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Painter said...

Freight + Volume
542 West 24th Street
New York, Ny 10011

surfkook said...

If Sean Landers was smart he would have made this painting.

Quisquilloso said...
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zipthwung said...

Whats up with the neo-twee? If you're gay there are other options, like butch, for example. I dont see anyone nailing their penis to a cross these days though.

Why are people stumbling over themselves to play my little poney? IS tit the packaging? The graphics? The animation? The story?

I'd buy a spongebob painting - that shit is pretty subversive (and more universal) if you think about it - way moreso than the McDonalds play restaurant set

I imagine, as a manager, that you'd want your kid to look up to you, and also, its pretty fun once you realize you can burn the motherfucker down.

On the other hand, sunshine goth seems pretty stupid too, so again, I'm on the fence - you can paint it if you want but the apple better be pretty fucking gihugeic.

Can you Grock that?

Mark said...

We come in peace, we are here to abduct your leader. YES!

Martin said...

yes, lots of cuteness, but there was too much interesting painting experimentation and inventiveness to dismiss these.

someone (Vic) told me that "they seem to undercut themselves more than really commit"...

later that evening, it was friday, i went to moma and saw andree masson which resonated after seeing these and some other stuff.

he was experimenting with paint, throwing sand on wet paint, making the picture like that... adding little fish and stuff. but they were sketchy scratchy fish. i think it was called battle of the fishes.

i'm rambling.

zipthwung said...


but after all that experimentation and theoretical bullshit what are you gonna do when no one but your friends relatives and parents business partners buys your shit?

Paint it black motherfuckers. Painti it motherfucking black.

Martin said...

what theoretical bullshit?

Sunil said...

Marlene's recent paintings do not disappoint. They have an air of frivolity with a lot of surrealism thrown in. The titles tend to add to the 'cute' factor of the pictures. I am not so sure how she manages to get the aged look on the canvas (looks like they are about 40 years old... - maybe bleach them and throw them out in the streets for a little while)...
She has a lot of technique which could border on outsider art influences. I enjoyed this show a lot. Some of the more compelling pieces were 'The Sea that catches the clouds', 'The bird fingered hand', 'The man that climbs the tree', 'The sated wolf' and the largest of them all 'The hunter'. Most of the paintings are microscopic by today's artworld standards...
I wish she had made them a little larger (that’s just me).

Bare Even said...

Cute Surrealism with dark secrets that are not very interesting

poppy said...

talk of technique with again with these.. would like to see more but cant find anything substantial out there... some flicker photos is all..
anywho. i guess there alot of ways to achieve space in a painting.. scruba dub dub and such.. not taking notes..

zipthwung said...

Well martin I'd say most current theory is based on economics - for and against the commodity market (marx, Engels, adam smith Rousseau, Hume, Locke, Hobbes, the frankfurt school) for and against art as branding or "concept" (andy warhol, Guy debord, Duchamp, baudrillard), for and against "irony" (duchamp Baudrillard ) and probably most popularly - intellectual property rights (plagiarism).

Artists often don't get that kind of education though. SO the theoretical bullshit is the second hand or "pop" version of that. I know what I don't know....

Unless you are lucky and get a hardcore marxist background, possibly from an Ivy league school or a commune or something, or on the other - a sort of preppie Adam Smith education in how to manage your finances - you might not even go to school for that - on the job training.

But in practice these ideas do what? Make you more critical of your own work? Stop you from working? Make you paint piece of shit "explorations" like this one?

Im curious what the artist intends beyond the personal - what is the purpose of exhibiting this? To make friends? Find play buddies? Bring down ridicule and scorn?(I find this the most likely).

The bottom line is this painting never should have left the studio - but its a painting that might have answered some questions for the painter, so hoorah. but also, this is new york and these "playfull" gestures just dont fly the flannel.

get serious, grow up and make shit that rocks harder than a Juxtapoz reject.

zipthwung said...

oh and there's cognitive stuff - a lot of artists are into brain science - I think. I am going to leaven the last dealio by saying that these paintings are femmy - and thats sort of a weird deal because I dont really have a taste for the soft cuddly stuff, no matter what the process.

zipthwung said...


Anonymous said...

so then zip you don't like this painting?

Mark said...

Gee, zip, I'm a veggie now. Whoa.

zipthwung said...

this painting reminds me of art school. Nothing personal.

Nomi said...

I like it. Cute? Yes, it's cute. But it's a whimsical earthy funny kind of cuteness that appeals to me very much. And I like the color, scale, symmetry, that glowing orb-ish bit of light between the two figures.

wod zar xam said...

I dig these mucho. Loved the larger work in the show, and the paint handling and narative experimentation was interesting. Not surrealism, something new and more interesting than most of that which today seems surreal.

zipthwung said...

I hate all of you. May The Donner party eat your livers eternally.

Martin said...

well, i don't like this particular painting either. i'm with zip on that one.

i don't know if i particulary like any of the paintings... definitely found the sweetness cloying.

but.. didn't hate either.

REALLY liked the parrino at zwirner. and the overstreet. and the nikki de saint phalle.

pinkandlacepony said...

I love this show it appeals to me too. Made me smile and feel good.

Bare Even said...

Throw in a little Odilan Redon {art history reference) with the implication of big brother is watching you (contemporary reference). Add a sprinkle of kitsch and pop art, (aliens) and stir vigorously with an attitude of simplistic homespun painting (Folk art, outsider art) Everyone is happy now.

Thousand Points of Light said...

I like it to, zip.

Just kidding.

poppy said...

Its a fact of life...
Its easier to swallow your own shit, then to swallow someone elses..
You can learn that lesson with prepackaged food...
Anyways the slaughter house is the good part... its the rest of the steps in between you need to worry about..

Quisquilloso said...
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zipthwung said...

times new roman

Nomi said...

Twee. OK. I've been "away" for five years. But, still, there is already a post-twee? I'm guessing twee is cute in a cutesy saccharine way? Then what is post-twee?

Quisquilloso said...
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No Rush said...

femme, cute and twee are not synonymous. important shades of difference.

the other night I watched "me, you and everyone we know" again with my daughter because she hadn't seen it. then I watched "faster pussycat kill kill" with the old man.

i'll admit i felt a little sick from the cognitive dissonance. but I can take it.

very nice earthquake this morning

No Rush said...

twee is a musical aesthetic

femme is a sexual attribute or proclivity

cute is britny at the beach in her underwear right.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, norush

I would call this at the edge of sentimental in the corner of the twee. The whimsy of Klee, the play of forms, the borders, the bare... the stained burst of colors, and later the patterned rawness, despite the little men? are not here. Are they lost...?

I just heard one of the little fellows ask ...

'where are we?'

'Somewhere else', the other one psssts.

... a harder place to be, for certain.

I bet the person who bought this painting got to take the little fellows home.
so cute...

Quisquilloso said...
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Old Guy said...

I think those little 'men' are wearing false eyelashes, Concrete.

Old Guy said...

This painting looks like one of those thrift store paintings Jim Shaw collects. Maybe that’s becoming a style now.

zipthwung said...

or maybe its profoundly conservative

Old Guy said...

I’ve noticed Marlène Mocquet merits a ‘capitalised’ treatment in Painter’s list of posts.
Do I detect a subtle approval?


‘Profoundly conservative’? Well this season anyway, until all my friends are wearing it.
That’s profound.
When I wear it, that’s conservative.
But Sarkozy is probably a real patron, Zip, like he is a cycling fan.

Aaron said...

For Kinkade the business of selling art is as important as the creation of it. Here is the sales pitch on the website that handles his work: "Who doesn't recall the art that was hanging on the walls of the family home when they were a child? Our ability to make meaningful products that leave lasting impressions provide us with the opportunity to execute a unique business model in the branded retail industry - a lifestyle brand based on the artworks of Thomas Kinkade."

Nomi said...

Twee this.

There, am I getting it?

Aaron said...

thats entertainment

Anonymous said...

OG, the false eyelashes caught my eye first. An unusual intro into a painting, but the painting dictates.

Anonymous said...

Re: theory. Much of theory comes from economics, but it also emerges from practice (think Abex) or rather theory and practice clarify one another (in the best cases). So the theoretical position here would be a transgression of serious modernist painting techniques (Klee & Surrealism have already been mentioned) by shaping them into less than cathartic visions, but rather cute playful visions.
Mocquet seems to want to deflate "serious painting" by claiming entitlement to display dreamy figures and disjunctive scale with a subtle pop culture stuffed animal (adolescent?) flavor. But I think this is a battle that has been won. Maybe I'm seeing what's not there, but I was bothered by the self-conscious cheekyness of this show, as if it were saying "look how naughty I am". In other words, I found it too theoretical, and the theory not so compelling. Somewhat pleasant though, but not guilt-free for me.

Aaron said...

"But I think this is a battle that has been won. "

Hence the "art schoolness" of it.

In one view Zurich Dada could be seen as a bunch of diletants goofing off while rome burns - then justifying their actions by heroicizing and mythologizing by their entertainments by mytifications - as radical and inflamatory. When in fact they were about as revolutionary as a debutante on a coke binge.
(admittedly so).

Im sure most of the dadaists would agree with me, and then become surrealists, modernists, and capitalists (as many of them did).

But In their case they had a cultural effect, coming from at least the illusion of a "scene".

