Notes of an Artistic Mad Man: Art & The New Year

Above: Turner show, 'Painting Set Free', at Tate Museum in London.

Photo credit: Penny Lee

…Art and the New Year 2015…. It’s over – the whole North Korean sabotaging of Sony and The Interview drama that we have all had the pleasure of witnessing; along with the mighty Hollywood industry looking like children in their attempt to deal with damage control. George Clooney tried to come to the rescue with a cry of “not letting this happen on our watch” and then stepping up to create a letter that he wanted to be signed by other film execs to stop Sony from pulling the bad-fart movie from the theaters, but nobody signed it. It seems the movie biz execs knew quite well that you couldn’t buy this type of promotional fanfare that would make a real bad movie a box office moneymaker as it did. So all the Presidential “wish you didn’t do that” platitudes and the furor over First Amendment Rights were all for not, when really all it was about was money. So much money that promotional people at other movie studios are looking for other rogue nations to pick up the slack for their really bad movies…

…Looking out at over the open plain of the up-coming New Year I’m sure there are going to be more things that inspire than there will be to depress. I am calling this New Year the Year of Turner, the late great British Painter is not only being celebrated with a show, Painting Set Free, at the Tate in London that will travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in February and then take the trip up the I-5 to the de Young Museum in San Francisco in June. It is a must see show of a man who was intimate with light and water and might be the harbinger of abstract art. He is also being featured in a movie by another British Artist/Film maker, Mike Leigh, entitled, Mr. Turner that is being well reviewed and was a hit at Cannes. Although its been critically acclaimed it does fall into the trap of using just the the artist’s name in the title like so many artist-bio genre films, including Caravaggio, Pollack, Basquiat, Klimt, Camille Claudet, Modigliani and Frida to name a few. They are all very good films about seminal artists so why fix something that isn’t broke. See them all in the New Year, they don’t disappoint. …


…A couple of other exciting happenings in the art world in 2015 including the opening of the new Whitney in April. The often referred to mediocre modern art museum tries to flex some muscle by pounding some sides of beef in the meat packing district in Manhattan with a design by Renzo Piano. Then in London an interesting show in February at the Hayward Gallery, History is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain, with seven modern artists: John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth and Jane & Louise Wilson each curate a section and a viewpoint of British Art history. And finally at the Philadelphia Museum of Art the most interesting show of the New Year: 200 years of African-American Art that highlights over one hundred African-American Artist and their place in art history in America. Just a few things to look forward to and enjoy in the New Year. Have a good one…

-C.C. Long


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