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Month: July, 2013

W.T.G.A.: Dali vs Warhol

dali vs warholTwo more theatrical artists you’ll never find. Both achieved international super stardom in their lifetimes. They became that very rare species: artist celebrity. Today your average person would be hard pressed to name a living artist. Not even our so called art celebrities like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst or Matthew Barney pull that much weight in a world of Justin Biebers and Lady Gagas.  Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol were and are to this day household names. Pretty good for guys who painted melting clocks and Campbell‘s soup cans, but who is the greater artist?

Dali The Basket of Bread 1926

Dali The Basket of Bread 1926

Before the ants, crutches and barren landscapes of the subconscious shifted everyone’s perceptions of reality; there was a young Spanish art student born in 1904 in the North Western corner of Spain named Salvador. Dali exhibited a master’s talent from an early age and as a youth he attended a prestigious art academy in Madrid, but dropped out (or was expelled) before completion; citing he was better than all his instructors. A controversial move but a correct one. From an early age Dali understood his place in the universe and wouldn’t be satisfied unless he was the center of it.

Warhol Shoe 50's

Warhol Shoe 50’s

Andrew Warhola was born in Pittsburgh in 1928. Andy Warhol was born in New York city in  1949. By the fifties, the once shy and frail bed ridden boy had reinvented himself as the most sought after illustrator in New York. His inkblot drawing style was both elegant and whimsical and proved irresistible to magazine editors. Although Andy was at the top of his field he yearned to be considered a real artist.

Dali The Persistence of Memory 1931

Dali The Persistence of Memory 1931

Introduced to Surrealism in the late 1920’s Dali soon became its most visible proponent. Although he would later reject its staunch confides, it is the movement most associated with him. An early work and probably one of the most recognizable artworks on the planet The Persistence of Memory does exactly what its title connotates. The dream world of the subconscious rocks the viewer into a whole new way of seeing. In my opinion this is Dali’s crowing achievement and possibly one of the act of painting’s crowning achievements.

Advantage: Dali

Warhol Campbells Soup Cans 1962

Warhol Campbells Soup Cans 1962

Andy may have never painted anything as seminal as The Persistence of Memory but he had a gift of transforming everything he painted. He elevated the banal to the iconic. The greatest example of this would be his soup cans. 32 hand painted still-lifes arranged in a pattern (originally shown as a long row, now a grid). The power of subtle change and repetition is undeniable. When first exhibited in California only one sold to the actor Dennis Hopper. Later it was returned to maintain all 32 as a single work. The effect they had was stupefying. They questioned what could be considered  art and flew directly in the face of the godfathers of American art the Abstract Expressionists. Materialism and Pop culture were meant to be condemned  not exonerated in the halls of fine art but Andy could see the future, and not only recognized the power of Pop but helped push it over the edge.

Advantage: Warhol

Dali Premonition of War 1936

Dali Premonition of War 1936

As interesting as Surrealism is, it can’t compete with the juggernaut that is Pop, but Pop too has its limitations. Pop’s subject matter will always be itself, it’s like a snake swallowing its tail. Dali could use Surrealism to its full advantage and utilized its storytelling ability to comment on the political unrest of his beloved Spain. The late great art critic Robert Hughes said that Dali’s Premonition of War was one of the greatest comments on war ever depicted, even eclipsing Picasso’s Guernica. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but the anguish and tension is palatable.

Warhol Electric Chair 1963

Warhol Electric Chair 1963

At his best, Warhol transcended Pop and even appropriated his own working methods to delve deeper into the human condition than celebrities or cow wallpaper. By the 60’s Warhol had set up his Factory and adopted silk-screening as his number one working method. It provided him an easy way to repeat an image as  opposed to the tedious and laborious method of hand painting he used for his soup cans. Utilizing a bevy of assistants and quick working methods, Warhol’s production went into high gear. He later expanded his art into the movies, publishing and sculpture. Not all of it was stellar but it demonstrated his endless creativity, proving he didn’t like to stay in the same place for very long.

