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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

Feb 29, 2008

British artist Julian Barrow at the Lodi Gardens

What the Heck is Art? catches British artist Julian Barrow in action at the Lodi Gardens in Delhi-

British artist Julian Barrow at the Lodi GardensBritish artist Julian Barrow at the Lodi Gardens

He seemed to be an amiable gentleman though he was brash with a lady who asked him where he was from and he snapped-"From my mother!". One can sympathize, for the constant pestering of the curious -and in this case I was one-can indeed be irritating. Plein-air painting is sometimes a balancing of art and public-relations.

There was a nice feel to the painting he was working on, though unfinished then-

Julian Barrow working plein-air
He also seems to be a decent enough artist judging from his website.
He has been painting in India earlier and had plans to continue to do so.
What the Heck is Art? wishes him well.

Feb 7, 2008

Broota interrogates the gender archetypes and exposes -the utter vapidity of art criticism

A contemporary art journal can be a source of much mirth, given that the reviewers/reporters are under peer pressure to sound trendy, 'informed', 'in' on to the exotic secrets of the modern/postmodern art scene. They must all sound equally obscure and suitably intellectual.

One such journal is Matters of art, from which we learn that art techniques can be selfless, just like Mother Teresa-
In his curatorial note, Arjun Sawhney says: “In a world of vivid hues a paler shade of pale or a darker shade of dark is perhaps as effective as screaming color. Like a catalyst, the tricky technique of de-saturation lends strength to a picture, a painting, a piece of art. 'Desaturation'- the addition of white to a saturated color in order to achieve a paler shade.

In order to communicate the one salient point in a process, perhaps, the background has to take a step back. By its very definition the background should simply not be the focus. The selfless technique of de-saturation thus makes the focus of the primary object sharper, more prominent, more important.

If only people were as de-saturated as...as......Desaturation.

From a review of Rameshwar Broota’s Photographs at the same link-
He uses his photographic imagery primarily as a means of self knowledge which also operates at the level of a wider cultural critique. Broota’s photographs are revealed as, not only recorder of ‘objective’ reality but as an exploration device of a ‘subjective’ experience, thus reinforcing that the artist’s body can be both the subject and object of the photograph.
If Mr. Jekyll-Hyde can can play dual roles with one body, so can Mr. Broota.

Broota interrogates the gender archetypes and exposes myths and prejudices which control ‘macho’ imagery associated with - weapons, male dominated sports, combat gear and other phallocentric images. Male chauvinistic activities based on accepted social ideologies are critiqued by him in the ‘reverse’ gaze.
I am all with Mr.Broota on this. I myself prefer woman dominated sports, and vaginacentric images and female chauvinistic activities not based on accepted social ideologies. And I am quite good at 'reverse' gaze when it comes to all of the above.
(adult material warning for both the above links)

Broota’s photographs thus, leap over both geographical and cultural differences and offer a refection of contemporary national/international culture underscored by a patriarchal machismo sensibility. His photographs justify his quote “Photography is the combination of fact and fiction”.
And contemporary art criticism is a combination of meaningless jargon and twaddle.

More enlightenment from the same people-
According to the artist(Chintan Upadhyay), the sign systems in our times tend to mis-communicate rather than lead to the true facts. Now, sign systems are developed deliberately for imparting hegemonic ideas.

“We, as human beings have become not just the consumers of commodities, but the hopeless consumers of signs. It has become pathological and the misinterpret-able signs settle in our physical and intellectual bodies like cancerous cells. They find safe havens within us for further multiplication. Whether you call it imperialist tactics of human management or just the rule of corporatism, my idea is to embody this process; the socio-cultural and political deception of contemporary signs,” says Chintan Upadhyay.

Wow! This fella is a Chomsky with paintbrush.I only hope that those who buy his works, which sell in lakhs, have somehow made their money without any taint of corporatism.Chintan might not like it otherwise, you know.

(emphasis mine)

Note - the material used from the Matters of art site may not be available at the given link, given the way their page is structured.

Feb 6, 2008

What a bloody marvelous painting, part 2

Sorry about the light posting. Let me make it up by putting up a fine painting indeed-

Paradise rocks,Newport by James Suydam
Paradise rocks, Newport
James Suydam
oil on canvas
approx 25" X 45"

Puts all the Souzas and Brootas to shame.

Indian artists in support of a murderer

  • “The Victims of Che Guevera” posterWell known Indian artists and other arty-sharties pay homage to Che Guevara.

