May 28, 2017

"Art should challenge us...."/"Why is that?... Are we 'challenged' by Constable and Turner? The Chartres Cathedral? The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?"/"Absolutely!"

From the comments to the post about the dismantled "Scaffold" at the Walker Art Center. The one in the middle is Michael. The first and third comments are from me. I'm the one who loudly proclaims "Absolutely!," even as Michael says:
Where was this cliche [that art should challenge us] born? Marcel Duchamp?... This idea of art is a modern thing and a concept that has as its fruit an unlimited amount of crap produced for people paying up to be "challenged."
A few notes and pictures:

1. The Chartres Cathedral. It represents the challenge to be a Christian. What greater challenge is there? Here's a modern public art display animating the old cathedral:



2. Turner.
"Turner... was a sharp critic of the industrial and commercial change sweeping mid-19th-century Britain. Casting a locomotive as a dark, sinister beast carving a pitiless path through the landscape in Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1844), he drew attention to the threat posed to the natural beauty of the English countryside by the industrial revolution...."


3. The Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Michelangelo worked at Schumacher pace. Adam's famous little penis was captured with a single brushstroke: a flick of the wrist, and the first man had his manhood. I also enjoyed his sense of humour, which, from close up, turned out to be refreshingly puerile. If you look closely at the angels who attend the scary prophetess on the Sistine ceiling known as the Cumaean Sibyl, you will see that one of them has stuck his thumb between his fingers in that mysteriously obscene gesture that visiting fans are still treated to today at Italian football matches...

94 comments:

mockturtle said...

Hogwash!

rcocean said...

"Challenged" is a bad word, cause people don't really want to be *challenged" by art.

If they did, we'd see some Nazi art shows "Challenging" people.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

The small cock as a virtue thing has an interesting history.

Sure, walking around naked w/ any arousal is gross. So, it is logical to see that the opposite of this is something to be celebrated. Hence, the more micro the better.

Of course, they did still see a limit.

Sorry Caitlin.



Ann Althouse said...

Among the definitions of the verb "to challenge" in the OED:

"To claim (some responsive action or recognition on the part of others, e.g. attention, regard, respect, approbation, admiration).... To summon or invite defiantly to a contest or any trial of daring or skill; to defy, dare... To invite (emulous, hostile, or critical action of any kind)."

Earnest Prole said...

Let's split the difference and say art can challenge us.

Ralph L said...

The challenge of the Sistine Chapel is to avoid a crick in your neck.

Fresco artists had to work fast, and who can see detail at that distance?

And why wasn't his 'David' circumcised?

TerriW said...

Dostoevsky saw a fairly startling painting that challenged him (by Hans Holbein), and literature was the better for it.

mockturtle said...

An artist paints as an act of expression. Aside from the purpose of glorifying God, art is essentially selfish. It can be--and often is, as was Michelangelo's--a commissioned work where pleasing the paying patron is the goal.

mockturtle said...

Earnest Prole suggests: Let's split the difference and say art can challenge us.

I'll buy that. There is some art that challenges the viewer to try to figure out what the hell it's supposed to be.

Ambrose said...

The Sistine Chapel challenges one to ponder why Adam has a belly button.

Earnest Prole said...

Allow yourself to be challenged by Chartres’ Great Labyrinth

Ambrose said...

This is making the Facebook rounds. Challenging? I think so. Very impressive.

http://www.bet.com/lifestyle/2017/05/24/artist-goes-viral-with-black-woman-god.html

Marc Puckett said...

A question for those who think that 'art doesn't challenge us': what does it do, then?

That aspect of 'challenge' or 'thought-provokingness' isn't the first thing I myself perceive about a work of art (and I'd argue it's not the first thing anybody ought to perceive) but it is surely present, in one way or another, in all art.

David Baker said...

Often manly "smallness" was to minimize or obscure the artist's true prurient interests.

exiledonmainstreet said...


"And why wasn't his 'David' circumcised?"

It's entirely possible Michelangelo never saw a circumcised penis.

Michael said...

Ok. But I don't find myself challenged by any of the three, all of which are favorites of mine. I am awed by them all. I am not challenged or enlightened or awed by the "light show", the "modern public art display" which is crap and which adds nothing to the beauty of the cathedral. The "modern public art display" used the ancient cathedral as a screen. A desecration.

Earnest Prole said...