Advantage; Warhol

Dali Metamorphosis of Narcissus 1937

Dali Metamorphosis of Narcissus 1937

Dali at his best, transformed the way we see the world and at his worst, his paintings became cheap parlor tricks that turned into optical illusions that are better suited for the walls of a dormitory rather than a museum. Unfortunately near the end of his career Dali became a caricature of his former self. He notoriously signed a stack of blank paper that became countless forgeries. The art market was awash with fake Dalis with real signatures.

Warhol Marilyn 1964

Warhol Marilyn 1964

Warhol himself didn’t even sign half his work, he got his mom to do it for him. His portraits became a formula, starting with a simple Polaroid passed to assistants then silk-screened with Andy doing as little as collecting the fee which was $50 thousand a pop. The commercialization of his art is both his worst failure and his greatest accomplishment. His example has been followed by countless others that came after him. His influence is immense, but it would be dismissive to underestimate his contribution to the canon of art history. Andy Warhol changed the way we perceive process, culture and ultimately art and that is no small accomplishment.

Winner: Warhol

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W.T.G.A.: Goya vs Rothko

goya vs rothko

What may appear on the surface as two artists that are world’s apart; Goya and Rothko in fact travel  a lot of the same artistic highways. Only 75 years separate the death of one with the birth of the other. In many ways their subject matter was to depict the unseen. They both explored the darker reaches of the human condition in their art, culminating in both their painting’s trajectories landing firmly in the colour black. But before they both arrived at a deeper shade of pale, brighter hues burned brightly under their masterful touch. Mark Rothko and Francisco Goya are both titans of painting, but who is the greater artist?

Goya The Parasol 1777

Goya   The Parasol 1777

No other artist in the history of art has created more haunting and some cases disturbing images than Goya. His Disasters of War alone would cement this title but he offered so much more. It is hard to fathom that the artist who painted The Parasol believed all humanity was doomed. The Parasol is an early masterpiece painted when the artist was 31. Originally painted as part of a series of designs meant for royal tapestries; the seemingly innocent depiction of  everyday life hints at Goya’s acute sense of foreboding. Darkness creeps in from the corners and our lovely maiden front and center is being shaded from the sun. A bit of an odd choice don’t you think? Goya decided to depict her draped in shadow on what is meant to be a sunny day. This is because I believe Goya found the shadows to be the most intriguing and it is in the shadows that Goya chose to spend most of his time.

Rothko Rites of Lilith 1945

Rothko Rites of Lilith 1945

Mark Rothko couldn’t escape his own personal shadows and in 1970 they would eventually win out. He had come a long way before he tragically took his own life, including rising to the zenith of what may be considered the cornerstone of American painting: Abstract Expressionism. After many years of dabbling with surrealism and expressionism Rothko helps invent colour-field painting. Post World War II, New York becomes the center of the art world and it was people like Pollock, DeKooning and Rothko who put it there. Pollock and DeKooning are both brilliant painters but Rothko makes brilliant paintings. The two action painters are more about the actual act of painting and the process wins out over the product. Rothko’s process transcends the painting and becomes the act of seeing.  His paintings are made for the viewer. Rothko wanted people to weep in front of his canvases. For a select few this may have been the case but for many the subtlety of the subconscious may have been lost on them.

Goya They're preening themselves again 1798

Goya They’re Preening Themselves Again        1798

Goya also very much  kept the viewer in mind, and his artworks range from the historical to the critical to the cautionary. Like Rothko he too wants to evoke an emotional response in his viewer. In many cases that response is horror and in other cases mirth and sometimes he wants both. A prime example of this would be his series of 80 etchings called the Caprichos (meaning: whims or fantastical ideas). In the series of prints Goya’s keen eye is focused on the uglier side of society. He satirizes our vanity, greed and selfishness among other things. Although in his time they were a commercial failure, they have become one of the most important bodies of work by any one artist and their insights  still sting true today.

