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July 14, 2008

Modern Classicist

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Meet Scottish classical sculptor Alexander Stoddart. Not having seen any of his work in the flesh, I don't really know how I feel about it. I do know, though, that I'm very glad that he's out there doing his impressive best to create persuasive classical sculpture in the modern world.

A sentence from the article struck me especially hard. When Stoddart was an art student in the '70s, practising his representational art, "graffiti in the lavatories labelled him as a fascist because he refused to veer from the figurative path." Ah, yes, those liberal and open-minded art students.

Here's Alexander Stoddart's website.

Completely unrelated: Diana Rigg, who turns 70 this month, still smokes, drinks, and drives a sports car. Diana's daughter Rachael Stirling is also an actress, and looks a bit like her mum. Here's a visit with Rachael.



posted by Michael at July 14, 2008



Honour and Glory to the man. My God, his work is good.

Long live Classicism. Modernism is a pile of crap compared to this.

Posted by: Slumlord on July 14, 2008 8:25 AM

Not completely unrelated--Rigg is an actress any classicist could love. Isn't it wonderful when our icons age so gracefully?

Posted by: Steve W on July 14, 2008 11:35 AM

It is great that Stoddart is doing the art that he is; more power to him. The work is impressive in its technical achievement and it has a certain appeal. I would even concede that his work is better than that of any number of minor modernist sculptors. Still, absent seeing the work "in the flesh" and being completely surprised and won over, my own aesthetic is such that I prefer, say, Anthony Caro or David Smith.

As noted on another recent thread here, I find the insistence on setting up either/or oppositional dichotomies the problem, not which "side" is in power or out of favor. While Stoddart may well have been the object of lavatory graffiti in art school, his demeanor as shown in the linked article no doubt contributed to his forming a sizable cadre of enemies among the other students. I have little doubt that a confrontational neo-classical anti-modernist given to absolutes and rants might well have expounded views that seemed to his fellow students to be fascistic.

Diana Rigg remains a fantasy figure and her daughter seems to have much the same appeal.

Posted by: Chris White on July 14, 2008 1:55 PM

One thing every lefty gets down right, no matter how politically naive, is how to throw the word "fascist" around indiscriminately.

Posted by: miriam on July 14, 2008 4:03 PM

I wonder why Stoddart was angry that students were touching the Hume's toe for luck. That's exactly the kind of human interaction with art that gives traditional forms their "lived in and with" feel. Methinks he should lighten up a tad.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 14, 2008 6:30 PM

Some years ago I suffered through Olivier's performance of King Lear, an '83 telemovie of a play I greatly dislike. Compared to the embarrassing capering of Paul Scofield in the 1971 movie, the Olivier version was merely fatiguing, so I watched it. But wait!

Goneril and Regan were played by Dorothy Tutin and Diana Rigg...and you won't get a better screen 'heavy' than Rigg in that Regan role. It's up there with Widmark in Kiss of Death, Richard Boone in Hombre or Olivier himself as Richard lll. She was a bitch for the ages.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on July 14, 2008 8:02 PM

I remember during my "latency period" being strangely drawn to Julie Newmar's leather-clad Catwoman in the Batman TV series in the mid-60s, and to Diana Rigg's Mrs. Peel, equally shiny and clingy and lissome and leggy and for just some reason I couldn't stop thinking about them even though I was ten and wasn't supposed to have thoughts of women in leather doing things to me with long fingernails, spiky boots, all while smiling enigmatic Emma Peel smiles and making my heart go all pockety-pock-pock...sigh. Has there ever been a more feline, mysterious half-smile than Diana Rigg's as Emma Peel? La Gioconda's got nuthin' on her.

Oh the nights when I tossed and turned and made tweener love to my pillow while thinkingthinkingthinking of Diana Rigg in her leather. Poor little Patrick...all hot and desperate and pervy even before puberty hit.

At least the little bastard had good taste, eh?

Posted by: PatrickH on July 14, 2008 8:52 PM

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