Importing a wet behind the ears french ecole de beaux artes student as an example of what? Without a supporting cast (The other eclectic FandV artists may share a sense of playfullness but that does not an art movement make).

Welcome to the machine guns.

enaclite said...

what happens in the arts is that the eternal verities in the form they are given are quickly plagiarised, hi-jacked emasculated etc. Its been painted before..but has to be painted again and will be... It"s all in Eliot's Four Quartets

Oly said...

Um... Reminds me of a different take on Francis Cugat’s cover art for "The Great Gatsby," personally.

Twee-- ain't feeling it, sorry.

Lamgie out.

Nomi said...

OK. I'll try again. My friend paints small still lifes of little plastic toys and things. They are magical; they look like they are painted with fairy dust or something. You'd think they'd be twee, but they're not.

How's that? Did that sound natural?

Old Guy said...

Fairy dust?

Anonymous said...

I notice with the two figures that even though they a quite apart the vertical middle part feels very congested. In painting i think here we find the real fairy dust: The power is in us to move those critters' little feet, change the color of the scheme, fiddle the weather, remold the terrain... load up and scape away... paint over and reconfigure the worlds of the great architects.

zipthwung said...

tony toni tone!

But who gets to say it? the man with the megaphone?

zipthwung said...

a ha

We all wear masks you know? But my mask is made of cheese doodles and red vines and smells like cat gack.
Yeah, its nasty AND niiiiice.

milf-magic said...
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milf-magic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
milf-magic said...

This is pretty good I guess. There is a convincing and earnest suggestion of 'Play' in this painting. You know, all aboard for FUNTIME. It's the journey, man, not the destination. Ironically, Journey's painstakingly crafted studio albums were really more about the destination: Money-making 80's power ballads. Just something to think about.
This painting is nice, but it's a pile of larvae-infested donkey dong compared to the 'create your simpson's avatar' machine. www.simpsonsmovie.com

milf-magic said...

Wait a minute... A-ha's back together? How come this isn't public knowledge? They still pack disarmingly nordic good looks and a timely falsetto after all these years.
Anyway, I would put this painting in my study over the fireplace. It would need a mahogany frame and I would place it just a jaunt away from my Freud bust. Is that too obvious?

Nomi said...

Old Guy said...

Fairy dust?

Yes. Yes! I wish I had a picture of one of them so you could maybe see what I mean. . . They were quite painterly and rough but at the same time had a sparkley quality that you almost felt you blow away with one little puff. And completely without affectation. She just banged out the crazy little paintings. They were gems. I went to school with her. I don't think she's painting anymore, though.

apelles said...

If you like this painting, you are retarded.

You are even stupider if you buy this painting. Buying this painting would be like going back in time to buy Atari stock.

I'm just talking about this painting, by the way, not the artist's entire output, which I don't know anything about.

Nomi said...

Am I severely retarded or just mildly?

I don't think I would buy it, but if I did, it would be because I loved it, not because I thought its stock was rising.

But since you mention it: Pong rocks.

apelles said...

Stop posturing and trying to make yourself think this is even remotely good.

You're stupid and you need re-learn everything. Just like the world. You're just born and no one can blame you, but you can change yourself. Teach yourself some things.

How did Pollock reach the level that he reached. He was an alcoholic loser who couldn't draw at all. He was a pathetic motherfucker who had less formal education than all of us. I guess that says a lot about the quality of the education that we're getting at our art schools. It means you got conned out of a hundred grand. All that conceptual shit that they taught you is wrong. If you could figure it out for yourself, you would know better. All the teachers that taught you had no idea what they were teaching you. They just fooled themselves into thinking they were the shit, and the money that people pay for their shit kind of made them feel invincible, like they actually knew what they were doing.

Sorry, almost nobody knows shit these days. But I can't blame them, they were just born and nobody taught it to them.

apelles said...

Back in the day, some young critics were impressed with Gerhard Richter's technique, even though his whole oeuvre was a gimmick. All he painted was blurred photographic pieces of shit, that were thought to have some kind of historic importance.

He also painted shit abstractions that anybody with a spatula could do.

Those critics grew up, though, and they realized that they had lauded a mediocre painter. They were in a major quandary, though. When they were young, they said this guy was da bomb. Now they knew better. And they knew other people did, too. These other people might call them out on how crappy their knowledge was, so they did something.

They made some bullshit up about how Richter wasn't at all about photorealism, and that his paintings were purely conceptual. His paintings were actually about the "dialectic between painting and photography." Even Richter bought this about himself. He convinced himself that he was some conceptual painter, and his work shows that change at a point in his career.

These bitch critics are what your knowledge is based on. Not on a history of art full of the historians that wrote about it since the beginning of time, but a handful of critics that have shaped the art world since the 1960s due to their self-aggrandizing bullshit.

Now a lot of that knowledge-base built from the ground up over hundreds of years has been shredded from our artists because someone decided that it would be best to teach them "contemporary" stuff.

Now our art world is a shit hole. The Renaissance took years to build and it was built by people with a goal to excel at what they were doing.

We lost a lot of knowledge that was compiled during the Modern era that we needed as a foundation to move forward. That's because someone thought that modernism was about "dead white men." I think a lot of these people were feminists, which I support to certain extent, but feel they do some damage as well.

Pollock, Still, Matisse, Braque. These dudes were all dead white men, but can you name a single painter that is better than either of the four painters i've named that have come out of this Postmodern period? Anybody since the 1960s? You can't. Can you name a single artist in any medium better than Renoir from the last fifty years?

Stop thinking about bullshit. This is happening in many fields other than art. Some fuckface wants to be the best ever and will make some crap up and try to convince you that it is legitimate. You've heard about string theory from physicists. You've heard about religious shit that is interpreted by some chump like the pope. And everyone has to follow that bullshit.

Back in the day, Einstein was understandable. So was the pope. Nowadays, there is too much specialization in every field from physics to art. A handful of art fucks can decide whatever they want and everyone will join them and act like they know what the fuck they're talking. Those people are US. Everything that is legitimate is understandable by a good chunk of the population.

Newton and Leibniz invented calculus when hardly anyone knew what it was. Now, millions of students in high school learn it. It is knowledge that is legitimate.

Raphael is understandable if you were to look at it and study it. No artist of any medium will ever be good as Raphael again. That's the art world we've created.

Anonymous said...

Great Rant but can you explain why
this works, or doesn't?

Anonymous said...

Because the gray-turquoise area along the left side curves upward across the bottom.
Also the monkey has a cigarette.

poppy said...

does anybody read anything that is 15 paragraphs long anymore?

zipthwung said...

Seafood (a free verse poem)

Bas jan ader
Ray johnson
Spalding gray
Jeremy blake

Killed by the mind control lasers of the league of international mariner art critics and patrons (limacpa)

I'd get that to spell pac-man but I gotta do something productive.

zipthwung said...


1) Outlining in black (cloisone) is allways a good idea. I was told not to do it. hence, I do do it. Shit, I'm good.

2) The rough nap of the burlap creates visual interest in the scumbled paint while eliminating the risk of slickness (see 1).

3) The image is somewhat ambiguous, frustrating attempts at diffinitive analysis, much like the rain soaked paint bubbles int he drywall by my door. This will never get fixed.

4) The composition has "tension" in that it is not "balanced", although it does appear to have a certain compositional integrity (balance). This integrity or logic is largely based on pre determined "sweet spots" that are based on "golden mean" sort of proportional relationships.

If you ignore these sorts of relationships you make a "bad painting" which must then be sandbagged with something good (context or driftwood framing).

poppy said...

what about 'push n pull' - this is also necessary...

Sharon said...

Sometimes painting isn't a battle with art history...sometimes it's a battle with yourself...and sometimes it's not a battle at all. Must it be a battle with art history for a specific painting to be worthwhile? I'm charmed by the faux, forced happiness (that borders on deep unhappiness) in Marlene's painting.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be a battle with ArtH but it's worth noting why something very simple works. I don't know, but if I were an artist I'd probably spend a bit of time asking some questions, even if I had to rebook them for a post-it to the self.
Zip gets in there...

Battle with happiness, sadness, OK, I guess... sullen?

ec said...

The happy sad thing was the whole point of the Little Boy show at Asia Society curated by Murakami, wasn't it? How Japanese art is so cute and happy post-nuclear bomb.
This looks like a painting that gives itself permission to be anyting it wants, but isn't very compelling as a painting.
The image comes up so fast, there's nothing happening with how paint evolves an image, it's all there, with texture added. It definitely references the ole high school notebook doodles, but it's a translation, not a transformation.

eageageag said...

To: "apelles"
From: An art critic

"I say that if you have to choose between life and happiness or art, remember always to choose life and happiness. Art solves nothing, either for the artist himself or for those who receive his art. Art shouldn’t be overrated. It started to be in the latter eighteenth century, and definitely was in the nineteenth. The Germans started the business of assessing the worth of society by the quality of art it produced. But the quality of art produced in a society does not necessarily—or maybe seldom—reflect the degree of well-being enjoyed by most of its members. And well-being comes first. I deplore the tendency to over-value art."

Clement Greenberg

zipthwung said...

Oh clem you weild the velvet glove of pure kindness and uncorrupted humility!!!

"Sometimes painting isn't a battle with art history..."

