Day 360- Marcel Duchamp- You Cannot Define Art

It’s Day 360 and now I actually have 5 left to go.  I’ve been putting off today’s artist for a long time because he’s one of my favorites, but I was so nervous about tackling his style.  I’m glad that I waited until the tail end of my project because I feel like I’ve learned/experienced enough to mildly pull it off.  Please join me in honoring Marcel Duchamp today.

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp

 

Marcel Duchamp, French  (July 28, 1887- October 2, 1968)

“You cannot define electricity. The same can be said of art. It is a kind of inner current in a human being, or something which needs no definition.”

Chess Players- Marcel Duchamp

Chess Players- Marcel Duchamp

Few artists can boast having changed the course of art history in the way that Marcel Duchamp did. Having assimilated the lessons of Cubism and Futurism, whose joint influence may be felt in his early paintings, he spearheaded the American Dada movement together with his friends and collaborators Picabia and Man Ray. By challenging the very notion of what is art, his first readymades sent shock waves across the art world that can still be felt today.

Duchamp’s ongoing preoccupation with the mechanisms of desire and human sexuality as well as his fondness for wordplay aligns his work with that of Surrealists, although he steadfastly refused to be affiliated with any specific artistic movement per se. In his insistence that art should be driven by ideas above all, Duchamp is generally considered to be the father of Conceptual art.
His refusal to follow a conventional artistic path, matched only by a horror of repetition which accounts for the

Parva Domus, Magna Quies - Marcel Duchamp

Parva Domus, Magna Quies – Marcel Duchamp

relatively small number of works Duchamp produced in the span of his short career, ultimately led to his withdrawal from the art world. In later years, Duchamp famously spent his time playing chess, even as he labored away in secret at his last enigmatic masterpiece, which was only unveiled after his death in 1968.

Coined by Duchamp, the term “readymade” came to designate mass-produced everyday objects taken out of their usual context and promoted to the status of artworks by the mere choice of the artist. A performative act as much as a stylistic category, the readymade had far-reaching implications for what can legitimately be considered an object of art.
Nude Descending a Staircase- Marcel Duchamp

Nude Descending a Staircase- Marcel Duchamp

Duchamp rejected purely visual or what he dubbed “retinal pleasure,” deeming it to be facile, in favor of more intellectual, concept-driven approaches to art-making and, for that matter, viewing. He remained committed, however, to the study of perspective and optics which underpins his experiments with kinetic devices, reflecting an ongoing concern with the representation of motion and machines common to Futurist and Surrealist artists at the time.

A taste for jokes, tongue-in-cheek wit and subversive humor, rife with sexual innuendoes, characterizes Duchamp’s work and makes for much of its enjoyment. He fashioned puns out of everyday expressions which he conveyed through visual

King and Queen surrounded by swift nudes - Marcel Duchamp

King and Queen surrounded by swift nudes – Marcel Duchamp

means. The linguistic dimension of his work in particular paved the way for Conceptual art.

Marcel Duchamp was raised in Normandy, in a family of artists. His father was mayor of Blainville and his mother raised their seven children and painted landscapes depicting the French countryside. Family time was spent playing chess, reading, painting, and playing music.
Fountain 1917, replica 1964 Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999

One of Marcel’s earliest artworks, Landscape at Blainville (1902), painted at age fifteen, reflected his family’s love of Claude Monet. Marcel was close to his two older brothers, and in 1904, after both had left home to become artists, he joined them in Paris to study painting at Académie Julian. His brother, Jacques Villon, supported him during his studies, and Marcel earned some income by working as a cartoonist. Duchamp’s early drawings evince his ongoing interest in visual and verbal puns.

