Tuesday, July 26, 2011

About Immortality, Excerpt from The Painter's Keys


Dear Artist,

The great art salesman Joseph Duveen used to tell his customers that buying art would give them immortality. Henry Frick, William Randolph Hearst, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Mellon, John D. Rockefeller and others did indeed achieve immortality through the public museums they endowed to house the art he sold them.

Duveen's success was famously attributed to his noticing that "Europe has a great deal of art, and America has a great deal of money."


What is of issue is that art often languishes for several generations before it becomes once again of interest. That's why it's so important to use permanent supports and enduring materials in art which depicts our times and current sentiments. "Art," said Marshall McLuhan, "is a rear vision mirror." By this he meant that we have to get past something to see it properly. Note the current enthusiasm for "belle epoch" portraits loaded with period clues and costume drama.

As artists, our obligation is to work to the best of our ability and to leave only our top stuff behind. When you're getting ready to go to the big studio in the sky, make sure you first shred your sins. You really don't want those baddies lying around. You never know how much forgiveness there's going to be up there. And the Duveens of tomorrow will be looking once again for quality.

Please read entire article here:

 The Painter's Keys is an on-line publication to which anyone can subscribe. Robert Genn to be a good writer and usually, he has something insightful to say about art from an artist's perspective.

In his most recent treatise entitled, Immortality, I was personally struck by his comment on permanent supports and enduring materials because as a pop artist working with a variety of materials, the majority of which are expected to adhere to a computer keyboard, my experimentation with fixatives, sealants, paint and, yes, adherents, is an ongoing trial.

As I continue, the learning curve becomes less of a hairpin as an even and more experienced hand takes control.

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