poetry

Matisse Was Right In Matters of Joy and Toasting Success

Matisselandscape

I need to explain the genesis of this painting. It began in my mind long before brush touched board—actually, at dusk the day before I got up from bed on a harried-to-be morning with my plein air materials set at the door ready to go. I would teach myself to paint in the light of day. A month or two, whatever it took of daily jaunts out into nature to record what I sat down to see—my eyes, arm and left hand making interpretive copy of what was already right there in front of me. I walked down to the lake like an intense van Gogh, but unlike him in so many ways as to render me the most simpleton fool tool to the greatest of painting’s idiots. I set up on the rocks and commenced painting the view. I wish I had a picture snapped behind me. What was coming out on the canvas looked very similar to this photo taken last year.

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I was set up outside on a beautiful spring day intent on painting my wish to keep the rain at bay. There is an expression from days gone by that if you can throw a cat through the clouds, then it will not rain. Meaning that somebody’s great great aunt heard that if a cat can fit inside a patch of blue sky, then she would not have to carry her umbrella to the corn fair.

My attempt in the photo didn’t last much longer. Seconds after the picture was taken I brushed over the board in heavy grays and black. I didn’t feel good about painting what I saw. So I finished the day enjoying the outdoors with my family and friends, and went home thinking of weather folklore. The next day in the studio I set up the largest canvas available and for the next week, commenced painting with my thoughts and only what the canvas beheld in front of me. Here is the result:

Don't Worry I Can Throw A Cat Through The Clouds

“Don’t Worry, I Can Throw a Cat Through the Clouds” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 73 x 50″

I had no luck in the wild, but was thoroughly satisfied abiding by my own genius.

This post’s title painting was the forth and final attempt to paint a scene I saw on Monday morning. While there, painting the view, I had three unremarkable failures. I could have titled them: Straining, Impotence, and Self-doubt. For the rest of the day I felt awful, a great sham, a delusion unto myself, and a guilty criminal to loved ones who believe in me. What a heavy load. I scribbled the board in grays and blacks, and laid off painting for a day in order to follow through with promised summer chores, thinking often about my failure. And then at some point yesterday afternoon, Matisse popped into my head. Rather, words once uttered by him. I paraphrase: “I don’t paint what I see as much as what is in my mind.” Then a mantra silently repeated over and over again while making dinner, visiting with the family, and finally settling down on a hot night.

Up in the morning, down to the studio. I could not paint fast enough the scene of a couple days ago. Plein air just doesn’t work out for me. Maybe nature is what it is and only some form of torture can come to those who attempt imitation. I would rather paint the cat with a red halo being thrown out to the clouds, than struggle with strokes that make me feel like I’m having a stroke. So finally I can say after many years time, in matters of plein air painting, I know what I do not know, and that is a milestone joy worth toasting a glass to. Here’s to you Mr. Matisse!

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Honestly, If I Tamed The Wild Phthalo Wolf, What Makes You Think I Can’t Put Down These Sterile Thermonuclear Puppies?

Phthalowolf

Not much to say beyond the title. Men (mostly men, rarely women) my age are holding the earth hostage with 20th century mass death technology. Not one of them is made of more  virtue than I—Better bureaucrat, yes. Better fearer. Better mistruster. Better God or mother-hater. Better White supremacist. Better Chinese or Korean Supremacist. Better Indo-European, maybe even Dravidian supremacist, of course. But never a better man than me. Any military that holds these in arsenal is more than coward—it is degenerate evil. Logic for this kind of destruction is insane. So humanoids in or out of government who tacitly set aside madness for status begin their climb from a much lower level than I, and I hope, you too. Maybe they are what hell would be if it existed.

It truly is a world divided into us against them. Especially if “us” ever raised and loved a child. I tamed the phthalo wolf. I am better than all manufacturers and the combined militaries of nations that would serve this evil.

Kinetic mass annihilation is premeditated mass annihilation. People who are connected to these weapons need their noses forcefully pushed into their own Armageddon pile. Even our dear mother, uncle or son who collects a paycheck to perpetuate this madness. As a lowly painter I have become a higher human being than anyone who would allow a world to collect this much death power. There is a time to become arrogant in love and nurturing. I have arrived. I have more love for mankind than all nuclear nations combined.

And all I had to do was paint an imaginary green wolf.

Dear Government Media—With All This Suffering In the World, Can I Please Stop Giving A Crap About Suicidal Astronauts?

astro

2016. Acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14″

Posted from several months back… Reposting today because I am sick of government/media propaganda. Now that both leading Presidential candidates have loosely talked about nuclear weapons and their use, which translates as threatening all of life with very real (not pretend iPhone) power, and therefore admitting to premeditated mass murder, I have taken the proverbial gloves off and challenged each to a thumb wrestle. I shall easily defeat teeny-fingered Trump, yet I still need to assess Clinton’s opposable, which at last account was thirty inches into Kissinger, and threatening to tickle his duodenum…

It’s time to come down hard on the people of this nation. All of the post-pubescent ones anyway. Those who believe that any politician anywhere takes on the Jesus problems that all mid-level spiritualists  burden themselves with on an hourly basis. Politically, we, the dumb pick-up truck or hybrid car coolies of inertia, deserve exactly what we get since atrocious food supplements like Apple Jacks® first found their home on cereal shelves across America.

