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FYI Peter Frank:the collage aesthetic
The 20th Century has been a volatile and vastly variable epoch. It's myriad social, political and cultural currents and countercurrents - it's ever increasing expansion of the 19th Century dialectic into manifold polylectics - seem almost to cancel out one and another, leaving entropy as the net result.
Nevertheless, if one seeks not to summarize such an array of concepts and manifestations, the real nature of the century comes forward. The aggregate character of the last 80-odd years is not just unhomogenizable, it is anti-homogeneous.
The 20th Century is marked above all by variety, dissonance and the coexistence of what are in fact mutually insupportable factors. Embodying this as an overriding aesthetic for our century is the method of composition and communication variously called collage, montage, and nonsequitur. No matter the form or medium of communication, this mode relies on disjuncture, rhythmic displacement, and the confounding of expectation. Rules of verbal structure and narrative context are undermined and broken outright in modern literature; the sequencing of events in drama and dance are reconsidered & reconstituted; tonal harmonic relationships in music are destabilized and realigned; images in visual art are formulated discontinuously & assume coherency in no previously logical way.
Basic perceptions and societal presumptions have thus been challenged constantly since the century began. This collage aesthetic predominated in the most remarkable and influential art of the early 20th Century expressly to challenge (and even pre-empt) the linear, progressive certainties on which earlier social concepts were predicated.
Since the last world war the collage aesthetic has come to shape not just art, but most aspects of communication, as montage-intensive media like cinema and radio have established themselves and as montage-intensive formats like television have emerged to supersede even those.
But Mingus places these disparate images in a relatively traditional, almost schematic foreground-midground-background arrangement of fictive space. He thus forces these images to relate according to traditional pictorial practices - or, conversely, he implies the obsolescence of such practices by having them support a kind of visual free-association gibberish.
Given this virtual redefinition of our society (most especially if "society" can be defined as a civilization's common, or even communal self-perceptions) according to a grammar of fracture and disjuncture, the importance of a collage aesthetic is self evident. Indeed, it would not be unfair to regard the work of any modern, particularly postwar, artist as either confirming or denying, celebrating or contradicting, the collage aesthetic. It would be wrong to fault those artist whose homogeneity of image and method argues against the prevailing collage mode; in emphasizing internal contradiction the collage aesthetic even incorporates the supposedly contradictory idea of purity - overriding, however, any universal implication to which that idea might pretend proposing instead a kind of "purity for awhile," as if the function of the purity concept were to propose a (periodic cleansing). As such those artists who preach or practice coherence, uniformity, and singularity of form, subject, or concept, play an important role - almost a religious one - in the function of today's collage aesthetic.
Even so, those artists who consciously practice embodiments of the collage aesthetic are the ones who speak directly to the current condition of Western civilization. Whether they reify, criticize or parody this condition they concern themselves with actualities and probabilities drawn from there given environment.
It is ironic to describe someone's thinking as "in tune" with an essentially dissonance-ridden world view, but dissonance can be a form of consonance when its inherent patterns are grasped. Charles Mingus III has grasped some of these patterns; having perceived what is inherent to the collage aesthetic, he has developed modes of expression coherent to it. I emphasize the plural, modes of address; Mingus works
in at least two manners, manners which are related but are still quite distinct. This in itself indicates Mingus' responsivity to the collage world view: his oeuvre displays a considered and controlled inconsistency. On the one hand Mingus proposes a delicate world of beautiful abstract images, satisfyingly geometric figures set in harmony with renditions of natural spaces (e.g. sea, sky, inscapes).
More frequently, however, Mingus sets aside this implosive formalism - which harks back to Rosenquist & Rauschenberg, and even farther to the Jazzy figural tropes of Montparnasse Cubists like Gleizes & Marcoussis and Cubo Futurists like Severini & Malevich - in favor of a more pictorially coherent depiction. This coherency, is the coherency of the collage aesthetic; it may suggest the veristic rendition of earlier aesthetics, but in fact subverts that rendition with its jumps in context and superposition of contexts. The jocular "Junior bird man" gesture which Pope John Pall II flashes at photographers not long after his ascendance makes no "sense" ironic or otherwise, juxtaposed with a picture of a chimpanzee, playing "ring toss" and feeding a porpoise against a noon time desert landscape.
|Copyright© Charles Mingus 2008 ANTHROPOMORPHICIAZATION OF TECHNO-POTPOURRI 22383 ACRYLIC ON CANVAS 34"X46" Collection of J.Biggs Moore III, NYC
Interestingly, Mingus does not present these embodiments of the
collage aesthetic as actual collages; he paints and draws - freehand - from collages he constructs temporarily, destroying or filing them away afterward with no thought to them as artworks in and of themselves.
