April 18, 2013

Are your chairs and sofas too 3-dimensional...

... or are your paintings not 3-dimensional enough?

I went to that slideshow after looking at the slideshow that accompanied the NYT article "Making the Best of It at the Milan Furniture Fair," which — unrelated to what I've linked to above — happens to end like this:
Antonio Rossi, a taxi driver here, confirmed that business was slower than usual this year, though he admitted that even so, it was a great improvement over the weeks when the city was not hosting a fashion or design extravaganza. But no trade show, Mr. Rossi insisted, could provide the solution to his country’s economic woes. What Italy really needed, he said, was another leader like Mussolini.

Even though Mussolini was a Fascist?

“Everyone has problems,” he said.

53 comments:

ampersand said...

There are Russians who would say the country needs another leader like Stalin. How do you suppose the NYT would frame that quote?

Brew Master said...

Didn't the trains run on time?

Kevin said...

The girl in the furniture paintings link is super cute. She could play Scarlett Johansson, should the need for a biopic of Scarlett Johansson ever come up.

AprilApple said...

Enjoy the decline.
International style.

Not enough government?
What Italy needs is even greater centralized government control. After achievement, and unhappy disaster, blame the US republicans.

YoungHegelian said...

There will be a resurgence of movements modeled after classic Italian Fascism in Europe. Wait & see. There are already rumblings, what with Greece's Golden Dawn & Hugary's Jobbik Party.

Mussolini's chief insight that led him away from Marxist socialism was the the European proletariat had failed to unite to prevent yet another war (WWI) among the capitalist powers. Indeed, the proletariat were as patriot as their fellows when it came time to fight & die.

What he saw that united the various competing national groups (corporations, as they are called in Fascist ideology) was the idea of the Nation. The corporations would be directed to a higher cause that transcended their own self-interest in service to the Nation.

Yet, again the European Nations are faced with a failing trans-national ideology (this time the EU, not Marxism), with a widespread feeling that Brussels pays no heed to their local concerns. It's easy to see how a strong nation state could be painted as the cure for their ills.

CWJ said...

I have always loved Italian design, and really enjoyed my extended stay in Milan. The Lombards managed to successfully marry their Germanic patrimony to a Mediterranean view of life. The cultural result is quite effective, and distinct. Both my Italian children are Milanese.

Inga said...

Magis, is also the name of an Italian doll manufacture that made small cloth dolls for the tourist trade from the early 20's through the 50's, highly collectible.

CWJ said...

Inga, now that's interesting. I'll have to ask my wife if she's heard of them.

ricpic said...

Mussolini was great at projecting three dimensionality. Why even when Hitler saved him in '43 and propped him up again he positively beamed in the photo taken of him next to the rapidly caving Furher. The lesson? Don't worry, be happy. But a decidedly un-robust, almost two dimensional lamppost, got him in the end.

ricpic said...

Oops, Fuhrer.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

CWJ, I've been collecting them for years as well as Lenci dolls. Really beautiful, works of art almost. A German doll maker, Ilse Ludecke also made exquisite cloth dolls. I have mostly Magis dolls, a couple of Lencies and 4 Ludeckes, all cloth, hand made.

ricpic said...

If a New York cabbie were praising Barack would his passengers dare say "Even though he's a fascist?" Of course not, though that's what he so obviously is -- without even the compensatory trains running on time schtick.

CWJ said...

Inga, thanks. I think we traded collectable doll comments once before.

CWJ said...

ricpic, yes, but we are not reporters looking for pithy comments and/or local color to add to our story.

FWIW, Millanese cabbies (unlike say NY) actually are often Italians even locals rather than (insert immigrant group here).

Chip Ahoy said...

Your ass makes these chair paintings come to life.

I showed this to a few people and I swear, this one guy is determined to misunderstand absolutely everything. Sometimes I wonder if it's an act considering he's so dignified and elderly . You can see the paintings are on the floor and not hanging on the wall as an ordinary painting, so what does he say? He responds dismissively as if they are hanging on the wall.

Seen on Gizmodo a few days ago and I had to back back back back back back back back to find it, they feed you five posts per 'back' and I'm going, "Make me beg already whydontchya."

