In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Free Reads -- Academic Art | Main | Altman -- Great Zen Baloney »

August 22, 2002

Academic Art Redux


An interesting rant. While over the top (I simply cannot get as excited about Bougereau and Gerome as he does, except for some of their landscape painting, which is actually pretty good), he does get at how difficult it is to really look at 19th century Academic art with an unprejuidiced eye, and how deeply the period is still propagandized against in art history texts.

Academic "Springtime"

It almost makes me think that the social/economic/sexual/religious tensions of the 19th century were so extreme that art manufactured at the time raises such unpleasant feelings that it must be sent off to sit in the corner.

I can still remember one of the first books I read about art history, "Impressionism," in which the author begins the book with a critique of the "official" art of the 1870's.

Nonacademic Renoir

He considered it to be deeply hypocritical, respectable on the surface but prurient underneath, with exhibit A being all those "pinup" Salon nudes, carefully dressed up with mythological trappings. (He also slammed it for using a "smooth" painting technique -- which must be bad because decades later it was appropriated by advertisers of consumer products.)

Of course, this author wouldn't dare utilize such language against Titian's, Corregio's or Ruben's "pinup" nudes, or even Corot's, Delacroix's or Courbet's nudes. And I suppose the openly pornographic style of Indian sculpture (which I really dig) is beyond criticism because it is the work of oppressed people.

Indian Religioeroticism

This all raises the question of whether Impressionism is considered "good" by 20th century art historians because it was relatively unerotic during an era when the dominant style of eroticism makes us feel threatened (i.e., "icky."). In other words, is Victorian eroticism--based on rules designed to navigate Victorian sexual tensions--so disturbing to us that art constructed in accordance to its schemas must continue to be stomped on by writers 120 years later? This may be an interesting example of the "liberated" sexual mores of today's cultural elite being not nearly as tolerant as we like to imagine them.

It makes me think the cultural elite are a group of very sophisticated people who don't want to know anything about their parent's sex lives.



posted by Michael at August 22, 2002


Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?