Thursday, November 25, 2010

Magnificent Ocean!

I took this photograph this past July as part of "The Waterworks." I was trying for the greatest depth of field possible, from about 2 feet to infinity. The boy in the middle ground with arms extended, looked as though he was praising the glorious day and God's creation; clean air, clean water, magnificent sun!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Social Realism in 21st Century Art: Part II

The following is a continuation in what I hope will be many entries about my desire that a strong social consciousness return to the Arts rather than the watered down version that some call Social Realism in contemporary art (that which depicts ordinary people in their diurnal activities). The Mexican Social Realists of the early to mid Twentieth Century actively criticized war, and anything that wasn’t in their view a human version of a democratic society with a social conscience. Also, please note that Soviet style Socialist Realism should not in any way be confused with Social Realism as an Art movement!

One more qualifier. If you are the kind of person who - stumbling upon this journal, and seeing Siqueiros' painting "New Democracy" - is revolted by her breasts, wishes to protest, just close your eyes, and please move on.


Let me start this entry by saying that, “I’m really tired of our U. S. American aversion to Twenty-first Century European style socialism as it actually exists in practice.” Does it really mean bigger government? In fact, I am concerned about our illogical fear of big government, when in reality we have handed our United States government over to the interests of the very rich gigantic international corporations. We have been duped into thinking that these very rich Brobdingnagian not so capitalists represent the benign “Mom and Pop” Capitalism of the Nineteenth and first half of the Twentieth Century. Instead, they are in the process of destroying it.

So, what is this European style SOCIALISM that everyone thinks is such a BAD word? In theory socialism advocates for public ownership and management of production. In capitalism the public gets to purchase pieces of corporations, but has no means of direct management of production. And, now that UNIONISM is also a BAD WORD, the worker has little if anything to say about his/her part in production. In socialism, production is based directly on economic demand based on an exacting measure of labor time of all components. Thus, income / consumption is based on actual individual merit and / or contribution of work. In practice European style SOCIALISM is much less dogmatic, and involves government intervention in the free market where necessary to distribute public services like medical care more equitably among the populace. All of this has nothing to do with the bogey of COMUNISM. The key thing to remember here is that socialism advocates for the individual to receive reward based on his/her own effort/merit. Instead, modern capitalism defines the individual person as if he/she were a cog in the corporate machine, and the corporate machine has become the individual of worth (see the Supreme Court Decision of January 21, 2010).*3 That decision created the avalanche toward the Republican Party in the November 2010 elections through manipulation of gullible public opinion by the extremely rich corporate world. Thus, we no longer live in a Democracy. Rather, we live in an oligarchy, a country controlled by the interests of the extremely rich, and the large corporations.

All of this anti corporate tirade started me to wondering if there is any evidence of a backlash among people who actually think, that is people who use their intelligence - which does not necessarily imply “INTELLECTUAL” [another bad word in our cultural lexicon] but that they use their God given intelligence - thinkers of all kinds, as well as visual artists, writers, composers to oppose this Brobdingnagian corporate control that has nothing to do with actual capitalism. So, I’m back to my original question on October 27th, 2010. Does the early to mid Twentieth Century art movement, Social Realism, relate in any way to contemporary concerns in American Art? I ask that question because we need champions for humanity in this crazy world of capitalism destroying RICH MONSTER CORPORATIONS.

Having dwelt on socialism to the exclusion of all else, it should be noted here, that the Mexican Social Realists of the 1920’s through 40’s often placed democracy at the center of their visual discourse. Siqueiros' artworks express an expansive vision of a world without ethnicity, class or nationality, a world that will not tolerate totalitarianism and/or WAR, in which Democracy has broken all chains that tie humanity down. It must also be a qualified statement that socialism (ideas prizing the worth of the individual in material production in capitalist societies) is often present in Social Realist works of art from the past.

Now I must begin my search for Twenty-first Century Social Realism in Art. Does it exist? That is the subject for a future entry.

I could use some help. Does anyone have examples of contemporary composers, writers, visual artists who are creating ARTWORKS in opposition to the 21st Century CORPORATE OLIGARCHY? Are there Twenty-first century artworks that look toward a world lacking prejudice, ethnicity, class or nationality?


* Siqueiros is not objectifying women, but praising woman as democracy breaking the chains of totalitarianism.

*2 Siqueiros “New Democracy” at Palacio Bellas Artes, Mexico City. From SAH Study Tour Blog by Amanda Delorey, August 18, 2010. Viewed 11:15 P.M., EST, Friday, November 19, 2010.

