"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Birthday Today - Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky, born today in 1866, is one of my favorite abstract modernist painters.   The problem with much of modernist painting is that it strives so hard to shock the bourgeoisie (increasingly impossible given our decadence) that it loses sight of the purpose of art -- to create beauty that is pleasing to the eye.   Half the time, what passes for modernist art requires extensive footnotes and exegesis by the elites of universities or leaders in the "art world" of New York, LA, London or Paris.   Real art -- and I recognize that this is a conservative position that would be laughed at by those elites -- should speak directly to an intelligent layman's eye and mind and heart, and it should convey an aesthetic sensation that does not require mediation by an elite.   Call that sensation "pleasure" or "beauty" or "reality" or "interest" or whatever.   But I don't want a snob from New York telling me what I should like or not like, when half of the stuff they say is great you wouldn't hang in your downstairs bathroom.

Anyway, some of Kandinsky (not the more geometric stuff, but what I would call the "messier" or more organic stuff) appeals to me because, although abstract, his paintings are beautiful in form and color.   Same for some Diebenkorn and some Pollack.   I don't need the dissertation to like them:

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