Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I really want to do a post about art, but I feel like I'll sound poserish. It's not that I really care whether I sound lame to the people who read this blog, but you know how you find old elementary-school diaries, read them and want to immediately burn them because you can't believe you were that stupid? It's like that. I don't want to come across what I've written in twenty years and think "Good God, I was an idiot." Such is the paradox of the digital age- everything is on the Internet permanently, for better or for worse. This is why I never discuss politics on my blog- it's one thing to talk out of my ass in debate class, but completely another to record it permanently.
So I'm going to talk about my favorite artist, but bear in mind that I have never taken a class on him and/or written a thesis about him. I could read a bunch of profiles on him online, but that would somehow feel dishonest. If there's one thing I'm big on, it's not aping other people's perspectives so you can sound smart. I'll use Wikipedia for some basic details about his life, but that's it. So if anyone reading this has, please don't judge me bad. Ly. I may not know what I'm talking about, but one of the beautiful things about art is you don't have to. Oh, and if this post bores you...I'll try to slip in lots and lots of photos. Frankly, I need a lot of colorful pictures and pop culture references to make it through a post like the one I'm about to write- my attention span is effectively zero.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a neo-expressionist artist (I don't know either. Let's just assume it's a fancy art word and move on.) He started out mainly as a graffiti artist in lower Manhattan in the '80s. As he became more well-known, his work was exhibited with the work of artists like Keith Haring (another favorite of mine) and Francesco Clemente. He also hung out with Andy Warhol, which...ehh. I'm over my Andy Warhol phase, I think. Luckily, Sienna Miller helped to make me loathe all things Edie Sedgwick with that atrocity of a film called Factory Girl, which I liked for about two days and then instantly loathed. Basquiat died of mixed drug toxicity, according to Wikipedia (I thought he died of an overdose. Are they the same thing? I'm not really up to date on the drug world) in 1988. The thing I like best about his work is how it kind of feels like it's playing a joke on you. I mean, a seasoned art expert could look at it and say "Hmm. I see tones of so-and-so here. This is clearly an impassioned plea for social justice in post-war America" or something. Or, an unexperienced amateur blogger (hi) could look at it and say, "Hmmm. Cool picture. I like how the images are kind of frenetic and crazy-looking but it all fits together nicely." I could be off-base here, and obviously it's impossible to ask Basquiat what he intended to portray in his works, but I just feel like he's kind of cleverly making fun of the art world by putting all this random stuff together and making people think there's some hidden message, when maybe it's just a cool picture. Maybe there is, I don't know (a hidden message, that is). That's just the impression I get from his paintings. See, this is why I shouldn't blog about art- I don't know what I'm saying. I think what I'm saying is- I never get tired of looking at his paintings. You could look at them forever and still not "understand". They're like collages in that every piece is different yet fits together in some deliciously bizarre and twisted and gaudy way. I have a Basquiat print hanging in my bedroom, and often I find myself just sitting there idly and looking at it.
Without further ado-

See what I mean? You could look at this for days, trying to decipher the hidden meaning. Or you could just look at it as interesting graffiti art.

What I think is coolest about Basquiat is that his stuff looks like something a child could have made, yet infinitely more complicated and intricate.

Finally, here he is himself.

He actually looks like he'd be fun to hang out with, unlike Andy Warhol.

Okay, so that's my schpiel on Basquiat. He, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Keith Haring and Manet are my all-time favorite artists.

MUSIC & TV CORNER- I've been listening to so much good stuff lately. "Casimir Pulaski Day" by Sufjan Stevens is pretty perfect and melancholy and beautiful. It's sad, of course, as it's about a girl with cancer, but it's not overly emo or angsty. Look at these lyrics-
Golden rod and the 4-H stone

The things I brought you
When I found out you had cancer of the bone
Your father cried on the telephone
And he drove his car to the Navy yard
Just to prove that he was sorry
In the morning through the window shade
When the light pressed up against your shoulder blade
I could see what you were reading.