After he withdrew from the art world, Duchamp remained a passive, if influential, presence in New York avant-garde circles until he was rediscovered in the 1950s by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Duchamp’s insistence that art should be an expression of the mind rather than the eye or the hand spoke to Minimalists and Conceptual artists alike.
It ushered in a new era summed up by Joseph Kosuth’s claim that “all art (after Duchamp) is conceptual (in

Yvonne and Magdeleine Torn in Tatters- Marcel Duchamp

Yvonne and Magdeleine Torn in Tatters- Marcel Duchamp

nature) because art only exists conceptually.” The seminal concept of the mass-produced readymade was eagerly seized upon not only by Andy Warhol and other Pop artists who claimed Duchamp as their founding father but also, owing to its performative aspects, by FluxusArte Povera and Performance artists.

Portrait of Chess Players- Marcel Duchamp

Portrait of Chess Players- Marcel Duchamp

Duchamp’s radical critique of art institutions made him a cult figure for generations of artists who, like him, refused to go down the path of a conventional, commercial artistic career.

Though his work was admired for its wide-ranging use of artistic materials and mediums, it is the theoretical thrust of Duchamp’s eclectic but relatively limited output that accounts for his growing impact on successive waves of twentieth-century avant-garde movements and individual artists who openly acknowledged his influence.

On his attitude about art: “It is paradoxical. It is almost schizophrenic. On one side I worked from a very

Portrait of Dulcinea- Marcel Duchamp

Portrait of Dulcinea- Marcel Duchamp

intellectual form of activity, and on the other de-deifying everything by more materialistic thoughts.”

On the readymade: “The readymade is the consequence of the refusal which made me say: There are so many people who make pictures with their hands, that one should end up not using the hand.”

On chess: “I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art, and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.”

Biography is from The Art Story website.

I hope you enjoy my tribute to the great Marcel Duchamp today.  I had a surprisingly relaxing time creating it today!  I wanted to incorporate his love for chess.  I will see you tomorrow on Day 361…I’m going to try and have a relaxing rest of the day now. 🙂

Best,

Linda

Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Side-View Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Side-View
Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Close-Up 1 Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Close-Up 1
Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Close-Up 2 Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Close-Up 2
Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Close-Up 3 Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Close-Up 3
Strategy- Tribute to Marcel Duchamp
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic & Crackle paint on Canvas

Day 342- Odilon Redon- Ambiguous Realms

It’s Day 342 and I had a good time with today’s piece.  I was torn on what style I wanted to paint in because the artist did so many styles.  I decided to do a charcoal based piece because I wanted to experience charcoal a bit more before this project ended. 🙂  Thanks to my friend Mark Rachel for recommending today’s artist.  Please join me in honoring Odilon Redon today.

Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon

Cyclops- Odilon Redon

Cyclops- Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon (born Bertrand-Jean RedonFrench; April 20, 1840 – July 6, 1916) was a French symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and pastellist.

Odilon Redon was born in Bordeaux, Aquitaine to a prosperous family. The young Bertrand-Jean Redon acquired the nickname “Odilon” from his mother, Odile. Redon started drawing as a child and at the age of ten he was awarded a drawing prize at school. He began the formal study of drawing at fifteen, but at his father’s insistence changed to architecture. Failure to pass the entrance exams at Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts ended any plans for a career as an architect, although he briefly studied painting there under Jean-Léon Gérôme in 1864. (His younger brother Gaston Redon would become a noted architect.)

Back home in his native Bordeaux, he took up sculpture, and Rodolphe

The Winged Man (The Fallen Angel) - Odilon Redon

The Winged Man (The Fallen Angel) – Odilon Redon

Bresdin instructed him in etching and lithography. His artistic career was interrupted in 1870 when he joined the army to serve in the Franco-Prussian War.

At the end of the war, he moved to Paris, and resumed working almost exclusively in charcoal and lithography. He called his visionary works, conceived in shades of black, his noirs. It was not until 1878 that his work gained any recognition with Guardian Spirit of the Waters; he published his first album of lithographs, titled Dans le Rêve, in 1879.

The Eye- Odilon Redon

The Eye- Odilon Redon

Still, Redon remained relatively unknown until the appearance in 1884 of a cult novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans titled À rebours (Against Nature). The story featured a decadent aristocrat who collected Redon’s drawings.

