Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Most short lists of greatest living artists will have names such as David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, (BigThink.com’s own) Ai Weiwei, Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst, or Jeff Koons. But who would put filmmaker George Lucas at the top of that list? Critic and cultural agent provocateur Camille Paglia does in her latest book, Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars. Part manifesto, part idiosyncratic beginner’s guide to art history, Glittering Images is, in Paglia’s words, “an attempt to reach a general audience for whom art is not a daily presence,” but for whom “[t]he only road to freedom is self-education in art.” In elevating Lucas to the top tier of artists, Paglia hopes to tap into “the force” that is popular culture and erase the culture boundaries that keep the elites in and the rest out. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Is George Lucas the Greatest Artist of Our Time?"
[Image: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker duel on Mustafar in George Lucas’ film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). Image source.]
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
In story after story after story, one powerfully persistent meme of the 2012 American presidential election was that the GOP faced a significant “demographics problem” in which the growing numbers of former minorities such as African-Americans and Latinos threatened to make the Republican Party itself a minority. ARTINFO executive editor Ben Davis recently raised a very interesting question as to whether the art world today has a similar demographics problem. In “Diversify or Die: Why the Art World Needs to Keep Up With Our Changing Society,” Davis worries that the future of art museums in America looks as bleak as future Republican electoral chances unless the whitening trend is reversed. Does the art world have a demographics problem and, if so, what can be done to correct it? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Does the Art World Have a Demographics Problem?"
[Image: Rembrandt. The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632.]
Sunday, November 18, 2012
A decade ago, Chris Hedges titled his analysis of the addictive power of war War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. If war truly is a force that gives us meaning, photography is a force that gives us a means by which to envision that meaning. In War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, which runs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, through February 3, 2013, photography’s ability to capture every aspect of war—from beginning to end—becomes almost troublingly clear. Dedicated not just to the thick of the fight, but also to the events leading up to as well as the consequences thereafter, War/Photography demonstrates how deep our need is to picture war as a means to understand it and, perhaps, avoid it. Unfortunately, in an age of dehumanized battle where automated drones strike from above, we may be losing the genre of war photography itself, just when we need it more than ever. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Why We Need War Photography Now More Than Ever."
[Image: Joe Rosenthal, American (1911–2006), Over the Top—American Troops Move onto the Beach at Iwo Jima, February 19, 1945, gelatin silver print with applied ink (printed February 23, 1945), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Richard S. and Dodie Otey Jackson in honor of Ira J. Jackson, M.D., and his service in the Pacific Theater during World War II. © Associated Press.][Many thanks to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, for providing me with the image above from and other press materials related to War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, which runs through February 3, 2013.]