Advantage: Goya

Rothko No 3/No 13 1949

Rothko No 3/No 13 1949

Rothko’s true power lies in experience. No web page or reproduction comes remotely close to the real thing. His paintings are not immediate. You must pause in front of them and let them fill your vision with colour and then wait for the breath. Rothko’s better paintings breathe. The blurred lines expand and contract and the colours glow and recede. Being in a slightly dimmed room full of Rothkos is an out of body experience. An interesting side effect of the attention Rothko received was the colour field artists rekindled a love for none other than Claude Monet. The parallels between his waterlily paintings and what was going on in New York in the 50’s had many people reexamine the father of Impressionism.

Advantage: Rothko

Goya Colossus 1812

Goya(?) Colossus 1812

Goya is an artist that also gives you pause, he stresses the unspoken truths and drama of the world around us. We are reminded of the colossus over the ridge, a terrible force of nature that can loom large over our lives. The attribution of the Colossus was actually put into question in 2008 when officials at the Prado were convinced that it was the work of one of his followers and not the master himself. Other art scholars have disputed this fact and a general consensus was agreed upon that the painting was in fact the work of Goya.

Rothko Seagram Mural (detail) 1959

Rothko Seagram Mural (detail) 1959

The beginning of the end for Rothko was his commission for The Seagram murals to be installed in the Four Seasons Restaurant. He painstakingly labored over them, believing that they would elevate the viewer to a higher state. His creative process is wonderfully depicted in John Logan’s play Red. He was paid what roughly would be 2 million dollars today to do the work. After completing the paintings, he and his wife ate in the restaurant. He was so sickened by the gaudy display of wealth he saw there he returned the money and gave the work to the Tate in London. Although I admire his conviction, I’m actually not a big fan of the work. I’ve seen them on several occasions and come out underwhelmed every time. I’m not sure if it is the colour or the scale but they lack the breath of his earlier work.

Goya Colossus 1812

Goya Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuniga 1788

Every painting Goya executes breathes with life. Whether it is the atrocities of war like his depiction in The Third of May or the simple eyes of a cat waiting in the shadows to pounce. There is always more to the picture. Goya eludes to a much larger narrative even in something as seemingly innocuous as a child’s portrait.

Advantage: Goya

Rothko untitled 1969

Rothko untitled 1969

In the end Rothko immersed himself in the shadows and created false landscapes that alluded to the abyss. They are interesting in a way that they plot his trajectory but comment too heavily on the tragedy that is only a year away.

Goya The Fates 1823

Goya The Fates 1823

At the end of his life Goya surrounded himself with his infamous black paintings. They were painted directly onto the walls of his house. Executed with a limited palette their images evoke witches, monsters and very dark places. They were only intended for himself but lucky for us were painstaking removed from the house and now hang in the Prado.

Both Goya and Rothko tapped into our collective subconscious stirring up our emotions and making us active participants in the viewing of art. Goya transcends all  barriers, conveying his message to scholars and paupers alike. His imagery has the extraordinary gift of being both instantly recognizable and at the same time a slow burner that plays on your memory. Unfortunately, Mark Rothko is nothing but a slow burner. When he burns, he burns brightly but to a lesser degree than the Spaniard.

Winner: Goya

Digital Painting:Placeholder

Placeholder 2013

Placeholder 2013

6 Degrees of Harry Potter: Part II

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Time to connect the dots once again. This is a little exercise I like to call 6 Degrees of Harry Potter. You’ll notice this is part II, you can find part I here. Last time we ended off with Dumbledore himself Michael Gambon so that’s as good a place as any to start.