In the 1890s pastel and oils became his favored media; he produced no more noirs after 1900. In 1899, he exhibited with the Nabis at Durand-Ruel’s.

Redon had a keen interest in Hindu and Buddhist religion and culture. The figure of the Buddha increasingly showed in his work. Influences of Japonism blended into his art, such as the painting The Death of the Buddha around 1899, The Buddha in 1906, Jacob and the Angel in 1905, and Vase with Japanese warrior in 1905, amongst many others.

Baron Robert de Domecy (1867–1946) commissioned the artist in 1899 to create 17 decorative panels for the dining room of theChâteau de Domecy-sur-le-Vault near Sermizelles in Burgundy. Redon had created large decorative works for private residences in the past, but his compositions for the château de Domecy in 1900–1901 were his most radical compositions to that point and mark the transition from ornamental to abstract painting. The landscape details do not show a specific place or space.

Only details of trees, twigs with leaves, and budding flowers in an endless horizon can be seen. The colours used

Portrait of Violette Heymann- Odilon Redon

Portrait of Violette Heymann- Odilon Redon

are mostly yellow, grey, brown and light blue. The influence of the Japanese painting style found on folding screens byōbu is discernible in his choice of colours and the rectangular proportions of most of the up to 2.5 metres high panels. Fifteen of them are located today in the Musée d’Orsay, acquisitioned in 1988.

Domecy also commissioned Redon to paint portraits of his wife and their daughter Jeanne, two of which are in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay and the Getty Museum in California. Most of the paintings remained in the Domecy family collection until the 1960s.

Le Silence- Odilon Redon

Le Silence- Odilon Redon

In 1903 Redon was awarded the Legion of Honor. His popularity increased when a catalogue of etchings and lithographs was published by André Mellerio in 1913; that same year, he was given the largest single representation at the New York Armory Show.

Redon died on July 6, 1916. In 1923 Mellerio published Odilon Redon: Peintre Dessinateur et Graveur. An archive of Mellerio’s papers is held by the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 2005 the Museum of Modern Art launched an exhibition entitled “Beyond The Visible”, a comprehensive overview of Redon’s work showcasing more than 100 paintings, drawings, prints and books from The Ian Woodner Family Collection. The exhibition ran from October 30, 2005 to January 23, 2006.

The Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland is showing a retrospective from February to May 2014.

Redon’s work represents an exploration of his internal feelings and psyche. He himself wanted to “place the visible at the service of the invisible”; thus, although his work seems filled with strange beings and grotesque dichotomies, his aim was to represent pictorially the ghosts of his own mind. A telling source of Redon’s

Little Flowers (Human Heads), 1880. Charcoal on paper- Odilon Redon

Little Flowers (Human Heads), 1880. Charcoal on paper- Odilon Redon

inspiration and the forces behind his works can be found in his journalA Soi-même (To Myself). His process was explained best by himself when he said:

“I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.”

The mystery and the evocation of Redon’s drawings are described by Huysmans in the following passage:

“Those were the pictures bearing the signature: Odilon Redon. They held, between their gold-edged frames of unpolished pearwood, undreamed-of images: a Merovingian-type head, resting upon a cup; a bearded man, reminiscent both of a Buddhist priest and a public orator, touching an enormous cannon-ball with his finger; a spider with a human face lodged

Head on a Stem- Odilon Redon

Head on a Stem- Odilon Redon

in the centre of its body. Then there were charcoal sketches which delved even deeper into the terrors of fever-ridden dreams. Here, on an enormous die, a melancholy eyelid winked; over there stretched dry and arid landscapes, calcinated plains, heaving and quaking ground, where volcanos erupted into rebellious clouds, under foul and murky skies; sometimes the subjects seemed to have been taken from the nightmarish dreams of science, and hark back to prehistoric times; monstrous flora bloomed on the rocks; everywhere, in among the erratic blocks and glacial mud, were figures whose simian appearance—heavy jawbone, protruding brows, receding forehead, and flattened skull top—recalled the ancestral head, the head of the first Quaternary Period, the head of man when he was still fructivorous and without speech, the contemporary of the mammoth, of the rhinoceros with septate nostrils, and of the giant bear. These drawings defied classification; unheeding, for the most part, of the limitations of painting, they ushered in a very special type of the fantastic, one born of sickness and delirium.”

