Artipathy discussion

Dear Theo > Let's Start Here

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
Well, it's just about the end of November and I promised we'd start this book in December, so I'm putting up this folder. Still not finished with Art and Fear, but hey, who says we can't multi-task?

message 2: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I'm running behind with everything and haven't been able to start Dear Theo... I shall endeavour to catch up quick sharpish!

message 3: by Kim (last edited Dec 10, 2008 09:13AM) (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
No worries Gina. Just cracked it today myself! I think this is one I might take some time on because I want to enjoy it more. So far, in just a few pages, I feel he is a painter of words as well. If we see it's taking longer, we can postpone the next reading, if everyone is all right with that. Already doing double duty with Art and Fear and a couple of other books on other groups, and just my ongoing reads. Whew!

message 4: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 30 comments Just speaking as an overworked parent who reads slow anyhow, a book a month, for just one group, seems too ambitious, who ever decided on a month anyhow? Not here I mean, just in general.

message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
Still not finished with the last book, but I had to comment on this one. Really enjoying finding out how his mind worked and also the references to Holland since I am living here! He seems obsessive from the get go. I'm in his religious phase now. What is interesting, perhaps a bit scary, is I'm really identifying with him, his love of nature, his deep spirituality, which is not religion for me though I did go through a phase of that when I was a kid. He seems to feel things in a highly sensitive way, seeing the beauty around him. But he's also struggling with his feelings of low worth and trying to find the energy to deal with the challenges that face him. There is a hint of him having already gone through a rough period but it's not explained. Very dramatic way of viewing life, very intense. I keep thinking about his paintings which I saw in the Van Gogh museum here. Now more than ever they remind me of Art Brut or Outsider Art, so clearly disturbed but with a wonderful vision. That must be why I like his work so much as I'm a big fan of that kind of work. I'll put up some more concrete examples of what I mean soon.

message 6: by Kim (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
Thought I'd better qualify the spirituality comment, but it is difficult. Don't want to get into any religious debate. I have total respect for others and their beliefs. Mine are sort of self constructed. Painting is mostly my religion, my meditation, but in that vein I explore some Eastern beliefs, yoga, Tao, Buddhism, and throw in some superstition for good measure. Basically, what keeps me calm, centered, focused and whole. Painting, drawing, art in general does that for me. And I guess that's what I'm seeing in V.G. He seems to be searching for a kind of peace that his culture and family has defined as organized religion, Protestant if I assume correctly. I do think that good art comes from that sort of place, as an inspiration, so it is interesting to me that he has this kind of passion combined with his love of beauty and nature and his own mental state that ultimately resulted in the work that he produced. I think it is a combination of these things that helped him to produce something superior that has stood the test of time. Of course, there are others who would dispute this and truly dislike him. I'm open to those opinions too because we all have a different view of this world.

message 7: by Emilie (new)

Emilie i remember the feeling, that first, he can really express himself beautifully with language.
and that i think i understand what you are speaking of, kim.
i felt that i identified with him a lot too.
the intensity, the sensitivity to everything around him, the passion, the way all of this is what makes his vision so compelling, and motivates him to create,and at the same time, hurts him. the questionings of his self, the low self esteem, the acute sense of beauty all around. the love of nature and so the external world, and yet, the desire to hide as well, to exist in his own world, the sense that he doesnt quite fit in the world.
yes, i relate to him much too, the art/writing/self-expression as way to understand/be/as way to integrete himself, keep himself intact, connected.

andthank you for writing this kim bc it motivated me to order the book.
i read it years ago, and remember the feelings i had, but not the specifics...

message 8: by Emilie (new)

Emilie oh, i was wondering if you would give some names/books/and/or sites of art brut/outsider artists. i dont know much about this kind of art, but im intrigued. i am familiar with henry darger, but thats about it.

message 9: by S. Kay (new)

S. Kay (cobwebs) | 90 comments Thanks for keeping up with Dear Theo, Kim. December has become insane as I try to finish off projects before the new year, but I have been reading a little. Might have been more prudent to hold off for a different month, but as someone mentioned, I suppose we aren't limited to a single month.

message 10: by Kim (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
No worries, Kay. Odette is doing February, so we've pushed back a month. I need to get back to Art and Fear but getting sucked in by V.G.'s intensity and inadvertent advice. And yes, comments on this book will be ongoing even if we start up another book. So, relax, get your deadlines done. No pressure here.

message 11: by Kim (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
Emilie, glad I motivated you. Your comments are exactly what I was thinking, basically that this intensity of sensitivity to beauty, well, just sensitivity is what drove him to do the work he did. Art Brut, etc. was discovered/invented by Dubuffet when he started collecting work from the insane asylums. It and Outsider Art is basically defined as art done by people that did not study art. So it can be a kind of naive art, but also art by mentally disturbed people. A good example is the Facteur Cheval, a postman in France that constructed a sort of palace from cement and broken dishes, shells etc. Of course, V.G. doesn't really fit this category since he did study art, although it would seem largely on his own, but because of his mental state it seems to me he fits right in with some of the artists I've seen in the genre. Same kind of intensity, a sort of energy that is produced. Look up Burning Man also. It is a really cool happening every year that takes place in the desert. They burn every art work in the end and disappear.

message 12: by Odette (new)

Odette | 25 comments Kim, I didn't know that they burn *all* the artwork at burning man - that's interesting. Have you ever been to it?

message 13: by Kim (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
Your right, they dismantle everything and burn the Burning Man, I think, but some art is also burnt. I haven't been but would love it!! Sorry if I don't have all my facts straight. What I like is the concept of art for this short time sprouting up out of nowhere and then it disappears completely. Now that you say it, it doesn't make sense that they would burn everything. I've read about it and heard about it for awhile. It was kind of clandestine, like the Rainbow Gatherings but seems more well known now. Raw Vision had a nice spread on it. I'll have to go back and see what they said there. Sorry to misinform.

message 14: by Odette (new)

Odette | 25 comments Actually, I like your version better- it's so dramatic and unified (although that would be a whole lot of chemicals to burn off into our already troubled atmosphere. ah well.)

message 15: by Kim (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
Yeah, that's why I realized my version couldn't be right. The whole thing is very environmentally aware too, so of course there are things they wouldn't burn. But, in general everything is destroyed or dismantled in some way. There is this huge "man" made that is ceremoniously burnt at the end.

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