Tag: 1950s

ABSTRACT PROPAGANDA

ABSTRACT PROPAGANDA

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtPractice

I was recently reminded by this post at Open Culture that Abstract Expressionist painting and exponents of it such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock got a big (though covert) push from the CIA, who secretly organised a number of influential exhibitions including MoMA’s New American Painting. It was all an attempt to depict America internationally as a country with a sophisticated culture borne of a fully functioning democracy.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… oh… ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Wait, wait… ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Sorry about that. Most Americans hated Abstract Expressionism, and they still do. Not to mention the fact that US foreign and domestic policies in the 1960s moved on to brainwashing, drugging, sabotaging and sometimes just straight up murdering (or having murdered) anyone who stood in the way of their global agenda. But it’s interesting to think…

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“The plot didn’t matter at all”

“The plot didn’t matter at all”

ADOXOBLOG

Just some splendid stills from thrillers (mostly) of the 1940s and 1950s, reproduced from ‘Film Noir’ (Alain Silver, James Ursini, Paul Duncan: Taschen). I love Film Noir. ‘Gilda’ is one of the best and most noirish. Above is Rita Hayworth doing a passive-aggressive musical number/striptease in a club to get back at her boyfriend and her ex-boyfriend for their machinations with each other and with her. As you do.

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“A shock-fest for your scare endurance”

“A shock-fest for your scare endurance”

ADOXOBLOG

theabominablesnowmanafifx7“DEMON-PROWLER OF MOUNTAIN SHADOWS… DREADED MAN-BEAST OF TIBET… THE TERROR OF ALL THAT IS HUMAN!!

A great poster for the 1957 Hammer film production ‘The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas‘. I’ve not seen the film and I hadn’t heard of it before I found this poster, but look at the pedigree: directed by prolific Hammer hack Val Guest, written by Nigel Kneale of the Quatermass series, starring Peter Cushing. Apparently it was originally a BBC television play, which I should imagine was ineptly made for about £5 as was their wont.

It’s also fascinating how quaint warnings like “WE DARE YOU TO SEE IT ALONE!” are for things like this, half a century on. Most of these films wouldn’t frighten, shock or disturb anybody over the age of ten nowadays.

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Nazo, Emperor of the Universe

Nazo, Emperor of the Universe

ADOXOBLOG

See the first post about Japanese kamishibai (paper theatre) in the 1930s and the previous post about WWII kamishibai for more information and commentary about the origins and context of these images.

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Are you pyknický?

Are you pyknický?

ADOXOBLOG

More hard drive detritus! I’ve cleaned the images up a lot, because the originals look like somebody–definitely not me– just snapped the pages from some kind of text book. Nothing so methodical or high tech as a scan. As usual I don’t know where these slightly unnerving pictures came from. My highly scientific detective work (playing around with Google Translate for a while) led to the conclusion that the captions are in Slovakian. The drawing of various faceless nude people (last image on this page) has a bit of a prison camps behind the Iron Curtain vibe. Hard to tell the age of them. The somatotype thing came to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s, so presumably these illustrations are from that period or slightly later.

Also as usual, corrections or additional information are welcome.

Typ pyknický presumably means endomorphic type, i.e. prone to fatness, but I like to…

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THE VOID

THE VOID

CAREER SUICIDE

Most people never get to see art galleries when they’re between shows and completely empty of art. Personally, I often find that I like the now orthodox and universal white cube gallery setup much more when it’s vacant than I do when it’s full. I’m remembered in a few places for having them paint the walls because I hate white ones so much when I’m showing my work. I’m guessing that Yves Klein (1928-1962) was also struck by the alienating, Zen effect of the empty white gallery and its effect on our state of mind as we look at art; hence Le Vide (The Void) of 1958 at Galerie Iris Clert, Paris.

This completely whitewashed, bare space was meticulously hyped by Klein and the resulting so-called “scandal” of an artist exhibiting an empty gallery attracted over two thousand people to the opening. Note the empty vitrine in one of…

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“GALLIZIO PRODUCES PAINTING BY THE METER”

“GALLIZIO PRODUCES PAINTING BY THE METER”

CAREER SUICIDE

Giuseppe (Pinot) Gallizio (1904-1964) worked for most of his life as a pharmacist in Turin. Like many people (including me) who come late or by an otherwise circuitous route to the art world, many of its practices and assumptions struck him as utterly absurd; even more so as he began to participate in them. Gallizio was a founding member of the International Situationists (society of the spectacle masking the degrading effects of capitalism, Guy Debord, the 1968 French uprisings, détournement, dérives, etc: it’s far too large a subject to cover in a single blog post…) and in his art works he tried to cultivate a sense of play and creativity in the face of the capitalist imperative to recuperate, neutralise, and monetise even something as indefinable as art.

One of his projects was industrial paintings, abstract works on scrolls that were designed to be sold and cut on…

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