Redon also describes his work as ambiguous and undefinable:

“My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.”

Biography is from wikipedia.

I was really drawn to Redon’s charcoal or “noir” drawings.  So I decided to focus on that style.  I hope you enjoy my piece for today and I’ll see you tomorrow on Day 343.

Best,

Linda

Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon Linda Cleary 2014 Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon
Linda Cleary 2014
Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Side-View Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon Linda Cleary 2014 Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Side-View
Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon
Linda Cleary 2014
Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Close-Up 1 Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon Linda Cleary 2014 Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Close-Up 1
Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon
Linda Cleary 2014
Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Close-Up 2 Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon Linda Cleary 2014 Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Close-Up 2
Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon
Linda Cleary 2014
Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Close-Up 3 Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon Linda Cleary 2014 Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Close-Up 3
Chefs sur Arbres et de Fleurs- Tribute to Odilon Redon
Linda Cleary 2014
Charcoal, Ink and Graphite of Canvas

Day 336- Henry Darger Jr.- In the Realms of the Unreal

It’s Day 336 and I’ve been excited to do this artist for a long time.  I knew it was going to be challenging and I think I had too many ideas that my brain got a bit jumbled.  Well, I finally did it and I think I’m pretty happy with it.  Please join me in honoring Henry Darger Jr. today!

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

Hands of Fire- Henry Darger Jr.

Hands of Fire- Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Joseph Darger, Jr. (April 12, 1892 – April 13, 1973) was a reclusive American writer and artist who worked as a hospital custodian in Chicago, Illinois. He has become famous for his posthumously discovered 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings illustrating the story.

The visual subject matter of his work ranges from idyllic scenes in Edwardian interiors and tranquil flowered landscapes populated by children and fantastic creatures, to scenes of horrific terror and

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

carnage depicting young children being tortured and massacred. Much of his artwork is mixed media with collage elements. Darger’s artwork has become one of the most celebrated examples of outsider art.

Darger was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Rosa Fullman and Henry Darger, Sr. on April 12, 1892. Cook County records show that he was born at his home, located at 350 W. 24th Street. When he was four years old, his mother died of puerperal fever after having given birth to a daughter, who was given up for adoption; Henry Darger never knew his sister. One of Darger’s biographers, the art historian and psychologist John M. MacGregor, discovered that Rosa had two children before Henry, but did not discover their whereabouts.

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

By Darger’s own report, his father, Henry Sr., was kind and reassuring to him, and they lived together until 1900. In that year, the crippled and impoverished Darger Sr. had to be taken to live at St. Augustine’s Catholic Mission home and his son was placed in a Catholic boys’ home. Darger Sr. died in 1905, and his son was institutionalized in the Illinois Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children in Lincoln, Illinois, with the diagnosis, according to Stephen Prokopoff, that “Little Henry’s heart is not in the right place”. According to John MacGregor, the diagnosis was actually “self-abuse” (at the time, this term was a euphemism for masturbation, rather than self-injury).

Darger himself felt that much of his problem was being able to see through adult lies and becoming a ‘smart-aleck’ as a result, which often led to his being disciplined by teachers and ganged up on by classmates. He also went through a lengthy phase of feeling compelled to make strange noises (perhaps as a result of Tourette Syndrome) which irritated others. The Lincoln asylum’s practices included forced labor and severe punishments, which Darger seems to have worked into In the Realms of the Unreal. He later said that, to be

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

fair, there were also good times there, he enjoyed some of the work, and he had friends as well as enemies. While he was there, he received word that his father had died. A series of attempted escapes ended successfully in 1908, the 16-year-old returned to Chicago and, with the help of his godmother, found menial employment in a Catholic hospital and in this fashion continued to support himself until his retirement in 1963.

