Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dame Laura Knight

I blame The Rhode Island School of Design for my deficient, male-centric, lame-ass art education and the fact I didn't know of this artist until now.

Two people called me today to read this essay in the London Review of Books by Terry Castle because it is funny as fuck but mostly because I get mentioned in it.

Terry and her 81 year old mother set out for Santa Fe on an "Artistic Pilgrimage".

"My mother, 81 and widowed for 12 years, is lame, near-sighted, psoriatic and deaf, and apart from a residual compulsion to lament her elder daughter’s unfeminine appearance, has largely reverted in old age to a state of Blakean innocence and moral simplicity. (Little Lamb – you rackety old thing – who did make thee? I have some questions I’d like to ask Him.) True: ravages of macular degeneration notwithstanding, she still spends an hour every morning ‘putting her face on’, with predictably fantastical, Isak Dinesen-like results."
The essay hinges on a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

"The museum is a set of blocky adobe buildings just off the historic Santa Fe Plaza. Predictably it’s packed out, almost entirely with women. (The one or two men standing around in their Teva sandals look sheepish if not a bit anxious – like errant hunters in a Renaissance painting who’ve blundered into a sacred grove and see a troop of maenads coming to rip their guts out.) I get heavily cruised by the butch German number running the ticket counter"
Castle mentions Dame Laura Knight when her girlfriend challenges her to name ten female artists of the 20th century who are better than O’Keeffe.
"Agnes M. (natch), Popova, Goncharova, Sonia Delaunay, Hannah Höch, Eva Hesse, ummm . . . Living artists aren’t permitted, or photographers, so, gosh, Louise Bourgeois and Imogen Cunningham and Berenice Abbott and Kiki Smith and Cecily Brown and Marlene Dumas and Ida Applebroog and scores of others get knocked out at a stroke .... If only Kandinsky or Andy Warhol had been a woman."

But who is this dame painter lady anyways? In conclusion, what's up with the big saggy dirigible painting? Woah! And that rainbow landscape...

on a more depressing note:

Rove and the Mining Disaster: Connecting the Dots
Arianna Huffington connects the dots between Karl Rove and the Utah mining disaster: Coal mining interests have donated more than $12 million to federal candidates since the Bush-era began with the 2000 election cycle, with 88% of that money -- $10.6 million -- going to Republicans. And what did that largess buy the coal mining industry? Mine safety regulators far more interested in looking out for the financial well-being of mine owners than for the physical well-being of miners.

What in the the F does this have to do with the Dame???

She was the official "war artist" for the Nuremberg Trials. (she was also the first woman elected to the Royal Academy). Why is this the first we have heard of her in the 21st century?!
Your question is cutting and insightful anon... I dont know what the fuck Rove and coal mining has to do with the Dame either but I dont mind someone posting a link to that article, someone should be held accountable for that shit.

The bottom painting is of the Nurenberg trial, not your average court room artist. From my in depth Google research I've learned that she was an excelent writer and had quite the life, an orphan for starters. She has an autobiography (out of print) which I'm keen to dig up and read. Amazon has 5 second hand copies of her catalogue raisone which include some rarely seen woodcuts and other prints, will be ordering that STAT.

"One critic noted that Dame Laura painted like a man. Said she in London when she heard of it, "What man?"


She also wrote and illustrated a children's book called "A Proper Circus Omie".

Perhaps for baby George?
At the moment George likes books she can eat, but as her pallet gets more sophisticated and she opts for actual food and leaves the books for looking, I'll definitely try and track down A copy for her.
trust me, corny, i got the worst education in the world at the Cracker "College" of Crap & Shit. i never heard of the dame either.

the saggy is my fav. these are cool.
it's weirdly sexual right with that crew of women handling the ropes...
i dunno.. is this sexual?
it's like a hillary harkness maybe... the ropes one.
That image of the soldiers man-handling the national phallus would make Freud blush.
spectacle always seems to be sexual, especially when it involves big saggy stuff. Great boxing painting...I love that saggy gob of a turnbuckle.
liking that boxing painting is a stretch. made me want to look up eakins.

i wouldn't put this artist on that better than o'keefe list.
okay, i'm thinking that not necessarily better than, but as interesting as, would be -

eva hesse
joan mitchell
anne truitt
agnes martin
lee lozano
grandma moses
hannah hoch
louise nevelson
claude cahun
jay defeo
leni riefenstahl
frida kahlo
alice neel
niki de st phalle
lee krasner
mildred elfman greenberg
elizabeth murray

i'm gonna try to think of some others.
grandma moses
elizabeth murray
jay defeo
claude cahun
anne truitt
lee lozano
marta minujin's early work is really good.

these lists blow. they are embarassing. I mean shit, its like you have to name every female who ever picked up a brush just to fill out the list. It is sad. my gosh! how did we forget k. kolwitz? come on...grow up.
the first thing that comes to mind is that i have a hard time imagining one of those listed artists making a similar comment anonymously.

how can you even be embarassed when you are anonymous? how many levels of inferiority are you buried under?
that was way too mean, sorry anon. i think i was (over)reacting to the grow up remark.

um... i will try to bug off for a while.
ah, the the manly art of sparing... I like the confidant bluster of anon, Is that you Boadwee?

I had a sinking feeling when the author of the article brings up this game because I know most people are not going to feel good trying to put a list like that together.

I wouldn't try to make this list a) because I've liked the few O'keefes I've seen in person and believe she deserves her exalted spot in the annals of art history.
b) there are not enough grand dames of art in the 20th century (who are dead) to go up against her.
...as the author quickly sees, and as reiterated by Martin's list.
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