What is the matter with art

What is art – why is it people pay so much for some of it, seek it out and adore it.. although it is not at all necessary, not very useful and often very strange. What made Victor Hugo write in the Les Misérables — ‘The beautiful is as useful as the useful…Perhaps more so.’

Van Gogh Bedroom in Arles
Van Gogh Bedroom in Arles  – took a picture of this painting at the Musee D’orsay – Once i went to this museum i understood impressionism.. I understood the feelings that went into creating this type of work.

 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Country Footpath in the Summer - painting I photographed at the Musée d'Orsay
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Country Footpath in the Summer – painting I photographed at the Musée d’Orsay. this is where i discovered impressionism and my world changed because of it.

 

People have asked me if art is just marketing? And i don’t know. I know that i have spent so much time in and around paintings and maybe lots of my own particles are physically art. All i know is that within the frame of a painting – there is nothing but a beautiful dream, there’s no money, no politics, no conflicts, no guns, no meat or diamonds, no worries about gold and jewelry, possessions, bodies flow in and out, adorned or not, simple chairs are beautiful, carpets and faces are beautiful, the world is mysterious and extends far in the distance into the mists and fogs of paint. It is a delightful place, the world of a painting.

Here is a poem i wrote:

What is in
a Picasso print,
what transpires in
a B.C. marble,
what is in
a Vatican fresco and
a Dying Slave?
What’s the Black in
a black Goya painting,
what’s eating us in
a Bosch,
where is the
De Kooning woman
going on her bicycle,
which anonymous artist
painted the thousand hands
of this Shiva?
Why does Monet
shimmer,
why is that man
with an apple
for a face,
how many birds
do you see in
an Escher,
why is
the triangle of light in
Rembrandt so mysterious?
Where is the light in
a Vermeer
coming from,
why are there
500 species of flowers in
a Botticelli,
why am I going around in
circles
trying to find out where
the wind is coming from that
is blowing
these cypresses,
and why is mouth and flesh in
a Bacon
so maddeningly
beautiful?
Why is
art
so
beautiful?

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How to fix it in 10 easy steps

 

I have identified 10 easy steps that we, together, can fix this country.

And number two is…

2. Eliminate the shopping cart ( except for disabled people of course ). You get whatever you can carry.

 

http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Hungry-Planet-Project-Chad/G0000L3ZRlGqWca4/I0000o7KnJxnBF9o/C0000CCHTWW9egJg

CHA104.0001.xxf1rw (MODEL RELEASED IMAGE) The Aboubakar family of Darfur province, Sudan, in front of their tent in the Breidjing Refugee Camp, in eastern Chad, with a weekÕs worth of food. DÕjimia Ishakh Souleymane, 40, holds her daughter Hawa, 2; the other children are (left to right) Acha, 12, Mariam, 5, Youssouf, 8, and Abdel Kerim, 16. Cooking method: wood fire. Food preservation: natural drying. Favorite foodÑDÕjimia: soup with fresh sheep meat. /// The Aboubakar family is one of the thirty families featured in the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats (p. 56). Food expenditure for one week: $1.23 USD. (Please refer to Hungry Planet book p. 57 for the familyÕs detailed food list.)
CHA104.0001.xxf1rw (MODEL RELEASED IMAGE)
The Aboubakar family of Darfur province, Sudan, in front of their tent in the Breidjing Refugee Camp, in eastern Chad, with a weekÕs worth of food. DÕjimia Ishakh Souleymane, 40, holds her daughter Hawa, 2; the other children are (left to right) Acha, 12, Mariam, 5, Youssouf, 8, and Abdel Kerim, 16. Cooking method: wood fire. Food preservation: natural drying. Favorite foodÑDÕjimia: soup with fresh sheep meat. /// The Aboubakar family is one of the thirty families featured in the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats (p. 56). Food expenditure for one week: $1.23 USD. (Please refer to Hungry Planet book p. 57 for the familyÕs detailed food list.)

http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Hungry-Planet-Project-Norway/G0000diLqyCWqeIs/I0000buqP4NyMCIg/C0000F18b3RQ2mTc

Ottersland Dahl family, of Gjettum, Norway (outside Oslo). Gunhild Valle Ottersland, 45, shopping for weekly groceries. Model-Released.
Ottersland Dahl family, of Gjettum, Norway (outside Oslo). Gunhild Valle Ottersland, 45, shopping for weekly groceries. Model-Released.

http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Material-World-Bhutan/G0000vjyEuT7.XUI/I00005cfXOPNkWYM/C0000d0DI3dBy4mQ