I really wanted to start with his involvement in the BBC series The Singing Detectivewhich is a brilliant piece of writing. Gambon plays a cantankerous writer of crime fiction who has a horrific skin ailment and finds himself at the mercy of others while confined to a hospital bed. On the series, he starred opposite to Joanne Whalley who was in Willow and Gossip Girl among other things. This was a very tempting path to venture down, but then I recollected that Mr. Gambon also shared the screen with non other than the great Bill Murray in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Murray channels his inner Jacques Cousteau to captain a vessel of oceanographers in search of the elusive Jaguar shark. The film showcases Anderson’s trademark set-pieces, quirky dialogue and some odd little stop motion sequences. Willem Dafoe plays Murray’s insecure second in command. He also has a small cameo as an electrician in Julian Schnabel’s Basquait.

basqiat

I’m not a fan of Schnabel’s art whatsoever, but I like a few of his movies. Basquait tracks the short explosive career of graffiti art-star Jean Michel Basquait. (I am on the other hand, a big fan of Jean Michel’s art.) The New York art world during the eighties is the backdrop for this tragic true story. The atmosphere of the film is electric and the performances are compelling. David Bowie as Andy Warhol is priceless. Along with the thin white duke, the cast includes Jeffery Wright, Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper and Benicio Del Toro.

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Del Toro also plays the drug addled lawyer Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas alongside Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson. Depp developed a tight bond and friendship with Thompson while preparing for this role. He lived with him at his house – Owl Farm for several weeks trying to better understand the writer. After days of hard living, Depp would retire to the guest bedroom to read and have a smoke before sleep. On one occasion, Hunter popped his head in to say good night and casually commented that Depp may want to extinguish his smoke. Turns out, the end table he had been using all along was actually a barrel full of gunpowder. The film never really captures the mad genius of the book or its author but Terry Gilliam does a decent enough job.  

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Crazy is also an underlying theme in Gilliam’s The Fisher King. It is a delightful little gem of a film that plays to everybody’s strengths. Robin Williams plays a broken man after the death of his wife and Jeff Bridges plays a shock-DJ down on his luck that feels compelled to help him.

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Jeff Bridges is also of course  The Big Lebowski. A  film that truly gets funnier every time you watch it. The follow up to the critical darling Fargo; it didn’t make a huge splash on its release but has since gone on to achieve cult status. There is even a shop that is all things Lebowski called the Little Lebowski  located in Greenwich Village NYC. The film has it all: bowling, kidnapping, the Coen brothers, whale sounds, conceptual art, German nihilists, a Busby Berkeley dream sequence, a Vietnam vet, a rug that really tied the room together, Jesus and Steve Buscemi.

BOARDWALKposters

Steve Buscemi plays Nucky Thompson on the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire. He is a ruthless gangster at the top of a bootlegging empire during prohibition in Alantic City. Martin Scorsese and Mark Whalberg share producing credits. Nucky’s wife is played by Kelly Macdonald  who also played the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.

Harry_and_Helena

And so goes another 6 degrees of Harry Potter.

First, Last for Everything

sherlock_bored_wallpaper_by_etherealreign-d53ariwI wonder if Aaron Sorkin watches Sherlock or forwent Grown Ups 2 to see Pacific Rim on the weekend? I do believe he definitely could learn a thing or two from these two seemingly opposite media artifacts. Over the last couple days I’ve consumed the first episode of season 2 of the Newsroom, the last episode (so far) of Sherlock and the everything that is Pacific Rim. Our brains are wonderful things and tend to connect the dots where we can. But what do these three things have in common? Hint: 2 are very smart and the other isn’t. Another hint, there may be spoilers.

Sherlock_series_3__how_to_unlock_the_title_of_the_third_episodeConnecting the dots is what Sherlock does like no other (love the Turner waterfall painting reference at the beginning of the Season 2 finale). If you are unfamiliar, get yourself to Netflix and binge watch yourself into the know. Sherlock is a re-imagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes and a lot of fun. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and is co-written by Steven Moffat of the new Dr. Who fame. At the moment it only has 2 seasons consisting of three episodes each. The episodes roughly inspired on the original Doyle stories clock in at an hour and half each. Although all are good, both seasons suffer from the second episode lull. They are definitely the weakest of the six, which is to say better than most things on T.V.

