March 31, 2005

The Postmodern?
Or, Why doesn't anyone know that we've moved on?


Seriously!

If I had to name a moment in time when the Post Modern came into existence, it would be with Andy Warhol’sreturn to past art as in his Venus which he based on Boticelli’s Birth of Venus. The importance of the figure and the portrait in Warhol’s work is emblematic of a return to, not the end of history in general on the part of many visual artists.
*
Yes, that’s an over simplification, and a generalization. However, for my purposes here it will do. The point is that we’ve been calling it the Post Modern for 45 years. After the turn of the century, and especially since September 11, 2001, the world has changed drastically. We are witnessing a return to conservatism that includes a draconian fundamentalism among Catholic and Protestant Christians, Jews, and many practitioners of Islam. The United States under George Bush II and his neo-conservative administration has returned to carrying a BIG STICK though we aren’t wise enough to include the walking softly part. Americans in general have given up their power as an electorate to an Oil Oligarchy reminiscent of the 19th century Industrial and mercantile barons. Thus, I’ve answered my own question. That which started as a movement in the arts has become a general direction for Twenty-first Century societies. Our culture, if not all cultures are in a process of reversion to fundamentalism in religious practice, and a universal conservative approach to life and politics that allows for easy decision making, and a stubborn refusal to countenance change.

However, Warhol invested Venus with his own energy and technique. She is a Serigraphic ‘tour de force’ in color and design. In Warhol, Venus is not only revisited, but reborn. She is cropped, taken out of context, reinvented in multiple copies, each slightly different, with registration askew. She is black, she is white, she is cool blue, and she is warm pink flesh. She is an icon to Twentieth Century popular culture, methods of production, and consumption. She is Venus commodified. And yet, her facial expression is wistful and enigmatic, looking just to the left and down, she avoids our eyes. The cycle is incomplete because our gaze is directed to the twists and tangles of her hair as it changes color from one image to the next. Warhol did not provide the easy answer. I wonder if that is why he so often refused to talk seriously about his art.

Instead, today in politics and religion we are looking for easy solutions where non can be found.

* “Warhol, Birth of Venus Set,” Magidson Fine Art Gallery, Aspen, CO, http://www.magidson.com/warhol/image1.html, Visited Sunday, March 13, 2005, 10:33 PM EST.


Tsunami Victims

And now another major earthquake with hundreds more dead. And, more earthquakes to follow according to those who study seizmic activity. Please give to the following in order to help reunite orphans with distant relatives, and to insure that your money is used by people with true humanitarian concerns rather than proselytizing religious zeal.

American Friends Service Committee, and UNICEF



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