Except for a brief stint in the U.S. Army during World War I, his life took on a pattern that seems to have varied little: he attended Mass daily, frequently returning for as many as five services; he collected and saved a bewildering array of trash from the streets. His dress was shabby, although he attempted to keep his clothes clean and mended. He was largely solitary; his one close friend, William Schloeder, was of like mind on the subject of protecting abused and neglected children, and the pair proposed founding a “Children’s Protective Society”, which would put such children up for adoption to loving families. Schloeder left Chicago sometime in the mid-1930s, but he and Darger stayed in touch through letters until Schloeder’s death in 1959. Darger biographer Jim Elledge suggests that Darger and Schloeder may have had a romantic relationship while Schloeder lived in Chicago.

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

In 1930, Darger settled into a second-floor room on Chicago’s North Side, at 851 W. Webster Avenue, in the Lincoln Park section of the city, near the DePaul Universitycampus. It was in this room, for 43 years, that Darger imagined and wrote his massive tomes (in addition to a 10-year daily weather journal and assorted diaries) until his death in April 1973 in St. Augustine’s Catholic Mission home (the same institution in which his father had died). In the last entry in his diary, he wrote: “January 1, 1971. I had a very poor nothing like Christmas. Never had a good Christmas all my life, nor a good new year, and now… I am very bitter but fortunately not revengeful, though I feel should be how I am…”

Darger is buried in All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois, in a plot called “The Old People of the Little Sisters of the Poor Plot”. Darger’s headstone is inscribed “Artist” and “Protector of Children”.

In the Realms of the Unreal is a 15,145-page work bound in fifteen immense, densely typed volumes (with three of them consisting of several hundred illustrations, scroll-like watercolor paintings on paper derived from magazines and coloring books) created over six decades. The majority of the book, The Story of the Vivian Girls,

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, follows the adventures of the daughters of Robert Vivian, seven princesses of the Christian nation of Abbieannia who assist a daring rebellion against the evil regime of child slavery imposed by John Manley and the Glandelinians.

Children take up arms in their own defense and are often slain in battle or viciously tortured by the Glandelinian overlords. The elaborate mythology includes the setting of a large planet, around which Earth orbits as a moon (where most people are Christian and mostly Catholic), and a species called the “Blengigomeneans” (or Blengins for short), gigantic winged beings with curved horns who occasionally take human or part-human form, even disguising themselves as children. They are usually benevolent, but some Blengins are extremely suspicious of all humans, due to Glandelinian atrocities. Darger illustrated his stories using a technique of traced images cut from magazines and catalogues, arranged in large panoramic landscapes and painted in watercolours, some as large as 30 feet wide and painted on both sides. He wrote himself into the narrative as the children’s protector.

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

Once released from the asylum, Darger repeatedly attempted to adopt a child, but his efforts failed. Images of children often served as his inspiration, particularly a portrait from the Chicago Daily News from May 9, 1911: a five-year-old murder victim, named Elsie Paroubek. The girl had left home on April 8 of that year telling her mother she was going to visit her aunt around the corner from her home. She was last seen listening to an organ grinder with her cousins. Her body was found a month later in a sanitary district channel near the screen guards of the powerhouse at Lockport, Illinois. An autopsy found she had probably been suffocated—not strangled, as is often stated in articles about Darger. Paroubek’s disappearance and murder, her funeral, and the subsequent investigation, were the subjects of a huge amount of coverage in the Daily News and other papers at the time.

This newspaper photo was part of a growing personal archive of clippings Darger had been gathering. There is no indication that the murder or the news photo and article had any particular significance for Darger, until one day he could not find it. Writing in his journal at the time, he began to process this forfeiture of yet another

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

child, lamenting that “the huge disaster and calamity” of his loss “will never be atoned for”, but “shall be avenged to the uttermost limit”. According to his autobiography, Darger believed the photo was among several items that were stolen when his locker at work was broken into. He never found his copy of the photograph again. Because he couldn’t remember the exact date of its publication, he couldn’t locate it in the newspaper archive. He carried out an elaborate series of novenas and other prayers for the picture to be returned.

