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Baffled about how to respond? Don't give up. Read regularly WHAT THE HECK IS ART? and fight back!

The Art Renewal Center

Lost in the gutter of Cubism, Modernism, Post-modernism, Expressionism, Dadaism and other rubbishisms? Find real art at the ARC.

False Gods

They can't draw or paint or create a half-decent artwork but are worshiped by the art establishment as Gods. We prefer to remain infidels and refuse to kowtow to the False Gods of Art.

How the culture-vultures impoverished my soul

One expects art to ennoble our souls, much like a novel by Victor Hugo or a film by Bimal Roy. Instead, stepping into a gallery is like stepping on shit -bullshit.

Critiquing the critics

We smack down these smug bastards and their idiotic art-jargonese con mucho gusto!

Featured Art Videos

'Inflammatory' artist Jon McNaughton on his anti-Obama work
Roger Scruton - Why Beauty Matters (2009) - BBC documentary

Jul 17, 2012

India in comics,part 3- Kalimán

Kalimán (often called  Kalimán el hombre increible-Kaliman the Incredible man) , according to Wikipedia   is 

the name of a Mexican comic book hero very famous across Latin America. He was created by Rafael Cutberto Navarro and Modesto Vázquez González. The Kaliman comic depicts the adventures of Kaliman and his young companion Solín, an Egyptian boy who is descended from Pharaohs. Kaliman had his own radio show since 1963, which featured adventures that took place on exotic sites. The comic book was born due to the huge success of the radio show of the same name.


Kaliman's origin is unknown, which adds to the sense of mystery that surrounds the character. What we know is that he is an orphan adopted by prince Abul Pasha from one of the kingdoms in the valley of Kalimantan, that he is the fifth man in a dynasty of men dedicated to preserving justice in the world, and that he is the seventh man of the goddess Kali's dynasty. He swore an oath to Kali to wander the world fighting for justice, and must return to India to renew the oath every seven years.

Kaliman wears an all-white outfit with one mark: the jeweled-encased "K" he wears in his turban. He does not use weapons, except a blowgun with tranquilizer darts and a ceremonial dagger that complements his costume. He is a master of martial arts, science and arts. He also possesses extraordinary mental powers: levitation, telepathy, remote viewing, telekinesis, astral projection, control of the involuntary functions of the body (which allows him to feign being dead: what he calls "actus mortis"), hypnosis, and self-healing, among others. He makes clear that he does nothing that any other men would not be able to do through self discipline, study and hard work.

Kalimán has no superhuman powers, he is a human at the peak of his abilities, thanks to the esoteric knowledge he has. It is assumed that Solín, a common boy, will eventually take his place as he learns from Kalimán.
 Only in two adventures "El Extraño Doctor Muerte" (The Strange Doctor Death) and "El Dragón Rojo" (The Red Dragon) he gets momentary superhuman powers, thanks to the third eye, opened by the lama masters.
Kalimán never kills. He even puts his life in danger to prevent any kind of killing.

So Kalimán is a hero of Indian origin wandering around in middle-eastish lands.

Note that the name of the protagonist has an accent over the 'a' in 'man' in Spanish. So it does not translate into the English 'man' and thus the name Kalimán is not equal to Kaliman like Superman or Batman - though anyone not familiar with Spanish could easily and understandably believe so. In fact, the pronunciation would be -Kali-maan.

There are also a couple of Kalimán movies.

A scene from   Kalimán el hombre increible, 1972

Somebody has been kind enough to put the whole first film on Youtube-

Kalimán El Hombre Increible
1972 movie

Here are a couple of pages from No.5, published the 15th, June, 1983 along with the cover-

Grandes aventuras de   Kalimán
no 5
junio 1983

India in comics,part 2- Djinn vol 10, The Pavalion of Pleasures

According to its Wikipedia page-

Djinn is a Franco-Belgian comics series written by Jean Dufaux and illustrated by . The story is an adult adventure-thriller and deals with themes of sexuality and colonial politics.

The first four volumes make up the "Ottoman Cycle" while the following five comprise the "Africa Cycle". The "Indian Cycle", planned for four volumes, started 2010 with the volume "Le Pavillon des Plaisirs".

Ana Mirallès
Illustrator of the Djinn comics

The series starts out with-
A young Englishwoman, Kim Nelson, travels to Istanbul in search of information about her grandmother Jade. In the years before World War I, Jade had been the favourite of the "Black Sultan", and ordered by him to seduce an English diplomat, Lord Nelson, in order to alter Turkey's influence in European politics. Kim's story and that of her grandmother are revealed in tandem, in a Europe where sexual and political allegiances are constantly shifting.

