Fresh Paint
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Another Flip Flop
U.S. Plan for Fallujah Hits Snag (washingtonpost.com)
FALLUJAH, Iraq, May 2 -- The U.S. Marine plan to have former Iraqi soldiers restore order in Fallujah ran into trouble Sunday as the former Iraqi general heading the new force denied there were any foreign fighters in the city, calling into question his commitment to American military objectives. A few hours later, the top U.S. military commander said the general would not be allowed to lead the scores of armed men he already has mustered in the city.
And they expect him to laugh and say, no problem, I'll get out of your way, sorry about the mistake? So who's up next in the batting order?

They are becoming more clueless by the minute.

Went out to the American Expressionist exhibit at Northwestern University Block Gallery today, but to be honest, spent more time downstairs at the MFA Show. Two very cool, vividly realist painters (Michael Ellis and David Gracie), one sculpter or designer of pleasant looking black plastic bas-relief (Alexander Herzog), one generic, quite boring abstract painter (Philip Vanderhyden) whose work I doubt I could describe right now, one dreadful installation artist (Katrina Pycha), though I hope her installation was really a comment on bad installation art, and not just a bad installation, along the lines I've been whining about of "corner of a teen's room", that not even undergraduates are caught dead doing any longer.

The two realist painters also had work in the Gillock Gallery show I saw last night. Very careful surfaces, exact edges (esp. Gracie), Ellis had a bit of sloppiness, or perhaps it just wasn't as important. See the influence of James Valerio, or perhaps they went to Northwestern because Valerio is here. Gracie did faces, very fine. Ellis mostly detailed local scenes (Howard El, Rogers Park park). Ellis getting into defining elements of a landscape with outlines, interesting. Diving birds seem pasted on. Gracie at his best gets an interesting tension with realism so exact it flattens and leaps at you, quite scary. A few just generally nice, ordinary portraits.

Expressionist exhibit seemed overwrought and dark and old, to me, like there were only about 10 real paintings there and the rest were writhings on the same general theme -- which in a sense cheapened the expression of it. Perhaps because of the organization, and too much stuff crammed into too little space (they did this with the Expressionist prints show too). Liked the gorgeous big Bischoff, the early Alice Neels, the Burchfield, the Kline, the Hartley, and that's about it. The ghostly Toomey. None of which I would have considered part of the expressionist movement (perhaps why I liked them??). Someone, please scream at me and tell me why I'm wrong, and what I should look at if I go back.

Enough. Must continue to catch up on news of the day.

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