The fictive war that was sparked by Darger’s loss of the newspaper photograph of the murdered girl, whose killer was never found, became Darger’s magnum opus. He had been working on some version of the novel before this time (he makes reference to an early draft which was also lost or stolen), but now it became an all-consuming creation.

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

In The Realms of the Unreal, Elsie is imagined as Annie Aronburg, the leader of the first child slave rebellion. “The assassination of the child labor rebel Annie Aronburg… was the most shocking child murder ever caused by the Glandelinian Government” and was the cause of the war. Through their sufferings, valiant deeds and exemplary holiness, the Vivian Girls are hoped to be able to help bring about a triumph of Christianity. Darger provided two endings to the story, one in which the Vivian Girls and Christianity are triumphant and another in which they are defeated and the godless Glandelinians reign.

Darger’s human figures were rendered largely by tracing, collage, or photo enlargement from popular magazines and children’s books (much of the “trash” he collected was old magazines and newspapers, which he clipped for source material). Some of his favorite figures were the Coppertone Girl and Little Annie Rooney. He is praised for his natural gift for composition and the brilliant use of color in his watercolors. The images of daring escapes, mighty battles, and painful torture are reminiscent not only of epic films such as Birth of a Nation (which Darger might easily have seen) but of events in Catholic history; the text makes it clear that the child victims are heroic martyrs like the early saints.

One idiosyncratic feature of Darger’s artwork is its apparent transgenderism. Many of his subjects which appear

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

to be girls are shown to have penises when unclothed or partially clothed. Darger biographer Jim Elledge speculates that this represents a reflection of Darger’s own childhood issues with gender identity and homosexuality.  Darger’s second novel, Crazy House, deals with these subjects more explicitly.

In a paraphrase of the Declaration of Independence, Darger wrote of children’s right “to play, to be happy, and to dream, the right to normal sleep of the night’s season, the right to an education, that we may have an equality of opportunity for developing all that are in us of mind and heart”.

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

A second work of fiction, provisionally titled Crazy House: Further Adventures in Chicago, contains over 10,000 handwritten pages. Written after The Realms, it takes that epic’s major characters—the seven Vivian sisters and their companion/secret brother, Penrod—and places them in Chicago, with the action unfolding during the same years as that of the earlier book. Begun in 1939, it is a tale of a house that is possessed by demons and haunted by ghosts, or has an evil consciousness of its own. Children disappear into the house and are later found brutally murdered. The Vivians and a male friend are sent to investigate and discover that the murders are the work of evil ghosts. The girls go about exorcising the place, but have to resort to arranging for a full-scale Holy Mass to be held in each room before the house is clean. They do this repeatedly, but it never works. The narrative ends mid-scene, with Darger having just been rescued from the Crazy House.

In 1968, Darger became interested in tracing some of his frustrations back to his childhood and began writing The History of My Life. Spanning eight volumes, the book only spends 206 pages detailing Darger’s early life before veering off into 4,672 pages of fiction about a huge twister called “Sweetie Pie”, probably based on memories of a tornado he had witnessed in 1908.

Despite Darger’s unusual lifestyle and strange behavior, he has not generally been considered mentally ill. This

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

topic is addressed in the biographical film In the Realms of the Unreal, in which Darger, while certainly described as eccentric, is also mentioned to be “in complete control of his life”. MacGregor, in the appendix to his book on Darger, speculates that the most fitting diagnosis is autism, of an Asperger syndrome type.

Darger’s landlords, Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner, came across his work shortly before his death, a day after his birthday, on April 13, 1973. Nathan Lerner, an accomplished photographer whose long career the New York Times wrote “was inextricably bound up in the history of visual culture in Chicago”, immediately recognized the artistic merit of Darger’s work. By this time Darger was in the Catholic mission St. Augustine’s, operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, where his father had died.