Djinn vol 10 - Le Pavillon des Plaisirs

The "Indian Cycle" book is titled "Le Pavillon des Plaisirs"(The Pavilion of Pleasures). The French comic book site Coinbd provides us this summary-

Premier épisode d'un nouveau cycle qui se situe chronologiquement après le cycle ottoman et avant le cycle africain, Le Pavillon des Plaisirs se déroule aux Indes à l'époque de la domination britannique. Jade, accompagnée de Lady et de Lord Nelson, arrive au palais d'Eschnapur mandée par la Rani, mère du maharadjah. Celle-ci souhaite que la Djinn initie à l'amour sa future bru, la fille du rebelle Radjah Sing. Ceci dans l'espoir secret que sa bru, forte de son pouvoir, influence la politique de son fils, favorable aux Anglais. Mais une étrange malédiction plane sur le palais. Malédiction qui prend la forme d'une enfant qui ne se montrera... qu'à Jade.

which the Google helpfully translates to(grammar corrected to avoid inadvertent laughter)-

First episode of a new cycle which is chronologically after the Ottoman cycle and before the African cycle,  'Pavilion of Fun' takes place in India at the time of British rule. Jade, accompanied by Lady and Lord Nelson arrives at the palace Eschnapur commanded by the Rani, mother of the Maharaja. She hopes that initiates Djinn initiates his future daughter-the daughter of the rebel Rajah Singh- to love. This in the secret hope that her daughter, with her power, influence the policy of his pro-English son. But a strange curse hangs over the palace. Curse that takes the form of a child who will appear ... to Jade only.

Here are some of the best pages from the book. Unfortunately, I have the Italian version only-
Djinn vol 10 - Le Pavillon des Plaisirs

Djinn vol 10 - Le Pavillon des Plaisirs

Djinn vol 10 - Le Pavillon des Plaisirs

Djinn vol 10 - Le Pavillon des Plaisirs

Djinn vol 10 - Le Pavillon des Plaisirs

The images are tempting enough to make one buy and keep the book.

Jul 16, 2012

John Lennon's song Imagine as a comic

John Lennon's song Imagine as a comic by Pablo Stanley-

Art Quote

Sean Robsville commenting on Roger Scruton's 2009 documentary  'Why Beauty Matters'-

Modern art engages the mind on a purely superficial level by its constant attempts at 'originality', which usually end up as scatological attempts to 'shock' some imaginary strawman of middle class public opinion ('Épater la bourgeoisie').

But this public opinion has actually long since become jaded by the antics of the self-appointed avant-garde, which may have been shocking the first time round, but have become boring and vacuous with repetition.

The Empowered Man - Anti-Obama art

Jon McNaughton is that rarest of species - a 'conservative' artist! Yes, they do exist, even if in dangerously low numbers, in perpetual threat of extinction. 

Political art that is not only not leftist but unashamedly anti-leftist comes as a rude but pleasant shock. So habituated are we to the the antics of the leftist art Establishment that the works of McNaughton are like a sudden kick in the nuts out of nowhere.

The Empowered Man
Jon McNaughton

Observe that writer of the following 'report' can barely conceal his contempt of the artist-

Anti-Obama Artist Strikes Again

Jon McNaughton, the artist who depicted Obama burning the Constitution, has a new painting. He's aiming to sell it to the highest bidder, between $50,000 and $100,000.
Popular conservative artist Jon McNaughton has released a new painting, the latest in his controversial series of anti-Obama artwork.

'Controversial' art is readily celebrated - but not when a 'conservative' creates it.
The Empowered Man—which shows President Obama watching in horror as a thirty something white male, standing in front of the White House holds up the U.S. constitution in one hand and a wad of cash in the other—was released this week.

“I wanted this painting to reflect the hope many Americans are having that we can steer our country back on track,” McNaughton emailed BuzzFeed. “I used real models and it took a couple of months to paint.”

The Empowered Man is a follow up to another painting called Wake Up America, which included inflammatory images of President Obama standing in a rain shower of corporate cash while American workers trudged along in chains.

One can understand the sentiment of this tired MSM hack - when so many of the artistic and media elites drool and slobber over Obama, an artistic criticism of their messiah must sound 'Inflammatory'. 

Wake Up America
Jon McNaughton

Both paintings feature the same “everyman” character, who in McNaughton’s telling, has chosen to break off the chains of an oppressive federal government.