Indeed, and thus we skewer the pretention of referencing (in the statement)or "being influenced" by (in the work) half a dozen anachronism from the past, who have little or no relevance to the matter at hand - modern life.

Like the afficionado who hides amongst the stacks of 45s, comic books or bric-a-brac from a bygone era, and produces little but pastiche, kitsch or worse, so too the artist who lives among stacks of books and between visits to the mausolem's of culture.

Does retreat teach us anything but defeat? Its tepid critique a vague erosion of past achievements.

Far easier to follow than to lead, to receive than to give, to binge and purge than to cook and clean.

Despair howls forlornly inside
oxygen starved bear
deep frozen echo
chambered bullet.

Defeat, which gnaws hungrily at its own leg, a phyrric victory against all tomorrows rules in the making.

Better to follow the siren call of the ocean than to make yet another meaningless blob, ghost image against the shallowness of the mob.


milf-magic said...

That's All Folks!

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

apelles: "You're stupid and you need re-learn everything."

If you wouldn't mind, I could use fifteen or twenty more paragraphs of opinion from you, so I can better complete my new goal of becoming your opposite. I'm mostly there, but some more info would really help.

I wasn't that wild about this painting before I read your post, but now it may be my favorite thing I've ever seen.

old guy said...

Yeah, DiSanzio & Pollock, they were like the Starsky & Hutch of art history, huh?
Or was it the Hall & Oates?
Whatever, a stunted view of art history is no place from which to criticise art history.
That goes for Greenberg as much as Achilles.

zipthwung said...

hey ryan, staryt now! I got all the info you need.

1) Believe everything you are told - including the little fib bougies tell their kids about how art makes you a better person. Grab a pot sticker but don't swallow the toothpick, all the chardonnay in the world won't dislodge a firmly placed french flag toothpick.

For the record - most people study art for same reason people keep badly tuned pianos in their parlours - its a status symbol.

2) Believe you can make a difference. I don't mean difference like ripples in the pond, splash, dust in the wind, kind of way- I mean believe you can go back in time with a lottery ticket number, win, invest in google and come back to receive your inheritance.

It keeps me going. I hope I'm speaking for apelles, because then I'd feel a certain sprit of corpse.

3) When someone comes up to you at a party and accuses you of stealing their coke, don't back down, Slug them right away, with your fists. Politeness is for corporate team players. You are a fucking rebel.
When you get sued claim its art and document the fuck out of the whole bullshit process. Make sure you look heroic and they look pathetic. I love that low angle camera shit - and baiting the prosecution.

4) When you've finished "beaurocratizing your senses", pull the stick out of your ass and use it for an armature in the sculpture of remorse for allt he time you spent living the lie. You know what you did.


old guy said...

“But the quality of art produced in a society does not necessarily—or maybe seldom—reflect the degree of well-being enjoyed by most of its members. And well-being comes first. I deplore the tendency to over-value art."

And what society has ever promoted well-being above art? (a question for art historians, obviously) And how could this ever be measured?

What could be more deplorable (when not manifestly absurd) than the tendency to under-value art, or assume the values and objects variously represented in art works are not implicitly related to the collective ‘well-being’ (of ‘a society’) or one or some particular member(s)? And that precisely this value attached to such reference, goes hand in hand with the discernment and enjoyment of just such ‘well being’?

If there is ‘well-being’ apart from art, then let’s hear about it – is it health? Or wealth? Power? Or privilege? Looked at closer ‘well-being’ itself looks utterly spurious or naïve as an ethic. But then in the context it’s no more than a cop-out from a critic with little experience or conception of the kind of engagement art frequently needs.

It’s an argument for no more than self-interest but it reveals a threadbare appreciation of art, indeed of any dedication – because the arguments holds just as well for scientists, stubbornly pursuing knowledge in the face of just as much adversity or indifference. But hey, when the going gets tough, we find out who’s tough enough, right? And when you’re not - get a job! That’s the kind of advice you’d expect from someone with a private income; that never really held one for very long and preferred to trade on a piecemeal education and an insider’s contacts.

I’ll take art history any day.

zipthwung said...

"And what society has ever promoted well-being above art?

thats the art and life argument - in Clem's world the two are dualities, and that's why we can roll the fucker in his grave.

Art n' life. The Aztecs got ti right, I think - without TV they had to have some kind of national spectacle - so you invent dodge ball as a blood sport.

In America we get tired of threading the donut, so art+life is not so important - still its nice to remember that everything has a Zen to it -in the western sense of Flow.

"What could be more deplorable (when not manifestly absurd) than the tendency to under-value art,

How about the tendency to make tschotchkies while Darfur burns? My god, Darfur is burning. They found an underground lake or "reservoir" over there though, so I predict a national healing in a few days, ideally with the help of Paul McCartney or Bob Geldoff. I hope they have enough art therapists to give each war orphan the attention and nurturing they need.

"If there is ‘well-being’ apart from art, then let’s hear about it

Well how about art as a destructive as well as creative force? If art is both positive AND negative, then we have a whole nother ball game right?

The feathered serpent is coiled around the universe. Lets play ball.

After that I dont know what you mean. Well being? SPurrious? Get a job? SOunds like some kind of morality thing. Illogical. Does not compute. Error. Error.

old guy said...

Yeah Darfur is burning along with a lot of other places, but our concern for it is really something we inherit from art. Art is not something we do instead of helping Darfur, Darfur is something we are outraged by because of the values we hold (and these are largely expressed through art, are central to it).
All sorts of efforts are urgently made on behalf of Darfur, but if/when they fail, is that art’s fault? Would refusing to make art really get anymore done for the place?
At best we then stress these values with greater urgency in art (making or interpreting) – but this often turns out to be a very indirect route, as labyrinthine as politics in fact.
Lastly, my point about Greenberg’s advice, which basically was:
– Don’t get upset about art, it’s not worth it. If it gets too much just do something else (get a job!) and ‘live’ well -
was that it only begs the question as to what ‘living well’ might mean without art, since there no such societies as far as I know, and ‘well-being’, divorced from the values enshrined in art is frankly a baffling concept. (since art is mainly about ‘well-being’ in the fullest sense).

zipthwung said...

je suis desole

maintenant je n'aime pas le dessins, l'arte or la vie bohemian. Je mange, je boit, mais je ne taste le fuits de la terre.
Non, je suis malade. Je ne comprende pas l'human condition. Je Je Je.

apelles said...

Sorry to have offended anyone.

I'm just saying we don't need anything from the art world or art school system to produce good work. We don't need art magazines or galleries or anything like that. Because there's too many things involved, like money, stupid critics, teachers that don't know anything.

All we need to do is produce our own work and show it around here and try to take our work to the next level. We have to meet somewhere physically also so that our work is seen in reality, not only jpegs, which you all know don't do any justice to actual paintings.

We have to write our own papers about art, without profit so that the truthfulness of our thoughts is expressed without any outside influence, again like money, status, other people, shit like that.

We can publish these into a small book monthly and distribute them amongst ourselves. there would never be any advertisements and we would have a group of editors choose what goes in.

It would be a lot of work, but the reward would be art at the level of the renaissance, maybe higher.

We would never discriminate against specific media either, so that anything would go, even installation, philosophy, math, or computer graphics, 3-d animation, poetry, engineering, things like that.

we would be open to tastes changing, if you decide that you were wrong once a long time ago, it would be OK for you to change your mind. It would be encouraged actually. our tastes would be modified over years of studying the Greeks and old masters, including the modernists, and postmodern theory in all fields like science and math, not just art, so that our backgrounds would be wide enough to challenge each other in a variety of ways. Anything to improve our work.

apelles said...

Thanks for bringing up the Greenberg quote. It is an interesting one, but since he was a critic, and not an artist, I don't think it is an idea that I can relate to.

And that it relates so well with his formalist theory, I can't help but connect the two together.

If form is more important than anything else in a particular painting for him, it is just an aesthetic object that doesn't have too much importance.

i agree that form is important. A painting with good form can make the painting, but something with good subject matter alone doesn't ever do anything for that painting. but it doesn't mean that subject matter is nothing. It can be very helpful in making a painting.

I think, in part, it was a stance that Greenberg took because it was aesthetically valid with his mode of thinking. Also he wanted to distance himself from other critics who gave high value to art, for basically no reason except that it was always so. People like Herbert Read and Harold Rosenberg.

I feel like Greenberg, since he read philosophy, wanted to be philosophically solid in his definition of art, and so he never gave art the importance that someone else like an artist with no philosophical background might intuitively give it.

zipthwung said...

i value stuff I cana't do more than the stuff I find easy - probably not an earth shattering observation but it bears repeating because when someone asks you to do something that is easy for you, you might not ask the market rate.

I'm still not sure why people pay for art. Wouldn't you rather make it?

What is a failed artist? Are all critics failures?

Glossy or Newsprint?

zipthwung said...


milf-magic said...

Sometimes, the thing that you can't do easily is come up with an interesting idea.
But 'interesting' is debatable, and the person who can say, render a cow in a field the best, is rarely debatable.
Most formal skills equate to the number of hours spent repeating said specific skills, with a slightly varying degree of quality at the different hour marks. There are maybe 10,000 extra hours of repetition between your college teacher and Winslow Homer at say 35 years of age. I think an equation exists.
Anyway, people find comfort in this and then medals are handed out. Wine and cheese is served.

anthony said...

