February 17, 2012

"In no scenes were these maidens seen navigating the oozing bits of Gauguin's body, but once you know even a little about him, you find that he is just so vividly, eye-catchingly gross."

"If you flay him as a historical figure and lay him out on a table, you find a maggoty cross section of the monster the postcolonial 20th century became, presided over by whiny, violent, and jaw-droppingly self-centered white dudes. One of the direct effects of the century of French colonization that preceded Gauguin's arrival—whose effects he loudly decried both in his writings and in his paintings—was the decimation of the population from causes including diseases like the one he brought into the bedroom of his final girlfriend."

Jen Graves emotes about art.

37 comments:

chickenlittle said...

You keep all your smart modern painters
I'll take Rembrandt, Titian, Da Vinci and Gainsborough

traditionalguy said...

Gauguin was French and abused women. Most French were Catholics. Santorum is Catholic. Ah ha.

gerry said...

I wonder if the late twentieth century will be seen as dominated by insufferably self-centered, dull, and predictable white feminists?

sydney said...

... the monster the postcolonial 20th century became, presided over by whiny, violent, and jaw-droppingly self-centered white dudes

Sounds like the elite of the 21st century (except maybe the violence)

LarsPorsena said...

...
... the monster the postcolonial 20th century became, presided over by whiny, violent, and jaw-droppingly self-centered white dudes...

Sounds like the Occupy folks

PatCA said...

Of course, this woman, blinded by ideology, cannot see that her smug anti-elitism is part and parcel of the Romantic tradition of her despised Gauguin.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I wonder if the late twentieth century will be seen as dominated by insufferably self-centered, dull, and predictable white feminists?

Don't know about that, but I'm betting that the early 21st will be seen as the century of what Frank Zappa called "over-educated shitheads".

edutcher said...

Oh, yes, those poor people are sooo much better off living in poverty and Communism.

Funny how the Lefties turn everything into a rant.

chickenlittle said...

You keep all your smart modern painters
I'll take Rembrandt, Titian, Da Vinci and Gainsborough


See your Gainsborough and raise you a Titian and 2 Rubens(es).

mariner said...

I like Gerard David.

Tibore said...

You sure "emotes" is the proper "e" word for that, professor? I think "excretes" comes closer to the mark.

David said...

They are not over educated shitheads.

They are poorly educated shitheads.

Mark O said...

"white." Racist rant.

William said...

Syphilis was the New World's gift to the Spaniards.....Poverty and ignorance never made any white man noble. Why does it have that effect on people of the third world?.....From what I've read, the lives of the islanders were caged with many teffifying taboos that were far more limiting than the Mother Hubbards introduced by the missionaries....The underlying assumption that white people are uniquely evil is a kind of white supremacist belief.

Paul Zrimsek said...

After I clicked on the link, the title bar on my browser read "You May Be Infected Already by Jen Graves". Would that aspirin trick have helped?

Carol_Herman said...

No, art, when it is great is "just" great art. The genius who does the work is not a saint. And, indeed can be a very troubled soul.

Genius is inherited, too. And, sometimes? The parents of geniuses are total nut bags.

Being conceived is just a toss of the DNA dice.

Paddy O said...

"the underlying assumption that white people are uniquely evil is a kind of white supremacist belief."

The myth of the 'redeemer nation' has two sides. On one side, is the chosen people who are the saviors of the world. On the other side, is the chosen people who bear the guilt of the world. Both are imperialistic in their own way as they dismiss ethical or cultural analysis on supposedly 'lesser' people, who in either case are morally neutral victims in need of salvation from the outside.

By suggesting they bear no moral or ethical influence, they're basically making such cultures sub-human.

Paddy O said...

That being said, I still think Gauguin was an ass.

ricpic said...

Gauguin's actual paintings, the actual breathtakingly beautiful and breathtakingly daring images he made, ya know, the point and actual achievement of his whole life, are in a place this reductionist bitch can never reach.

fleetusa said...

How so many smart elite want to tear down everything in the past and replace it with what? Modern Hollywood populist hip hop thinking?

fleetusa said...

Sex, drugs, & rock and roll....will sound like Gaugin in 100 years too:

ricpic said...