The Provo, Utah based painter has struck artistic gold with his series, tapping into a widespread libertarian distrust of Washington, as well as a deep-seated hatred of President Obama, which critics says is animated by racial bias.
Yes,obviously -anyone who cannot appreciate and be grateful for the saintliness of Obama must be a racist. Nevertheless-
The Provo, Utah based painter has struck artistic gold with his series, tapping into a widespread libertarian distrust of Washington, as well as a deep-seated hatred of President Obama, which critics says is animated by racial bias.

McNaughton has now sold two works of art for six figure sums this year, an almost unheard of feat in the art world.

One painting was purchased by his most prominent art patron, Fox News host Sean Hannity.

He’s currently taking bids on the painting, and expects to get between $50,000 and $100,000 for the original canvas of the Empowered Man.

Way better than a no-talent nobody making it big on tax-payer supported NEA grants for politically correct art which nevertheless is feted for 'challenging' the assumptions of the establishment, no?

Jon McNaughton on The Empowered Man in this video-

Cartoons on art no.1

A cartoon by Mark Anderson-

Art school students in 1950's London

The fascinating blog 'The Library Time Machine' has some images of art school students during the 1950's London.

Do check it out for more.

What we say to the Art Establishment -" You’re not my mom!"

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of our unofficial motto - We respect great art,  not great reputations. In fact, we never shy away from taking on the art Establishment(with a capital E). In the words of Sarah Hoyt- " You’re not my mom!"

Here's her quote in greater fullness-

In the Arts, the lawgivers of the current Establishment are the revolutionaries who overthrew the previous Establishment, the Avant Garde become the Garde. The sign and watchwords of an Establishment are the words “thou shalt not,” and the first sign of revolt is a small voice that says, defiantly, “Sez who? You’re not my mom!”
Yup, we are that small voice.

What the heck is art? Part 2

What now seems like long ago we started out by asking-
What the heck is art?

Ernst Billgren in his book What Is Art and 100 other very important questions answers it this way-

What is art?

Short answer:A question.
Long answer: Just as a physicist is a collection of atoms trying to discern what an atom is, so art is an invention that aims to discover what art is.


Renoir’s Baigneuse- de-sexed by restorers?

Daily Mail-

Has one of the West’s great sensual paintings — Renoir’s Baigneuse — been de-sexed by restorers? That is the startling suggestion from a London art historian.

Baigneuse ( After the Bath )
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
 Oil on canvas
 Private collection.

The picture, worth an estimated £18 million, was shown at a London auction house last month. Mysteriously, it was withdrawn at the 11th hour and ‘sold privately’.

Artwatch, a group which questions art-restoration methods, fears the painting was markedly altered from its 19th-century state. Shadowing at the base of the young woman’s naked back seemed to have been lost. Brush strokes were, apparently, lost or reduced


Artwatch, a group which questions art-restoration methods, fears the painting was markedly altered from its 19th-century state. Shadowing at the base of the young woman’s naked back seemed to have been lost. Brush strokes were, apparently, lost or reduced.
 'The painting was thinner, smoother, more anodyne than in early photographs,’ says Artwatch’s Michael Daley. ‘It used to have a sense of the struggle Renoir had painting it. For me, it is now less sexy, less of a real female body.’

Read it all.

Some reflections and lessons painfully learnt in the interregnum

Dear readers,
due to a personal tragedy and its aftermath there has been an unexpectedly long interruption in services here.

Past few months have often found my mind involuntarily meandering on such deadends as the meaning and purpose of death, on the widely held belief in some sort of life after it, on the purpose of life or lack therof and other such futilities.

Why are we born and to what end we die? While both life and death may be entirely puposeless, yet it is human to pine for a reason of existence of self other than being a chance occurrence.

It is human to reflect on being human. And it is human to struggle with scanty and pitiful answers one comes up with. The feebler minds are not able to cope with this struggle and turn to the sedative("opium" according to Marx) of religion with its ready made and seductive myths. Those who know better (or rather, know that we don't know much better- agnostics or atheists like myself) are tormented by questions that seemingly cannot ever be resolved. Not by philisophers or saints or prophets or even by modern scientists with their giant particle-colliders and Theory of Everything.

Gustave Doré - Death Depicted as the Grim Reaper on Top of the World from an edition of Poe's The Raven

We know that we don't know- but, heck, it is so hard to let it go at that! Therein lies the torment. While we may fashion a purpose conciously(to write a novel, become a millionaire, become the preident) or by default(to raise a family, make a career, somehow pass through life without trouble), there is that almost subconcious and constant vexation, like the background radiation of soul - is there something more? Are we born to some cosmic purpose, to some greater calling that we, in our helpless inadequacy, are unble to grasp and fulfill? We live and sure, we will die -but is that all?