Now why am I not surprised.

“The Victims of Che Guevera” poster, produced by the Young America’s Foundation, a collage that uses tiny photos of those killed by Cuba’s communist regime to compose the face of the Marxist icon, Che Guevara.
Larger image here.

First some facts which for some reason are not well publicized or are completely unknown to most(media bias?)-
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was second in command, chief executioner, and chief KGB liaison for a regime that outlawed elections and private property. This regime's KGB-supervised police, employing the midnight knock and the dawn raid among other devices, rounded up and jailed more political prisoners as a percentage of population than Stalin's and executed more people (out of a population of 6.4 million) in its first three years in power than Hitler's executed (out of a population of 70 million) in it's first six.
One week into power the regime Che Guevara co-founded abolished Habeas Corpus. Guevara commanded his regime's prosecutorial goons to "always interrogate our prisoners at night. A man's resistance is always lower at night." He boasted that, "we execute from revolutionary conviction!" and that "judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail." Edwin Tetlow, Havana correspondent for London's Daily Telegraph, reported on a mass "trial" orchestrated by Che Guevara where Tetlow noticed the death sentences posted on a board before the trial had started.

So who loves this creep?

Famous(why?) communist art-critic, Suneet Chopra,communist art-critic, Suneet Chopra well known artists-Arpana Caur, Krishen Khanna, Vijendra Sharma, Dharmendra Rathore, Anoop Kamath, Mohan Singh, Saba Hasan, Vijayata Bhamri, art critics Vinod Bharadwaj and Nuzhat Kazmi, writer Uma Vasudev film persons Arun Vasudev and M K Raina and a large number of intellectuals, artists, writers and leading gallery owners of the capital.

The occasion for all this roses and love was an exhibition dedicated to this lover of freedom in Delhi opened by the ambassador of that paradise of freedom, human rights, free press, free elections and prosperity known by it's shorter name -Cuba.

Suneet Chopra seemed to be in a grumbling mood-<
Today imperialism has invented far worse weapons(than atom bombs) that they have tested on the civilian populations Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. In the name of regime change, the elected president of the Chilean people, Salvador Allende, was murdered in an army coup that proceeded to murder thousands after that, including the Nobel Prize winning poet, Pablo Neruda. In 1991 the USSR was dismantled, and dismembered, Grenada was invaded, Nicaragua was destabilised and Yugoslavia with its proud anti-fascist record and one of the founders of the non-aligned movement was torn to bits as was Czechoslovakia, and states that Hitler had created have once more emerged in the Balkans, not as a natural process, but with the armed might of NATO behind them. “Democracy” was being imposed on the barrel of a gun with the help of generals like Pinochet, Sucharto and the like. And it was Che who told us that such a global oppression could only be stopped with a global resistance to it, by creating “twenty Vietnams” all over the world.

Warmonger! Calling for more Vietnams. Does he love war or what. Read the whole thing. Chopra is almost cartoonish in his rage against 'imperialism', a fine caricature of a fuming communist, now fuming more than ever since the collapse of the USSR (result of an evil plot, no doubt, though the liberated countries of the eastern Europe love their freedom from the Stalinist nightmare). Communism and socialism have never produced a free and prosperous society anywhere despite a century of experimentation.Misery, poverty, oppression, totalitarianism, midnight knocks, entrenched rule by a vicious elite, slave labor, 'reeducation' camps, gulags, death of tens and tens of millions-yes; happiness and freedom-no. And this is the 'vision' that Suneet Chopra and countless other intellectuals have supported and defended. One of the consistent themes of the last hundred or so years has been the love affair of the intellectuals with totalitarianism- be it that of the Nazis, of Stalin, Mao, Khmer Rouge, Castro or any other power-seeker who mouths the right cliches against 'imperialism'.

But what about the artists who participated in the Che lovefest?
Artistic freedom is one of the first casualties of the kind of regime that Che wanted to establish all over Latin America and elsewhere and helped to bring about in Cuba(Quick-How free are the artists to criticize Fidel in his land of milk and honey?).
So what explains their participation? True conviction? Or pulling the right social levers and supporting the 'right' causes to further their careers?
Or what?

I think it is legitimate to call them 'Artists against freedom'.

A more comprehensive article in three parts is published at the Liberty News Central-

Part 1-Indian artists in support of a murderer
Part 2- Che Myths
Part 3- Alternative Che images one would like to see more of

(emphasis mine)

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