Hands off that haiku, that German painting, please

Annotations for a photograph of a painting in a newspaper article about art from the time of two Germanys have reminded me of the irritating inverse relationship between, on the one hand, the quantity of erudite commentary on art and literature — and on the other, the artistic worth of its subjects, or the degree to which explaining them makes any sense.

Am I alone in thinking that a painting, of all things, should speak for itself? Without the detailed notes you’ll see if you click on the ‘interactive graphic’ here I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that I’m supposed to be looking at a neoclassical sculpture morphing into the face of a Baader-Meinhof terrorist. Fascinating, yes, to read that the painter, Lutz Dammbeck, is suggesting that ‘a fascist impulse survived well beyond the Third Reich and perhaps even drove the terrorist groups who saw themselves as the antithesis of Nazis.’ But does the need to say all that amount to a failure of communication by the artist? In my opinion, yes, but perhaps someone reading this post will convince me I’m mistaken.

Much worse was being told that the canvas’ rusty, drop-it-on-yer-foot steel frame weighs 60 lb. — to symbolise ‘the rigidity and irreconcilability’ of the killers.

The one note I did appreciate was learning that Dammbeck ‘used a shoemaker’s awl to punch holes in the canvas and a six-inch long needle to sew canvas fragments together with twine.’ I cannot pretend that that’s serious competition for a feat we’ve learnt about, on this site, from one of its mainstays – how Alarming, an installation artist, and his partner Sue, nearly asphyxiated themselves constructing a porcine colossus in pink silk . But in both cases, few of us could be expected to guess about such ingeniousness and toil on our own.

I also liked learning from the article that the Los Angeles exhibition of which the picture is part has been deliberately arranged to make it hard for visitors to guess which works are from the old East Germany, and which from the West. That would greatly heighten the engagement and interest for me.

A blog I came across at some online newspaper yesterday – I forget which one (since the writers and editors of that site make a point of never acknowledging ideas or facts they lift from bloggers) – reminded me that no art form is more monstrously burdened with commentary than the diminutive haiku. I’m not thinking of the newspaper’s thread-starter but of a particular performance in San Francisco about twenty years ago by the California poet Gary Snyder.

The way I remember it, the introductory lecture went on for the better part of an hour, perhaps longer – and then the mountain brought forth its mice, I mean haiku, in what seemed like ten seconds each. Not that Snyder himself resembled anything so dense and ponderous as an overgrown hill. The audience filling a room at least as large as the Albert Hall listened raptly, since the poet – dark and gravely handsome at that age – sat on the stage with a mysterious stillness, making for the irresistible presence you’d get by crossing a reformed Heathcliff and the Zen roshi he was on his way to becoming after years of training in Japan.

These lines, I’d suggest, really are all the exegesis that such a delicate construction should ever be freighted with. It’s the work of some internet imp who feels exactly as I do, judging by the title of his blog post:

Words in syllables
meaning frozen into portable bits
understanding is wordless

from Ming the mechanic: Strategic resilience through haiku patterns, Flemming Funch

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26 Comments

Filed under Criticism, Poetry, The Guardian, Visual art & artists

26 responses to “Hands off that haiku, that German painting, please

  1. Snyder was the first poet we were introduced to by the unfortunately named Cliff Yates, a final year phd student from the linguistically innovative school, the UK equivalent of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, and very much an academic grouping of Enlgish profs who would be in agreement with Ron Silliman about what he coined as the School of Quietude or Lyric poetry (SoQ) – being a load of hooey and the real poets being the langpo and sound mob, who the lyric crew would say are lack-lustre craazees disquising the lack of talent behind a load of mumbo jumbo.

    ~

    I had not seen Snyder readuntil several minutes ago and on doing so see he has the spark:

    “..the deathless nobility at the core of all ordinary things..”