If there was God and if one could face Him -one would ask:
"Anything else, my Lord?"

It may be, of course, meaningless to seek a meaning - my mind accepts this despite its resistance; yet it also feels almost a pity on the thought of it being so.

Is it all futile?
Gustave Doré
- Hoarders and Wasters 
Dante Alighieri's  Inferno
Plate 22

To veer off, among my other forced ponderings was to question the many common assumptions and presumptions-
No, death and taxes are not inevitable!

I am optimist that science shall one day make us immortal. The thought will horrify the huamnity-hating environmentalists, no doubt. But these pestilential specimens will be long dead by the time immortality arrives- otherwise imagine the horror of an undying Al Gore or the never ending scourge of an immortal Rajendra Pachauri! And no there shall be no shortage of space -imagine all the millions and billions of planets waiting for us.

Living forever may be hundreds or thousands of years away - but life without taxes is possible right now. It is a tragedy of humankind not to be able to live with each other without forced servitude(which is what taxes are). But I shall write much more on this later at the Liberty News Central.

There were also some painful lessons I learnt in recent months. Painful and surprising despite my natural cynicism and despite the fact that I anticipated most of what happened. One lesson is that your close ones in their greed of pelf and property will stab you in the back with nary a thought. Brother will deceive brother and sister will twist the knife. Another lesson is that the one doing the stabbing will loudly proclaim himself the victim. Such are the ways of the world.

I might blog on this later.

So dear readers, I am glad to be back and will continue to blog, all my troubles and travails permitting. And a warm thank you to those who wrote in to ask after me. Your mail comforted me in some dark times. Thanks.

Crossposted at-
Liberty News Central

Jan 11, 2012

Explanation found for Leonardo Da Vinci's tree rule?


More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci observed a particular relationship between the size of a tree’s trunk and the size of its branches. Specifically, the combined cross-sectional areas of a tree’s daughter branches are equal to the cross-sectional area of the mother branch. However, da Vinci didn’t know why tree branching followed this rule, and few explanations have been proposed since then. But now in a new study, physicist Christophe Eloy from Aix-Marseille University in Aix-en-Provence, France, has shown that this tree structure may be optimal for enabling trees to resist wind-induced stresses.

According to the 'young investigator' Rizwan Aratsu -

I tested ten species of trees in the vicinity of Princeton, New Jersey, to see if they do indeed adhere to the rule of conservation as asserted by the Italian master and those who followed him. Based on my review of the literature, I expected to find that trees would either conserve area or not depending on the porosity of their wood to water. To my surprise, I found that all ten species conserve cross-sectional area in approximately the same way despite large differences in porosity. In particular, their twigs roughly doubled in cross-sectional area across each branching while their larger branches approximated area-preservation, as Leonardo had predicted. Rather than precisely preserving area, the trees actually tended to increase in area ever so slightly as I moved from trunk to twig tips.

From Da Vinci's notebook- 

In his notebook, Leonardo da Vinci made this sketch depicting the branching pattern of trees. He depicted that the total thickness of branches along each of the arcs would equal the thickness of the trunk. Source-  Rizwan Aratsu

Wind -the new explanation? 

(Left) A model of tree branching. (Middle) A tree skeleton with all branches having the same thickness. (Right) The same tree with branch diameters calculated from a model accounting for wind-induced stress, which closely follows Leonardo’s rule.  Source -Physics.org


Eloy has proposed that Leonardo’s rule is a consequence of trees adapting their growth to optimally resist wind-induced stresses. It’s well-known that plants can alter their growth patterns in response to mechanical sensation, such as wind. The phenomenon, called “thigmomorphogenesis,” means that wind can influence the trunk and branch diameters of a tree as its growing. The underlying cellular mechanisms of this phenomenon are largely unknown.

Interestingly the extent of applicability of the Da Vinci's tree rule so far only extends to 10 species-

“Actually, Leonardo’s rule has not been assessed for that many species,” Eloy said. “So far, it seems to be hold for about 10 species. The problem is that it takes a lot of time to measure a single tree, which has thousands of branches, and the data are usually very scattered. Besides, some species clearly do not satisfy Leonardo's rule, such as baobabs, koas, and most bushes.”

I wonder if Rizwan Aratsu's sample of 10/10 has any species in common with the 10 mentioned by Eloy above.

