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LA Art Show 2015

dancers

A short conversation this year with the amicable Peter Falk of Rediscovered Masters brought to the forefront of my mind a series of questions: How do we as critics and as a society judge—assuming, against the conventional wisdom, that such cases fly under the radar far more frequently than we realize—extraordinary talent that has been more successful in the creation of artistic works of genius than in demanding the world recognize their accomplishment? Whose “responsibility” is it to promote an artist? Is art removed from commercial demands more “pure” than art that “panders” to an audience? As audiences and critics, do we have the right, and do we have the obligation, to look to marginalized communities before we make our lists of greats?

Moreover, are arbitrary or biologically-predicated divisions in gnostic classification of knowledge and field development (i.e. gnostic etiology) responsible for “blind spots” within our culture which are antithetical to, at best, the survival of uncompromising artists (look at the number of “greats” whose lives have ended in suicide), and at worst (eg. the tragedy of Tesla, free energy, and ecocide) the long-term survival of the species?

Are the characteristics required to succeed in the humanities antithetical to those that make us most humane? According to a study publicized by NPR in 2013, if you graduate with a degree in engineering the average starting salary is $120,000. If you graduate with a degree in any of the arts, including the “caring” professions, the average starting salary is about $40,000. With the basic monetary reward system so off-balance, only precious few who aspire to paint or sing (for the sake of two of my articles for this issue of The Hollywood Sentinel) ever achieve the level of success of making their living off of their art or having the financial freedom to pursue these activities in a way that enables them to develop a personal style or contribute to the field as a whole.

Assuming an artist is not born into privilege, she must rely on an exterior source of financial support when getting started; be it the state, such as artists on student loans or in formerly Communist countries; or a personal relationship, which is stereotypically though not necessarily predatory and/or sexual in nature. These often compromised positions produce a form of self-censorship: Soviet artists during the heyday of Communism were expected to follow certain style rules, just as submission and lack of personal criticism would be expected in a young protegé of a music industry executive.

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The economic machine driving art and music creates further boundaries to the natural expression of art for art’s sake in differing manners. In the post-Communist, post-modern visual arts world today, the work is supported by few wealthy patrons; the ability to comply with social norms particular to that class or social inclusion into a sub-class of academicians deemed worthy of institutional support is paramount. In commercial music, the art must appeal to the masses; youth, beauty, the ability to make a visual spectacle, a certain persona, all affect what we hear, though in reality music has nothing to do with looks or posturing. In both cases, introversion and the ability to soul-search, moral considerations in the face of demoralizing systemic injustices, and a primary commitment to art can all hinder commercial opportunity for an artist, in the small percentage of cases where the artist’s failure to achieve recognition cannot be blamed on a level of talent, originality, or mastery that simply falls short. (I would furthermore argue that some biases, such as the geographic, are sacrosanct, while others, such as gender bias in painting, are beginning to erode. But while women may exhibit more frequently, as recently as 2009 prominent critic Jerry Salz accused the venerable Museum of Modern Art of “a form of gender-based apartheid.” Only four percent of its permanent collection on display consists of works by women, according to the Rediscovered Masters website.)

One of the best things about the LA Art Show (for me this year) was Rediscovered Master’s exhibit of the Gil Cuatrecasas Torino Collection (1970-1976). Curator Peter Falk states that “Cuatrecasas was a genius of single-minded pursuit who created his own unique style. Then he suddenly slipped from sight. Now his collection presents a new and compelling chapter in art history, shared by America and Spain.” The gallery’s artist catalog tells the entire story of the Torino Collection discovery, and an excerpt thereof follows:

Katia Vaz-Hollywood Sentinel

“Unfortunately, parallel with Cuatrecasa’s early success, he suffered some depressing experiences. First, the promise of marriage to a woman with whom he had fallen in love while at Harvard fell apart. Next, his dealings with art galleries, and the related financial issues left him deeply disenchanted.

