CULTURAL AFFAIRS: Covering the crossroads of culture and culture
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I wanted to hate them. I wanted to think George Bush’s paintings were profoundly amateurish, the kinds of things you learn to paint from Bob Ross, or those mail-order how-to-courses they used to advertise in the backs of comic books.
We met first in the mid-1990s, back in the relatively early days of e-mail and the Internet, when Compuserve had forums, and we both took part in the forum on Fine Art. We talked about Robert Ryman, and why a white canvas is not just a white canvas, and white paint more than just white paint; and we talked about Jannis Kounellis, and the aesthetic strength of coal. He was from Istanbul, an artist now living in Berlin, and by coincidence knew another artist who had shown at my mother’s gallery in New York, a man by the name of Julius who worked with sound.
While most of the world has had its eyes fixed on the snowy slopes and icy rinks of Sochi, reveling in Olympic victories and moaning in defeats, blood been soaking the streets and homes and villages of South Sudan. What we have not been watching has been the hundreds of men, women, and children slaughtered in the past two weeks, and the murdered since the country was born just over two years ago, all of them executed in a civil war based on tribal enmity and the inhuman horror that is ethnic cleansing.
Just received: the boastful, bell-clanging press release announcing the opening of the L.A. Art Fair, featuring Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Loni Anderson (Loni Anderson?!) and oh, yeah, Shephard Fairey. Along with them you’ll encounter a list of other less-known names — so “less-known,” in fact, that their importance is spelled out for you : what films they were in, what bands they play with, that kind of thing.