The Lerners took charge of the Darger estate, publicizing his work and contributing to projects such as the 2004 documentary In the Realms of the Unreal. In cooperation with Kiyoko Lerner, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art dedicated the Henry Darger Room Collection in 2008 as part of its permanent collection. Darger has become internationally recognized thanks to the efforts of people who knew to save his works. After Nathan Lerner’s death in 1997, Kiyoko Lerner became the sole figure in charge of both her husband’s and Darger’s estates. The U.S. copyright representative for the Estate of Henry Darger and the Estate of Nathan Lerner is the Artists Rights Society.

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

Darger is today one of the most famous figures in the history of outsider art. At the Outsider Art Fair, held every January in New York City, and at auction, his work is among the highest-priced of any self-taught artist. The American Folk Art Museum, New York City, opened a Henry Darger Study Center in 2001. His work now commands upwards of $80,000.

Since his death in 1973 and the discovery of his massive opus, and especially since the 1990s, there have been many references in popular culture to Darger’s work by other visual artists including, but not limited to, artists of comics and graphic novels; numerous popular songs; a 1999 book-length poem, Girls on the Run, by John Ashbery; a multi-player online game, SiSSYFiGHT 2000, and a 2004 multimedia piece by choreographer Pat Graney incorporating Darger images. Jesse Kellerman’s 2008 novel The Genius took part of its inspiration from Darger’s story. These artists have variously drawn from and responded to Darger’s artistic style, his themes (especially the Vivian Girls, the young heroines of Darger’s massive illustrated novel), and the events in his life.

Jessica Yu’s 2004 documentary In the Realms of the Unreal details Darger’s life and artworks.

Comic book artist Scott McCloud refers to Darger’s work in his book Making Comics, while describing the danger artists encounter in the creation of a character’s back-story. McCloud says that complicated narratives can easily spin out of control when too much unseen information is built up around the characters.

Darger and his work have been an inspiration for several music artists. The Vivian Girls were an all-girl indie/punk trio from Brooklyn; “Henry Darger” is a song by Natalie Merchant on her album Motherland,

Henry Darger Jr.

Henry Darger Jr.

“Vivian Girls” is song by the band Wussy on their album Left for Dead. “The Vivian Girls Are Visited in the Night by Saint Dargarius and His Squadron of Benevolent Butterflies” is a song by Sufjan Stevens on his album The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album, “The Story of the Vivian Girls” is a song by Comet Gain on their 2005 album City Fallen Leaves, and “Segue: In the Realms of the Unreal” is song by the band …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead on their album So Divided, “The Vivian Girls” is a 1979 song by Snakefinger (Philip Lithman Roth) also recorded by the Monks of Doom on their album The Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company, “Vivian girls” is a song by the band Fucked Up on their album Hidden World, and “Lost girls” (about Darger’s work) is a song by Tilly and the Wall on their album Bottoms of Barrels. On their 1994 album Triple Mania II, San Diego’s industrial noise performance outfit Crash Worship reworked several Darger images and screen printed them on a copper foil foldout discfolio; as well as the insert and disc.

Darger is the subject of a radio play, Darger and the Detective, by Mike Walker performed by members of the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company for BBC Radio 3.

Biography is from wikipedia.

I love his story so I decided to include all the the page.  I hope you enjoy my piece for today and I will see you tomorrow on Day 336.

Best,

Linda

Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr. Linda Cleary 2014 Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr.
Linda Cleary 2014
Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Side-View Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr. Linda Cleary 2014 Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Side-View
Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr.
Linda Cleary 2014
Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Close-Up 1 Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr. Linda Cleary 2014 Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Close-Up 1
Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr.
Linda Cleary 2014
Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Close-Up 2 Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr. Linda Cleary 2014 Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Close-Up 2
Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr.
Linda Cleary 2014
Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Close-Up 3 Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr. Linda Cleary 2014 Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

Close-Up 3
Sky Demon- Tribute to Henry Darger Jr.
Linda Cleary 2014
Watercolor & Ink on Canvas

 

Day 267- Yoshitomo Nara- “I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me”

It’s Day 267 and I had so much fun doing today’s tribute!  I also start my improv class tonight which I’m excited about. 🙂  Join me in honoring Yoshitomo Nara today.