Bhu.mw.01.xxsNalim and NamgayÕs family of Bhutan, with all of their possessions. From pages 72-73, Material World. The family of subsistence farmers lives in a 3-story rammed-earth house in the hillside village of Shingkhey, Bhutan. {{Family members are: Namgay (50, family patriarch and husband of Nalim), Nalim (47, family matriarch and wife of Namgay), Kinley (17, son of Namgay and Nalim), Bangam (also called Kinley, 14, daughter of Nalim and Namgay), Zekom (2, daughter of Nalim and Namgay), Sangay, (29, daughter of Nalim and Namgay and wife of Sangay Kandu), Sangay Kandu (33, husband of Sangay), Choeden (9, daughter of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Chato Namgay (7, son of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Sangay Zam (5, daughter of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Chato Geltshin (3, son of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Tandin Geltshin (2, son of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Kinley Dorji, (61, unmarried brother of Nalim). Nalim and her daughter Sangay work as partnersÑthey take turns caring for the children and working in their mustard, rice, and wheat fields. SangayÕs husband Sangay Kandu does the plowing of the family fields but Sangay and Nalim do the planting and harvesting. Namgay, who has a hunched back and a clubfoot, grinds grain for neighbors with a small mill his family purchased from the government. They are paying for the mill as they canÑoften the payment is made in grain and mustard oil. Namgay is also a reader of sacred texts and conducts house cleansing and healing ceremonies for their 14-house village. From Peter MenzelÕs Material World Project that showed 30 statistically average families in 30 countries with all their possessions.}}
Bhu.mw.01.xxs Nalim and NamgayÕs family of Bhutan, with all of their possessions. From pages 72-73, Material World. The family of subsistence farmers lives in a 3-story rammed-earth house in the hillside village of Shingkhey, Bhutan.
{{Family members are: Namgay (50, family patriarch and husband of Nalim), Nalim (47, family matriarch and wife of Namgay), Kinley (17, son of Namgay and Nalim), Bangam (also called Kinley, 14, daughter of Nalim and Namgay), Zekom (2, daughter of Nalim and Namgay), Sangay, (29, daughter of Nalim and Namgay and wife of Sangay Kandu), Sangay Kandu (33, husband of Sangay), Choeden (9, daughter of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Chato Namgay (7, son of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Sangay Zam (5, daughter of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Chato Geltshin (3, son of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Tandin Geltshin (2, son of Sangay Kandu and Sangay), Kinley Dorji, (61, unmarried brother of Nalim). Nalim and her daughter Sangay work as partnersÑthey take turns caring for the children and working in their mustard, rice, and wheat fields. SangayÕs husband Sangay Kandu does the plowing of the family fields but Sangay and Nalim do the planting and harvesting. Namgay, who has a hunched back and a clubfoot, grinds grain for neighbors with a small mill his family purchased from the government. They are paying for the mill as they canÑoften the payment is made in grain and mustard oil. Namgay is also a reader of sacred texts and conducts house cleansing and healing ceremonies for their 14-house village. From Peter MenzelÕs Material World Project that showed 30 statistically average families in 30 countries with all their possessions.}}

 

The Material World books changed my life and how I see the world and i could never unsee the photographs in them  – they were done before google gave us insight into people’s lives.  I always found it very weird and felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we have in stores – they say the average amount of products in your average grocery store is 40,000 items. The normality of this escapes me – to quote the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“Five to one against and falling…” she said, “four to one against and falling…three to one…two…one…probability factor of one to one…we have normality, I repeat we have normality.” She turned her microphone off—then turned it back on, with a slight smile and continued: “Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.”

Hungry Planet:

http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/Hungry-Planet-Europe/C0000k7JgEHhEq0w

Material World:

http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/Material-World-A-Global-Family-Portrait-by-Country/C0000d0DI3dBy4mQ

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how to fix it in 10 easy steps. And number one is…

I have identified 10 easy steps that we, together, can fix this country.

And number one is…

1. We get rid of all couches, better yet – throw them out together with all televisions. What’s with the couch you say, poor thing hasn’t done a thing against this nation.

Living Room Transformers – The Couch

The thing with the couch is easy – every second we spend on the couch we are not spending chasing our dreams. Or biking our neighborhood or talking to our neighbors or making extra cash for the trip around the world we have been dreaming of.

The dynasties of the world love the couch because when we are chained to it we are easily seduced to live vicariously through other people’s triumphs.  They setup various circuses like politics, olympics and reality shows and thus inject us with the emotions and experiences of people we have never met.

The added bonus of selling the couch is now we can do cartwheels in the living room and probably wholelotta more fun stuff without fearing falling off the lumpy..

 

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