This process of re-rendering does create a homogeneous texture which serves through contrast to enhance the dissonance that exists between the images themselves.
Mingus' method recapitulates the homogenized texture provided (ironically) by television, cinema, and the other inherently collaging montaging media - and, as in those media, Mingus' method exercises a multivarent perception of reality that supplements the one point perspective traditional to Western civilization.
Ref: Peter Frank
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peter Frank is the Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum and an art critic for Angeleno Magazine.
He continues as long-time critic for L. A. Weekly. He was a past editor of Visions Art Quarterly, and was
an art critic for The Village Voice and The SoHo Weekly News in New York.
Mr. Frank contributes articles to numerous publications and has written many monographs and catalogues
for one person and group exhibitions. He has organized many theme and survey shows for placement at
institutions throughout the world. He has taught at colleges and universities and he has lectured all over
North America and Europe. Mr. Frank received his B.A. and M.A. in art history from Columbia University in
the City of New York.
My anthropomorphic blue-eyed macaroni juxtapositions are an
agitprop response to Western iconic and mythical ploys and
propaganda tricks. Like the blue-eyed Barbie, these high-fashion psychological-operations are the product of Madison Avenue
scientific hucksterism with military-spec religiosity and Wall Street flimflam.
This agglomeration masquerades as “civilization,” yet enforces
divergent personal identities and cultural schizophrenia.
As my wife Lois says, "This art is dead serious and funny as hell!"
ARTIST'S BIO: Charles Mingus III
Charles Mingus III has become recognized as one of America's most gifted and versatile artists. A native of Los Angeles,
California, his work is a part of the collections of such distinguished collectors as Daniel Filipacchi, Ivan Karp, the Estates
of Larry Rivers, Willem deKooning,Baroness de Koenigswarter Rothchild and Allan Stone. Additionally,Mingus' work is
represented in corporate collections such as Fort Mason Capital, LLC in San Francisco.
After studying with master calligrapher Shiro Ikagowa, Mingus, son of the legendary bassist and composer, moved to
Manhattan and developed his skills in metal spinning, sculpture and environmental art. He also extended his multiple
talents to include playwrighting, filmmaking, and animation. His plays have been produced at Joseph Papp's Public
Theater, La MaMa E.T.C., The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and Theater for the New City.
For the Museum of Modern Art and Southern Christian Leadership Conference(S.C.L.C.), Mingus conceived and initiated
a benefit sale exhibition to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and produced a film in which James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg,
Robert Penn Warren and Amiri Baraka appeared.The Museum also commissioned Charles' painting, "Time Seed," which
was featured as the Premium Card of the Year.
Mingus has been a teacher and lecturer in art and multimedia at the School of Visual Arts, NY, Towson State University, MD,
S.U.N.Y/ Empire State College, NY in addition to teaching a master class in theatre at the Strasberg Institute, NY.
His interview conducted by the Hatch/ Billops Collection for the Artist and Influence series was documented in 2001 and
archived at Howard University, D.C. Mingus has been profiled in many books and magazines,among them "Small Worlds
and How to Make Them: The Art of the Miniature",The New York Times, The New Yorker and NY Arts.
The New York Public Library has featured Mingus' paintings and sculptures, as has the cutting edge Chelsea art space, 532
Gallery Thomas Jaekel. In addition, working in a variety of media, Mingus' pieces have enjoyed numerous solo and group
exhibitions across the U.S., Europe and Japan.
He’s represented by the Allan Stone Gallery 113 east 90th Street.
Exhibited for 6 min at the Living Theater Sept 07 Copyright © Charles Mingus 2008
"There's no there there and there's no there here either.."
My first print is 40"x40" printed by DPC http://digitalprintconsortium.com/ Steven McCallum Artist painter printmaker Steve Mc Callum
http://www.stevenmccallum.com/ Steve's website that includes a button to Digital Print Consortium A portfolio and resume of the artwork of
Steven McCallum. Site contains examples of work, a resume, and a bibliography. http://www.stevenmccallum.com/
| CM3 AT NYPL 2008 9TH St. Copyright © Photo credit SANDY MOON NYC Charles Mingus 2008
Last Update 2009-09-27 | Copyrightę Charles Mingus 2008 |