…Understanding the wellspring of any artist’s creativity is often a difficult task. And Cuatrecasas compounded this task because he was purposely discreet, refusing to speak about his sources of inspiration or the messages he wished his paintings to impart. His role as a colorist began at Yale with Albers and continued to develop in Mexico and Washington. However, it is clear that the shapes he imbued with color reveal that their fountainhead was his exposure to and fascination with his father’s lifelong obsession with discovering and documenting what came to be 126 species of a rare plant form that only exists at an altitude of about 15,000 feet in the northern end of the Andes mountain range—the Espeletia, commonly known as the Frailejón. This bizarre plant produces daisy-like flowers that are protected by a central cluster of long broad leaves radiating like a crown sitting atop a thick cactus-like column nearly 12 feet tall—the whole appearing as a fantastic surreal sculpture. José’s pioneering work on this rare plant earned him accolades as one of the world’s great botanists. His magnum opus, A Systematic Study of Subtribe Espeletinae, took a lifetime and was so massive that it was published 17 years posthumously in 2013.

legs-LA-art-show

It is not surprising, then, that his boys found great pleasure examining various life forms with the microscope given to them by their father. Gil was particularly fascinated by his father’s botanical drawings of the plant’s parts, especially its distinctive broad leaves.”

If you are fortunate enough to have the wherewithal to invest in world-class paintings, a Cuatrecasas canvas is a wise investment. The canvases themselves invite multiple looks, being richly textured through innovative formal techniques employing printing techniques and decalcomania. Cuatrecasas covered his tracks; it is difficult to figure out exactly how the pieces were made. Current prices do not adequately reflect the artist’s stature, which I predict will one day rise on par with his contemporaries such as friend Morris Louis. A Morris Louis may currently sell for three-quarters of a million dollars or higher. A Cuatrecasas can be had for 35-200k. I know that dealers will tell buyers to buy what they love, but I think it is perfectly reasonable to buy art as an investment vehicle in cases like this. The ROI is a good bet.

The mission at Rediscovered Masters is to find artists like Cuatrecasas whose work reflects the highest level of talent and development but who, for reasons of personality or other external barriers to recognition (such as living in a small town; being a female, especially in an earlier era, having enough personal wealth to afford to work in isolation and lack any incentive to sell; etc.) did not “play the game” well. Long before I knew about this gallery, who represent many fascinating artists you may want to discover, I thought that someone should do what they’re doing: go out and look for artists and be willing to question established presuppositions about value. Rediscovered Masters works with gallerists and museum collectors to match an artist or artist’s estate to the best opportunity.

elite connections revised

There were many other fine and exciting works at the LA Art Show, far more than I have time to do justice to here, but I will attempt a short list. At PYO Gallery, the carefully delineated drawings of Cha Young Seok have a childlike innocence and whimsy that is as appealing as it is addictive.

Historicana, specializing in Arthur Szyk, an early 20th century Polish-American illustrator, was another fabulous discovery. Szyk’s work directly attacked Fascism and the Nazi regime, so it’s entertaining from a social perspective, but it’s also exciting for the amazing level of detail Szyk brings as a draftsman. His intricately rendered figures are all the more compelling because of their miniature scale.

Camellia Steele Final

I always enjoy experiencing new Chinese developments, and enjoyed the selections presented by the China Cultural Media Group, a large state-owned enterprise under the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. This year I participated as an audience member in a lecture by Li Gang, whose work explores traditional Chinese cosmologies in a contemporary manner. It was as much fun to hear him talk about his relationship to the work and evolving process as it was to see his work in person. I admire very much his personal discipline and eager, competitive nature. The question I asked during the Q&A session was in regard to the virtue in the speed in which many Chinese works of art are created. The artist answered that the execution may be rapid, but much time and contemplation is part of the preparation. In my opinion, the speed techniques have much in common with dance or martial arts and “not thinking.” When we say “thinking” we mean “mental chatter,” and when we say perceiving, we mean “not thinking.” I think that art and thinking are separate processes. Art is not language. It is pictures. Despite all the claims about thinking in pictures, most of our communication is done with words, and when we create pictures, I hope, we can transcend some of the weaknesses and cultural boundaries of language.