Allow yourself to be challenged by “Why do all old statues have such small penises?” (NSFW)

Hint: In ancient Greece, it seems, a small penis was the sought-after look for the alpha male.

exiledonmainstreet said...

The Turner paintings were quite revolutionary for their time and certainly did challenge people.

But did the creators of Chartres intend a "challenge?" There is a certain truculence in the world "challenge" that I'm not sure fits with Chartres. I think the more suitable word is "inspire." Or "awe." They wanted people to be awed by their creation and by God's creation.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Michael beat me to it.

Ralph L said...

It's entirely possible Michelangelo never saw a circumcised penis.
Because they were always behind him.

Studied all those corpses and he never pulled back a foreskin--even his own?

Brookzene said...

"Dostoevsky saw a fairly startling painting that challenged him (by Hans Holbein), and literature was the better for it."

Synchronicity. I read about this only yesterday in the introduction to an English translation of The Idiot. The painting is of Jesus's corpse, and raised the idea what if Jesus was only a man?

Ann Althouse said...

""And why wasn't his 'David' circumcised?""

It would be an anachronism. Read the Bible.

chuck said...

I think you are playing linguistic tricks with the word "challenge". Being challenged to live up to ones beliefs is not the same as having your beliefs challenged and called into question. The first rouses aspiration, the second says your aspirations suck.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry, I thought we were still talking about Adam.

Ann Althouse said...

Circumcision begins in Genesis 17:

"9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”"

CWJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exiledonmainstreet said...

Ambrose said...
The Sistine Chapel challenges one to ponder why Adam has a belly button."

Michelangelo's reply might be:

"Hey, wise guy, you spend years up on a scaffold painting over 5,000 sq ft. of frescoes and tell me if you don't slip up every now and then."

rcocean said...

The main purpose of Art is NOT to challenge us. Its to make us feel good by bringing beauty into the world.

Now, I'm sure Althouse really does believe in art that challenges us. But for the most part - over the last 50 years - when someone says they want "art to challenge people" what they really mean is "they want art to shock the conservatives/bourgeois" - I don't see any artists trying to "challenge" the left.

If someone were to create a great statue of Robert E. Lee and wished to put it in Manhattan to "Challenge" their views of the Civil war it would get absolutely nowhere and the artist who suggested it, would probably be blacklisted in the Art world.

In theory, all this stuff about "challenging people's assumptions" and "Making them think" is almost almost always about challenging their conservative/bourgeois assumptions and trying to make them think a liberal elitist fashion.

Mark said...

An artist paints as an act of expression.

mockturtle has it right here. The artist conveys. More specifically, the artist communicates. To "communicate" is related to "communion," which means "to be one with." The artist seeks to make you, the viewer, one with the transcendent, one with truth, with reality, that is both inner and beyond.

The interesting thing about the Creation of Man is (1) the beauty and innocence seen in the man (in Hebrew, Adam) as contrasted with his look in the subsequent panel depicting the Fall; and (2) the figure who is underneath God's arm, gazing at the man. Michelangelo captured an insightful theology, showing that even before "the woman" was created, from the moment that the man was created, still she already existed, nestled under God's protective arm.

CWJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

I like the Turner painting, but if he truly thought railroad locomotives were dark, destructive and engines of doom, his prophetic powers were as blurred as the lines in his painting. The industrial revolution was the moment when mankind was divinely blessed and people--other than a few clergy and aristocrats--could worry about something other than where their next meal was coming from.......I'm sure it sucked working in those mill towns, but the people who worked there thought those jobs far superior to being an agricultural laborer.

Ralph L said...

Sorry, I thought we were still talking about Adam.
No, we're talking about Dick.
It is odd that circumcision should be the sign of the Covenant when the Hebrews were so uptight about nakedness. But God knows what you're packing.

The story I never figured out in Genesis was when a village agreed to be circumcised and the Hebrews attacked them while they were recovering. (Circumcision is a big deal from puberty on). Such a low blow!

St. George said...

The main purpose of art is to please the artist and to make money for the artist. Everything else is secondary

William said...

The picturesque English countryside owed a debt to landless farm workers who were malnourished in bad years and starved in really bad years.

CWJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

It is odd that circumcision should be the sign of the Covenant

Two possible explanations --
(1) Men tend to be rather protective of their "manhood." To willingly cut a part of it, even a superfluous part of unnecessary skin, demonstrates a real commitment.