Donald Trump rises to presidential possibilities because people who pretend to be liberal or conservative in America are still allowed to procreate, and worse still, raise their offspring. As adults we repeat the stupidest run-on sentences sometimes. Such as, “I am all for no smoking in restaurants, but I think our government should make trade deals with China because Sam Walton cared a great deal for the less fortunate even if his bones should be dug up and ground into a dust and the dust smeared on the lips of a cross-dressing rear admiral who floats his greasy fat arse around all day and night on top of a nuclear warhead, ready to annihilate life because some dandruff-flaked old white or wanna be white colonial man ordered him to”.

Phonies say stupid things like that all the time.

All the time.

How about this grammatically correct one? “Life is suffering”. You would never know it from the way the Dalai Lama jet plane puddle jumps from one stage to the next. Like Mick Jagger dressed down with less obvious greed, but a similar desperate desire to be loved and craved, and a subsidized private cook supper every night for the rest of his life.

Grow up! Or grow down, you freakin’ phony clowns. Life is not suffering. Fortunate, healthy children don’t suffer unless their parents hate them enough to pick a favorite for president.

Joe in North Carolina drives a truck for septic removal. His dad ain’t a soft bigot like him, no; Joe senior is downright klu-kluxed—both of ’em wanna vote for President cause Trump’s a New York City Billionaire. Makes sense to me, but never to 12 year-olds because America has reached this unprecedented stage of total adult degeneracy. This morning outside Wilmington many, many houses are floating away because Trump is gonna pour America a great big Lake Agassiz while he flies in his mother’s arse jumbo jet eight miles high, laugh, laugh, laughing at all the bloating and floating finger-lip gibberers who voted for him.

Whoosh! Whoa! A near miss in the sky. The Dalai Lama was escaping too, hightailin’ it back to Lhasa where the oceans have not reached… yet.

Stop your snickering old Sanders and new Clinton supporters. Sure we have the collective power to stop the clouds from warming, or at best attach a giant vacuum hose into outer space and suck out carbon, while simultaneously feeding and educating everyone on earth and getting cheap insulin for the babies we stuff with poison-in-a-box brought to you by Business As Usual, Inc. God forbid we save ourselves from annihilation by enforcing the non-existence of nuclear weapon technology. We can’t even legislate against plastic grocery bags! It would take a few screw drivers to dismantle thermonuclear death for all of earth’s species. Screwdrivers! So, we’re going to tax billionaires to halt global warming— nature’s normal reaction to humanities’ lust for the path of least resistance, which is exactly how floating water would behave if it could stuff its mouth all night long with pizza and wings from Dominoes®. Why not? Let’s halt atmospheric warming with money. Always money! Fight global catastrophe with arbitrary coinage. What is money? It is metal and paper. It’s earth, for crying out loud! Oh, I get it! We’re gonna save earth with earth. As if earth gets no say in the matter. Brilliant lunatic human logic.

All vanities are insane. However, the narcissistic baby boomers and their spawn need to be locked up now. Me and you. Right now. Children, cuff us. The baby-boomers got us into this mess and we (present-day, child-raising adults) have kept humanity bogged down in the slime, lapping up every last grocery like voracious bacteria.

Is there a solution in this rant, oh ranting Ron? Please hurry, we all have delusional promises to keep.

Yes, but unfortunately for humans, it’s not a human one… Still, very acceptable among non-human populations. A human being wrote it out in picture poetry a generation or two ago. Here it is.

“O take heart, my brothers. Even now… with every leader & every resource & every strategy of every nation on Earth arrayed against Her—Even now, O even now, my brothers, Life is in no danger of losing the argument!—For after all …. (as will be shown) She has only to change the subject.” —Kenneth Patchen

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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.

 

No Thing Like Kid Leukemia To Kill A Kickin’ Beer Buzz, Eh Rural Roy?