Crunchy Frog said...

More clicks that way, Chip

Lem said...

I like the Gizmodo page you just linked to.

The one Althouse linked to turned me off complete.

But hey... Everyone has problems.

Crunchy Frog said...

YH: There are already nationalist party movements all across Europe fed up with welfare statism and Muslim immigration. They haven't started winning elections just yet, but are getting close.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

Oh, boy...here we go again.

AprilApple said...

Chip - those are fantastic.

YoungHegelian said...

@Crunchy Frog,

...fed up with welfare statism...

One of the scarier aspects of Fascism is that it's flexible enough to encompass a strong social safety net in its ideology of the State. It would just be a social safety net for our kind of people, and not those nasty foreigners.

It's not really too far a stretch to see turning a centralized social democracy (e.g. France) into a centralized Fascist state. The pieces are already there. They just need an ideological driver.

Bob_R said...

Not impressed with the Mussolini comment. When people don't get their way they dream of a dictator. Read Thomas Friedman. Listen to BO whine.

That's not to say that a dictator would be bad...if she did what I wanted. If I remember correctly, in Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, he had one character who believed in a hereditary monarchy because it was such a transparently ridiculous form of government that the people would not allow it too much power. Maybe King Rand Paul will disband the federal government and lets us all do what we want.

David Davenport said...

There will be a resurgence of movements modeled after classic Italian Fascism in Europe. Wait & see. There are already rumblings, what with Greece's Golden Dawn & Hugary's Jobbik Party.

Well so what? Is the Italo-Greco-Hungarian Tripartate Entente going to blitzkrieg Berlin? Are they going to threaten the USA with missiles or suicide bombers?

Stop paying their international bills? Oh, they're already doing that.

Maybe there'll be a resurgence of male headgear modeled after classic Mussolini lids.

Lem said...

Oh, I just remembered something.

Drudge linked a story about the Chinese president, or should I say the president of China?... the president of China apparently took a cab ride and had a conversation with the cab driver.
But then, the Chinese information ministry, or whatever, is denying the cab ride ever took place.

Now reading this, I'm thinking...

Boy the Chinese hacks have really gotten out of hand?

We should make it a little harder for cabbies to talk?

or

There is a little piece of me in every cab that sped away after I hailed it?

Tough list.. but hey..

Chip Ahoy said...

So my mates spent the whole last week having their way denigrating the memory of Thatcher, my goodness, they showed straight out why they have no class and never will and neither will their children, forever, unless one amazing individual here or there breaks out, as they are kids themselves and so not alive when that was active and internalized a hatred passed to them and amplified.

And now the opposite, snap, just like that, a complete reversal of group adoration for someone beyond their own generation.

Storm Thorgerson died. Pink Floyd cover artist.

Workmates turn out for funeralper HappyToast

YoungHegelian said...

@DD,

Well so what? Is the Italo-Greco-Hungarian Tripartate Entente going to blitzkrieg Berlin?

Have you forgotten that Germany was supposedly completely disarmed at the end of WWI, yet in a generation they had the second largest in Europe? An army illegal under the Treaty of Versailles.

The combined armies of Europe could not quell the Bosnian conflict. I have no doubt that a re-armed European country of any size at all could wreak havoc across the map if it wanted to. Short of the Russians/Brits/French nuking it, that is.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

It keeps changing my link to an abbreviation that doesn't work


http://www.b3tards.com/u/037e58b9e054b3c8dd7b/stormfuneral.jpg


Unless this works.

rcommal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Calypso Facto said...

What Italy really needed, he said, was another leader like Mussolini.

Obama will be available in just 4 short years. Such a deal we could make you! Bonus: the Euros already love him.

Chuck Currie said...

High ranking members of the Roosevelt administration thought very highly of Mussolini, fascism too...until it all went to hell...of course, that was all Hitler's doing.

Cheers

Lem said...

Nice take Chip... I'm recognizing two characters. The guy with the glasses was in 'wish you were here' original album cover and the one with the light bulbs, he was on another album cover, which I don't recall the name of right now.

Pettifogger said...