Marilyn-Monroe

The estate of Bert Stern presented rare last photographs of Marilyn Monroe and other iconic works of limited availability. Bruce Lurie again presented pop art sensation Dan Monteavaro. La Luz De Jesus presented Hudson Marquez (and others). Galleries such as Quidley & Company and Rehs Galleries, Inc. catered to more conservative taste. The digital and installation artist Pascual Sisto exhibited kaleidoscopic images of cars in transit and a gold dust dracena on carpet inspired by the plant’s foliage. Frida Kahlo appeared in an homage by Alexi Torres at Evan Lurie Gallery. Artists John Brophy (Copro Gallery) and Bruce Richards (Jack Rutberg) paid homage to the Venus of Willendorf. The Columns Gallery presented minimalist near monochrome, distinctly Korean palettes from a group of 1970’s artists whose work reflected the color of daily life. And, refreshingly, the United Arab Emirate​s honored their Bedouin ancestors by feeding us all dates in low white tents set up in an oasis of calm in the middle of all this excitement.

This content is ©2015, The Hollywood Sentinel / Moira Cue, all rights reserved. The Hollywood Sentinel does not necessarily endorse any advertisements or links that may be found on this page or videos herein.

Hollywood vs. Communism

Julianne Moore, Oscar® nominee for Achievement for Actress in a Leading Role, for work on “Still Alice” interacts Scarlett Johansson during the live ABC Telecast of The 87th Oscars® at the Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

Two thousand and fourteen was certainly an eventful year. In entertainment, the biggest news was the Sony hack by North Korea, after their plan to release the motion picture “The Interview” criticizing many of the human rights violations by Communist leader Kim Jong Un. Sony yanked the film from its planned release, then President Obama made a statement that this was a bad decision, prompting the studio to put it back in theatres, with the film having gained more P.R. buzz and fanfare than ever.  North Korea then hacked Sony Studios computers, which of course they denied. The leaked emails sent a wave of embarrassment to Sony, and even moreso, to the few individuals including the President of Sony who had her confidential e-mail exchanges leaked for the world (and the President, who was joked about) to see. American government reportedly attacked North Korea back, totally shutting down their Internet for days, which North Korea of course denied, Sony got sued by many of those whose information was compromised, North Korea made more threats, and the President of Sony resigned, just before a wave of lay offs at the studio.

REIKI WITH JACLYN- HOLLYWOOD SENTINEL

Some however, were laughing all the way to the bank. James Franko’s grandmother Mitzie told me, “This is the biggest publicity any film has gotten—ever! This is the best thing that could have happened to this movie! James is getting more attention for this film now then it ever could have gotten if this hadn’t happened!” Mitzie went on to further state to The Hollywood Sentinel, “Kim Jong Un is just terrible. They are Communists, they are torturing their own people. The have one the worst human rights violations records of any country. This is an important film and its good that the world is talking about it. I’m so proud of James.”  Like a PR stunt gone worldwide, the film showed us all and reminded the world why motion picture is the most powerful and revolutionary art form of our time. It can incite nations, it can move presidents to action, it can create or destroy empires or companies. Motion picture is indeed, a significant part of life and our culture. It is entertainment yes, but so much more.

elite connections revised
The Domino Technique:  Domino Theory

“The Domino Theory was a theory prominent from the 1950s to the 1980s, that speculated that if one state in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world.” 1

Domino Effect

Further, “A Domino Effect or chain reaction is the cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events. The term is reportedly best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes. It typically refers to a linked sequence of events where the time between successive events is relatively small. It can be used literally (an observed series of actual collisions) or metaphorically (causal linkages within systems such as global finance or politics).” 2

Domino Technique

I have recently developed a new life and business philosophy that that I call  the “Domino Technique.”  As a child, I loved to play with dominos. I not only enjoyed playing the actual game, but even moreso, I loved making massive domino set-ups that spread across multiple rooms and at times, even both stories of our home, from the dozens of domino sets that I acquired. I entertained myself for hours and days by myself setting up long, intricate set-ups. When I would accidentally knock a domino over however, it would ruin the entire display before anyone could see it, which was maddening. From observing one of the world masters of domino set-ups at the time, I later learned that the logical action was to leave out spaces at certain numbers of feet within the domino set-up, that were at least twice the length of each fallen domino, so that if one domino were accidentally knocked over, it would not knock over the rest and ruin the whole set up. I made calculated decisions as to how wide the safety system of open space should be, and how often they should be built in, determining how much work I was willing to lose should an accident occur. This simple technique saved me countless large scale failures.