Some 'creativity theorists' believe in the 10 year rule: That's the mean amount of time one spends in the development stage (not Zipthwung's "flow" guy- Csikszentmihalyi). I'm feeling like it's best not to count the hours at this point.

zipthwung said...

Violin virtuosos illustrate the importance of starting early in life. In his 1993 study Dr. Ericsson found that by age 20 top-level violinists in music academies had practiced a lifetime total of about 10,000 hours, while those who were slightly less accomplished had practiced an average of about 7,500 hours.

A study of Chinese Olympic divers, done by Dr. John Shea of Florida State University, found that some 11-year-old divers had spent as many hours in training as had 21-year-old American divers. The Chinese divers started training at age 4.

"It can take 10 years of extensive practice to excel in anything," said Dr. Simon. "Mozart was 4 when he started composing, but his world-class music started when he was about 17."


but i read that recently repeated somewhere.

Bottom line is do you want to be a machine or do you want to be mediocre - because anyhting less than perfection is failure.

apelles said...

Winslow Homer is not only good because he logged on a bunch of hours in front of an easel.

What do you learn during that time youre in front of your easel. How to copy something? What skill are you talking about?

There is a huge difference between raphael and norman rockwell. it's not technique and it's not interesting ideas.

anthony said...

...a regular six pack does not count as practice, I guess...

What about that "what counts as success" question?
Does artistic failure boil down to resume?

Is success a personally won thing? As in, I can measure the success of work number 200 against number 92? Or is it a matter of peer acceptance or social acclaim, and so on?

poppy said...

Success in art only exists cause we created it,. it can die just as quick as anything we create. And still we orbit.

eageageag said...

"Critics seldom know who reads their work beyond the gallerists who commission it and the artists about whom they write: and often that reading public is ghostly precisely because it does not exist."

James Elkins

The intense animosity towards art critics baffles me. I am an artist and I also write art criticism (glossy and newsprint and internet) so I don't buy into the cliche, "Critics are failed artists." All I can say is that trying to write something worthwhile about an artist is a difficult and completely thankless task (as you have all made abundantly clear in your above comments). A number of the represented artists I have written about have contacted me afterwards and told me what I wrote helped them think about what they are doing in a new way. This is certainly something I strive for. I think that writing as clearly as possible about works of art is a great way to enjoy and confront other people's creativity, thoughts and feelings, and to learn about oneself, the world at large, and the things one makes.

apelles said...

success in anything only exists because we created it.

becoming a doctor is equated with being successful in life not because it intrinsically is, but because we just decided that. We didn't just arbitrarily decide it either, becoming a doctor seems to involve hard work, a lot of time, a lot of skill, being intelligent, and making a lot of money.

apelles said...

what kind of success are we talking about anyway?

do you think norman rockwell was successful?


what about massaccio, who died in his twenties, who probably painted less hours than rockwell.

when someone says you need 10 years to become an expert in a field, are they saying if you do something for 10 years you'll be an expert in that?

or are they saying there is something more, that 10 years is just the minimum requirement?

Or are some things so trivial that they only need 10 years to become an expert in and nothing else? Like playing the violin expertly, which, IMO, requires less of "something" than writing music like beethoven.

i'm not a musician, but writing music and playing music seem like they'd require very different levels of a kind of musical skill.

And if there are people practicing this much, why hasn't there been music produced at the same quality of mozart, beethoven etc. in our time? again, i'm not a musician and don't really follow the contemporary music scene, but for some reason I feel that the same thing going on in the art world is happening in the music world.

If this kind of thing IS happening, then why does the quality of culture go up(renaissance) and down(medieval)??? Or am i just assuming that renaissance art is superior to medieval art when, in reality, it is all subjective. (My gut feeling is that renaissance art, in general, is objectively superior to medieval art.)

apelles said...

another question: How do we get the quality of our culture up again?

Is this even possible to do?

old guy said...

What are you measuring a culture's superiority by?

anthony said...

Hope this isn't backtracking too much, but the 10 year rule is an observation that came about through long-term (lifetime/historical) studies of people who are generally considered gifted (including artists, composers and scientists). You can look it up in Robert Sternberg's "Handbook of Creativity". I couldn't find my copy, and that is for the best. Such studies also connect time and place to creative output (such as Freud's Vienna).

no-where-man said...

"apelles said...
becoming a doctor is equated with being successful in life not because it intrinsically is, but because we just decided that. We didn't just arbitrarily decide it either, becoming a doctor seems to involve hard work, a lot of time, a lot of skill, being intelligent, and making a lot of money. "

saving peoples lives has a certain altruistic ring.

zipthwung said...

that james Elkins quote about audience is nice -

I am re-reading Baudrillard's conpiracy of artt while on the toilet - and I'm taking three paragraph shits, so I got it down to a pretty close read.

I think it was Lacan or some french dude that said they really only read a couple of books, but that they read them well.

I read and see that there was a change from the poetic nonsense of artist-poet-critics (essentially amateurs) to the hard core philosophical hammering from social theorist chess fanatics (the roided out neo-marxists).

God damn that cultural studies shit makes me want to start a revolution and keeps my eyes peeled 20-20 for social oppression.

I got a lot of other shit to read, like how to build a bomb or how to hack some frequent flyer miles, given the choice. Nope give me poetic violence anyday.

"Critics are failed artists."

Might just be sour grapes. But in my case I am a failed artist, so I KNOW ITS TRUE. Every second spent critiquing is another moment of death in the land of the mediocre. But giving up a dream is easier than sticking to it. And if that is a life half lived, so be it.

If I can stop one artist from making art, or make one gallery go under quicker, well the truth is in the pudding.

apelles said...

"saving peoples lives has a certain altruistic ring."

what about lawyers and politicians? they are seen as pretty successful people.

apelles said...

old guy,
admittedly i only measure a culture's superiority by its painting and sculpture. I really can't judge it by anything else because i have no expertise in fields such as scientific research, engineering, education, music, fashion, poetry and the other many things that might be a part of "culture."

some people i know in other fields, though, have told me their thoughts on the same subject and they agree more often than not.

i do know one guy that tells me that gothic architecture is the greatest thing ever. i think Louis Kahn is the greatest thing ever.

apelles said...

I'm kind of skeptical about the 10-year rule.

Why? Because I remember reading something about it and the example they gave for a painter that it applied to was someone i really had no respect for. It might have been chuck close or someone like that. Somebody who I didn't think was an "expert." When these studies are done, who is the one deciding which "experts" to use in the studies? that's what i ask myself.

There are so many articles about it though. You don't know which ones are the authority.

It does sound convincing when you use examples like Mozart.

The time and place thing sounds more interesting to me. Something like:

1940s Greenwich Village
1890s Paris

It gives me some hope that in the future the list could include:

2000-2010 Suburbs, New Jersey

it could happen anywhere:

2120s Darfur, Sudan

Sort of related to this: Have you read "Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? I read part of it while at the bookstore. You should check it out if you're interested in creativity. It's all about being "in the zone" and reaching a state where you are excelling at something without trying.

Aaron said...

i read it in the bookstore too. But I had someone talk about it before - a professor. You can relate it to "Fluxus" if you want or read "the tipping point" (I found a copy on the street. Then you could read about "memes" and wonder how mind viruses propagate and if "Snow Crash" by Neil Stephenson could ever be "real" through genetic engineering and then its sort of out there and you have to reel it back in or nothing makes sense anymore. At least outside of pop-psiense

old guy said...

Deciding what you 'measure' a 'culture' (whatever that is) by will decide how and what you want to do about it.

EAG sounds a bit of a goodie-goodie.

eageageag said...

"EAG sounds a bit of a goodie-goodie."

What would you like to hear an art critic say "old guy"? I blackmail artists that I write about and force them to give me a work of art in exchange for a glowing review. I started to write about art because I saw how successful Stephen Westfall was in using his art writing to become a famous art maker. I long to become the 21st century Clement Greenberg and tell Damien Hirst how to make art and secretly scrape the color off of Robert Gober's sculptures. I love to watch the gallerinas cower and tremble as I enter a gallery. When I visit an artist's studio I always make sure that they perform oral sex on me before I leave. That shows them who's the boss.

Thousand Points of Light said...

Stephen Westfall is a dear soul, a great role model for the notion of an artist's artist in NYC.

I'll never forget something he told me once: "The first time I set foot in Manhattan, I felt home."

zipthwung said...

I'll never forget something he told me once: "The first time I set foot in Manhattan, I felt home."

My god what a romantic.

Thousand Points of Light said...


btw, I liked your seafood poem.

zipthwung said...

if I want smiley I'll go to LA

Thousand Points of Light said...

Too risky and romantic:

Drowning is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death in Los Angeles County. We examined data collected by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office on drownings that occurred in the county from 1976 through 1984. There were 1587 drownings (1130 males and 457 females) during this nine-year period, for an annual rate of 2.36 drownings per 100,000 persons (3.44 for males and 1.33 for females). The largest proportion of drownings (44.5%) for both sexes, and in almost every age group, occurred in private swimming pools. Children 2 to 3 years of age had the highest swimming-pool drowning rate (7.95). The elderly also experienced high drowning rates, primarily in swimming pools and bathtubs. Drowning-site profiles varied dramatically by age and sex. These findings indicate a need for Los Angeles County to address the problem of drownings among infants and toddlers in private swimming pools and to investigate the failure of regulations requiring fencing of swimming pools to prevent these deaths. These findings also suggest several potential opportunities for preventive intervention by physicians and demonstrate that health professionals cannot rely on national drowning-site profiles when developing local drowning prevention strategies.