Genius is inherited, too.

That's right, Carol, Gauguin was born a genius. Do you even hesitate to think before you type? Of course not. You're a yenta. Gauguin, for your information, worked his ass off to get the point at which he could be a "genius." But keep on typing your brainless dreck. That's what yentas are for.

Kirby Olson said...

The paintings are bad because Gaugin had syphilis. Foucault is good because he had AIDS.

KenK said...

When I see Jenny Graves write articles like this about Maplethorpe or Basquiat then I'll know that the po-mo artsy fartsy critics are serious about their "insights". Until then she should piss off. When has art had to made by perfect human beings? Has it ever?

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm torn. I don't like Gauguin or his work. I also don't like this essay.

If one only had time to rhetorically flay one of these, which?

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

They are not over educated shitheads.

They are poorly educated shitheads.


Bah! I'm betting Jen Graves has degrees in both Art HERsory and regular HERstory!

Ivy League, too. You can't learn that level of condescension at a state school!

KenK said...

@North of 101
Bio says she has an English degree from Stanford. The Stranger is one of those odd little papers that you get at indy record stores and coffee shops.

Chip Ahoy said...

If you are going to create a picture in my mind then you must stick with the picture you start with and develop that, not switch to another picture and expect me to make the unannounced switch with you.

I will not see maidens navigating Gauguin's oozing body. Navigate. With the tip of their finger, as maidens do? Okay, I will not see that.

But if I flay him and lay him out on a table I then have a skinless human on a table.

A cross section is a limited inside view. It is not a vivisection.

To get a cross section I'd have to slice through Gauguin's body. Like a table saw. I'd have to choose where to saw to get the best inside view. Several slices would be the ultimate limited inside view. It would be best for the body to be frozen then I'd get a really good cross section, but freezing would interfere with maggots, which are surface insects and have to wait for the opening of Gauguin in order to be part of a flayed Gauguin picture. So the freezing and the maggots have to be separate. Flaying is a completely unnecessary step for the cross section. It could have just remained the outside layer viewed crosswise.

At any rate it is difficult to follow the author's vision, and I'm a little lost in the details about how the maggots get deep inside sufficiently, to be crawling satisfactory a part of the later flayed Gauguin picture.

I'd improve the picture by leaving the skin on. Have the maggots at the surface crawling on the oozing spots the maidens navigate. Like reefs presumably.

Emphasize this is not seen. But if it was seen then the following would also be seen. But it's not seem ↑ so neither is this ↓.

Then, splay Gauguin in open vivisection instead of cross sectioning him. Pin the skin flaps like the frog in the wax tray is made to look like an open tent in science class, and compare the rotten insides of Gauguin with postcolonial monstrosity. Make sure to demonstrate how precisely 10% is forfeited to Western disease in both cases so you can use the word decimate.

Then the picture would make sense while staying equally livid. It would have the benefit of being translatable without appearing confused as to cross sections and maggots.

Joe said...

I'm with Freeman on this one. I'll just ignore both.

Joe Schmoe said...

I tried to read the piece. I really did. But could only manage about a third of it.

Too bad 'fatuous' has already been used this month. Is there a word for 'worse than fatuous'?

t-man said...

I think that after fatuous, you come to obesuous.

Lovernios said...

Would he have been less monstous and his art better if:

He had not been white?
He had not been male?
He had been celibate?
He did not have an STD?
He had been gay?

David said...

Chip, your problem is that you have standards.

The woman teaches writing. Really.

Lem said...

When there aren't many, if any women giants.. a good feminist goes and flay/cut down the mostly men fraternity.

Jose_K said...

of course it is the white´s man fault . The good savages are never to blame.
Gauguin btw was descendant of a feminist communist and anticapitalist

Jose_K said...

Syphilis was the New World's gift to the Spaniards.....syphilis was present in Egypt well before Columbus. Anyway they exchanged it for smallpox

Tim said...

The comments at the article are a laugh riot of self-celebrating but clueless idiocy.

I bet they almost all voted for Obama.

That's what people like that do.

Wally Kalbacken said...

mariner said...

I like Gerard David.


Wow. Being flayed alive...that's gotta hurt!