    The first introduction I had to Snyder was, as i said, through Yates, who was ten years senior to me and we rubbed each other up the wrong way. My writing degree was started by Robert Sheppard, who came out of the Bob Cobbing Sound school shortly after the first Poetry War in the UK in the mid 70’s when Eric Mottram seized control of the Poetry Society and the radicals were on top for a few years in the seventies, and the course began with Pound and ended with Bernstein and the Langpo mob, and covered the full doings of American Modern and PM poetry.

    This was probably ideal, as my natural poetic state is firmly centred in the lyric, so I had to go against the grain and find out about the usual stuff off my own back, as things like meter and prosody and the history of western poetry, was not covered in the official education i was getting. Sheer chance I ended up on the course, but perfect poetry as now, I am well able to hold my own with the madder elements and bluff them out, as most crazees, they expect a negatoive reaction and so when someone goes in all. hey that’s right and starts acting madder, you soon suss on who is genuine and who is a pretend intellctual.

    On the first day of the second year poetry module, after starting with Pound’s ABC of writing (go in fear of abstraction) and Imagism in the first year, we got onto the hard proofs and the poem we looked at was by Snyder and had the lines:

    “Fuck all the celestial hags
    ride the devils horny cock”

    ..which the kids were naturally, bemused by. A mid forties middle class academic crazee presenting us with this seemed, well, a bit, you know, a bit, hey what’s your game?

    So I have never really looked at Snyder till now and see he is real. Up till then I had only seen Michael McClure, who was all in black and gave me the iumpression of someone who had got lucky in the sixties and been feted as a prophet by the trippy LSD lot, and it was only when I saw Kerouac reading on the Steve Allen Show, for the first time 18 months back, I fixed the Beats into place.

    Thanks very much for the space to rant wordy.

  2. wordnerd7

    . . . an aaargh! moment . . . Somehow a fragment, …‘the quantity of’ … got dropped from the opening sentence of the post. Apologies to any confused (or disgusted) readers.

    @Des, a lovely post, thank you. . . I haven’t had a chance to download your YouTube clip but look forward to seeing how he performs now. Glanced at the picture on the page and he’s so different that I couldn’t possibly have recognised him.

    ===So I have never really looked at Snyder till now and see he is real.===

    Oh, he’s a real poet, alright – and came across as hugely likeable and modest. The little haiku at that performance were elegant and admirable in other ways . . . My point was just that it’s a form that makes massive (over-)explanation particularly cumbersome and unnecessary. . . like an elephant dining on an edelweiss flower . . .Someone posted links to his translations of Taoist verse at the other place, and I thought them sensitive and very fine – but of course have no idea of their accuracy or faithfulness to the originals.

    === This was probably ideal, as my natural poetic state is firmly centred in the lyric,===

    There’s very little poetry I love that doesn’t have lyricism at its core, even if it’s subtle and barely detectable. . . so my ‘natural poetic state’ as a reader is the same.

    ===and the poem we looked at was by Snyder and had the lines:

    “Fuck all the celestial hags
    ride the devils horny cock”

    ..which the kids were naturally, bemused by. A mid forties middle class academic crazee presenting us with this===

    . . . That’s a delicious scene to imagine. In the Dali museum in Figuerres a few years ago I watched a pale, prim-looking schoolteacher lecture her enormous class seated at her feet (they looked about twelve or thirteen) about the huge murals in the room, on closely similar themes. Couldn’t believe my eyes. Which poem of Snyder’s is that in? . . . Arts blogs have been an education for me, learning how much more fun arts students have.

