Thursday, 10 June 2004

Hopper again...

And now we come to the tricky bit. My old buddy, Buddy K (AKA Throdorus Gassoon) suffers from a form of Comment Box Claustrophobia, so I've imported part of his latest Comment here. How this will work out, should the occasion occur again, remains to be seen.

But it's my blog and I'll do whatever I think is right.

Saw the Tim Marlowe show on Hopper, thought it all a bit shallow - but the paintings were great - and I suspect not a little influential on Mr Zip - especially the view of a NYC building from the train (can't remember the title).

Surprised he didn't mention the other great US big city alienist of the time - Cornell Woolrich. Hopper's paintings would make great covers for his books. Suzie Sue and I are going to see it next week.

I missed most of the Tim Marlow programme tonight, but have generally found him interesting and competent enough. I think he's more of a populariser of painting, and who am I to condemn him for that?

I also missed some of the Alan Yentob (I still find it difficult to believe he changed his name from "Botney") Imagine programme on Hopper last night, because instead of checking the tv listings, I fell under the spell of Jurassic Park III. What I did see, however, was very good, and I'm assured Patsy123 has it all safely on video, waiting for my trip to London.

What fascinates me about all the attention the Hopper show is getting is that it's painting we're talking about. Not someone's snot in a jar. Not a room lit by a light-bulb taken from the desk-lamp of the architect of the Twin Towers and placed in a gallery context. Not ....oh, make up your own. You can do it. Anyone can.

Now why should it be that so much attention is being given to a 20th century American Realist painter? Could it be that there's so much more to say about his work than there is about snot in a jar? Surely not.

Or could it be that the publicity surrounding contemporary art was enough to get the general public into galleries, but now the same general public have recognised that a lot of contemporary art is superficial bollocks.

At the same time they've been exposed to the long tradition of painting and suddenly realise that, hey, we can look at this! It isn't elitist after all. You might have to work at it. You might find that the more you learn about art history, the more you get out of gallery visits. But we can enjoy looking at paintings.

I've noticed that there's been a recent flurry of books by some of the bigger publishers, Dorling Kindersley for one, providing a good popularist background to the history of painting. The guys at these publishing houses don't do this sort of thing unless they think they've spotted a trend.

And perhaps tv producers have spotted the same trend. As a painter, I hardly need say that I would find this a Good Thing.

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