leukemiatumblr

2011. Acrylic on paper, 17 x 25″

From: Capillary Reaction: Hydrofracking and Irrevocable Loss

More often than not, I don’t think people do the right thing for their children, nieces, nephews, second cousins, etc. We like to think that we do, but no, not really. For instance, every time we let a child into a car, and forgo the crash helmet, we have given up the right to proclaim we always have their best safety in mind. It’s easy to pretend that Johnny and Sue look cool and comfortable in a carpeted projectile set at a cruising speed of 70 mph, among a hundred other luxury projectiles. However, the science is clear. A kid with a crash helmet on will survive more accidents than one without. Likewise, just making a concerted effort to avoid unnecessary trips to the mall, or pediatrician who, because insurance companies told her to, refuses to come to your child’s bedside when the latter is exhausted with double pneumonia. Similarly, car manufacturers could be mandated to fit all automobiles with steel roll cages. 77% less fatalities on the road coupled with helmet wearing required by law. We could have the safest highways on earth by next year with laws passed for the betterment of society and not the institutional sleazy squeeze off overhead to make a profit.
This is how I often see the good and bad of the world—through the eyes of an omnipotent care provider. I wish I had the ultimate safety control over earth’s children. Who wouldn’t? War would end. Nuclear weapons would be dismantled and stuffed back up the crack of any nation’s nincompoop stronghold that ever thought having them was a bright idea. Pharmaceutical companies would no longer need the lure of Croesus profit to discover helpful medicines; men and women of science would have the highest honor among populations, and not need to be told by a greedy death administrator where to focus their attention. The successes of agronomists would be awarded at ceremonies broadcast prime time. For Christ’s sake, they fed the world didn’t they? Beats having a public sex change on TV. NASA would be stripped of all its Luke Skywalker Star Wars machines, and fitted with new admirable words to replace the most wasteful acronym in the history of mankind. National Altruistic Scientists Association, or something like that, and the moon remains a lit up dead thing to look at in the night sky. Finally, I would give companies like Exxon-Mobil and Range Resources thirty days to discover and implement renewable alternative energy makers under the threat of cutting each member of their board of directors (and all their unhelmeted limo drivers) in half.
Ho hum. Just wistful dreaming.
The girl in the painting is green from vanadium splashes as she dances through the sprinkler atop the Marcellus Shale on a hot summer day. Her Dad sold Range Resources the right to douse her with carcinogens, because he was told by a qualified spokesperson with no scientific research skills that fracking was safe, don’t worry, here’s a hundred grand. Dad was glad. Paid off the mortgage and the truck. The money got spent, and most unfortunately, his daughter’s natural bone development too.
All that fast money joy, and now this downer? Buzz kill! Oh well, nothing he can do about it now except move.
“For Christ’s sake, Suzy, leave the damn helmet in the yard! Get in the car. We gots to go”

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?

Our Ancestors Would Whip-Finger Noose, Then Drag the Avarice Nurtured Today

AncestorWorship

2012. Acrylic on press-cleaning sheet, 15 x 7″

Politically, my countrymen adamantly hover atop the cracks in the facade. There is less of a superpower here than a loony one with big stupid guns. Culture however, has already fallen, and visibly smashed itself on the ground floor. Arrogant ignoramuses scorn intellectualism, artists are reduced to begging their neighbors, poets have perfected writing on every emotion excepting “hate for a change”, where an overall live and let live philosophy has warped into a “I am so afraid of you that my eyes hurt” kind of fear that has everyone scuttling back to their shelters like terrified crumb stuffed-cheek grubbing chipmunks.

My country of mind-disabled men and women is mostly an unhappy place of unbearably disgusting one-upmanship.

Which is a shame since Noam Chomsky continues to declare this United States the freest place to live on earth.

Noam lives inside his own sticky bubble. One tends to lean cognitively dissonant when a highly endowed university supports your genius forever. Yes, we are free, to conform. We are free to say mean things about plutocrats or welfare recipients. A man here is both toddler and doting parents to himself, put on the couch each night, his free speech zone, to marvel at dross and yearn for longer life without living. The plumber is free to read a book on psychology, to instruct his children on mathematics, to wine and dine romantic love until the end of his time, but he does none of these things unless Hollywood or The New York Times or the NRA tells him that now it is time to think about the joy of living beyond his next purchase.

And that time never comes. Philosophy is the weaker enemy of propaganda. And propaganda, like the U.S. military, never had any intention, post WWII, of picking on anything its own size.

July 4 is Independence Day. Read the Declaration of Independence. Obviously not such an oppressive government lover, that wily Tom Jefferson. Tough words from a guy who enslaved women to have sex with them, and later helped ratify a constitution that declared Tom the lover to be making it with a tiny three-fourths of a person.

Still, slavemaster and bigot Tom, as leader of a nation, could easily fit a Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump morality beneath his dirty pinkie nail. Moderns cannot seem to understand, Hillary Clinton hasn’t any slaves, but she (and her husband) have killed many politically incorrect, innocent brown children, and Donald Trump enslaves cheap labor around the globe in order to construct more triglycerides about his midriff—both have no existential problem with the existence of Fruity Pebbles® or nuclear missiles, and both are truly disgusting human beings.

Read the Declaration of Independence, and think on why Americans have no intention of taking on a corrupt government ever again.

My take on the reason for communal mass cowardice? A majority of people (always myself included) are getting paid. Pringles® still line precious supermarket shelf space, and all Americans have allowed themselves reduced to three-fourths of a person or less. However, trumping these depressing observations, is the sad truth that most are about as deeply curious for their children’s future as pickles on smeared hot dog plates.