What makes Sherlock so compelling is its characters and their relationships. It banks heavily on loyalty and an appreciation for one another. Sherlock himself lacks all social graces and Watson’s job is to help him navigate through the awkward pitfalls this presents. (It is even hinted at: Sherlock may exhibit the characteristics of Aspergers.) Sherlock and Watson play the perfect foils.

slide_302988_2569339_free11The Newsroom‘s Will McAvoy on the other hand is nobody’s foil. He is in a league all his own; always self-righteously correct, unless he is spectacularly less correct. Wait, that describes all the characters on The Newsroom. Like everybody else on Aaoron Sorkin’s  TV drama, he has only two modes: manic or less manic. Even though we are constantly being told how professionally expert* they all are at their jobs (*the mission-impossible-live-post-dub performance of the premiere) they all seem to need to sleep with a nightlight.

1347292071_624378_1347292670_noticia_normal Where Sherlock is truly smart, The Newsroom just isn’t. Maybe I’ll concede that it is Smart-Lite. It deals with complex issues, but it is almost like every character’s wits are so razor sharp they can predict the future. Oh wait, they can predict the future because the future has already happened and the writers have the newspapers to prove it. This is why the Newsroom falls apart; it is too full of itself. That, and its characters have the emotional depth of a teenage girl crush on One Direction. We’ve seen this show before: it’s called Who’s the Boss?

pacific-rim-wide-630-thumb-630xauto-40048When it comes to who’s the boss: giant robots or giant monsters, Pacific Rim spends a pleasant two hours trying to solve this age old question. They fight in the rain, they fight under the ocean, they bash each others brains out and look good doing it. Check your own brain at the door and channel your inner 12 year-old and you won’t be disappointed. Just because you don’t need your brain, don’t assume this is not a smart film. The plot and premise are ridiculous and the dialogue clunky (Ron Perlman seems to be the only person who is aware of this), but Guillermo del Toro is helping usher us into a new age of the blockbuster: the international popcorn movie.

crimson-typhoon-pacific-rim-chinese-jaegerPacific Rim was made as much for China as it was for Hollywood. It takes place in Hong Kong,  most of the extras are Chinese and China’s own robot Crimson Typhoon are all evidence of this. The new trend in Hollywood is to cater to the Chinese market. Iron Man 3 had scenes that were made specifically for China and were not included in the North American release. Why is this smart? Another giant robot movie Transformers 3 made 145 million in China alone, add Russia and we start to see the picture. I personally like this international approach to movie making and feel it can foster a deeper global understanding: we may not agree on politics but we  all want to see giant robots battle giant monsters.

Aaron Sorkin could learn a thing or two from a new take on an old character and an old take on a new approach. If you focus more on the hows (Sherlock – how are they going to explain that cliffhanger?) and the whys (Pacific Rim ‘s eye candy export) we won’t be left with just the what?

W.T.G.A.: Picasso Vs Rembrandt

picasso vs rembrandt

One died penniless, the other a worldwide celebrity who came to represent what people regarded as the quintessential  definition of what an artist is. Both exhibited extraordinary talent at an early age.  Their works hang in all the important cultural institutions across the planet. A masterpiece by either one of them would be considered the centerpiece of any art gallery’s collection; not that any museum could afford to buy one in this day and age. Their influence on young artists continues to this day and their names are synonymous with genius.  They are two of the greatest that have ever been, but who is the greater?

Picasso sketch of a torso age 13

Picasso sketch of a torso age 13

The legend that is Picasso started at an early age. As the hyperbolic story goes: a fifteen year old Picasso applies to an academy of art in Barcelona. The candidates are given three months to complete the entrance portfolio. Picasso completes his in a mere three days and is immediately admitted. His talent was undeniable and this is evident in some of his earliest works executed when he was only in his teens. In his own words “At an early age I could draw like Rapheal.” The only thing that could be bigger than his talent might have been his ego.