(2) The Covenant was that God would make a great nation of Abraham's descendants. And so it makes sense that the sign of that Covenant should be in the very instrument of procreation that produces those descendants.

Ralph L said...

Mark, I believe you've hit the nail on the head.

Ralph L said...

But very cishet of you.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I should and do change art. My influence is subtle and indirect, yet visible (to me).

mockturtle said...

Looking at a Monet painting is seeing the 'impression' of the artist of the scene or subject. Often the impression better conveys the reality of the subject than would a photograph. But Monet was not interested in challenging anyone. He was just portraying his impression. That we can appreciate it is a happy coincidence.

Ken B said...

You really believe the architects of Chartres were challenging anyone to be a Christian?

What would you say about any of the Byzantine Churches that were converted to mosques?

AReasonableMan said...

Mark said...
Two possible explanations --
(1) Men tend to be rather protective of their "manhood."


This is largely invalidated by the fact that circumcision is quite common among all kinds of primitive tribes across history and across the planet.

William said...

Artists are bubbles on the stream. They tell you which way the stream is heading and give you a sense of its force, but they do nothing to direct the current or its direction. We're all pretty ignorant about the dynamics of history, and that's especially true of artists, but they're the least likely to admit their ignorance.

Ralph L said...

Men tend to be rather protective of their "manhood."

This is largely invalidated

So you let it all hang out?

Mark said...

You really believe the architects of Chartres were challenging anyone to be a Christian?

The Gothic cathedral with its great height sought, by design, to inspire people upward toward God.

AReasonableMan said...

Ralph L said...
So you let it all hang out?


No. Simply noting the broad based enthusiasm that members of a wide variety of primitive tribes have brought to the table when it comes to mutilating their penis.

Mac McConnell said...

It's obvious why Adam has a small penis, Michelangelo painted him in winter.

Ambrose said...

I always thought it was all hygienic. God said to Abraham - circumcise your males, avoid pork and bottom feeders, be careful with the milk - and you up your odds of avoiding infection and living longer.

fivewheels said...

Art does many things, and challenging convention can be one of them, but it's not a mandatory element, nor is it the most important, nor is it, historically, the point. It is an element that does lift some art to greater heights, but only if that art incorporates other elements, such as sheer craft.

The problem arises when weak-minded fools convince themselves that being "challenging" is the whole and only point of art, and that being oppositional is enough, and no other element present in great art is necessary. Then you get avant-garde trash of the type that often gets complained about, not always for the right reasons. But instinctively people know that it's not great, and they're often right.

PackerBronco said...

Modern art prides itself on challenging conservative or traditional beliefs. But if you challenge liberal beliefs, then you'll be labeled racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, ... but you sure as hell won't be praised for it.

Earnest Prole said...

Artists are bubbles on the stream.

I was waiting for someone to mention
Piss Christ.

Jay Elink said...

I'm certain that George Orwell is mightily entertained by Ms. Althouse and others attempting to deform the word "challenge" into what they WANT it to be.

After all:

"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."


"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master— that's all."

QE EFFING D.

Jay Elink said...

mockturtle said...
Looking at a Monet painting is seeing the 'impression' of the artist of the scene or subject. Often the impression better conveys the reality of the subject than would a photograph. But Monet was not interested in challenging anyone. He was just portraying his impression. That we can appreciate it is a happy coincidence.

*********

STOP MAKING SENSE!!!

Mr Wibble said...

Art is the means by which we share perception.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ralph L said...

The story I never figured out in Genesis was when a village agreed to be circumcised and the Hebrews attacked them while they were recovering. (Circumcision is a big deal from puberty on). Such a low blow!
5/28/17, 8:26 PM


What don't you get? Genesis 34:31,"And they said: ‘Should one deal with our sister as with a harlot?’"

RTWT: http://biblehub.com/jps/genesis/34.htm

Sebastian said...

"It represents the challenge to be a Christian." Evidence? Dedicating a cathedral to the virgin Mary seems an odd way to "challenge" people to be Christian. The cathedral says: she loves you, she will mediate for you, the mother of Christ connects you to Him. I wouldn't go so far as Henry Adams in Mont St. Michel and Chartres, but he gets closer.

Anyway, the challenge of Chartres was to tell Amiens and Beauvais: top this.

Ralph L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph L said...