    . . . We’ll have to go over the unique history of LitLovers some day – ; ) .. . You forgot to say that BillyMills was part of your ‘hard core’ . . . and your memory slightly deceives you, Des: @atf had already left by the time I joined . . . none of this is, of course, of any interest to anyone who wasn’t there. But LL was a vital part of my training for the blogosphere that I wouldn’t give up for the world – and you were the first GU books blogger to start a site from outrage with the behaviour of the mods . . . Remembering @Schopenhauer coming in near the end of your experiment, posting the lyrics for a Linda Ronstadt song, I put on an old CD of hers I hadn’t listened to for aeons – and Just One Look had me on my feet in seconds . . . Such a compelling beat . . . without that and her luscious diva voice, it would be bubble gum music . . . but I shook off all the creepy-crawly sensations from the unfriendly discussions on the last blog, dancing in the twilight, and racing my corpuscles. . . ahhh.

  3. WN Doesn’t it depend on the work? RB Kitaj could be a real windy bore, his paintings come with many notes attached but there’s something in them at surface value that makes you want to delve further ( at times not always ) . He was always quite strident as to his paintings needing background study to fully understand – he was influenced I think by the copious notes that come with the Waste Land.

    But as you say there’s nothing worse than guff which tells you what it’s supposed to be. It’s almost as if it doesn’t have confidence in you to make those connections – if indeed those connections are genuinely there. But sometimes it’s the gallery PR who indulge in such activity and rope in academics to write absurd essays.

    The art usually lacks an immediacy or a visceralness which should never be the only quality but certainly, in my opinion, helps as regards visual art. But I also wonder if such work isn’t like certain forms of music or performance in being an abstraction of an abstraction of an abstraction and only for an audience in the know who can appreciate each minutae of detail. The game is to get this stuff shown and sell it.

  4. wordnerd7

    === but there’s something in them at surface value that makes you want to delve further ( at times not always ) ===

    Yes, @alarming, it’s when the surface doesn’t draw me in or give me the smallest clue about why it’s even supposed to be a work of art that the rococo explanations are most baffling . . . and maddening. The next thought is: why didn’t the artist just paint over the misbegotten canvas and start on a new painting . . . oh, I know! because s/he is lazy and thought of a long and entertaining yarn to make up for what’s missing.

    I’ve never seen a Kitaj in the flesh, so to speak, and his has struck me as work that can’t be judged from photographs – or let’s just say that the photographs made no great impression.

    === But sometimes it’s the gallery PR who indulge in such activity and rope in academics to write absurd essays. ===

    Funny, I never think about this in relation to the visual arts, so the chats on these blogs are most enlightening. .. What you say rings true.

    . . . You know, something I did love about the WRAS site is that there is virtually no guff about anything your group does. . . Just a sentence or two for each piece, and then you’re left to make up your own story about the man on the top of the compost pile, at the end of the video . . the ear-rubbing and so on . . . There was one day when I nearly asked you a question but stopped in time, thinking, no the point is surely to encourage people to fill in the blanks on their own . . . And yet the video, though technically a little wobbly, was riveting from start to finish. To go back to the beginning of your post, the ‘surface’ grabbed me, and I look forward to playing with other meanings in other viewings . . . still hope you’ll post more videos soon.

    Do you know Dammerback’s work, btw? And did the article make you want to see more of it . . . I blame the conversation with you and @BC about Gunter Grass for the article catching my eye, . . .

    . . . Very happy with the particular ways you and @Des have got things started on this thread. . . We certainly need a change of subject [eye-rolling icon goes here] : ). . . I watched the Snyder clips, Des, thanks — he’s very much changed in every way, except for his smile. . . even his style of reading.

  5. WN Don’t know the artist but hyper-active blurb seems commonplace – especially in support of something that is ultra-dry and almost reticent to give up its secrets without a text-based prod.

    Some of Kitaj’s work is lovely – patches of dry looking paint like a mould has spread on the canvass. Some is just pompous and too remote however. Though here in the UK the poor guy received some of the nastiest criticism I’ve ever read. Really personal and vindictive. It completely unhinged him unfortunately.

    Our work happens outside to an audience who 8 times out of 10 are not gallery-goers or theatre buffs so we have to have an immediacy to what we do. We wouldn’t write such stuff anyway but catalogues and programme notes aren’t practical or feasible in such a situation. Once we’ve hooked them in ( with an intriguing image or something like the bed show which makes them curious as to what’s going on inside that tent so they’ll queue to find out ) we try to make the experience as rich as possible.