JAMA, V 26o, #3

zipthwung said...

57. A few questions thronged into my mind.

58. Does one climb a glass mountain, at considerable personal discomfort, simply to disenchant a symbol?

59. Do today's stronger egos still need symbols?

60. I decided that the answer to these questions was "yes."

61. Otherwise what was I doing there, 206 feet above the power-sawed elms, whose white meat I could see from my height?

62. The best way to fail to climb the mountain is to be a knight in full armor--one whose horse's hoofs strike fiery sparks from the sides of the mountain.


Thousand Points of Light said...

that was then, this is now:


Cross said...

painter out of town for a week.... oh, no! We'll be like ants when somebody breaks their scent trail.

apelles said...

Renaissance is superior to other cultures in so many ways. Whatever you decide to judge it by, Renaissance will win almost every single time.

it doesn't even matter that "measure" and "culture" aren't defined. Renaissance is simply the greatest. How can you even think something else is greater regardless of what you judge it by???

But in the future, the postmodern will rule.

enaclite said...

'Renaissance is superior to other cultures'......as long as you are on good terms with the Borgia's.

zipthwung said...

Welcome Home!!!

Beyond the technical aspects of getting into Renaissance Gardens, people always ask questions about what it truly means to live here. Among the questions we hear most often:

Q: Do you have private residences at Renaissance Gardens?

Q: You have “24-hour visiting,” but do I need to call ahead?

Q: Do you require that people get up at a certain time?

Q: What do I do if there’s a problem? Who do I talk to?

Q: Renaissance Gardens residents have “full access to all the amenities of the community. What are they?"

Q: Is it quiet enough to sleep at night? Or are there always announcements on a public address system, and other noises?

old guy said...

Now you’re talking EAG

We want to hear about the two-handed swings on the axe of your epistles. Old scores grinding your axioms squarely by.

Taking your peers down a peg or two, ever so eloquently. Other critics and artists reduced to ridicule and ignominy with barely a snigger. A public flogging is occasionally in order.

We want to hear about the hate and fear as you patrol the precincts. The fun of starving artists lining up to spit in your path, a word in the ears of readers and they are led away in shackles, cursing your publications as conspiracy and oppression.

Ahyeugh ahyeugh ahyeugh.

Dealers and collectors cringing in doorways, to simper and mouth vile oaths behind your back. You walk the walk when you talk the talk, and you don’t have to draw them a picture.

You’ve got circulation by articulation and in the end they always want the word.

Cross said...

(snif) Thats bootiful, O. G.

old guy said...

I have my lyrical moments.

Anonymous said...

Will no one defend medieval?
I'm not comfortable monolithizing (?) renaissance or medieval, but nowadays I prefer the latter (that is the earlier). Those Romanesque sculptures are so earnest, as are the Byzantine paintings (not strictly medieval, I guess). But the point is they don't have the anatomical or spatial naturalism of renaissance but they thoroughly convince me with their belief infused into the very formal properties.
I have the icon of the virgin from the cover of Belting's Likeness and Presence on my fridge. You can't tell me the artist didn't know the eyes were "too high" nor can you tell me Andrei Rublyov was just not observant enough to know that he made his angel heads like melons with tiny faces. That's just not the point. The point is to touch the sacred and/or the unknown by focusing on your craft. And that craft need not be defined only by "accuracy."
Also those deep drilled eyes on the romanesque sculptures, where you can almost hear the chisel, and the people look like lizards, innocent and driven.
But what do you expect from a modernist?

no-where-man said...

sorry apelles the dr. thing just hit me as funny - to not include life. interesting same quality on refection with the others you mentioned do we value a "quality of life" improvement in our successful - maybe that relates back to Art.

i feel bad for not looking at this painting much before responding - now im wondering - this "eye man" thing seems to show up in many cultures, - Crayak, beholder, aztec images, certain 80's videos with top hats... i wonder where it comes from.

i really did decide to move to nyc the day i set foot here on a school bus trip. i love nyc!

old guy said...

Hi the topic will be out of town for a week so…

Art history - front and center!

The Renaissance gets divided into Low and High, Italian and Northern, then by region and city. If we want to count ‘advances’ for this ‘period’ over earlier ones, then perspective and anatomy figure, more/other texts and myth are gradually accepted as content, as are more varied opportunities and mediums.

The official and precise start and finish lines remain open to dispute of course and the categories are principally about making distinctions, but these are not necessarily a single or consistent standard of excellence. The same goes for periods and trends following The Renaissance. Is Mannerism, The Baroque, Rococo, Classicism or Romanticism necessarily an improvement on the big R?

Is 2007 so much better than 2006?

If you really want to take up residence in Renaissance Gardens or some other gated community, you might want to ponder whether you can do without Velasquez, Rubens, Watteau, Goya and Turner, just for starters. You might want to give some thought to whether fresco was always superior to oil painting, whether anatomy (big muscles all around, right?) and perspective (by one or more vanishing points, of course) are necessary in all circumstances, whether in other words, content is not to some extent a creature of categories, whether categories are always compatible.

(for more on incompleteness see Kurt Gödel, failed artist and critic)

apelles said...

nobody is saying that medieval art isn't as good as renaissance art because it's not as accurate!!!

This is pretty inaccurate but for some reason it rules. the 80's reached the major leagues.

But yeah, medieval art is pretty awesome sometimes. But I think some of those guys actually didn't know how to make the eyes right, like some amateur hobbyists do today. The bad medieval stuff is just famous because it is old.

apelles said...

old guy, i guess we can't compare which one is better. You convinced me. Art is pretty subjective, i guess.

zipthwung said...

VC – I like totalizing – though the ziggurat is more imposing… menhirs, monoliths and shibboleths.

Medievasl stuff is cool, shallow space – not necessarily unsophisticated as you say – read “Changing Images in Pictorial Space” by William Dunning – its an interesting narrative, true or not. Even G, a friend of mine told me, knew about perspective – so a lot of the style was exactly that.

The renaissance gets divided, and so does the enlightenment – there were lots of them apparently, by region.

Look at the eyes on Phonecian boats, and then ask yourself. What do paintings want from us?

zipthwung said...

Erratum: even the greeks, not G, my gangster friend.

Everything is contingent - thats the lesson of the likes of Goedel.

no-where-man said...

old guy said...

Hi the topic will be out of town for a week so'''

my bad sorry - your all far more
punctual, relevant and intelligent then i could imagine, - my bad to stall = enjoy your vac. painter. - peas.

zipthwung said...

There's a king on a throne with his eyes torn out

Apelles was a contemporary of Protogenes, whose reputation he advocated. Pliny's Natural History recorded an anecdote that was making the rounds among Hellenistic connoisseurs of the first century CE: Apelles travelled to Protogenes' home on Rhodes make the acquaintance of this painter he had heard so much about. Arriving at Protogenes' studio, he encountered an old woman who told him that Protogenes was out and asked for his name so she could report who had enquired after him. Observing in the studio a panel Protogenes had prepared for a painting, Apelles walked over to the easel, and taking up a brush told the servant to tell Protogenes "this came from me," and drew in colour an extremely fine line across the panel. When Protogenes returned, and the old woman explained what had taken place, he examined the line and pronounced that only Apelles could have done so perfect of work; Protogenes then dipped a brush into another colour and drew a still finer line above the first one, and asked his servant to show this to the visitor should he return. When Apelles returned, and was shown Protogenes' response, ashamed that he might be bettered, he drew in a third colour an even finer line between the first two, leaving no room for another display of craftsmanship. On seeing this, Protogenes admitted defeat, and went out to seek Apelles and meet him face-to-face.[1]

Pliny claims that this very painting had been part of the collection of Julius Caesar, but was destroyed when Caesar's mansion on the Palatine Hill burned down.

anthony said...


anthony said...

...norbert schwontkowski

zipthwung said...

Tromp le Monde!!!!

Upon construction
there is the mohawk
his way of walking
quite high above the ground
fearless of looking down
some people say that
the navajo know
a way of walking
quite high above the ground
fearless of looking down
oh no.

Quisquilloso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zipthwung said...

Im still wondering what the topic is.

Could someone write me a pamphlet?

zipthwung said...

Daryl and John have private eyes...smooth.... but I can go for smoother

yep, the eighties sure were fucking cool.

anthony said...

"The point is to touch the sacred and/or the unknown by focusing on your craft. And that craft need not be defined only by "accuracy."
That's nice.
Representing the unknown by altering (personalizing?) your depiction of the subject...Similarly Blake's tyger and Durer's rhino are fanciful in part because they couldn't conjur up the actual animals to draw from, but the results have a kind of spiritual effect. The images look more "about" than "of" the creatures. Kind of fetishistic or something.

no-where-man said...

yeah! tots Quisquilloso, The Residents!! We first got Much Music (MTV in Canada), around my coming of age when The Residents videos were getting endless play. I would dream obsessively about the odd eyeball on leg figures and hallucinate eyes on the orbs on the end of my bedposts. Which kinda wraps it around to the fetish thing as well - and how it works its way into Pop culture.