"Bad Education" by Tilly and the Wall is such an amazing song. I love that they tap-dance along with their singing. "Hotel Song" is one of my new favorites by Regina Spektor- but really, you can't go wrong with Regina. And I'm loath to admit it, but I've totally been listening to that song "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Whoever A LOT lately. Okay, I know her full name. It's Corinne Bailey Rae. It's a pretty catchy song. And by catchy, I mean it won't get the hell out of my head. Anyway, at least CBR isn't one of those annoying fake-breathy bubble gum pop singers who constantly sound like they're intoning through their noses. Not to name names. Shmanessa Barlton. Oh, ALSO, I just found out that the Beatles are coming to iTunes. How do we feel about this? Molly? Wat? Other Beatles aficionados/aficionadas? On the one hand, it's cool that their music will be more available. On the other hand, it kind of feels like it ruins the Beatles' classic...Beatleness to have them on iTunes. An old quote from somewhere springs to mind- "On the other hand, you have different fingers." Yes, I am the queen of Randomania. But think about it for a minute or two.

So Jael got the (steel-toed) boot last week. Yeah, I should be more upset, but...the girl is two sandwiches short of a picnic lunch. May I just quote her for a moment? "I will protect them from the evil ducks of the universe." "I am the spreader of light." "I just wanna, like, touch the grass, and the animals, and, like, breathe the air, and climb the trees." Picture Jael in samurai attire fighting herds of pecking ducks dressed in little Renee-esque headscarves away from the Top Model domain, rubbing some poor defenseless animal and stroking the grass and gleefully spreading light around the realm. Bahahahaha. Funny girl, but I would have been worried for the safety of the other girls had she remained any longer. The girl celebrated her elimination by putting on a blue wig and tutu. Kind of awesome, yes, but also kind of batshit. I am now firmly on team Dionne and Nata. Can they both win? I'd rather Nata won, because I LOVE HER, for real, I can't believe she didn't used to be my favorite, but I love Dionne too. I didn't think this season's girls were all that good at first, but they're growing on me. Especially Jas-queen. Oh, by the way, I love how they had that April chick from Cycle 2 and pretended like being a top model- I'm sorry, a Top Model- will actually get you somewhere in life. Oh, one more thing. JAS-QUEEN, EAT A CHEESEBURGER. JESUS.

SIGHTINGS- Oh, I saw a bad thing. I saw a really bad thing. I am not saying this to be cruel, but because it is the truth. Unless you are Britney circa 1999, you should NEVER attempt the schoolgirl look in a tiny pleated kilt and tied-up white oxford, with knee-length stockings and Mary Janes. Not kidding. Somebody actually wore this outside on the street. Without irony. On a Saturday, so it clearly wasn't a school uniform- also, the woman wearing it was Of A Certain Age, which really makes it that much sadder. Also, just because it is summer, nearly (YAYAYAYAYAYA. I love summer, especially after a long winter), doesn't mean every cyclist in the park needs to be sporting Lycra and Spandex and whatnot for their morning rides. Especially if you are...er, endowed in the buttock arena. There are plenty of clever and stylish alternatives to shiny bike shorts. Now, onto the good...a girl of attention-seeking thinness was strutting down Fifth Avenue in the cutest pinstriped shorts with wedge heels, which usually annoy me but looked cool with the shorts. If I hadn't hated her on principle I would have kind of idolized her.

CURRENT ATTIRE- I'm in this little gray hand-me-down minidress that I think is actually kind of cute, despite the dreaded BUBBLE HEM. Don't leave me a million comments telling me how O-U-T bubble hems are, the lovely Touche19 already told me (hi, Touche19!) and I know they are, and actually I loathe them...but this dress is so cute. I probably won't wear it when I leave in a few minutes, but actually, why the hell not? I mean, I might as well. It's a pretty nice dress. Anyway, I've also got on loaned lace-up ballet flats and a loaned purse. Is anything I'm wearing mine? Besides the unmentionables? Er, no.



maya said...

but if your a hot guy wearing spandex shorts then thats just fine...actually it so isnt. i cant decide.
i personally love bubble hems and am going to wear them anyway.
i used to do this thing when i was 'indie'. i used to get magazines that have the hot and not section and then as soon as trends went out of fashion i would wear them thinking i was being really cool and inique. i was cool...
we had the final of americas next top model here last night and even though i already knew that caridee won (we are sooo far behind) i was really pleased anyway.
The aritist seems really cool. sorry i forget names.

missx said...

I've been listening to tons of rave British bands lately... Klaxons (!)

I share your love for Dali.

Glad Jael was kicked off. wikipedia lied, it said she would be one of the 2 finalists. never trust wikipedia...

stilettoheights said...

you're not a poseur!!!!!!!

