Friday, May 28, 2010

THE FETCHING AUDACITY OF PETER SAUL

This New York Times article on LA artist Peter Saul was handed to me by my friend Cianne Fragione, a fellow artist, with the stipulation that she had the notion that I'f like him, that his work reminded her of my own. Initially, after scanning the one or two images published in the newsprint and reading the article, I decided that I was in mild disagreement with my friend's assessment. No disrespect to Mr. Saul, I just didn't see it. Nearly two years later I found myself desperate to google any information I could find to reassess my artistic relationship to some aging Orange County artist, which is all I could remember about him initially.

PETER SAUL'S ART IS NOT PRETTY, though it has many eye-catching pleasures. Nor is it polite. Indeed, the artist makes zealous efforts to ensure the opposite. In America today, he says in a catalog interview, “there’s a tremendous need to not be seen as racist, not seen as sexist. So I want to make sure I am seen as those things.”

Israel
He succeeds. What museum would be the right one for a painting of a knife-wielding O. J. Simpson strapped down for execution as a buxom blond angel points to a blood-stained glove and intones, “This is why you have to die”? Or for a picture of Christopher Columbus slaughtering New World natives who themselves hold platters of chopped human limbs in their arms?

What is the appropriate place for art that stirs together John Wayne Gacy and Angela Davis, Mickey Mouse and Ethel Rosenberg, Stalin and Willem de Kooning, Basil Wolverton and George W. Bush, then spikes the broth with prickly references to capitalism, Communism, homophobia, feminism, Black Power, racism, pedophilia and art-world politics and—last but not least—to the aging, decaying, self-lacerating artist himself?

Depending on who’s looking, Mr. Saul might be seen either to embrace or revile individual ingredients in this stew, though when his art is pressed to declare its loyalties, it gives no unequivocal answers. Indeed, it seems to be answer-averse, a species of painting as agitation, picture-making as button-pushing.

Mr. Saul, who was born in San Francisco, started pushing buttons in the late 1950s when he discovered that although he liked the way certain Abstract Expressionist artists painted, he couldn’t stomach the Existentialist mumbo-jumbo that surrounded their work. So he adopted the brushy style but dumped the pretensions. Instead of spiritual depths, he painted icebox interiors stocked with soft drinks, steaks, daggers, penises and toilets. In the process he created a painterly version—Larry Rivers did the same—of what would come to be called Pop Art.

Peter Saul, now 76, is a classic artist’s artist, one of our few important practicing history painters and a serial offender in violations of good taste. His career, while long, steady and admired, has never exceeded cult status. It’s an example of can’t-see-the-tree-for-the-forest visibility.

Read it all.

You be the judge.

24 comments:

LeanneC珮瑜 said...

人間好話,要如海綿遇水牢牢吸住............................................................

benjaminga said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份..................................................

峻龍 said...

時間就是靈魂的生命。......................................................................

洪筱婷 said...

看看文章轉換心情,也幫你加個油哦

峻帆峻帆峻帆 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼.................................................................

于庭 said...

當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。............................................................

竹青 said...

感謝予我如此動感的blog!..................................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

Offence is the best defence.............................................................

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張怡 said...

朋友是一面鏡子............................................................

江美娟江美娟 said...

far from eye, far from heart...................................................

黃威宇 said...

Fancy may kill or cure...................................................

淑娟淑娟淑娟 said...

死亡是悲哀的,但活得不快樂更悲哀。. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ErnestoW_Honaker101婉菁8 said...

你不能決定生命的長度,但你可以控制它的寬度..................................................................

蔡書豪蔡書豪 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼............................................................

志張皓 said...

I do like ur article~!!!............................................................

謝翁穎翰毓珍 said...

沈舟側畔千帆過,病樹前頭萬木春............................................................

恩宛玲如 said...

人若賺得全世界,賠上自己的靈魂,有什麼益處?......................................................

偉曹琬 said...

你的選擇就是做或不做,不做就永遠不會有機會............................................................

凱v胡倫 said...

真得很不錯的blog,加油哦............................................................

江仁趙雲虹昆 said...

No pains, no gains.......................................................................

佳張張張張燕張張張張張 said...

Pen and ink is wits plough...................................................................

翊翊翊翊張瑜翊翊翊 said...

從人生中拿走友誼,猶如從生活中移走陽光......................................................................