    Outdoor audiences haven’t paid to see us, haven’t made an informed decision to see us, they may have decided to go to a festival but it will be for the overall experience rather than specifically coming to see us. European audiences are a bit more informed about this area of work but usually we get a very broad audience in terms of social make-up.

    We’re working on a new show for May and hope to have film of this up some time in the summer.

  6. Hazlitt

    This kicks off so many different debates that hark back to Ruskin verses Whistler both of whom were authoritarian and anti democratic…..Whistler the elitist expert and Ruskin the moralistic pedagogue.Ruskin as you all know,meant well,and wanted art for all as a community enterprise which through this cultural conversation and art appreciation the worst excesses of capitalist commercialism could be scuppered.
    Whistler the aesthete dandy was not about to have his individualistic project rubbished by a mere critic.
    Whistler declared that art”should stand alone and appeal to the artistic sense of eye or ear,without confounding this with emotions…as devotion,pity love,patriotism etc”
    Whistler defended the artists “love affair” with the spectator who he felt both shared a private realm of subjective perception.
    Much as I feel for Ruskin’s good intentions I sympathise with Whistler:I would rather wander in an overgrown wild garden than trot obediantly throught the Chelsea flower show.
    However wandering around a wild garden doesn’t mean getting lost in it,never to find your way out.

    The avante-garde have become so lonely and insecure they are leaving written clues for the spectator to play catch up.The heavy frame which symbolises the “rigidity and irreconcilability”of the killers is pure bathos.
    I remember years ago seeing a Turner in the Tate for the first time,of Napoleon in exile alone on the beach, stopping to look down on a crab……….you know the mighty defeated general looking at ..geddit?…..we suddenly in this citadel of good taste and artistic achievment,got a fit of the giggles which got worse and we eventually had to go outside for a good healthy dose of hysterics.

  7. Hazlitt

    It’s heartwarming to be informed that artists like Alarming are continuing the tradition of artistic sadism that probably reaches back to prehistoric cave art.
    The misunderstood neanderthal dipping his blunt quill into the veins of his unwilling philistine wife to adorn the cave with his most recent hunting success.
    Or Leanardo da Vinci sending an acolyte to certain death in his prototype flying machine.
    Then there is the unfortunate Elizabeth Ziddall who posed for Millais in a cold bath for his “Ophelia.”
    Millais engrossed in the painting failed to maintain the water temperature and she became very ill.
    And now we have Alarming attempting to asphyxiate his wife in a giant plastic pig!?

  8. wordnerd7

    @Hazlitt, a feast of ideas, _thank you_ . . . this is my first look for several hours, and I haven’t had a chance to reply to @Alarming yet . . . yes, his story about the building of the pig is one for the ages, isn’t it. . . Can’t think, let alone write, at the moment, but will as soon as I can . . . Then I’m afraid it’s going to be Monday and you won’t have time to read or write. Life does have an annoying habit of getting in the way of blogging, doesn’t it?

  9. wordnerd7

    @alarming,

    ===but hyper-active blurb seems commonplace – especially in support of something that is ultra-dry and almost reticent to give up its secrets without a text-based prod.===

    . . . yes, although thinking about that, and what you said about the Kitaj tradition of voluminous notes, I suppose these artists might now say that they’re just mixing media – and I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s only going to be more of that. . . Could mean, I suppose that the quality of both writing and painting will decline steeply as no one specialises in either. Also that hardly anyone will notice, since nothing but the impact of the hybrid will be of interest. . . I would love to see a new Cocteau, someone playing with pages that mix writing and drawing – since handwritings can be so intriguing.

    ===Our work happens outside to an audience who 8 times out of 10 are not gallery-goers or theatre buffs so we have to have an immediacy to what we do. […] Once we’ve hooked them in […] we try to make the experience as rich as possible.===

    Whenever you feel like it, I’d love to read the odd anecdote from backstage, as it were. . . You must have wonderful stories about props going wrong; squabbling collaborators; unexpected audience reactions . . . Such a different way of working from anything I’ve done or been close to, you see.

    . . . Hmm, May is an awfully long wait, you know. [grumblegrumble]

  10. wordnerd7

    @ Hazlitt, (I take it that you’re in mufti on other threads)

    a community enterprise which through this cultural conversation and art appreciation the worst excesses of capitalist commercialism could be scuppered.

    Had forgotten about all that. I do remember a Sunday Times spread long ago that had extracts from a biography of Ruskin concentrating on his tediously scandalous sexscapades. . . But I wonder, could capitalism be said to have been making art into a communal enterprise? . . . by interfering with the judgement of individual artists and writers in the name of pleasing the market or creating one?

    I read John Updike complain in a Martin Amis interview done some time ago — published on the GU site at the weekend – about writers having to submit to giving up more and more work time to book promotion. This bit was particularly good:

    The enemies of promise – or of reasonable productivity – used to be Hollywood, fancy journalism, alcohol, and so on. These days the main enemy is being interviewed.

    “[…] The whole performance indicates that you are quite a swell fellow just by being you, whereas we know that what merit we have, if any, resides elsewhere. It rots a writer’s brain, it cretinises you. You say the same thing again and again, and when you do that happily you’re well on the way to being a cretin. Or a politician.”

    . . . but marketing departments pushing scribes can make this part of the job, today, sound like community service.

    Whistler declared that art”should stand alone and appeal to the artistic sense of eye or ear,without confounding this with emotions…as devotion,pity love,patriotism etc”
    Whistler defended the artists “love affair” with the spectator who he felt both shared a private realm of subjective perception.

    Yes, I’d also agree with that warmly. . . but because of a similarity in temperaments – more retiring than extrovert? And maybe Ruskin’s was the diametric opposite? (Needless to say, I also far prefer Whistler’s work.)

    But . . . trying to create anything like a taxonomy of artists and writers would be a cat-herding enterprise, surely. I’ve been reading about your near relation, Charley Dodgey, did you say? . . . that he never had any close relationship with another human being, as far as anyone knows, but . . . well, here’s the sentence by a mathematician reviewing a new biography: ‘he revealed no unseemly visceral urges, but he did have an interest in politics.’ That apparently led to work on refining voting systems. . . and then there was Alice . . . and refining Euclid’s theorems .. . and .. . and . .

  11. wordnerd7

    ===It’s heartwarming to be informed that artists like Alarming are continuing the tradition of artistic sadism that probably reaches back to prehistoric cave art.===

    Now, @Hazzy, if it was anyone _but_ you, I’d take it that in that section of your post, we’re reading a confession about all you male artists being Bluebeards? (ahem!)

    ===I would rather wander in an overgrown wild garden than trot obediantly throught the Chelsea flower show.===

    Beautifully said, : ) . . . like an aside about flowers blushing unseen at a florist’s on the other side of Mars . . . that’s from memory: possibly not precisely right, but proof of how much pleasure your er . .. feuilles justes give your readers.

    . . . Oh, @alarming’s mega-pig is made of silk, not plastic (!).

  12. The pig is made of canvas in fact with an inner parachute ripstop lining. I think the parachute mention probably caused the misunderstanding. They used to be silk but are now made from a much cheaper unorganic material.

    Now must return to asphyxiating various members of the artistic team for the next project. I like the image but must stress that no-one is bending under the weight of my artistic will. The asphyxiation is entirely self-induced rather than enforced.