At least you are talking about art, most people don't even bother.


CountryGirl_CityLife said...

I am not nice really, notice I had to ruin my sweet RAOK post by ending it on how much people who don't say thank you irk me. I swear, I am mean, I think mean thoughts about what people are wearing in midtown all day. The corpworld never should have went bizcasual cause people wear some SCARY things.
I love the artsy post. You talked about it in a relateable way, heck I don't even try to express my feelings on art, its too hard to think of artsy words. hurts my brain. I assume you have watched the basquiat film a bajillion times? God, I love me some Parker Posey. She will forever and ever be my IT girl. I might have to post about her. Rejayjay is the bomb, but I still like her other album better. I saw her with Langhorne Slim, you must give him a spin, geniosity. Can you believe Rhys is in Rehab, I am so so sad.

La Principessa said...

I feel like I should comment on Basquiat, but. . . I'm always been more of the expressionism type, myself. Dude, the beautiful thing about opinions is that you're allowed to change them. Don't sweat posting something you might not agree with later. It's allowed.

Sufjan Stevens is amazing.

jayne said...

hmm i've never actually heard of him, not my favorite, but definitely thought provoking (even those thoughts are confusing ones hehe). i still like warhol, but no way would i ever go to the factory...ahhh.

i hate bike shorts, seriously, you're not lance armstrong! don't try and act all hardcore!

and i adore sufjan stevens! that is a beautiful song :) i love the line "and all the complications you could do without when i kissed you on the mouth" - have you heard: chicago, the man of metropolis steals our hearts, jacksonville, romulus....ok i'll stop now! i basically just love the man...i have love the whole "do all 50 states idea!" :)

-ciao bella- said...

I'm taking a really laid back modern art class kind of thing and we just talked about Basquiat. I am now determined to get some print of his. I think that they're so cool and really original. xx

mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mary said...

its cool you wrote about basqiat, i always loved him but never knew his background and stuff. he's pretty cute, too.

Touche19 said...

but never heard of the artist. Interesting.... I think I'm becoming a fan.
Sufjan = genius. Actually idolize him.
The dress + ballet shoes actually sounds cute. You most deff could pull it off.
I'm so honored!!!! :D

mary said...

re: the canary yellow dress
yep, it's pretty amazing. as a matter of fact, i think i saved it from your blog in the first place, just cause i loved it so much!

coco said...

good post

Meg said...

That was a post about art that I could actually read. The whole way through. I hate when pseudo-intellectuals stand around yapping about the light and the texture, why can't they just appreciate it for what it is? Why?
I think the Beatles are overrated. I'm a Beach Boys fan myself. Truth. I just bought a bubble-hemmed skirt from a thrift hall because it was a) a bargain, b) made of this incredible petrol blue silk...I might just cut the bubble off. Which I'll regret and then I'll never wear the skirt.

I used to read this blog written by a guy on dating and women, and he said Sufjan was getting laid music because girls loved it. I have a few SS CD's so I actually got pretty worried when I realised that not many guys I know are fans.

Re: Amy Winehouse herself is comical, but I do love her album. Her barnet is pretty silly though. Like Marge Simpson.

Meg said...

PS. Can I use the word pseudo-intellectual without sounding like a twat? Or should I just have said fakers?

Blue Floppy Hat said...

I've heard of this chap, vaguely in connection with Franceso Clemente (whom I know of because he did the artwork in the 1998 version of Great Expectations, which I think was lovely- both the movie and the paintings) but this is the first time I'm seeing his stuff.
I'll take Marcel Duchamp and Rene Magritte over Warhol any day. Though those silkscreens were quite cool..

Frapp said...

A Britney-esque can only work on you if you're wearing it as a joke and you're under 25. Otherwise just no. And I love Regina, especially Fidelity!

WAT said...

Yeah, the Beatles on I-Tunes. Aw shucks. They should've left them off! It does make 'em more special!

SUFJAN STEVENS! I LOVE SUFJAN STEVENS! OMG! WOOHOO! And he's cute too! Is he gay? Yeah, I dig his songs, though some do bore me. WOW! HOW COOL IS THAT! I FOUND ANOTHER SUFJAN FAN!

alexgirl said...

I wish I could wear cute little pin stripe shorts with heels/wedges. I think it's adorable, but my fat thighs think otherwise.
Basquiat is awesome. Glad you took a few moments to explore your artistic views. Did you see the bio-pic about him? It's with whats-his-name... the guy that was in Angels in America--Jeffrey Wright mayb? Anyway, it was kind of interesting. Bio-pics can be cool because they give you an insight into what the artist was thinking about/going through while they were creating all that awesome shit. I liked the movie Pollock for the same reason (one of my fave artists).

Jael: I'm glad she's gone. Her bizarre voice made me feel like I was on drugs just listening to her. I hope Nata wins. She's so wrong she's right (as they say).

Hope you rocked the bubble hem when you went out. I want to do a post about all the trendy shit I have in my closet and how I'm "not allowed" to wear it anymore because it's not "in" this season. coughcoughbohoskirtcough.

the lipstick lady said...

oooh wow, pretty...
sorry, I'M SO FUCKING TIRED, EXCUSE THE LANGUAGE BUT WE'RE ALL... SEMI MATURE HERE SO I'M ALLOWED. I would say something that was slightly more intelligent than, PRETTY! YAY, ART! but as you can tell i'm on one of my worse days.

out shmout, bubble hems are hot

Tired, slightly bloated bitch

jungle dream pagoda said...

Own the bubble hem! I love them and find them kinda 50's bad couture,which ofcourse makes it great!I enjoyed your thoughts and impressions on Basquiat,actually it made me like him more.I am a big Keith Haring fan,and read his bio several years ago,and somehow it must have presented Basquiat in a bad light,because ,though I cannot recall why,somehow that book gave me a bad impression of him.There was another 80's artist that I love,dang the memory fails,he was the neighbor of Klaus Nomi,and interviewed in Nomi song.Ther is a Picasso vibe to his stuff. That little kid thing ,but no child coul d paint in those sophisticated ways. A quote I love from Picasso is "It took me my whole lif to learn how to paint like child".

jungle dream pagoda said...

Shoot, I wish you could edit n blogger ,I meant there is a child like vibe to Basquiat ,not that nameless 80's painter that I adore.Oh that was the point of talking about himthe nameless 80's guy,I really love him!

Geisha said...

I love bubble hems...they might be out but I'm not one to follow trends much, anyways. Love your blog! I laughed out loud when you wrote about the diaries people wrote in 5th grade...it happened to me, too.

Tru said...

my friend kept singing regina specktor when we were together yesterday and I had it stuck in my head the entire time

Fashionyou's Molly said...

Haha. Everyone has thier opinion on peaches!!
I do share your love for lily, and from what i've seen of her collection, its all okay.. not exactly unique, but you know how it is with these celebrity trends.

molly said...

ive been reading about andy warhol and they worked together for a long time so as soon as i saw you talking about him i squealed a little! dont you love it when someone talks about culture and you actually know what theyre talking about??

annnnnnywy, so i just did a post on how im not going to be posting for awhile and so obviously the next logical thing to do would be...post a few days later?
weren't expecting that, were you now?

ambika said...

Basquiat is one of my sister's favorites--I even got her this screen printed tee of him DJing b/c I knew she loved him so much. By default, he became one of my faves, mostly for his personal aesthetic rather than for his art just because I've never been super into anything surreal or neo-expressionist (graffiti or no.)

PS: I am adding you to my links b/c your blog is rad.

-S said...

love love love the artwork.
and i'm kind of over the bubble hems, but i think if they are more subtle, then they can work.

Anna said...

I am in love with your blog. I just started my blogger account, but I've been reading your blog for a pretty long time!

I don't care who complains to you about the bubble hem! I'm sure you're rocking that dress! =P

Anna said...

Oh, I totally forgot to mention anything about ANTM.

Natasha is my favorite along with Jaslene and Dionne. I can't stand Renee.

anna said...

I am such a fan.

have you heard aqualung? seems like you would like him, or maybe the kooks: seaside or naive, either one...

lovee youur posts

F.M. said...

My favorite Basquiat-related anything is an exhibition of photographs of the artist himself that I saw in some small art/book shop in Paris in the Fall. Basquiat, as you say, looked like 'a cool guy you'd have fun hanging out with.'

Couture Bowl said...

I am loving Samson by Regina Spektor lately but really her whole cd is fab.

Krazee Eyez Killa said...

What up? I really just wanted to post and say that I really dig your site. I'll keep checkin' on it.

Also, I think that Sufjan is just a tad overrated. Just my opinion...