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara (奈良 美智 Nara Yoshitomo, born 5 December 1959 in Hirosaki, Japan) is a Japanese artist. He lives and works in Tokyo, though his artwork has been exhibited worldwide. Nara has had nearly 40 solo exhibitions since 1984. He is represented in New York City by Pace Gallery, in Los Angeles by Blum & Poe and in London byStephen Friedman Gallery.

Nara received his B.F.A. (1985) and an M.F.A. (1987) from the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music. Between 1988 and 1993, Nara studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, in Germany.

“Nara first came to the fore of the art world during Japan’s Pop art movement in the

I Am Alone- Yoshitomo Nara

I Am Alone- Yoshitomo Nara

1990s. The subject matter of his sculptures and paintings is deceptively simple: most works depict one seemingly innocuous subject (often pastel-hued children and animals drawn with confident, cartoonish lines) with little or no background. But these children, who appear at first to be cute and even vulnerable, sometimes brandish weapons like knives and saws. Their wide eyes often hold accusatory looks that could be sleepy-eyed irritation at being awoken from a nap—or that could be undiluted expressions of hate.”

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara

Nara, however, does not see his weapon-wielding subjects as aggressors. “Look at them, they [the weapons] are so small, like toys. Do you think they could fight with those?” he says. “I don’t think so. Rather, I kind of see the children among other, bigger, bad people all around them, who are holding bigger knives…” Lauded by art critics, Nara’s bizarrely intriguing works have gained him a cult following around the world. In June, 2005, Nara’s artwork was featured in the album titled “Suspended Animation” by experimental band Fantômas. Other commercial products (including videos, books, magazines, catalogues and monographs) have been dedicated to Nara’s work. Recently, a two-volume catalogue raisonné of all his sculptures, paintings, and drawings was completed.

In 2010 the Asia Society showed Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool the first major New

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara

York exhibition of his work. Other major retrospectives include: “I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me”, which toured Japan between 2001 and 2002; and “Yoshitomo Nara: Nothing Ever Happens,” which traveled the United States from 2003 to 2005.

Aomori Ken Dog- Yoshitomo Nara

Aomori Ken Dog- Yoshitomo Nara

The manga and anime of his 1960s childhood are both clear influences on Nara’s stylized, large-eyed figures. Nara subverts these typically cute images, however, by infusing his works with horror-like imagery. This juxtaposition of human evil with the innocent child may be a reaction to Japan’s rigid social conventions.

The punk rock music of Nara’s youth has also influenced the artist’s work. Recalling

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara

a similar – if more unsettling – image of rebellious, violent youth, Nara’s art embraces the punk ethos. That said, Nara has also cited traditions as varied as Renaissance painting, literature, illustration, ukiyo-e and graffiti as further inspiration.

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara

But perhaps most significantly, Nara’s upbringing in post-World War II Japan profoundly affected his mindset and, subsequently, his artwork as well. He grew up in a time when Japan was experiencing an inundation of Western pop culture; comic books, Walt Disney animation, and Western rock music are just a few examples. Additionally, Nara was raised in the isolated countryside as a latchkey child of working-class parents, so he was often left alone with little to do but explore his young imagination. The fiercely independent subjects that populate so much of his artwork may be a reaction to Nara’s own largely independent childhood.

Biography is from wikipedia.

I hope you enjoy my tribute today!  It was obviously fun to do.  I love Nara’s art.  I will see you tomorrow on Day 268.

Best,

Linda

Ouch...My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Ouch…My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas

Side-View Ouch...My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Side-View
Ouch…My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 1 Ouch...My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 1
Ouch…My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 2 Ouch...My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 2
Ouch…My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 3 Ouch...My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 3
Ouch…My Brain Hurts- Tribute to Yoshitomo Nara
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas