations. Scratch that… At least one expectation… Dinner!
Most houses of present day claiming to represent the artist are supermarket chains stocking their shelves with glossy Keebler® products. They have lost sight of the man and woman as artist. “Give us the output that PBS wants to see. We don’t care about your thoughts. As long as you supply us our boxed Toll House® cookie crackers—stale or fresh, it doesn’t matter. And you better dress well. And be approachable. And portfolio a resume that looks corporate like accounting…”
Oh Jesus, Henry, they’re taking away art’s right to failure, to jugs of wine, to 3 a.m. coffee, wild plans for the future, close friendships, and sleep as a favorite pastime for lovers. They are accomplishing the death of art in the cruelest manner to the artist. With silence! With form letters. With business. With pedaling works door-to-door, alone, in a car. Individuality and avarice. Now artists tap in like cable TV to a corporate model for communication. Twitter. Facebook. They’ve gone public. Promoters, promotees, a sculptor I just met telling me in a sports bar how his friend needs to show more in order to build his resume—
These are weapons wielded by the enemies of art. Soldiers paid by anti-creative institutions. Bootlickers of art history PhD’s. The temporary gatekeepers. Thank you Jesus Miller. Again.
Now to keep to my subject promise of finding creative ways to slaughter the corporate model that has usurped art in America.
Christie’s is a pig sty, and the people who work there are rats who feed on pig drippings.
The Everson Museum is a Syracuse treasure, as is the Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester. But they have lost their way. They are mirroring their favorite soda brand (“pop” in Rochester—so you can tell which city I advocate for). They are seeking identity in a sea of exactly the same thing museums. Each a division of Keebler® trying to outdo its sister product with the “individuality” of whatever a cool million can purchase this year for the collection. Brand identity. The new thing. Like the new normalcy of networking. Concepts verbatim from page 2 in the corporate charter.
We smell a rat.
There must be three hundred or more museums of equal size across America. And they all cry poverty in the sense that attendance is down, upkeep is up, and it just feels like so few are interested in the arts these days. The Cincinnati Art Museum spends 1.8 million on an 18 x 24″ Georgia O’Keeffe and Johnny’s mother is opening up a can of SpaghettiOs® for breakfast so his stomach won’t rumble at school today. Johnny likes the Cincinnati Bengals but the Bengals corporation wants to whore their “anything they can” on Johnny. So Johnny gets a Bengal helmet for Christmas this year. The Bengal business model was a success. The linebacker got three million. The art museum an O’Keeffe. Avarice can easily find its connections in Hell. Just plug into the bottom line.
So my idea is this: Bring local art to the status it has deserved since Barbara the Neanderthal iron oxided the cave wall with a horse. Today it’s like museums around the world would be jonesing for a slab of that rock.
“France has a lot of ‘gaul’ to keep cave art in its own caves, especially when we’re willing to offer thirty million a cubic yard.”
All the artists in the Syracuse area, represented by the Everson Museum, can enter a yearly juried competition, like in January, when creatives are locally the most desperate. Same for the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. Each museum chooses ten of its favorites for the juror, who is from out of state and has no bias toward either city. She is invited to stay at a middle ground no-man’s land along the I-90 corridor. Clyde, for instance. The host museum will alternate each time the two meet to fight. The juror judges the work, both staffs sort it out, and the top three out of five of the total twenty declares the winner museum. There is a show in summer at the home of the victor. And it receives more hype than a dead O’Keeffe, born and raised in Wisconsin, ever deserved.
Local artists become the art stars of their own communities. Now the Everson can challenge Munson-Williams in Utica next year. The Memorial Art Gallery can take on Albright Knox in Buffalo. In a five year period, several cities can duke it out and declare a champion institution for that region.
So when the Jones family from California visits the Everson they will be shone a room displaying Syracuse’s artist cream of the crop. I know the work will be just as inspired as any from van Gogh, Picasso, or that internationally adored, anal retentive metal sculptor, who, by virtue of some corporate art Gnostics, sits atop the sculpture throne in America, even though he was born in Natchez and hates the snow.

An addendum

“On My Own Time” is an exhibit the Everson hosts every October. It is a show where participating businesses send the top two or three judged pieces from their employees, who all have a hobby called “art”. Just to give you an idea of how screwy things are in our culture these days, I cannot even well express the insult dagger that drives into the very heart of humanity, which is all things art. But it does, and it goes deep. My friend, a marble sculptor who has shown at this venue the past two years, does university teaching on his own time. He spends hours searching for stone, dreaming the stone, cutting, carving, and sanding the stone. And he has something to say that he can never say while hobbying at his day job, which always pays him on time for work that is one part inspiration, three parts stultifying. And he is lucky to practice the art of teaching. To receive his certificate for “doing art” even though he doesn’t have to do art, can be a rewarding result of herculean effort. Along a similar vein, the poor janitor, who works at the same institution on his own time, scrubs dried vomit off of toilet seats in dormitories. His non-art is all stultifying. He is a photographer snapping photos in the bright light of day, from mountaintops in the Adirondacks. This makes him forget briefly that his culture and society expect him to pull hair out of clogged drains in order to take pictures on his own time, and never the other way around.
The show costs ten dollars for guests. It’s catered. And my friend for his piece, which took him over a hundred and fifty hours of time to perfect, leaves with a show book and a desk top printed certificate.
Every time the Everson acquires another fifty thousand dollar piece of someone else’s culture, they figuratively ram a can of SpaghettiOs down little Johnny’s throat, and likewise remind the community that art is for the dead, just keep at it on your own time. The Everson needs our ignorance to fill its coffers. Like Walmart. Like Pepsi. Like McDonald’s and the Cincinnati Bengals.
My friend the sculptor is an artist and a teacher. Everything he does is on his own time. The problem is that the thieves of our culture want to snatch pieces of what is ours for themselves.
The Everson and Memorial Art Gallery should exist because they are our community treasures. But they need to wake up and throw open their doors to a new vitality. Keep the stuffy tomb rooms of worldly historical art. They have their story. In my opinion they should be restocked with the art of dead central New Yorkers. I would want to know what a painter living on Midler or South Geddes was up against back in 1923. Looks pretty good. Yeah, yeah, Picasso was in Paris painting a gargoyle. And Woodrow Wilson harbored no regrets after sending thousands of human beings to unecessary slaughter. Jesus my dear Henry Miller, are they ever going to cut out this worship of dead kings?