Jan 10, 2012

Liberalism killing the joy of reading comics

Is Liberalism Killing Comics?
So asks Albert Arthur, piqued by Darin Wagner's protest piece -

You pick up a superhero comic book featuring a childhood favorite of yours, hoping to reignite some of that magic you felt way back when and you see that the opening sequence in the comic deals with an oil rig disaster. You immediately and disappointingly know what’s going to be said, either by your childhood favorite or by some other character given credibility within the story. You turn the page, and sure enough, your childhood favorite grumbles about his/her country’s dependency on oil or how inherently dangerous oil drilling is to the environment and how it’s not worth it or simply mutters to him-or-herself briefly about the evils of corporate America. That’s when you put the comic back on the shelf and your local retailer loses a sale. (Sound familiar? Brightest Day #5 contained a similar scenario featuring Aquaman.)

Moi aussi, me loves comics too, and like Arthur and Darin, I'm a bit hesitant too to start one only to find a story smashed by leftist shibboleths.

Albert Arthur-

Does everyone remember how last spring Superman declared he was going to renounce his US citizenship? 

Superman renounces US citizenship

I think that when Superman "non-violently" protests the mullahs, then goes to the UN to renounce his US citizenship, it's pretty left wing from start to finish.

And, really, non-violent protest? It's not so courageous when you're bullet proof, by the way. And if Superman is "non-violently protesting" while the Basij is killing people in the streets? Kind of pathetic. Hello, super speed and aforementioned bullet proofness? And why is he going to the UN to make this announcement? Seeing the UN as anything other than a joke is obviously liberal.

Since liberals (leftists) misunderstand everything, their flawed worldview despoils the very elemental pleasure of snuggling up with a comic. Their view of conservatives-

You pick up another comic book featuring a superhero team you used to really enjoy and there’s a member on the team who shares a lot of the same socio-political views you do, but he doesn’t articulate them very well (by design, you can tell) and gets everything wrong (again, by design) and you realize that he’s the “team jackass” precisely because he is supposed to represent you. (Another Brightest Day example of this; issue #7 where Steve Ditko creation Hawk says he wrecked a restaurant’s juke box because it was playing a Dixie Chicks song. Hawk was created to represent conservatism during the Vietnam War era, but today he’s apparently a reckless caveman who doesn’t understand the very conservative idea of private property rights.) So you put that comic book back on the shelf and if you haven’t walked out by now, you’re sure to get at least three more experiences like these before finding a superhero comic that is, at best, not very political.

and of capitalism-
It even extends outside of comics into animation. In the Justice League animated series episode “Paradise Lost,” Superman and Wonder Woman are investigating a shopping mall. Wonder Woman looks at the interior of the mall and likens it to a temple. Superman replies “Yes, for those who worship their credit cards.” Now, what are we supposed to make of this? Superman clearly doesn’t think very highly of shopping malls, at the very least. (This is odd considering that the character once symbolized something called “the American Way” of life, which was defined by, among other things, capitalism.)
Both examples by Darin Wagner.

This is what leftists do. Like locusts they eat up everything good and leave a land- and a culture- devastated.

Do read it all, Arthur and Wagner.

Nov 19, 2011

The artist who went to prison now using celebrities as models to re-create world-famous masterpieces

The very interesting -and not always happy- story of John Myatt:

John Myatt’s colourful life as a ‘convicted art forger made good’ has Hollywood movie written all over it. And the story of how, as an art teacher in Staffordshire, he was left to raise two children under the age of three when his wife left, and how he gave in to the lure of big money for faking the work of major artists, is in development by a major film studio. He’s not allowed to say which A-lister is in the frame to play him, but the brush strokes will be all his own. ‘I have been contracted to produce all the paintings for the film,’ says John, 65, and the subject of a six-part TV series in which he re-creates famous masterpieces using celebrities as sitters.



His career as ‘faker’ began in 1983 when he placed an ad in Private Eye offering ‘genuine fakes’ for £150 (these were not replicas but works that Chagall, Monet or Picasso et al might have painted ‘if they had had time’, as Myatt puts it). In 1986 a customer, John Drewe, rang him to say that one of his works (in the style of Cubist painter Albert Gleizes) had been valued by Sotheby’s at £25,000, and asked if he wanted half the money. The offer was too good to resist and the pair went on to pass off 200 more fakes over seven years. Both were convicted of fraud and received jail sentences.

Read it all here.

Nov 18, 2011

Art du jour

20 x 24"
Oil on Canvas 

Sweet kid!

Jean-Marie Chapman au travail

Sweet artist!

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