Calypso Factor said: "Obama will be available in just 4 short years. Such a deal we could make you! Bonus: the Euros already love him."

You know, if they say "pretty please," we should let him out of his contract so he can emigrate early.

Jack Wayne said...

If anyone can show any definitive difference between Mussolini, the Medici and Caesar let us know. Fascism is hardly new in Italy and hardly extraordinary.

David Davenport said...

The combined armies of Europe could not quell the Bosnian conflict.

But the US Army and Air Force -- excuse me, I'm sorry, NATO -- did.

Says Wikipedia:

The Serbs, although initially superior due to the vast amount of weapons and resources provided by the JNA, eventually lost momentum as the Bosniaks and Croats allied themselves against the Republika Srpska in 1994 with the creation of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina following the Washington agreement. After the Srebrenica and Markale massacres, NATO intervened during the 1995 Operation Deliberate Force against the positions of the Army of the Republika Srpska, which proved key in ending the war.[18][19] The war was brought to an end after the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Paris on 14 December 1995. Peace negotiations were held in Dayton, Ohio, and were finalized on 21 December 1995. The accords are now known as the Dayton Agreement.[20]

My opinion is that the USA should have either stayed out of the Balkans or intervened on the side of the Serbs.

Jason (the commenter) said...

They already have people saying they want another Mussolini, now all they need is someone who says they're going to be the next Mussolini.

Crunchy Frog said...

Delicate Sound Of Thunder, Lem

Palladian said...

I hate postmodern furniture design (except for the early Memphis stuff). Trying to substitute cleverness for beauty and good form.

The post-WWII furniture and industrial design coming out of Italy was amazing, though. Long ago, I made a website in homage to my favorite Italian designer, Achille Castiglioni.

Michael said...

Italy has CasaPound a quasi-fascist, quasi-futurist amalgam of squatters and activists whose model is the American poet Ezra Pound. They are not down with socialism and while they are nationalists they are not racialists, having as they do many members of color.

David Davenport said...

Mr. Jungehegelicker, is Wikipedia's description of Y. H. accurate? Please explain if it is or is not.

Young Hegelians
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Young Hegelians, or Left Hegelians, were a group of German intellectuals who in the decade or so after the death of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in 1831, wrote and responded to his ambiguous legacy.

...


Philosophy

This section requires expansion. (August 2008)

The Young Hegelians interpreted the entire state apparatus as ultimately claiming legitimacy based upon religious tenets; while this thought was clearly inspired by the function of Lutheranism in contemporary Prussia, the Young Hegelians held the theory to be applicable to any state backed by any religion. All laws were ultimately based on religious tenets.

As such, their plan to undermine what they felt was the corrupt and despotic state apparatus was to attack the philosophical basis of religion.

...


The radicalization and politicization of the movement occurred when the new king, upon whom the Young Hegelians had pinned their hopes of political reform, Frederick William IV, came to power in 1840 and curtailed political freedom and religious tolerance more than before. In philosophy the radicalization took the form of a breach with Hegel’s doctrine of the Prussian state as the fulfillment of history. In religion it manifested as a rejection of Christianity even in its most diluted pantheistic form and an adoption of atheism (led by Bauer and Feuerbach). In politics the Young Hegelians dropped much of Hegel's political theory and for the most part turned to republicanism - the exceptions being Moses Hess, who mixed Hegelianism with communism, and of course Marx and Engels. In all these areas a central change was the adoption of certain ideas of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, especially the notion that the self-transcendence of the world by man was a possibility and duty, but one that could never be conclusively fulfilled.

...

CWJ said...

Palladian,

Your link brought it all home for me. I love it. BUT I can only imagine a northern Italian owning or using any of it. An American even of the most "sophisticated" sort would still look self-conscious, displaying, sitting on, or using any of the items linked.

They would effuse about them in a museum, but would never have them in a home in which they actually lived.

Cedarford said...

YoungHegelian - Good posts explaining what is going on in Europe.
The transnational, MultiKulti, socialist goodies economy going to the loudest squealers, everything run by unaccountable Elites model - in breaking down.

The national model, everyone working together by and for the Native citizens - is being re-embraced.

