Monday, June 18, 2012

La Grande Illusion

The site,, is not a charity but a business, one that hopes to make a profit identifying artistic talent and connecting it to an audience. Investors are pouring millions into it and similar start-ups and social networks like and, which cater to the growing cadre of people who consider themselves creative and think there’s a market for their work outside the network of galleries and dealers who dominate the commerce in art and design. Users and founders of these sites talk not only about making money but also about democratizing culture.

these platforms proliferate, they also raise questions about the nature of art and creativity, the distinction between professionals and hobbyists and what it means to call yourself an artist when anyone with a cellphone can be a photographer, anyone with the right apps can be a designer, anyone with a Facebook page can amass a following, and anyone at all can dream up a concept and find a place to pitch it.
No mention of Saatchi. [never stop selling, especially yourself]

The curator of Sensation, now Sir Norman Rosenthal, speaking to a friend of mine a couple of years after the show, and in my presence, said " I sold my soul with that one." I thought that was sad, and silly.
Replace "artist" with musician in the article above and see the absurdity that results.

What is the role of the fine arts in a democracy?
"Today there is no denying that narrative films are not only “art”—not often good art, to be sure, but this applies to other media as well—but also, besides architecture, cartooning and “commercial design,” the only visual art entirely alive."
Panofsky, Style and Medium in the Motion Pictures, 1934


Look at the photograph. It's an image of aristocracy as high camp. And the double reversal: the hyper masculine von Rauffenstein has become matronly and the fey de Boeldieu slyly aggressive. Hilarious.

First date, and foreshadowing.
de Boeldieu: May I ask you a question?
von Rauffenstein: Of course.
de Boeldieu: Why did you make an exception of me by inviting me here?
von Rauffenstein: Because your name is Boeldieu, career officer in the French Army. And I am Rauffenstein, career officer in the Imperial German Army.
de Boeldieu: But my comrades are officers as well.
von Rauffenstein: A 'Maréchal' and 'Rosenthal,' officers?
de Boeldieu: They're fine soldiers.
von Rauffenstein: Charming legacy of the French Revolution.
de Boeldieu: Neither you nor I can stop the march of time.
von Rauffenstein: Boldieu, I don't know who will win this war, but whatever the outcome, it will mean the end of the Rauffensteins and the Boeldieus.
de Boeldieu: We're no longer needed.
von Rauffenstein: Isn't that a pity?
Capt. de Boeldieu: Perhaps.
The tragic resolution: the death of the heroine, the aristocratic martyr for the people.
von Rauffenstein: Forgive me.
de Boeldieu: I would have done the same. French or German, duty is duty.
von Rauffenstein: Are you in pain?
de Boeldieu: I didn't think a bullet in the stomach hurt so much.
von Rauffenstein: I aimed at your legs.
de Boeldieu: It was 500 feet, with poor visibility... Besides, I was running.
von Rauffenstein: Please, no excuses. I was clumsy.
Still hilarious, still tragic.

What's even more ironic is that I missed all of this, or the real extremity of it, until the friend I was with yelled "Kitsch!" at the end. She'd never seen the film and I've seen it 3 times at least. What I'd seen as a light touch is now a sledgehammer. It always was.

Erwin Panofsky: "The humanist, then, rejects authority. But he respects tradition."
jumping forward: 2014

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