WHAT I FORGOT

Or wrote, and then covered up with other words until the ideas were lost.

The first ever collages appeared in 1912.  “Collage” means pasting or gluing, and in this context, what was really new that Picasso and Georges Braque first did was to regard a piece of paper (newspaper, printed fabric, sheet music)  as a shape, one that stood on its own in a composition.

chair caning

In the above collage from 1912, the chair caning is printed on vinyl-like fabric, and this fabric is used as part of the composition.  Other drawings are incorporated, shapes in themselves, and done in the cubist method, with which Picasso and Braque were also experimenting.  Picasso drew cast shadows on the fabric, further tying it into the picture plane.  Look at the big word “JOU” from the collage above.  Here it is drawn.  Below,  Le Jour (the Day) word from the masthead of the newspaper is used in collage.  Both of these works date from 1912.  A cubist view (remember  cubism attempts to merge all views of the object into one view) of a wine glass accompanies the guitar, mounted on wall paper.

Picasso_Guitar_Sheet_Music_and_Wine_Glass_1912

Collage is so familiar to us now, that it is hard to imagine that someone had to “invent” it.  So, in galleries, in Paris, were the first collages displayed, in 1912.   Remember, information did not travel very fast in those days.

dellschau2.jpg.CROP.article920-largeCharles Dellschau  died in 1923.  He created these collaged drawings about air travel and a supposed “club” to which he belonged during the gold rush of the the 1890s, in scrapbook form.

dates for dellThe center bottom of this piece says “Houston, Texas (where he lived), August 6, 1919.

A butcher in Houston, Texas was making collages in 1919 where until sometime in 1912 the idea was unknown?  Leave it to the  uninitiated, those following a personal light, creating private worlds where they could be happy, to do something remarkably early.

4549

History is created by the victors.  Or those who tweet the loudest.

dellschau-1969

This is dated August, 1909.  So was Dellschau making art?  Scrapbooking, only?  Whatever, he wasn’t tweeting about it.  Picasso never lost an opportunity to tweet, to be sure.  Man, history or art history just cannot be trusted.

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BECOMING PASSE

Or, continuing to live as a baby boomer.  Rather than not living.  What else can we do?  Probably in junior high, the following were two of my beliefs:  one, that the farsidedness of middle age would neutralize my nearsidedness, and glasses would not be needed by me anymore.  Two, that (once realizing how BIG the baby boomer generation was) numbers would trump youth.  It would be cool to be old, because there were so many of us.  Wrong.

In America, there is nothing that trumps youth.

And it is only now that my brain has formed opinion based on knowledge and not impulse.  Having taught for many years, many holes in my early education have been plugged.  Oh, there are still some.  Reading now “The Count of Monte Christo“, the laptop sitting next to me prompts me on the smaller details of the French Revolution, the Hundred Days, that kind of stuff.  I welcome it to the slurry in my brain.  And there is so much more reading to do.

Now that I can think, no one will hear.

notebook

This is a notebook created by Charles Dellschau, an object of beauty even before opening.  Look at the play of the lines on the edges of of the pages against one another.  Thank you, “Infinite Art Tournament” for giving up this image (but not for placing artists against one another in a boxing ring).  That is why we are artists.  You cannot pick a “rookie of the year” in art.  Or ” most valuable player”.

This man’s work was never shown other to members of his secret club.  A club made of men interested in flying machines.

page of drawings

He died in 1923.  So these books represent a then current interest, many were thinking about this.  The Wright Bros. flight was December 17, 1903.  Successful flights were conducted before this time, but without the tools for power over the aircraft.  And maybe those others did not create their image carefully enough.  They didn’t tweet.

striped

Look at these amazing images:  bold, detailed, personal, parts using a private language, and give clues to real events.  Ah, my students will say “symmetry is not the most interesting of the methods of balance”, but I give this man a break.  Just like James Hampton.  If anybody can emblazen symmetry like these two, I am on their side.  Don’t get me going on the detail and subtlety that counteracts the strong symmetry.

1_throne

James Hampton

textile

This looks like a textile.  Maybe that is what draws me to this work.  The drawing looks like stitches, and he does significant work with borders in these drawings, like a quilt would have.

But textiles are now passe.  In the 1970’s with the liberation of women and political issues that went along with the cause, “punching holes”  in what a textile was was liberating.  Who did most of the textiles?  Repetitive, mundane, small and not splashy, women did them.  They stitched in their energy.

Textiles are now passe, but they still represent women my age, those who passed through those times.  Now other media are more interesting.  Stuff relevant to 2013:  technology, and making stuff out of what we throw away.

Remember:  your work has to reflect the days in which you live.