For those that moan about it meaning the return of dark days of Stalin and Fascism - recall what JFK said when America was believed a land for Americans and the goal was peace, prosperity, and a say in goverance for all, where handouts were discouraged except for those in dire need (since it had to come from others pay)..

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

Not "We'ah ma Obamaphone and all de othah free stuff I bees entitled to!"

Michael said...

Palladian. Tthese designs are magnificient and I would quickly own that vacuum cleaner (1956!!) and the stool that has been copied a thousand times for computer use, and the wobbly affair with a bicycle seat. I would love to bring these things into my space because i do not give a whit about matchy match and would use the seat with an 18th century partners desk i have hauled around for years. Glad to know the designers name.

Cedarford said...

Kevin said...
The girl in the furniture paintings link is super cute. She could play Scarlett Johansson, should the need for a biopic of Scarlett Johansson ever come up.

============
Very good actress. Really can play so many different roles and be in so many genres very well. Sort of like Mirren and Angela Jolie.

Saw "The Girl With the Pearl Earring" a few months back and loved it.

Emil Blatz said...

Thank God they don't let cabbies vote in Italy.

What? They let cabbies vote in Italy?

Palladian said...

Palladian,

Your link brought it all home for me. I love it. BUT I can only imagine a northern Italian owning or using any of it. An American even of the most "sophisticated" sort would still look self-conscious, displaying, sitting on, or using any of the items linked.

They would effuse about them in a museum, but would never have them in a home in which they actually lived.


I own many works by Castiglioni (and other post-war Italian designers) and, in my late apartment, lived quite happily and comfortably with them for years.

In the picture of my old loft linked above you can see Castiglioni's "Leonardo" table and "Arco" lamp, as well as the "Nesso" lamp by Giancarlo Mattioli (sitting on an 18th century provincial table in front of the bookshelf, which was designed by Giotto Stoppino. At the table are four "4867" chairs by Joe Colombo. On the table beside the "Nesso" lamp is a cigarette box also designed by Colombo.

At my old desk area was one of Colombo's "Boby" storage carts, and on my desk is Castiglioni's "Snoopy" lamp. On the wall you can see a Kartell plastic shelf with vases designed by Enzo Mari and Giotto Stoppino, and an "Eclisse" lamp, designed by Vico Magistretti.

My usual dinnerware is Castiglioni's' "Bavero", I use many pieces of his "Orseggi" glassware, and my flatware is his design as well, called "Dry".

I never felt "self-conscious" displaying, sitting on, or using any of my furnishings and household objects.

Palladian said...

I would love to bring these things into my space because i do not give a whit about matchy match and would use the seat with an 18th century partners desk i have hauled around for years. Glad to know the designers name.

Michael, I'm glad you enjoyed the objects! I'm just like you, I mix and match old and new pieces all the time (as you can see in my links above). A lot of modern Italian design, and Castiglioni's work in particular, was made to be put with all sorts of other furniture and objects. It's a very Italian thing in a way, mixing ancient, old, and new things together in a very unselfconscious way. Think of Rome...

AlanKH said...

Not a painting, but I have a pic of Cary Grant being chased by the biplane in "North by Northwest." Three-dimensionality might not be a desirable effect...

Kirk Parker said...

"What Italy really needed, he said, was another leader like Mussolini."

Paging Tom Wolfe! Mr. Tom Wolfe!


gerry said...

It's not really too far a stretch to see turning a centralized social democracy (e.g. France) into a centralized Fascist state. The pieces are already there.

Definitely - but the French have a whacky traditon compelling them to preach international socialism, and then march into technically inferior places and impose their culture upon hapless peasants.

I suppose that template could be used in a fascist cause, but it would have to be far more Italian in flavor, not the hot and sour German brand so poisonous to Jews, gays, Gypsies, Poles, and so forth.

German Nazism was not toxic to Islamic cultures between 1900 and 1940. That peculiarity came from an immunity conferred upon Muslims by their Jewish-hate gene.

CWJ said...

Palladian and Michael,

Sorry I didn't see your posts yesterday.

Point taken. My generalization was obviously overly broad.