Art wise it is interesting how one of NYC's primer Art collectors (as i was introduced to him) was dating this cute fun Optometrist.

How about Salvador Dalí's most famous film - Un Chien Andalou? (not original sound track but cool). I just finished a book which equates Dali as the Father of $ oriented Art, long before Andy and echoed in Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread and Ofili.

In Literature Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye
Only Georges Bataille could write, of an eyeball removed from a corpse, that "the caress of the eye over the skin is so utterly, so extraordinarily gentle, and the sensation is so bizarre that it has something of a rooster's horrible crowing." Bataille has been called a "metaphysician of evil,""

Overall an interesting iconic image

Cross said...

Eyes forward, don't look back! To hell with accuracy, art should be about Truth. The convoluted truth that we fabricate every day. Plastic arts plastic truth plastic societies plastic explosives. Culture? That's for making cheese. Out of the galleries and into your studios. Fabricate something you can believe, at least for today.

(oh, that's lunch.)

Cooky Blaha said...

no where do u know where i can find the andy/greenberg interview online?

Ryan said...

appeles: "another question: How do we get the quality of our culture up again?

Is this even possible to do?"

I certainly can't answer that, but some random thoughts on some above posts..

Trying to identify the "greatest" period of history, culture etc. is completely pointless for an artist in any medium, IMO. I don't believe it is possible to work at your highest level while using some previous era as your north star, as if it were possible to encapsulate the painting from a certain time and separate it from everything else. If you are so focused on the greatness of another time/person/culture you will be unable to recognize the greatest work made now, because what will make it great is partly the quality of being a summation of all history as embodied in the present, but in the language of the present time, which you will not understand, being so focused on how this was done in some other language. How do you know nobody is making work equal to past work? Would you know it if you saw/heard it? That presumes a consciousness equal to the creator of the work, which is generally not the case.. critics follow art (although sometimes art follows critics too) most of the time.

Also, about critics being failed artists.. Lots of people spend most of their lives failing at something because they were made to do something else, but don't feel this is a suitable occupation for them. Art/music are most obvious, because they both require something unteachable to stand out. You can learn how songs/paintings are built, but you can't learn how to come up with a kick-ass melody, or how to add the element to a painting that makes it more than a summation of hours at a canvas. Our culture suffers from thinking you can be whatever you want to be, when to humbly submit to a less glamorous vocation which you are excellent at is highly underrated. And unpopular to consider.

no-where-man said...

Cooky Blaha, it was in Painters Painting the footage was also used in Who Gets to Call It Art?. I can't find it anywhere online and I never recovered from my You Tube being taken down. I have the tape somewhere in my unlabeled piles. Ill look for it this weekend and if i can find it put it on a server where you can download.

Cooky Blaha said...

thanks no

Old Guy said...

Amen Ryan.

Old Guy said...

Well make that Amen, with certain reservations and qualifications: (this might be my protestant upbringing coming to the fore)

Our culture suffers from thinking you can be whatever you want to be, when to humbly submit to a less glamorous vocation which you are excellent at is highly underrated. And unpopular to consider.

I’m unconvinced you can actually be excellent at something you don’t really want to do.

True some jobs are glamorous and highly rewarded, most are not – but even if you never wanted to be big star, no one is ever happy at the bottom of the heap. And you can invoke democracy, equality, fraternity and the pursuit of good times, but most won’t get very much of any of it, and those that have will do whatever is necessary to keep their share. No one wants to make themselves poorer by making someone else richer. No one wants to do a job that benefits someone else more, much less do it well.

And I don’t know if this is a cultural thing, a national thing, an historical thing, an ethical thing or just a wingding ringaling, but whoever’s tray it lands in, it’s a problem.

Artists see a lot of it because most artists have to do something else most of the time; they have to have a ‘day job’ even at nights. And because they don’t get picked up by the dealers, critics, curators or collectors, they’re supposed to wise up and give up. But if art is just about consensus then we can skip a lot of education and art history – let’s just go for the money and buy the rest – buy the dealer, the critic, curator and collector, buy the history and the schooling qualifications.

But no-one really wants to go there either, because the cycle there is extra vicious. So we have this unhappy compromise, where the haves try and convince the have-nots, they can never have, but having is OK for others. But who is ever going to buy that?

Ryan said...

"I’m unconvinced you can actually be excellent at something you don’t really want to do."

I totally agree. The problem there is that it is very easy to mistake suffering (and more frequently, causing someone else to suffer) in the pursuit of your desire for a virtue, which it is not intrinsically, but only occasionally. I still mantain that the higher virtue is in the qualifications "humbly" and "submit". I don't mean these terms abstractly, but in real situations where supporting a family is a necessity, for example. In this case, these words describe the love you act out of, which can change "what you want to do", and provide you with a chance to excel. I'm certainly not saying this is easy, I'm just saying it's underappreciated. And counter-cultural, actually, in that it's not living "MyLife"tm.

Also, to clarify, I include myself in this criticism, falling squarely into the day job category. I make cabinets for a living, and am good at it, though not excellent because I only care enough to get a check and spend it on paint supplies. I am single though, so I guess I haven't been tested yet. I'll let you know what happens.

apelles said...


I want to say that I am not being COMPLETELY serious when I say one culture is better than another.

But I have to disagree about it being completely pointless. I think you have to be comparing yourself to people from the past, and learn from them.

although we are speaking a different, new "language" than people living in the past, art has that universal component to it that never changes.

Knowing the history of your medium is essential as a launching pad to real innovation and originality. Nobody can just create in a vacuum. Look at Raphael before he saw Leonardo. He was making good perugino knock-offs. Think about Japanese art and Van Gogh. Modern european art and pollock. Look at all the best artists in the past and it's obvious that their originality is tied down to the history of their medium.

You wouldn't understand why jenny saville is not a good painter if you didn't know enough about the history of art and the quality of the old masters. You would think that people like Matthew Ritchie and Julie Mehretu were original, but if you know your art history, you know that it's just all-over painting dressed up to look palatable for an audience that likes cool and clever-looking things.

without a doubt, knowing the history of your medium will help you recognize the best and original art of the present era.

apelles said...

I don't know where the stereotype of critics being failed artists came from, but i always sort of revered art critics. Critics seem cerebral like professor X and seem interested in the big picture instead of the micromanaging that is required to be an artist.

i think in paris there is a stereotype of painters being dumb. I remember hearing somewhere, the phrase "Dumb as a painter." so don't feel bad, critics are not the only ones with a negative stereotype attached.

webthing said...

8% battery left, in bed, read u all, 3:10am.

to elevate present culture get it to believe in the grandiose beauty of itself. culture is high when the stars are limited. culture is low when everybody talks at once. the most beautiful thing is surveillance where clumps cannot be differentiated into the individual. freedom in packs. this is not 1657.

Ryan said...

"I think you have to be comparing yourself to people from the past, and learn from them.

although we are speaking a different, new "language" than people living in the past, art has that universal component to it that never changes.

Knowing the history of your medium is essential as a launching pad to real innovation and originality. Nobody can just create in a vacuum. "

I partly agree, and don't mean to say artists shouldn't study history because it will hinder them. I was trying to describe my impression of an artist working at the height of his/her powers as being the embodiment of history, making it physically present, in the present moment, having absorbed and digested already and being far beyond internal comparisons. It's an idea I have that really I'm not making clear, to myself either. I can already think of examples to the contrary from Delacroix's journal, for ex.

What I'm reacting to, I think, (and if this doesn't apply, ignore it) is any hint of the attitude I hear often that is basically "Now stuff sucks, and it didn't before in the ____________ era." This drives me crazy. Certainly I see the bad in "modern" life, but to consider this a crappy time to be alive is beyond me. More has changed in the past 60 years than in the previous... how many hundred? Maybe since the Copernican revolution? I don't know really. To judge everything current by comparison to the past is tempting, because it's easy. Is A better or worse than B doesn't satisfy me now, because the very nature seems different, and resistant to comparison. Yes, I think there are qualities of art that don't change, but the manner in which they are employed may have to change so drastically, to convey the nature of the changed world, that they may not be recognizable immediately.

Someone please tell me what I mean. Zip?

zipthwung said...

The standard line is that every major technological changed society and art follows both society and technology.

The Guttenberg press, coal fired factories, the assembly line (human techne) and now computers.

But nothing has changed within the brain - unless you believe Ju,ian Janes "Origins of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" in which he postualtes that the two halves of the brain used to communicate like prisoners in cells - so 3,000 years ago most people were schizophrenicly hearing disembodied voices. This was called polytheism, and you can figure out the rest.

Did that answer the question?

I see metaphors as heiristic devices (mental tools ) that aid thinking. It is the artists job to critique and invent metaphors so that people dont go fucking crazy.

Skill in craftsmanship is important, but you can get away with using an existing vocabulary rather than reinventing the wheel every time. This means your language is more general than specific (a portrait as opposed to a self portrait) but I think more universal and in the end timeless.

In my model of art quality, timing and ability to adapt are more important than the sharpness and quality of the spear head - which tends to be ephemeral anyways.
Money needs to find more people who are artists and fewer people who are administrators or middle management. Or middle management needs to get more money. Either way its the gate keepers that keep people in their cells.

On another note - Is there really a huge demand for Lindsay Lohan news or is that something the media creates to turn excess attention into money?]
COuld this "need" be filled in other ways?

anthony said...