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Other techniques learned on my own included testing certain lengths of the set up for workability, before implementing it into the whole. Other lessons learned were that it is not good enough to try and fail, it is only total success that counts. If the set-up stalled in the middle or at some point in the set-up and one domino failed to knock over another and I had to assist and hit it again to start, it would be a failure, which was unacceptable. Still, another lesson was that intricacy and excitement only succeeded to the degree that it was workable. If the edges were pushed too far so as to not hit one another, it would fail. These were risks that needed to be evaluated based on statistics of probable workability. In life and in business, The Domino Technique can aptly be applied to any goal- and action- oriented process. Following the proceeding points can be a time saving, and even career-saving process to learn, implement, and follow.

The Domino Technique, which I have created and written, says that you must:

  1. Never allow one small part, parts, or person to ruin the whole system or organization. Always have an array of built-in safety mechanisms within your operating system or team to prevent one part or one person from causing total destruction.
  2. Test each action with segments of operation before attempting to implement total system operation.
  3. Each part or individual is integral to the whole. Treat each part or individual with care and respect as such.
  4. If a part or person is not integral to the whole and adds no value, remove it.
  5. Exciting and entertaining performances are desirable, but only if they succeed in the desired outcome.
  6. If risk of special features or any other unnecessary characteristic exceeds chance of successful outcome, avoid the risk.
  7. Guard any open or soft spots in the organization or team. If you don’t guard them, be willing to lose everything.
  8. There is no true success without an audience, fans, or customer base to appreciate it. Gain, guard, keep, and respect your audience or clients.
  9. Learn from the mistakes of others, but don’t repeat them.
  10. It is not playing the game and trying that counts, it is winning and only winning that counts.
  11. Being frantic, stressed, and rushed is not a sign of success. On the contrary, it can lead to mistakes which can lead to disaster.
  12. A calm and steady hand and mind is better than a fast and shaky temperament.
  13. He or she who is calm and clear headed will more readily win.
  14. Patience is not only a virtue, it is often a must in order to succeed.
  15. Fear or worry generally do not serve you. Avoid them. Fear and worry usually derive from uncertainty. Learn how to become certain about your goals and then achieve them.
  16. Most all intelligent motion starts with a written or mental plan.
  17. It is often advantageous to think on paper, that is, write down your plans, problems, and solutions.
  18. The universe often punishes the arrogant. Be proud of your ability and success, but remember that no one is perfect. Be cordial.
  19. Building something great usually takes time, effort, and often, financial investment. Be prepared to invest all of these, or leverage others who will help invest their time, effort and money for you.
  20. Entertainment is important. Even setting up domino’s and letting people watching them fall down is important, because for that brief period of time, it gives people a sense of surprise, awe, happiness, and excitement. Making others happy has value.

I hope that this has been of value to you. The entire Domino Technique I have developed can be found in my upcoming business book to be published later next year. If you have any comments or questions, you are invited to contact me using the form below.

This content © 2015, Bruce Edwin, The Hollywood Sentinel, all world rights reserved.
1 and 2: Wikipedia. Quotes from Mitzie, courtesy of The Hollywood Sentinel by Bruce Edwin at the LA Art Show, 2015, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Poetry

I remember
When life was longer
When days were righter
When wrong was wronger
& I remember
in September
or was it March
perhaps December
when life seemed cleaner
grass was greener
people nicer
now mean is meaner
& I remember
before rendition
un-extraordinary
thought suppression
before they kidnapped
in orange jumpers
flew to Cuba
and hired humpers
for unillateral mind controlling
militarial sell your souling
Before the Catholics
raped little boys
before school shootings
made such noise
before big pharma killed the stars
before the psychs had passed up cars
in greatest deaths
in the land of the free
before America
lost her liberty

And I remember
one November
when I was younger, meek and tender,
when I gave my money to every bum I’d see,
When I lost my car, when I’d lose my keys,
when I’d settle for no,
when I’d always say please
when I’d fall down hard
when I bloodied my knees
when I’d tolerate abuse
when I used to get teased,

But now like the world,
I’m a different man
I stand up tall
I do the best that I can
I look at the bright side
I learn more each day
I master my mind
I think before I say
the words in my head
and the fire in my soul
I follow my bliss
without leaving a hole
I learn from my mistakes
and preferably theirs’
I made peace with myself,
I recited some prayers.

I finally learned
what life was for
to leave this place
better than before
it was when I
was without form
to make it better
because I was born
and because I lived
some others live too
ending their pain
and stopping the abuse

By Bruce Edwin

2014