Rembrandt self-portrait 1628 age 22

Rembrandt self-portrait 1628 age 22

Rembrandt  apprenticed under a few working artists in his late teens and early twenties but by the time he hit twenty-two he was accepting pupils of his own. He developed a mature style early on in his career that he constantly improved upon but remained consistent throughout his lifetime. He painted roughly 90 self-portraits over his 63 years that document his highs and his lows but every one go beyond the simple representation and give a glimpse into (as cheesy as it sounds) the soul.

Picasso Girl on Ball 1905

Picasso Girl on Ball 1905

As prolific as Picasso was at an early age; Rembrandt’s early works show a deeper understanding of materials and the overall human condition. In his early twenties Picasso moved to Paris and was influenced by the work of Toulouse-Lautrec. He quickly tried to exert his own style and approach to painting and by the time he was 26 had already burned through his Blue and Rose periods.These periods offer glimpses of his genius but feel more like explorations than finished masterpieces. Rembrandt at this same stage had already truly mastered his medium.

Advantage: Rembrandt

Rembrandt The Anatomy Lesson 1632

Rembrandt The Anatomy Lesson 1632

Rembrandt’s reputation and his wife’s connections helped him become one of the most sought after artists in all of Amsterdam. The trend of the day was to do multiple portraits in large scale group scenes. Rembrandt could both flatter his sitters along with revealing some narrative that transcends straight forward portraiture. His paintings are sumptuous but are also very much at the mercy of his patrons.

Picasso collage bowl of fruit, violin and bottle 1914

Picasso collage: bowl of fruit, violin and bottle 1914

Being a starving artist in Paris at the beginning of the twentieth century also put Picasso at the mercy of his patrons. Luckily for him his early supporters wanted him to explore to his heart’s content. Picasso at his very core is a constant searcher. The carnage he left in his path is epic. With the help of Georges Braques and under the influence of Cézanne; Picasso negated centuries of painting practice and invented Cubism and collage.  He completely freed painting from the rules of representation and stepped firmly into modernity.

Advantage: Picasso

Rembrandt The Jewish Bride 1667

Rembrandt The Jewish Bride 1667

That is not to say Rembrandt was devoid of innovation. If you take a close examination of his paintings you will witness exquisite passages of painting that almost veer on the abstract. The background of The Jewish Bride is simply Impressionistic – two centuries before Monet. Rembrandt handles light and drama with equal expertise and no painting depicts this better than his The Night Watch. Heralded as a national treasure, it has become an art pilgrimage for the painting faithful.

Rembrandt The Night Watch 1642

Rembrandt The Night Watch 1642

Picasso has his fair share of masterpieces:  Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, The Three Musicians, Guernica and so on but I would argue that none of them draw you in like The Night Watch. I’ve personally stood in front of both Guernica and The Night Watch and been humbled by their scale, dazzled by their technique and felt the presence of  their genius but it is Rembrandt who takes you out of yourself and transports you somewhere else.

Advantage: Rembrandt

Picasso The Three Musicians 1921

Picasso The Three Musicians 1921

Over the course of his life, Picasso’s output was prolific to say the least. He wasn’t satisfied unless he was painting. The constant exploration could sometimes produce multiple canvases in a single day. With all that output, not all of them are going to be masterpieces, but Picasso had way more successes than failures. He redefined his style numerous times, always demonstrating skill and innovation. Picasso‘s strength lies more in process than product. We get to witness the act of creation and the multiple decisions and variations one painting problem can pose.

Picasso The Kitchen 1948

Picasso The Kitchen 1948

Rembrandt inspired a school of imitators. Every one of them trying to emulate the master’s control and handling of paint. All of them came up short. No one can as effortlessly lay down colour and light with such an economy of stroke and precision as him. Rembrandt’s virtuosity is both inspiring and humbling and definitely created a league all his own. Picasso on the other hand, constantly opened doors for other artists to step through. His influence is immeasurable.