  13. wordnerd7

    The omniscient sage Google has solved the mystery, @alarming. I failed to see that it was the ink that had something to do with silk, not the skin of the porky juggernaut:

    === Wordnerd – the pig pink is silk screen ink – chosen because the surface needs to be inflated and deflated endlessly and a paint that cracks wouldn’t do the job. It was a question of choosing paints from a catalogue of shades on offer and trying to find one that wasn’t too girly or My Little Pony garish. Life on the road has dulled and dirtied it to a satisfying degree. ===

    Your hopelessly unreliable reporter,

    wd7

  14. Hazlitt

    Wordy,regarding long written appendages to paintings.I think you would be interested to read the responses to Kitaj’s retro at the Tate in 94.
    He was mercilessly hammered in the press and blamed the negative publicity on the sudden death of his wife Sandra Fisher.
    Alarming probably knows more about it that me,as I was abroad then.Still am :(.
    But his case and it’s tragic circumstances seems to epitomise,in England at least,a loathing of over intellectualising,or name dropping.The furore made Kitaj return to the USA where he eventually commited suicide.Check out his obit from the Guardian.
    Must dash.I have a dinner date with Robert Hughes and Lucien Freud.

  15. wordnerd7

    Sorry, I missed this earlier — too little time to read the blog before I saw @ISA’s notices about the Flash . . .

    === But his case and it’s tragic circumstances seems to epitomise,in England at least,a loathing of over intellectualising,or name dropping.The furore made Kitaj return to the USA where he eventually commited suicide.Check out his obit from the Guardian.===

    Yes, it all came back after @Alarming’s mention of that horror story. I don’t believe it has an equal . . . And yet the super-intellectual Susan Sontag is very popular in England, I think — maybe because her political opinions were a better fit?

    === Must dash.I have a dinner date with Robert Hughes and Lucien Freud. ===

    Won’t expect to hear from you for a while, then. Tell Lucien that I have a photograph of his amazingly large nude on my notice board. .. proof that seeing’s believing. 🙂

  16. Brian Sewell was one of the critics who gleefully joined in the hunt for Kitaj. The recent attempts to make him a charming old anti-PC rogue really stick in my craw when I remember that episode.

    There are various faults you could level at Kitaj – so often his paintings look like colouring in, the subject matter is too obtuse – but he didn’t deserve what he got.

  17. elcal

    wordy,

    interesting post. was just down LA way, too bad I’m not still there to have a peek at the LACMA (among other “too bads” like the weather and food)…I always find those plaques next to artworks to be annoying beyond all else. they do however provide an interesting glimpse into the curator’s mind (this one’s a hipster, this one’s a Clement, etc.). i like to get a snicker as i read these things, as i know the authors really believe their words help “enhance” the viewers’ experience or *gasp* enhance the art itself.

    re: the Snyder business, not sure if you’re disparaging the reading, but from my rather intense study of Snyder he may have been “commenting” on the unnecessariness of such background noise. but then again, he’s not THAT into irony. he may also be picking up on the haiku tradition. I’m no expert on that, but it seems that Japanese poetry has a very courtly history and very likely has such “lecture”-like preludes, postludes and commentaries.

    Anyways, Snyder is perhaps your best proponent of quiet (in the non-Silliman sense) spaces around art. one of my favorite lines of his on poetry reads thus:
    “This is an oral art. They should listen to the unsaid words that resonate around the edges of the poem.”

  18. Hello, @elcal, terribly pleased to see you and this is just to say quickly that I had to liberate you from the spam queue . . . perhaps the spamguard bot is picking on people who don’t post often enough? . . . Back soon . . .

  19. wordnerd7

    === i like to get a snicker as i read these things, as i know the authors really believe their words help “enhance” the viewers’ experience or *gasp* enhance the art itself.===

    My reaction to a ‘t’. I’m usually shaking my head in utter incredulity. . . Yes I’d see the LACMA show too, if I possibly could. Saw an excellent Picasso exhibition there in 1994 — the same curator, and the banner said something like ‘Weeping Women’ (which fits well with one of @Hazlitt’s and @alarming’s themes in this thread, since most of the poor dears had been married to him — or members of the harem.).

