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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Artoo-Detoo



This year marks the 30th anniversary of “The Empire Strikes Back” one of the   greatest   films to date in the Sci-Fi / Fantasy genre’. George Lucas even created the label “Space Fantasy” to avoid the ridged and unrealistic explanations that the science fiction purist had come to required. The films were only movies not text books. “Empire” was the second installment released in the most endearing and puzzling of franchises known to film goers; ” Star Wars”. Within the “Star Wars” series Lucas created three remarkable films and three that were sadly disappointing. An artist and creator should always be judged by their best work and Lucas remains in a very small fraternity of extraordinary master film makers.








Lucas has used and taken every element of film and expanded   them to phenomenal levels; effects, sound, editing, character and story. This includes the end results as well as the actual “nuts and bolts.” The dialogue from “Empire” alone is repeated in countless movies and writings to this day. The mythology and mystery of film is much vaster because of the mind and heart of George Lucas.  “The Empire Strikes Back”; his opus.


                                                                 



R2-D2 and C-3PO were the “Laurel and Hardy” of the serials and are as loved and ubiquitous as any creations of fiction. The pair was originally intended to be the center of the series and the story would unfold from their unique points of view. They represent Lucas and his vision very well and I chose a photo from another “American Master”;  Annie  Leibovitz to animate.
                                                            






Her portrait of Artoo in a shipping crate which first appeared in Vanity Fair was my inspiration and the only source material for my short piece “Artoo in Box”. The original portrait was part of a spread depicting a behind the scenes look at “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” the fifth “Star Wars” film to be released. The other stills featured here are all by Leibovitz.





                                                      "Artoo In A Box"

video


                                        
                    Many thanks to you George and Annnie.  I hope “Artoo in a Box” brings you a smile.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving



Humility; reverence, piety, appreciation are all embodied in the brilliant work “The Thankful Poor.” The American Master; Henry O. Tanner is at his most self assured and brilliance in this piece. It is a quiet celebration; an American painting for the ages. As it illuminates the world it is Tanner’s great triumph. It is a reflection of our best selves.
Today is a day of many celebrations; balloons, banners, bands, football and feasts. I hope we all have our moment of piety; our quiet celebrations as we give thanks.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Drawings




                            
                                       
Drawing is the basis of almost every creative and productive endeavor. It is the great clarifier and instructor.  It can be elegant; simple, complex, humorous, poignant, mechanical…and even scary. It encompasses every aspect of life; every art form and every science. Without it our world would be so much less interesting; an extremely dull place. It is something that almost every human being has done or does now at least some of the time. I have never known a child that didn’t love to draw. Humanity possesses no greater article in the arsenal against apathy and ignorance. There is no more powerful or empowering tool.   Drawing is a wonderful and enchanting thing. Simply put…the art and act of drawing is phenomenal.
A work of art should be able to stand on it’s own without reference or context.   Explanations   can be distractions. These are some of my favorite drawings; among the best I believe you’ll see. They range from sketches to fully realized academic pieces. They speak more eloquently for themselves and for their creators than I or anyone could. I hope you agree and I hope you enjoy.





                                                                                                                             




                                                                       




                      
                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                       



                                                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                             
                                     
   


                                                                                    





    




















To the credit of:

Steven Assael  John Currin
Jim Dine  Brad Holland
Frank Gehry  David levine
Robert Liberace


"Inspirations All"
                                                   

Sunday, November 7, 2010

BASQUIAT






There have been more books written, more magazine articles and even movies made about him than any other. His works have garnished the highest prices at auction and continue to climb yearly. He is in the private collections of famous and noted collectors like Vegas luminary Steve Wynn and designer Valentino.  He is a pivotal figure in the history of art and culture. His importance continues to be debated, his worth reviewed. Artist Jean- Michel Basquiat was known and peer to the greats of his time. He was admired and sometimes ignored as well.

He was also African American and among all artist of African descent he was and at this time is “The Greatest”. It is easy to make the comparison to sports figures like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and most importantly Jackie Robinson. He was the “Jackie Robinson” of the art world. Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley and Wangechi Mutu have directly benefited from his presence and accomplishments. Kerry James Marshall, Martin Puryear and Sam Gilliam to a lesser but still major degree are benefactors of the Basquiat legacy.
I was introduced to Jean-Michel in an article written by Susie Gablick in “Art in America”. She was writing about the surge in presence and price of graffiti artists on the New York and world art scene. This was a fascinating article featuring Keith Haring along with Basquiat and other rising stars exhibiting at Fashion Moda. This was in the early Nineteen Eighties and I knew these were artist with a lot of potential and they were to be watched.

I would keep an eye on these guys and see how they developed. The next piece I read on Basquiat; a year or so later was an extended article and spread in Warhol’s “Interview”. It seemed that Warhol had taken a personal and professional interest in Basquiat and was promoting him. Basquiat had become at least for the moment an insider and very fashionable.  What seemed like an incredibly short time later (still the Nineteen Eighties) I read something on the cover of “Vanity Fair” about the death of a young   artist. I open the magazine to find the photographic portrait of Basquiat by James Van Der Zee. How could he be gone so soon? The impossible is not always so impossible. Basquiat was twenty seven and his career had lasted less than a decade.


In death Basquiat has collaborated with Maya  Angelou on a children’s book and was the subject of Julian Schnabel’s directorial debut in film. He has been the featured artist of major retrospectives and documentaries. His works are represented in the permanent collections of many of the world’s great museums.


The artist that once courted Madonna is now suitor to eternity. As he told his father” Papa… I’m going to be famous” fulfilled his childhood prophesy within a brief time and with many works. The legend, the mystique, the life has grown over the years; as it should.
We will wonder about what might have been for Jean-Michel and ourselves in turn. We will celebrate and marvel at the brilliance of what remains and at what once was.



Jerome Schlomoff  (c) 1988 Paris
                                                                                         1960 - 1988