•3 Liptak, Adam, Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit, in the New York Times, January 21, 2010 ( Viewed 11:00 P.M., EDT, Friday, November 19, 2010.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Clouds and Ocean in South Florida

Ever since moving here in 2005 I’ve been fascinated by the magnificent skys above the marsh and seascape, especially the cumulus clouds that can turn dark and forbidding in an instant or gold, salmon and mauve with the setting sun. These clouds are as much a part of “The Waterworks” as is the clean clear water that supports so much life, sport, and fun in our state.

The day after we returned to Florida, we were on the beach, a beautiful sunny morning. We went swimming in the 82 degrees Fahrenheit water, walked on the beach, lay in the sun and hunted for exotic shells. As if God sent a rapid-fire cue to his angel stage crew, a band of dark cumulonimbus appeared over the water and began trailing from east to west. They spread across the sky, their shadows moving ominously across beach and sea, and my camera shutter click-clacked repeatedly before we packed up to leave the beach. The abrupt change, as in life, can just as quickly reverse itself here in south Florida.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sand Recordings

On October 28th after a typically long cold and damp spell we woke to bright sun and fresh air that was warm enough to open the windows at 7:00 AM. Knowing that we would be leaving Delaware for Florida in two days we decided to make a last trek to Cape Henlopen. Unfortunately there was a land breeze and the black flies had the same idea as did we. Thus, our afternoon at the beach was cut to 45 minutes. However, I took lots of photographs, this time of the sand instead of the water, while simultaneously offering my flesh as sacrifice to the voracious insects. My partner, Joe, looked like a one man comedy act as he shuffled around the beach, bent in his usual shell inspecting stance, and swatting constantly at whatever part of his body the malicious critters were visiting.

I will call these photographs part of the Waterworks because the record of water’s passage is in the markings of the miniature landscapes. Also, small sea critters dug into the sand as the water receded, creating dimples and craters in the “sandscape.” The angle of the afternoon fall sun created great lighting, and every fleck of sand and shell had its own distinct shadow, which made an abundantly detailed surface. As I look at these images, I find myself pretending that I’m in a spaceship flying over the surface of Mars, or perhaps heavenly bodies in another solar system, say 70 Virginis or 47 Ursae Majoris.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rehoboth Beach Nor’easter

The photo was actually taken in November of 2007. However, it is so appropriate to my feelings about leaving Delaware early this year in order to vote in the 2010 elections at my legal residence here in Florida. The mid Atlantic can be much more magnificent in fury than in repose. I love it when she shows her temper especially when it is not especially destructive. The photo also demonstrates my own feelings about the election this week – the anger and frustration with so many silly people who expected the economy to be repaired in only two years, and angry white folk that are being duped into voting for extremely conservative candidates most of whom advocate doing away with the new healthcare law, the department of education, privatizing Medicare, Medicaid and the V.A., remove and/or downgrade social security, and entertain the use of guns, (reads) possible revolution if they don’t get their childish way. I’m angry with a Republican Party that said “NO” to everything for those same two past years, caused the financial disaster in the first place and now claims that it can fix all the problems by keeping in place the disastrous Bush 700 billion dollar tax cut for the rich. I’m also angry with a president who has not lived up to the promises he made in 2008 concerning the public option in healthcare, don’t ask, don’t tell, and many other progressive issues, and has already promised to cooperate with Republicans in dismantling his own healthcare law. I’m angry at a political era in which any form of socialism is seen as terribly evil while Tea Party candidates can get elected to office by proposing gun-toting rebellion against our democracy!

Putting all my political frustrations aside, I like the way the sand is blowing over the dune in the photograph despite being soaking wet, the very threatening sky, and the huddled figure of my partner as he braces against the cold sand pelting wind. I remember pieces of foam were actually flying through the air the day we took the picture. Additionally, all three, flying sand, foam and braced figure demonstrate power and strength in adversity. The single point perspective of the drift fence leads the eye to the figure and the angry sea beyond, and that hoary churning ocean also demonstrates how helpless we really are against Mother Nature. Delaware friends I’ve talked to on the phone since election day tell me that the weather this week has been exactly like that in this 2007 photograph. Critically, I am capable of understanding that the photograph belongs to a generic category of pictures that might be labeled “stormy sea,” and therefore something like 2 million other stormy sea photos exist. However, as stated above, the composition including the figure, sand, crashing waves, and strong one point perspective set it apart. Thus, I see that Art (photography in this case) is my way of attempting to take charge in a world over which I have little if any control.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Republican Tea Party is Victorious in the 2010 Midterm Elections

“We’ve taken our government back!”

The Future of Government in the USA

I just listened to Rand Paul’s speech, made upon winning the Kentucky senate seat.  Like Senator Elect Paul, I am proud of America.  However, unlike Senator Elect Paul, I am fearful for the people in a United States of America in which the government is thought to be a hindrance to the well being of the people.


Monday, November 1, 2010


Well, it is my Art!  Under my own description of this journal's intent, I'm allowed.