Advantage: Picasso

Rembrandt self-portrait 1661

Rembrandt self-portrait 1661

I would argue that no one before or since has handled paint like Rembrandt Van Rijn. Anyone who has ever picked up a brush since him has felt his presence. He is hands down a far better painter than Pablo Picasso, but does that make him the better artist? Rembrandt‘s contribution to art is immense but so is Picasso‘s. Rembrandt helped to redefine what art could be and Picasso helped redefine what art is.They are both equally matched but Picasso had one advantage Rembrandt did not: a competitive equal. I’m sorry but Frans Hals is no Matisse. Without Matisse we would have had a very different Picasso and I would dare say a less compelling one. Constantly being challenged pays off in the end.

Winner: Picasso

Coming soon…. Goya vs Rothko

Who’s the Greatest Artist?

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An impossible question to answer, a very controversial proposal, a polarizing proposition, a can of worms wrapped in a barrel of monkeys, but why not throw it against the wall to see if it sticks.

Here ladies and gentlemen for your contemplation is the bracket and its combatants. (If you are offended by the premise of pitting our artistic maestros against one another, let me remind you that when it comes to competition; the arena of art is essentially the Colosseum.) Just like the ancient Romans who would throw any two things together to see who would win: bears vs lions, giraffes vs tigers etc, I have assembled a who’s who of radically different styles.

Choosing the artists was a very daunting task. There are some no-brainers along with a few perhaps surprises. I can already hear the criticisms: “How can you include Basquiat and not include Ruebens?” When mining the entirety of art history:  the artists I did not include breaks my heart. People that almost made the cut: Titian, Giotto, Vermeer, Mondrian, Joseph Beuys, Caravaggio  Artemisia Gentileschi, Bridget Riley, Miro and on and on. You’ll notice that the bracket rests heavily on the dead white man western side of things. This aspect I do regret, but I feel history has conspired against us in this regard. We are slowly making amends for this in the twenty first century by broadening our millennial-long narrow mindedness and finally becoming more inclusionary. You will also notice that no living or contemporary artists made the show. I believe time is the greatest critic of art and we haven’t gotten back far enough to see their whole picture yet.

The artists I did choose I believe most people would concede their place here among some of the greatest of all time. (I realize there is noway to satisfy everyone.) I did try to put together some unlikely and highly contested match-ups. It’s really hard to find sparing partners for Da Vinci and Michelangelo; Renoir’s cute flower girls would be no match.

But how to ascertain who is the superior artist, there must be parameters. The artists will be judged on: historical significance, masterpieces, innovation and influence, technique and overall impact.  Over the course of the summer I’ll be weighing the titans of art against one another in a series of posts to eventually crown a winner. Any and all suggestions are welcome in the comments.

This idea was formulated by looking at the search terms on my WordPress dashboard. Last year about this time, I wrote a review comparing the Picasso show at the AGO with the National Gallery’s Van Gogh exhibit. I entitled the piece Van Gogh Vs Picasso, and it was meant to compare the two shows, not the two artists. Over the past year I have noticed quite a few search queries that read Who’s better Van Gogh or Picasso? It is like people out there are asking the great genie that is the internet to tell them who is the greatest artist of them all…..I’m no genie but I know a fun challenge when I see one.

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  Related posts:

W.T.G.A.: Picasso vs Rembrandt

W.T.G.A.: Goya vs Rothko

W.T.G.A.: Dali vs Warhol

W.T.G.A.: Da Vinci vs Duchamp

W.T.G.A.: Bacon vs Basquiat

W.T.G.A.: Cezanne vs Kandinsky

W.T.G.A.: Velazquez vs Van Gogh

W.T.G.A.: Michelangelo vs Matisse

Digital Painting: Another Conversation

Another Conversation 2013

Another Conversation 2013

Almost ready for the weekend. It looks like it is going to be a soggy one.

Oh Canada

Peter Doig Country Rocks 1998-99

Peter Doig Country Rocks 1998-99

Here’s a wonderful painting by painter Peter Doig. Although he no longer lives here, he spent many a year as a child growing up in Canada, so we consider him one of our own. This image is a very familiar sight for anyone traveling up the Don Valley in Toronto. Happy Canada Day.