Esteemed thinker: Clas Oldenburg

pizza restaurant
We have memories that are both positive and negative and they come and go throughout our day often without any warning. The method they use to interrupt our thoughts is often initiated by a random trigger; all fitting very neatly under the umbrella of our senses. A song may bring back romance or regrets while an aroma recreates a holiday.

Pizza is a food that that carries and omits memories; ordering through an open window where the smells waft into the street and greasy wax paper barely big enough to hold the triangular slice. The best way to eat a piece was to fold it lengthwise with the full advantage of biting off the end. Ultimately you had to stretch your arm out in front of you before reeling in a thin string of mozzarella cheese.

However, what was once the norm of pizza has now become almost extinct since its culinary metamorphosis. Its evolution through the years has been transformed into what I call “boutique pizza.” Not only has the size of the average pie been dramatically reduced, but the crust is not longer made with the soft dough that bubbled up on the edges like a dune on the beach. Presently it is more like a fancy cracker. The toppings range from artichoke hearts, to pineapple, to chicken and rosemary. Mozzarella is no longer the cheese of choice but rather feta and goat drizzled with olive oil. Served on small tapas dishes the order comes with knives and forks.

Alas, the evolution of the pizza has made quite a change; and though the “boutique pizza” is delicious, there was once something special about watching the pizza baker twirl the dough above his head while you waited… and just maybe this would be the time it would go splat!!

Museum Ludwig - Pressekonferenz - Claes Oldenburg Today’s post brings to you the esteemed thinker: Clas Oldenburg (Stolkholm, 1929), a Swedish born artist who moved to the United States and eventually became a citizen of his adopted counntry. Educated at Yale, Oldenburg later attended the school of the Art Institute of Chicago, opened a studio and did freelance illustrating for magazines. Using commercial and ordinary objects as subject matter, he brought to the art world a new meaning of expression. He became known for public art and instilations of grand scales, utilizing materials that deemed his work “soft sculpture”. In the 1960s he participated in what was called the Pop Movement, also related to “happenings” a kind of performance art work.

I now bring you his 1964 lithograph titled Flying Pizza from New York Ten a work of art that clearly, from the title and subject, reminds many of us of the “good-old-days” of the plain cheese pizza!

Pizza Oldenburg

Vincent van Gogh and his thoughts on art

van gogh museumMuseums are the windows to the past. They house treasures that have been unearthed, borrowed from other civilizations, reassembled from a time long ago, or displayed for the very first time. They are a wonderland of things that allow each of us admission to a time, place, or experience where we can become intimate with another. Museums come in many forms, some are for objects such as furniture, some are for prehistoric relics like dinosaur bones and fossils, some are for paintings and sculpture, and there are even museums for the news. Whatever the pleasures of men and women there is likely to be a collection somewhere displayed in some building…and fortunately saved for posterity.

Let’s look more closely at the fine art museum, a place where differing sets of values have decidedly created the spaces for viewing. There is modern art, classical art, ancient art, abstract art, and so on and so forth…and with each generation that visits and for each group of curators that have established the exhibitions, so has the appreciation for what we determine as “art” run the gambit. If we were to examine works through the ages we would find that a vast number of contemporaries often yearned for what came before. Many who lived during the age of “modern art” in the 1960s either liked the “new” works or scorned it… many longing for the look, feel, and style of “the past”. So it is with so many things, we often desire a return for what came before… and the appreciation for art is no different.

flower buds van gogh Today’s blog revisits the words of our esteemed thinker: Vincent van Gogh, a Dutch artist that hardly needs any introduction. A kind and troubled man who graced us with his gifts…where his paintings will forever be noted as “a Van Gogh” and we will all understand what that means…. although he lived a pauper’s existence he never extinguished his calling, art…

Let us now take a few minutes to look over his shoulder and read the words from a letter (1883) to his brother Theo …and we reaffirm that time stands still and often things we feel today have really not changed….

“… It makes me more nervous than is good for me to try to talk with people about my work. And what is the result? A refusal or being put off with fair promises. I assure you that I feel less energy for my work when I have been among people. …….I do not doubt that my wok has fault, but neither do I doubt that I am not quite wrong, and that I shall succeed, be it only after long seeking. And I do believe that it is dangerous to look for success elsewhere.
I think there is a difference between art appreciation today and that of earlier years. There used to be more passion both in the making and in the judging of works of art. This or that work was chosen deliberately; one side or the other was energetically taken. There was more animation. Now I think there is a spirit of capriciousness and satiety; people are in general more lax. Some time ago I wrote that I had noticed there was since Millet* a marked decline, as though the summit had been reached and decadence had begun. This has its influence on everybody and everything. …”

*Jean-Francois Millet (1814 – 1875) French realist painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France; best known for his paintings of peasants.