And they said: ‘Should ONE deal with our sister as with a harlot?’"
So let's kill all the males in town and enslave their wives and children because one man defiled their sister. Not very Christian of them, or even Jewish.

Speaking of which, the former Salvation Army thrift store down the street is now a gambling den.

"Modern art is all bosh, isn't it?" asked Lady Cordelia Flyte, channeling Evelyn Waugh.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The problem arises when weak-minded fools convince themselves that being "challenging" is the whole and only point of art, and that being oppositional is enough, and no other element present in great art is necessary.
The critic John Carey argues in The Intellectuals And The Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligensia, 1880-1939 (Althouse portal), that the post WWI British intellectuals purposely constructed an aesthetic that was incomprehensible to the masses. The idea was to differentiate the intellectual elite from the mere bourgeois.
I've always thought of it as a positive sign that atonal music never caught on. An abstract paining can be a decoration, but no one wants to listen to that shit all day:). Music and song are the most democratic of the arts. What we think of as classical music was written for an evangelical religion or was adapted from folk tunes. The masses invented 3/4 and 4/4 time, not the intellectuals. Those time signatures and others began in folk music to keep time for a dance.
Fred Siegel wrote an Americanized version of Carey's history, Revolt Against the Masses. It's more political and less artsy than Carey's book.

Ralph L said...

An abstract paining can be a decoration
ha ha

Mark Caplan said...

It's indisputable that the vast majority of visual artists working today are challenged.

BillyTalley said...

"Art should challenge us, he said." Who are "us", Kimosabe?
Seems like the artist's and the museum's intended audience is the white ones they want to shame. Status seeking virtue signals.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ralph L said...
And they said: ‘Should ONE deal with our sister as with a harlot?’"
So let's kill all the males in town and enslave their wives and children because one man defiled their sister. Not very Christian of them, or even Jewish.

Oh, so you favor proportionate response and dragging out the conflict over millennia. Should the Israelis send suicide bombers into Palestinian cafes instead of using precision-guided munitions from 30000 ft, because the Palestinians don't have PGMs?

Keep in mind this was not some schmuck, this was the prince of the kingdom who humbled Dinah.

Ralph L said...

Bad LT, there's also that part of Genesis in which God wants to destroy an entire evil village, but Abraham talks Him down because there might be even one innocent person there. (or something like that, it's been a long time, and we read a bowdlerized OT in HS Theology class.

Earnest Prole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Earnest Prole said...

Allow yourself to be challenged by Constable in 1824, which is seven years short of two hundred years ago.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger Ralph L said...
An abstract paining can be a decoration
ha ha
5/28/17, 10:49 PM

Sure, Black and yellow splashes on a white field to match the furniture.
I knew this artist chick in Kona. This was the 90s. She did Goth kind of paintings. Deeply weird. This was Kona. It's a frikkin' tropical paradise, not a bleak, mid-latitude, post-industrial wasteland. Nobody wanted to buy her shit, they were looking for stuff that would go with rattan hide-a-beds with hibiscus print cushions.
She had pale skin, red hair, and drove black Trans Am that belched black smoke out dual exhausts. The Trans Am had a bumper sticker that proclaimed "MORE CRAP FOR THE MASSES." She didn't last long in Kona.

Lewis Wetzel said...


Blogger Ralph L said...
And they said: ‘Should ONE deal with our sister as with a harlot?’"
So let's kill all the males in town and enslave their wives and children because one man defiled their sister. Not very Christian of them, or even Jewish.

There's a joke about the physicist Wolfgang Pauli (the guy behind the "Pauli Exclusion Principle"). Maybe they tell it about other physicists, though Pauli was notoriously critical and "prickly."
Anyway, Pauli dies, goes to heaven, meets God. God tells Pauli "I will answer any one question you ask me." So Pauli asks God about why a certain physical constant has a particular value. God tells Pauli how he made the universe, and shows him how all of it fit together. Pauli interrupts God: "Well, see, that bit there you got wrong."

Lewis Wetzel said...

Adam is beardless in the Sistine chapel painting.
This may be the first time the "kami menjual OBAT PEMBESAR PENIS MANJUR VIMAX ASLI CANADA dan di jamin dalam waktu 1" spam is appropriate. If Adam were alive today, he'd click it!
I once read a book called Lilith (1895) by George MacDonald. Adam is a major character and he is more than little wicked. But he is everyman. You can neither distance yourself from Adam nor disown him. You think your father was that nebbish who impregnated your mother? No. Your father was Adam.
BTW, Lilith, in some folklore, is Adam's first wife. She would not consent to lying beneath him, so she was replaced. By Eve.

