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Francis Bacon and Nazi Propaganda – #review

The work and times of Francis Bacon are well documented. The use and origins of Bacon’s source material are well-known, some of which are even preserved. This book is a shortcut, a narrow, tunnel visioned, easy access pass to the imagery that helped to inspire his art – a snapshot and lightweight introduction from a contemporary point of view.

There are books that bring new perspectives to painting and the lives / methodologies of artists. Unfortunately Francis Bacon and Nazi Propaganda brings nothing new to the party … Continue reading →

The authors over emphasis on Nazi imagery is an attempt by the author to shock and imply a tenuous connection between Bacon and the Nazi regime. This book clouds the issue of how artists draw inspiration from the sources around them. These images of Nazi propaganda were (probably) simply metaphors for violence, death and persecution – had Hitler conquered Britain Bacon’s legacy would not exist. These Nazi images and iconography are still are powerful photographic and graphic images that send a shudder down your spine but they were only a part of Bacon’s bigger picture.

Does one methodology fit all? – painting is more complicated than that.

It would make more sense to see some of the imagery for yourself. BOZAR fine arts museum in Brussels has an exhibition of Bacon bits. The contents from his studio are part of a show running until May 2013. “Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & Francis Bacon’s Studio”includes hotographs of friends and lovers, medical books, wildlife and sport are jumbled together with classical references and artists monographs as well as unfinished paintings.


The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon

The paintings of Francis Bacon have always stood out in the crowded museums and galleries that are stuffed full of mediocre British paintings. Daniel Farson gives a personal view of his (if only in his own mind) ‘friend’s’ chaotic debauched … Continue reading →

Related articles – spot the wrong image?
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From the blog of Veronica Henry

Secret Santa for UK Authors

I set this up because most authors working from home don’t get the fun of an office Christmas party or Secret Santa, and why should we miss out on the fun? So how it works is: Authors DM or notify me on Twitter to say they want to take part – deadline 15th December – and I compile the Secret Santa list.

I allocate each author a Secret Santa from the list.
So then:

  1. Each author gets the name of another author to send a copy of their latest book, beautifully wrapped of course!
  2. Each author will also be contacted by their own Secret Santa so they can be sent a book. It is all organised by DM on twitter. The only slight glitch may be if you aren’t following your Secret Santa in which case they can’t DM you, but people usually send a discreet open message to alert you so you can follow them. The only rules are you must be a published author with a UK address – this last rule is to keep the postage fair.

Follow me on Twitter – @veronica_henry – if you want to take part.

Veronica Henry

I apologies for being British

#chicklitisnotdead

Interesting reading in the UK press about the demise of ‘Women’s Commercial Fiction’ – why does the UK (press) always criticize successful industries and people? The publishing industry still generates massive tax revenues for the government (either directly or indirectly). Is this a smart move in times of crippling recession?

The beauty of the Internet, art (including  the book industry) is that we can all lose ourselves in fantasy and dream worlds – surely this is a tonic not a crime?

Leave the arts alone! – after all we have little funding!

Get real! We are all taking a hit on sales, houses, pay packets etc. and any profit is a bonus for the National Debt.


via veronica_henry

As the figures prove. Women’s commercial fiction still huge despite downturn.

Mavericks are prone to under achieving

The word Maverick comes from a 19th century Texas land baron. Sam Maverick decided not to brand his stock; therefore any newborn or unbranded cattle wandering around on the free range could belong to him. Needless to say he was not a popular man.

A ‘Maverick’ is a person who is constantly having ideas and chasing their tails. Beginning projects with an energy that is uncontrollable. Staying up, working through the night. Forgetting to eat, forgetting to have a bath. Generally being self-absorbed in their own little world. ‘Mavericks fly beneath the radar. They possess the freedom to detect the creative vision that can lead to new products or businesses. But no one – in business …..from the chief executive to middle managers …… really wants to acknowledge their existence.’ Mavericks consider their projects to be different and new. ‘By their nature, they are not people who want to be noticed. Their ability to function as mavericks is to have a great deal of independence. They don’t want to get locked into anything.’ However they could revolutionize the Art World, make a computer loop the loop, make air travel safer or maybe run rings around the latest search engine optimization guidelines, getting web pages to number one by bending the rules (without breaking them). Mavericks are generally lateral thinkers and innovators. Mavericks very rarely finish or complete anything and as a result they usually get fired; that’s not really too bothersome, the next innovation/idea is far more interesting. This means that Mavericks are prone to under achieving if left to their own devices.

This definition of a Maverick could quiet easily be the definition of an Artist, Writer or Performer and is a definitional description of a top Search Engine Optimizer. The principal definition of a Maverick is being able to look at things from a different perspective see the other alternative possibilities, use this when planing your website strategy or planning your next work of art.

