Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Charlie Hebdo Assassinations

There is no shortage of death and killing in our world. There are although; those killings and deaths that are more senseless, more heinous, and somehow, more disastrous. The attack on the cartoonist and publishers of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo early this week were such killings. The French citizens and free nations around the world are in shock and mourning of this unthinkable tragedy that transpired in Paris. In a world where such deaths are ever increasing people of good faith; believers of personal and civil liberty, inalienable rights and freedom; particularly, freedom of expression are shocked and appalled. This is certainly because we refuse to accept the brutality, hate and total disregard by the few who would deny the right to express opinion and views different from their own and those views that even we ourselves do not hold or believe. We do mourn, we are shaken, we can even be confused but we will not bow. The citizens of  Paris and all who cherish life and freedom will return stronger and with a greater will to survive, to debate and yes; to satirize the ignorant and misguided who kill the seekers of truth through the power of humor and that of the pen. 

As of this writing thousands have covered the streets and avenues of Paris in respect and reverence for their slain countrymen. The offices of Charlie Hebdo will publish on time and schedule the next issue of their weekly. It will be an expanded and astonishing million copy release. The voices of freedom sing out ever louder, ever stronger.  The suspects (murderers) have received their self-ordained fates. They will not kill again.

Expressions of defiance, regret, consolation and unity were posted and printed from the first moments that the news of the events at Charlie Hebdo were made public. This; sadly was not the first attack on Charlie Hebdo and may not be the last. But again; we stand firmly in support. Editorial cartoonist in particular expressed their heart-felt and stinging messages from Paris and around the globe in remarkable, relentless fashion. Some of the best are on view here. Je Suis Charlie. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hearts of De Milo with Drawings Pinocchio / Jim Dine

Among the most prolific, distinguished and knowledgeable, plus one of the last of a breed of artist that is true to the hand and eye all are Jim Dine. He is one of the original artists to be exhibited under the moniker; “Pop.” Dine continues to work and explore the limitless realm of possibilities. Like his “Pop” peers he chose to and works largely from established cultural icons. Dine’s work includes the Venus De Milo, valentine hearts and the ubiquitously lively marionette Pinocchio. Other favorites among his subjects are every day bath-robes, common tools and further stepping outside of the “Pop” restraints; figurative studies. Paintings, sculpture, charcoals and prints exist within his mastery of mediums and forms. Dine is literally the “King of Hearts” in an ever increasing world of soulless and mindless artists / creators.    

Dine is included in collections across the globe; the British Museum (London), the Hirshhorn (Wash. DC), The Met (NYC), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris) and both MoMA (NYC) and San Francisco MOMA.  He is much sought after by collectors world-wide and especially in Miami Beach. I learned this early last December at Art Miami where I was seeing an unusually large number of his works exhibited. I asked Susan Dishell an LA based gallerist in conversation about the abundance of Jim Dine works on view; this while admiring one of her Dine Hearts. Susan said “Dine’s use of color vibrancy and his painterly technique are a great fit with the character of the Miami collector.”  It made perfect sense as we stood before the painting she said was created especially for this most recent Art Miami fair.


Dine talks  Dine

I’m a longtime fan of Dine’s dating back a number of years and greatly admire his atmospheric, richly textured and the vaguely unfinished quality in his works. The Dine Pinocchio drawings are a hallmark of his many tools and skills. His illustrated edition of the classic Carlo Collodi tale is fabulous. Being true to his “Pop” roots the Dine works are a definite nod to the Walt Disney studios’ interpretation. While he reflects the Disney esthetic; he goes beyond the Disney cartoonist’s visions to a place of artistry, beauty and intrigue within his most effective efforts. 

The former teacher and heroic Jim Dine’s continuous outpouring of spirit and craft are things of truth and beauty. Dine is to be celebrated, revered and many times over admired. His ever expansive body of work enlivens and inspires ever increasingly as it exists and surely grows for our own fulfillment.