Virtually Unknown said...

Well, it seems like the left has mistaken the concept of "challenge" in art for "hectoring."

urbane legend said...

. . . a flick of the wrist, and the first man had his manhood.

Eve did that frequently. Genesis 3:20 says she was the mother of all living.

Why hasn't anyone painted the ceiling of the philistine chapel? Too many choices for the honor? Chapels, not artists.

Jon Burack said...

I am challenged by how much of the discussion here about Adam in the painting focuses on his penis. Is that really the challenging part? What about the bend in the knee? The parallel postures of Adam and God? Their equivalent sizes? The restful tranquility of the two hands almost touching? The two pairs of eyes linked with the two hands almost touching? I am not sure I care much about the word "challenging," and I find very little in the art I am supposed to be challenged by today challenging. My bad. But I do find these features of the painting challenging in the sense of provoking thoughts about man's place in the cosmos. Even in this secular age, the mystery of it still comes through. Imagine what it did for people back then.

Ralph L said...

I had an idea this morning when thinking about Michelangelo's often lumpy bodies. Maybe El Greco's elongated bodies were designed to correct the distortion caused by looking up at a painting hung high on a wall. We always see them straight on. This could be old hat to you art historians.

Marc Puckett said...

Was diverted from this post &c yesterday evening but on return this morning the first thing I saw was people going on about Adam and his penis in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel for some reason, and then 'Jual Vimal Obax' &c-- and Lewis's comment about that being finally more or less on topic. Thanks for the amusement to begin the day!

I wonder if I want to spend the time figuring out how the comments on the 'challenge of art' post became about penises and circumcision &c?

mockturtle said...

Eve did that frequently. Genesis 3:20 says she was the mother of all living.

IIRC, mitochondrial DNA tells us we do have a common female forbear.

Ralph L said...

I wonder if I want to spend the time figuring out how the comments on the 'challenge of art' post became about penises and circumcision &c?
I'm 56--I ought to be too old for this, but let's face it, foreskins are gross.

Robert Cook said...

"Looking at a Monet painting is seeing the 'impression' of the artist of the scene or subject. Often the impression better conveys the reality of the subject than would a photograph. But Monet was not interested in challenging anyone. He was just portraying his impression. That we can appreciate it is a happy coincidence."

And when he and his contemporaries first began exhibiting, they were excoriated and their work was hated! It was not what people were used to seeing or expected to see in paintings and they ridiculed and scorned it.

Great art challenges not because the artist endeavors intentionally to create work intending to shock, but because a great artist brings a wholly new sensibility and perception of the world to his or her work, and it will be so radically unlike what has been seen or heard or read before that people cannot understand it. When Stravinskly's "Rite of Spring" premiered, it caused riots in the audience because it was shockingly new. We hear it today and we cannot understand such a reaction, as its beauty is self-evident to us, so familiar have we become to Stravinsky's oeuvre and of work by others that has come after.

We become complacent in our assumptions about the world, and we mostly stop really seeing the world or thinking about it in an unconventional way. Great art can shock us out of our complacency because it presents to us a way of seeing the world that we had never and could not have previously conceived of.

Robert Cook said...

"The main purpose of Art is NOT to challenge us. Its to make us feel good by bringing beauty into the world."

Art should have no purpose other than to be itself as the artist conceived it. It doesn't even have the purpose of making us feel good. But...what does that mean? Some hate art that seems despairing or harsh or dissonant, while others relish it and feel good by having experienced it, and cannot stand art which seems merely "pretty" or "soothing." Which brings up the unanswerable: what is "beauty?"

Trumpit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

"Art should have no purpose other than to be itself as the artist conceived it."

Its what people who experience the art that matter, not the artists intent.

Trumpit said...

"(1) Men tend to be rather protective of their "manhood." To willingly cut a part of it, even a superfluous part of unnecessary skin, demonstrates a real commitment."

The anti-foreskin squad, aka The Lollipop League, is out in force today, Memorial Day. It's a day to remember all the sacrificed penises due to monumental ignorance of the foreskin's functions, benefits, and beauty.

mockturtle said...