Whoa. You pulled out a "Bicameral Mind" reference.

Since you brought up cognitive science a few hundred comments ago, and you are talking metaphor building, I have to ask if you've read any Lakoff and Johnson: "Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and It’s Challenge to Western Thought" or "Metaphors we Live by"?

Anonymous said...

I heard that when you blend all the paint on your palette first you can just get the pallet knife and pull the whole thing off and transfer it to the canvas. This, I'm told, is how the Mona Lisa came about.
The old timers knew a thing or too.

zipthwung said...

The trick is in the blend. I fold the cadmiums in separately and speparate the layers with medium. It comes out not unlike baklava. contrary to popular belief a little cigarette ash in the mix doesn't do anything perceptible.

Lakoff and Johnson were - are? popular, dare I say fashionable? I have "More than Cool Reason" and "Women, fire and Dangerous things" the latter you can have, I could use the cash. I never got into parsing language (though Im parsing code right now (poorly I hope its not a moral failing because if it is Im going to get eaten by Satan himself).

"Descartes Error" by D'amasio is sort of the "Brief History of Time" pop genre - a good read. Im into the "Emporer's New Mind" by Penrose - that sort of thing.

Yeeah, somatic marker theory seems fine by me.

Penrose writes about Goedels therom that Concrete brought up - yeah I could shoot the shit on this all day, but I'm definitely more of a Psych today than a Scientific American.

zipthwung said...

oh but my point is - metaphors have changed significantly - not that they are different but the "new language" is that of the data structures of computers, highways and information in genral. COmplexity is dealt with by general to specific statement, what probrammers would call classes (platonic solids) then objects (the real world instances of a class or classes) and then the properties of those objects and classes, who are "children" of their "parents" ...see how this works?

Somatic marker theory does the same thing - you feel "emptry" and thus must be "filled" and this spiritual feeling is then a "hunger" - when in fact it is actually a desire. Is desire and hunger the same thing? No. And that is why I am a bad programmer.

zipthwung said...

taxonomies create containers that must be filled, whereas the world is allready filled. The more complicated the taxonomies, the more energy it takes to maintain and navigate them. The consequences of infinite information are that people limit their intake. In the old days everything outside was satanic and dark - chaos. Order then is the rule of the day, and artists can choose to be on the edge of chaos or at the center maintaining order. Christo and Jean Claude, Mark di Suvero, Anthony caro, Richard Serra and other artists are part fo the center, making order. Thats why they suck ass.

zipthwung said...

maintaining order I mean.

Old Guy said...

I like to know what Lindsay's up to.
I think in another life I might have been her.

webthing said...

Episode 7 in the apologetically blatant: words are geometric shapes on some visual medium that you look at not unlike a painting, yet more structurally (often hearing voices as you go). this amazing commonality of inherited platform shared between a 'culture'. in the west, 26 shapes, to form patterns, that, seek, to, explain, or, at, least, allude, to, everything. like the fantastic word 'infinte'. isn't it great, everything summed up into one lovely configuration of our latin geometry. but we see words weird, you konw wehn smoebdoy tpyes lkie tihs? bla bla bla. well, even when words would probably do the trick, painters decide hey no, two giant resident eyes, one on A, the other on B, might produce some stereo signal in the fields of monoville. you know sometimes an overarching appreciation of a painting might also be in knowing that the material, paint, resists entropy, lasts if you will, longer than anything else, especially photography. who would know shit about the renascent period if they saved compositions as mp3 on 600 year old HDD and took digital photos of it in strange prehistoric formats? but who knows? renascent only means renewed interest in the classical antiquity, ie/ they were using earlier human history as their spark as much as we now seek to use theirs as ours. dont forget to separate the plastic from the aluminium. when communicating via pigeon feet it was probably a lot easier in isolation to fly the fancy idea that your culture was so lofty, especially when half the earth was kind of unchartered. every novelist knows that the less information given the more the imagination can fill zips somatic marker gaps with romantic notions that humankind once had a greater epiphany than presently. also, i'm sure if you give any 500 year period, say between 1959 and 2459 to find a few remarkable individuals, you will. its 2007. what reflects this? disillusionment with the ability to create a 'masterpiece' without the requisite 200 years hidden in a basement? acceleration of sublime language in painting too fast for the latin shapes to pin? market based brand orientated economy tarnishing output? more than 50% of world population now living in cities? weariness at knowing what the earth actually looks like from space, and not from the top of a hill in Florence?

anthony said...

I love old maps of the world: the country of origin situated in the middle and everything else is smoke.
I wonder if creating mystery in a painting is a cheap way of reconnecting nostaligcally to the above mentioned uncharted world beyond the campfire. Didn't the Residents have some music theory that emphasized mystery? Their identities were kept secret...
Mysteries help forge new metaphors.

Isn't somatic reasoning concerned with the assignment/assessment of qualities of things? My understanding is that somatic stuff is all about the pre-lingual or non-linqual business of the mind. That's why it conflicts with cognitive theory-because the ordering of things takes place before the metaphor can be put into language.

anthony said...

Speaking of the taming of frontiers virtual and literal, what the hell is up with astronauts these days?

no-where-man said...

are not the only real failed artists ones who gave up making Art.

where is life after "equilibrium, and the ads defined person-al and social equilibrium."

apelles said...

i can see where you're coming from. But to me, other period's art being better than our period's art is not an attitude that i have. It is something that i feel is a fact. I know it is a cliche to have an elitist view on things and say that the present-day stuff sucks.

But do you think it is impossible for some reason, for a culture to be not optimal at producing artworks of high quality? Do you think that each society is handed out an equal share of culture-making points? Some cultures nurture artists well and I really don't think ours, right now, is one of them. Take a look at our art-education for a start.

and no painter can deny what Italy has produced over a span of a few decades. Donatello, Leonardo, Titian, Raphael, Giorgione, Michelangelo.

France produced Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Braque, van Gogh, Gauguin, Juan Gris, Leger, all within a relatively short period of time.

Why is Brazil so good at soccer? Do you think it is just a subjective opinion to say that?

I might sound really negative about present-day art, but I feel like it has a lot of promise and will see an explosion of quality within the next decade or so.

Old Guy said...

Good point Webthing. The visual and the verbal they no 'talk' to one another, 'see eye to eye'. But co-operation is critical, no?

Quisquilloso said...
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webthing said...

have you not seen the thousand painters and photographers and even installation artists with fishing line who create literal explosions in the last 5 years...? as historical events recede further away from us, they gather more weight, only because the name proliferates deeper into the collective human noetic, which presents an essential comparative flaw. in order to compare the italian great masters to any recent painter, to be methodical in the analysis, you would have to do so in 2493. time and the hindsight available with its passing wield considerable power, so much so that we may even seek now to compress it in a bid to gain the widespread acceptance afforded to the household name variety of artists from times of earlier enlightenment. such wishes may be futile.

whatever the case a change in art making may be something simple, for example it is common in art schools to see a convergence of the work produced, perhaps one student inspires others and styles collide, following that is usually a style feud - who invented and owns what, especially when the market wants style, success is style, or brand, a visible recognition in both technique AND content. would it not be wiser to accept the convergence, continue in parallel, and move forward in romantic groups, classical waves, or french isms, if that is what you want from the past. when media channels were few this was a lot easier to create. now isms may be born and die in a day, potentially. if it is permanence we seek, then this is the wrong time for it. if it is a grand scale investigation into the human condition, it may also not be the time for it only for the fact that it is presently invisible and will only emerge with adequate distance.

By the way, Brazil can play soccer, but has only won 1 more world cup than Italy, and Germany has been in the final more than both. Comparing art and sport is somewhat deflating.

If it is greatness you seek to find in art of course there will only be a few, as in anything else. But most certainly future or present greatness cannot be measured by historical criteria.

Imagine comparing modern science to its predecessors - kinda fruitless.

Wouldn't it be great of we could have all those words back, modern, renaissance, enlightenment, romanticism, to freely reapply in the present (as i'm sure these facets are continually re-emergent) - if only history hadn't have believed so much in the falsity of permanence.

webthing said...

old guy: But co-operation is critical, no?

couldn't agree more.

Old Guy said...

QQ - So how come The Renaissance does not 'dismantle' the medievel or 'gothic'?

Then again France's Romanticism and Realism extend 18th century enlightenment ideals, get more 'local' when assured of more 'general'- aesthetic or anaesthetic.

Never mind the Pollocks

webthing said...

i think this painting succeeds in communicating a few messages, some that take a bit more time to emerge than initial style reservations will allow.

apelles said...

Germany and Italy being good teams just makes this analogy sound better.
Map of winners

You can see that a few countries have been dominating soccer. Why?

I'm sure that there are hundreds of players in almost every country that love the game and play it all the time. I'm sure that there are many professional soccer players in many of the countries around the world. Yet, clearly a few countries have been winning more consistently than the others.

Why is that? There are many little things that contribute to this that we can talk about. Maybe the best athletes of a certain country consistently choose to play another sport. Things like that.

But my point is that some painters of certain cultures can be superior to other cultures' painters.

Certain paintings you can definitely compare in terms of quality. If I asked you who a better painter was, Gerhard Richter, or Titian, are you really going to choose Richter? The answer to this question is Titian and ten thousand years from now, it will still be Titian. Brice Marden or Georges Braque? You don't need hindsight to help you choose between the two.

apelles said...