    === re: the Snyder business, not sure if you’re disparaging the reading, ===

    No, no, as you’ll see me confirm in the comments section . . . Probably being just a little ambiguous and a bit naughty to make people pay closer attention, that’s all. 😉

    ===but from my rather intense study of Snyder he may have been “commenting” on the unnecessariness of such background noise. ===

    You may well be right about that, and I remember your keen interest in his work (natch, considering where you grew up, and what you write). I didn’t take notes, you see, but if the most powerful impression that’s remained with me — aside from his charisma and the adoring audience — was of an extreme disproportion between the dimensions of the poems and the introduction, I’m almost certain to have remembered right . . . Will readily admit that part of his introduction might have been a condemnation of an excess of blather.

    ===but it seems that Japanese poetry has a very courtly history and very likely has such “lecture”-lik e preludes, postludes and commentaries.===

    This is also possible, perhaps even more likely than not . . . since as you probably also know, Samurai warriors would recite long and elaborate speeches to each other before they began to fight. I posted something to that effect from Jared Diamond on GU once. . . But if your point about it being part of the cultural tradition was confirmed somehow, I’d be culture-blind and not grumble any less about a rhinoceros making a meal of a daisy.

    === “This is an oral art. They should listen to the unsaid words that resonate around the edges of the poem.” ===

    Couldn’t be better said, thank you . . . the perfect contributor to this thread, which is acutely short of haiku-ists. . . I hope you liked the one I found for my ending. . . Now I’m sure I remember something being said about a move from the eastern seaboard, by now . . . anyway, please come more often.

  20. wordnerd7

    === Brian Sewell was one of the critics who gleefully joined in the hunt for Kitaj. ===

    @Alarming, I see I’m going to have to read a lot more to keep up with you. . .don’t know about Sewell: will find out. Re: Kitaj, isn’t it sad that so many of us know at least a little about all that, but that no one _appears_ to have come to his rescue while there was still time to help.

    Sorry for this slow answer, this is the reason: http://xuitlacoche.blogspot.com/2009/02/guardian-books-blog-fringe-norman.html

    Hope to see you there.

  21. WN re: art and words – I’d say comic strips and comic books are your best bet for that mixture these days. There’s a lot of interesting non-super-hero related work around.

    In the fine art world Tracey Emin ( not brilliant but not as bad as is made out either ) has had a go at this area of work with some success. The spindly texts that accompany her ratty monotype drawings are very apt.

  22. wordnerd7

    Yes, @alarming, people do keep mentioning them. So much to investigate; so little time … if only the drawings didn’t have to be in rectangles. For some reason, that really puts me off comics.

  23. Yes the format can be limiting but it also allows you to see how inventive people are in how they interpret that form.

    But as you say life is short and everything else is long.

    It feels very quiet in here these days.

  24. wordnerd7

    Oh, I will get around to giving some of the new comics a chance, @alarming. . . perhaps the adaptation for that medium of Tin Drum? 🙂

    I’m touched that someone noticed. . . about the quiet. I’ve been trying not to compete with our flash experiment at xuitlacoche.

  25. I could imagine you enjoying Krazy Kat – a newspaper strip from the early part of the 20th century. It’s a beautiful , poetic piece of work sustained over about 30 years. Nothing to do with Felix the cat – it features an eternal unrequited love triangle between a cat, a mouse and a dog. Lovely drawing, use of language and not at all what you think.

    George Herriman ( the author/artist ) was given a free rein by the newspaper boss, one Randolph Hearst who just let him get on with it. An example of benign editorship if ever there was. If it hadn’t have been for Hearst I think the strip would have got chopped as it was a bit more complex than the usual fare.

  26. wordnerd7

    Thanks for that . . . one nerd now sets out in search of Krazy Kat . . . And there’s some new reading for you.

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