Cookie, to respond to your definition of 'great art', I would say it is like great music: It stands the test of time. I'm a lover of classical music and have to admit that I find Charles Ives' work appalling [as did my late husband]. As with painting, music is skillfully created or it is junk passed off as art. To compare Ives, for example, with Mozart is to compare Warhol with da Vinci or Rembrandt.

Robert Cook said...

Mocturtle:

My comment did not have to do with with how long the "great" art of any given era would be remembered, (and most art of any era will be forgotten, of course). My comment had to do with the tendency of people to reject art as terrible merely because it is new. This does not mean all new art will stand the test of time, and much great art is forgotten with time, so it is not a given that all great art will be remembered. However, much art that stands the test of time was not accepted or understood in its time, (the paintings of the Impressionists, MOBY DICK, Stravinksy's "Rite of Spring," etc.)

I can't speak to your dislike of Charles Ives, as I've never listened to him**, but there is one irrefutable truism about art:

"De gustibus non est disputandum"



**(I'm sampling his "Symphony #2" now on Youtube, the first time I've ever heard him, and it sounds like completely conventional symphonic music to me...no dissonances, nothing that I could say is obviously appalling. What is it you hate about his work?)

mockturtle said...

What is it you hate about his work?

Its lack of quality. His music is third-rate and amateurish. IMO, the only reason his music is played at all is because he represents the contemporary composers.

mockturtle said...

And à chacun son goût.

Virtually Unknown said...

A 2001 letter to the editor in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, jointly written by a professor of biology and a professor of biblical literature, theorized that Adam's Rib—you know, the one that became Eve—was actually his penis bone

Adam's penis does sort of look like it's been de-boned.

Robert Cook said...

Talk about synchronicity, this column by Chris Hedges was published today on Truthdig.

From the column: "The artist makes the invisible visible. He or she shatters the clichés and narratives used to mask reality."

Hedges speaks to art in terms of its political/social ramifications, but it is also true aesthetically: we accept certain types of artistic expression as normative, and other forms of expression as unacceptable. Art allows for the full range and possibilities of human imagination, and accepting arbitrary, culturally reinforced preconceptions of what is "good" or acceptable art--what can be said and how it may be said--places blinders on our thinking in general. When a new form or style of expression pries open our eyes, even just a bit, we are more open to new ways of perceiving and thinking about the world in general.

Robert Cook said...

"'What is it you hate about his work?'"

"Its lack of quality. His music is third-rate and amateurish."


I am unfamiliar with symphonic music, so your reply tells me nothing.

Christopher said...

Turner is definitely challenging--and was especially so in his time, when those foggy blurry canvases challenged prevailing ideas of realism. I still think their indeterminate nature is pretty challenging to my internal expectations of the bright line between depiction and abstraction.

The real counterpoint to this idea of "being challenged" is Matisse, who wanted to be pleasant--in a way that, ironically, challenged a lot of modernist ideas about art. A. S. Byatt has a great story, "The Chinese Lobster," that discusses that aspect of Matisse in a way I think you would be interested in, Professor (partially because it depicts two professors, talking about Matisse).

Warren Fahy said...

Turner was NOT a critic of the industrial revolution or the mechanisms it brought, which he regarded as marvelous. He has often been called a romanticist of the industrial revolution, in fact. His famous painting of the great warship being hauled in by a steamship to her demise was NOT a critique of modernity but a portrait of progress to Turner. It's hard for us to understand today, but during that time, with the logic of Sherlock Holmes and Darwin and exploration revealing the world all around them, people viewed progress as a great boon with immediate benefits. It was an age of great optimism, and Turner was a great booster of science, invention, reason and industry.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
"'What is it you hate about his work?'"

"Its lack of quality. His music is third-rate and amateurish."

I am unfamiliar with symphonic music, so your reply tells me nothing.
5/29/17, 8:05 PM

Then why bother asking? Are you supposed to receive an education on classical music in one post?

Robert Cook said...

You could offer specific aspects of his music that displeases you. Merely saying someone's work is "third-rate" and "amateurish" wouldn't tell me anything about a composer or performer of a musical genre with which I were familiar.

Robert Cook said...

Sorry, I didn't look closely and I thought the reply from Bad Lieutenant was from mockturtle.

In any case, BL, you have my reply to your snarky question.

Bad Lieutenant said...

But Cook, if she had given you a learned response, it would have been pearls before swine: you wouldn't have been able to appreciate it anyway, since you don't have any familiarity with the genre. You're just busting chops.