Which painting? the Marlene Mocquet one?

zipthwung said...

Well I'm part of the phillistine diaspora, and I'm here to say, sucks to your athsmar, we god a pig to slay! Hey hey, another one bites the dust and another one down the late modern drain vein main and its a pissoire that people point to?

Jamaican bobledders sure are funny arent they? And The Clash sure made funny Reggae. Blame it on the radio.

I can't wait until Miranda July comments on Jeremy Blake. it will be real.

Nomi said...

I still like this painting.

Nomi said...

It's been five days, so I'm just reiterating.

webthing said...

appelles, personally i find it almost ridiculous to have titian and richter in the same sentence. maybe it would be better to put five stars at the bottom of every painting. but seeing as you're asking, you'd be better off to compare titian to bill viola. why not braque to ofili for the heck of it. do you really think titians paintings are that great? though emotionally powerful they are imprisoned, as is almost everything from that period, in religious indoctrination and theatrical/mythical grandiosity. i'm not saying that art history is in any way to be lessened, for it is rich and vast. but the terms to negotiate art upon these days have very little to do with the renaissance, which is itself an enourmously ill-defined and sizeable period of human history. the clearly defined rules of sport, along with the defined winner and loser scenario is exactly what art never has been. why greatness stems from a particular region will rarely adhere to a formula when discussing the present, but certainly the past. a good majority of the great artists you mentioned were scarcely celebrated during their lives.

Anonymous said...

Do we have any soccer anthropologists about?
First thing, Brazil is not doing as well as she did. Players move around the globe now, and countries that do not follow this trend tend to be left behind. In a sense soccer, or baseball, perhaps all sports are very similar to what was happening back in the France heyday, in the NY heyday, players move. National spirit is kind of weird when you think of it this way.
As far as art, well, where will the new ideas germinate, from what pots of soils will they grow, and to which lands will they be able to bro.
Painting has begun its interior and exterior reappointment.

milf-magic said...

Can someone please explain to me the interest in soccer? I know there is rich tradition and history (which apelles is into) but for god sakes it's just SO boring. Just because the announcer screams goooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal! after the first point in and hour doesn't mean it's really that exciting. Plus it so nationalist which in a fucked up way...
Now if you want to talk about modern progress, then look at basketball. This is a much more interesting sport that was birthed from soccer. It's more fully acrobatic, way more points scored, footwork AND handwork involved, much more variety of position players... it's the evolution of soccer.
But I guess people like to romanticize old things.

Quisquilloso said...
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anthony said...
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anthony said...

"By choosing football, I killed two birds with one stone. I never really learned how to play, I just started playing as a child in the streets; I know nothing about formal technique. In football, my thoughts, my opinions, are not immediately visible; they are made evident through gestures, reactions, and reflexes. They depend as well on a very specific situation that I need to relate to at that particular moment; there is no time for hesitation. In the end, every game is a game with language, so I am just taking my mental activity to the most abstract and absurd level."

-Interview with Gianluigi Buffon


zipthwung said...

Emile Durkheim has a little to say on totems and sports teams.

Obey your mascot.

Are sculptures and paintings totems? I think for a lot of people they are.

The astronomers are a sacred cult who touch the divine (we the profane, hallowed be their names. Need Another Seven Astronauts)

Sacred - thats one view anyways. The isolation is real - any profession has its inner circle. Celebrities always complain about feeling isolated - and its a cliche that people get surrounded by yes men. A lot of it amounts to greener grapes right?

Williamsburg was the farm team fro Chelsea, and a few galleries in Chelsea are feeders for larger galleries. But not all minor leaguers make it to the big leahgues.

Is that any way to live? I dont think so. I'd rather teach the pilgrims to farm, even though its usually a drought and they used to farm in the old country. its a nice myth to live by, don't you agree?

Ethnocentrism aside, some cultures are sick and broken.

enaclite said...

In respect of football (what you call soccer), Brazil traditionaly played what is called the continental game...based on individual skill, working the ball through the midfield and attacking. They say this has its roots in playing football on rough terrains (back streets, beaches rough grounds etc).The Europeans, espeically Germany play and more "efficient" team game where it is less to do with individuals but as a team working as a unit. Italy has the continental flare plus a religious dediciation to defend. Northern Europe plays a fast tempo, Southern Europe a slower tempo football.

Nomi said...

Yes, Titian's paintings are that great. Imprisoned by religious indoctrination and mythical grandiosity? No.

artgirl said...

once i had a dream about soccer on the moon.

artgirl said...

once i had a dream about soccer on the moon.

artgirl said...

once i had a dream about soccer on the moon.

artgirl said...

and the man in the moon gave me a thumbs up.

Ryan said...

I can't remember the poem, maybe Czeslow Milosz? "...like those Titians, through which God walks burning.."

Aaron said...

"Writing to a friend, he bragged of seascapes that “done in two hours sold for twelve to fifteen hundred francs apiece.” (He added, complacently, “In certain painters’ circles they call me a charlatan, a hoaxer, a humbug.”) Courbet’s “higher realities” tend to be clichés gussied up with Old Masterish airs and brought off with practiced panache. Looking gets you only so far with his work. Then decoding—an onerous task at this distance in time, like explaining moldy jokes—must take over."

"Baudelaire had entertained no illusions about art’s new social dispensation, writing with bitter resignation in the prologue, “To the Bourgeois,” of his “Salon of 1846”: “You are the majority, in number and intelligence; therefore you are power; and power is justice.” Setting his own sights elsewhere—“Anywhere out of this world!” he specified in a poem—he saw that the fate of true artists would henceforth involve forms of internal exile, even in bright circles of cosmopolitan fame."


Quisquilloso said...
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Ryan said...

YES... man I love that poem. Thanks.

Cooky Blaha said...

please fell free to take a swig of listerine if u are ever forced to put nerdum and titian in the same sentence

Cooky Blaha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
webthing said...

i'm not sure how mocquet led to Titian & Co. but its losing weight fast. Eat fresh!

Old Guy said...

The discussion has been more general, but I wouldn’t say it lacked focus. The issue of what painters take as a starting point, how they relate their efforts to art history or the canon strikes me as worth revisiting.

It seems a long way from MOCQUET’S trifle but the issue is really how we rate it as art, and art instantly raises precedents.

Apelles denies it any standing, by a yardstick drawn between Pollock and Raphael. Broadening Raphael to the Renaissance led him to cite Titian as central and argue for something like the constancy of The Canon. But of course The Canon isn’t constant, has a history of re-evaluations and Titian’s place hasn’t always been at the top. Reynolds and the 18th century thought the Venetians flawed in their preference for color over line, atmosphere over anatomy. They revered people like Guido Reni and Guercino in a way that we find baffling. Artists like Vermeer get plucked from two hundred years of obscurity to belatedly join The Canon. The 19th century spent great efforts rehabilitating the Quattrocento and ‘Low’ Renaissance, to upgrade the standing of artists like Masaccio and Giotto – ‘the primitives’. This in turn influenced the art of the time.

Does The Canon uphold the one and only constant standard of excellence? Does art just get better and better? I think it’s truer to say art gets bigger and bigger, includes more, offers greater variety. The Canon certainly does. And how and why would we want to compare a Pollock with a Raphael or Titian? Much less a MOCQUET? What reductive concept of ‘painting’ do we arrive at there? We can construct differences and classes or styles and relate them to others, more or less profitably, and where this peters out, - as it seems to with the MOCQUET – we give up on it. But that’s not to lurch back to The Renaissance was a necessary touchstone; and refuse to acknowledge Richter in the name of Titian.

That’s poor art history.

facialanomaly said...

You guys are more interested in flexing your insecurities than making brazenly sophisticated criticisms. I always hope that I will find an interesting thread, about art, but alas, we cant help but make our own dynamicaly absentee bullshit apparent. have fun!

JpegCritic said...


Please post something brazenly sophisticated
so that we can place things into context.

Ryan said...

The last time I tried flexing my insecurity it suddenly did become dynamically absent. I will try being more brazen, and sophisticated. Thanks Facial!

Ryan said...

"please fell free to take a swig of listerine if u are ever forced to put nerdum and titian in the same sentence"

I poked out an eye just for reading it.

Anonymous said...

put your claws up 

apelles said...

webthing: "a good majority of the great artists you mentioned were scarcely celebrated during their lives."

Of the Italian renaissance artists i mentioned, all of them (Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Giorgione, Titian), were celebrated during their lives. Popes and Dukes fought for their works.

Anonymous said...

something on India's Renaissaance.... very close to what enaclite was saying re, the different flavors of the football/soccer cultural step thing ... from their deliberate choice of the spirit and hidden meaning in things rather than their form and surface meaning as the object to be expressed. It is intuitive and its forms are the very rhythm of its intuition, they have little to do with the metric formalities devised by the observing intellect; it leans over the finite to discover its suggestions of the infinite and inexpressible; it turns to outward life and nature to found upon it lines and colours, rhythms and embodiments which will be significant of the other life and other nature than the physical which all that is merely outward conceals... 1918

Old Guy said...

Brazen is so unsophisticated.

Old Guy said...

Do you realise this is about the 200th comment?

I wonder if that's a record for a PNYC Post?

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