Who buys Art online?

Do people make impulse ART purchases on the Internet? If you have your paintings hanging in a gallery, shop etc then you can encourage people to look, touch even smell your works of art. High Street shopping and gallery purchases … Continue reading →

The Hare with Amber Eyes

Cover of "The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Fam...

Cover via Amazon

The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance, is a book about ‘the history of objects’ or in this case a collection of objects, an inherited collection of Japanese netsuke.

Objects take on a life of their own when they leave the creators hands. They are no longer the responsibility of the artist (craftsman) – they move through history, out living their custodians, moving on through history and catastrophe. They are survivors.

Tiny and tactile the netsuke are “small, tough explosions of exactitude.” Their story spans cultures and continents. They were originally the possessions (the collection) of the Ephrussis, wealthy Jewish grain traders who spread from Russia to the important, wealthy capitals of Europe – their empire finally being destroyed by the Nazis.

These objects tell a fascinating story about the way the world has been molded by the need for commodities and trade, greed, war and jealousy.

Art is a commodity, a product of capitalism.


Woodcuts – Printmaking – Nude

Nude (woodcut print) This series of woodcuts is still available to purchase with a few more remaining. Originally  exhibited in the 150 Building at West Buckland School in North Devon during June and July 2011. This woodcut is printed over … Continue reading →

The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon

The paintings of Francis Bacon have always stood out in the crowded museums and galleries that are stuffed full of mediocre British paintings.

Daniel Farson gives a personal view of his (if only in his own mind) ‘friend’s’ chaotic debauched life, gay lovers, masochistic beatings and ‘bits of rough’. This is in no way a proper critical view of this painter’s life, it is merely a tabloid’s view, scandalous, shallow and sometimes pathetic. It is a fantastic read!

The storytelling is random and underscored with Farson’s  deep bitterness – I think he wanted to be a bigger player in this game.

Bacon’s early life, which sounds positively hideous, the days in Berlin, Paris and the buggering about on the coast. The deep depression and the sex driven, drink driven highs are all in The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon. Well worth reading.

From the mid 1960s, Bacon mainly produced portrait heads of friends. He often said in interviews that he saw images “in series”, and his artistic output often saw him focus on single themes for sustained periods including his crucifixion, Papal heads, and later single and triptych heads series. He began by painting variations on the Crucifixion and later focused on half human-half grotesque heads, best exemplified by the 1949 “Heads in a Room” series. Following the 1971 suicide of his lover George Dyer, Bacon’s art became more personal, inward looking and preoccupied with themes and motifs of death. The climax of this late period came with his 1982 “Study for Self-Portrait”, and his late masterpiece Study for a Self Portrait -Triptych, 1985-86. Despite his seemingly existentialist outlook on life, Bacon appeared to be a bon vivant, spending much of his middle and later life eating, drinking and gambling in London’s Soho with Lucian Freud, John Deakin, Daniel Farson, Patrick Swift, Jeffrey Bernard, Muriel Belcher and Henrietta Moraes, among others. Following Dyer’s death he distanced himself from this circle and became less involved with rough trade to settle in a platonic relationship with his eventual heir, John Edwards.

Art Since Pop

There are some reference books that follow you and stay with you through out your life. ‘Art Since Pop‘ is such a book, published in 1975 (by Dolphin). This book simply sets out to do what it says in the title, explaining art movements such as Process Art, Land Art, Conceptual Art and Body Art, in a brief but concise way. None of the movements of fine art covered in this pocket sized book are dealt with in great depth but it provides an informed introduction to these different concepts and methodologies, reassessing its effectiveness and ability to move on and change. The beauty of this book is the fact that it was written closer to ‘as it was happening‘ and gives an optimistic appraisal of art movements that have since been sidelined or dismissed as mere Cul-de-sacs.

John A. Walker (b. 1938) is a British art critic and historian who has written over 15 books on modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on mass media. He has also written on design history methodology. Walker’s books include Art since Pop (1975), Design history and the history of design with Judy Attfield (1990), John Latham: The Incidental Person – His Art and Ideas (1994), Cultural Offensive: America’s Impact on British Art since 1945 (1998), Art & Outrage (1999), Supercollector: A Critique of Charles Saatchi with Rita Hatton (2000),Left Shift: Radical Art in 1970s Britain (2001), Art in the Age of Mass Media (3rd ed.: 2001), Art and Celebrity (2003) and Firefighters in Art and Media: A Pictorial History (2009).

Walker was a Reader in Art and Design History at Middlesex University near London until retiring in 1999. He was trained as a painter at Newcastle upon Tyne.