Friday, December 31, 2021

Shop Talk (a continuing series)

“The end of art is peace.”
Seamus Heaney 

Double Portrait of the Artist in Time, by Helen Lundeberg

Why continue to do this? 

As they say in the media: Thank you for that question.

Seriously. I’m thrilled as the writer to know a) someone might have read the piece and b) it might have evoked a reaction (laughter, hopefully), perhaps even a response. I try to provide enough substance to make reading significant, but my DNA is more entertainment oriented than literary. I look at what I’m doing as first entertainment, then literature. 

I know what I enjoy, and I write things that I will enjoy. And because I’m no different from billions of other people, I hope some of the potential readers will find a similar enjoyment in what I have written.

The gap between award winners and the short listed is like the gap between what I think I’m posting and what gets pointed out to me later.

I’ve been on a Toshiko Akiyoshi binge, her work with small groups (e.g. the Toshiko trio circa 1955) as well as the iconic, if not transformational, big band she led with Lew Tabackin. Composer and musician, Toshiko swings. 
I’ve also been looking at two art styles, or movements, or whatever you want to call them.

The first is California light painting, the Light and Space movement that is mainly attirubted to artists in southern California, maybe from santa Barbara to san Diego, and is generally placed in the time period 1960-1980. The practionarers and artists are many, here’s an overview: 

Light and Space Movement Overview | TheArtStory

The other movement is more widely known and practiced: surrealism. And I have been using the internet to watch slide show videos of early surrealism by Leonora Carrington, and on the later surrealism used by Helen Lundeberg. I muted the soundtrack on the videos and played my own choices for viewing and contemplation enhancing music, in a recent instance:  Stuart Dempster ‎- Underground Overlays From The Cistern Chapel (full album) - YouTube

The magazines I read had me running the trails recently: Clara Schumann (Germany) to Anton Bruckner (Austria); William Kentridge (South Africa) to John Muafangejo (Namibia); ); John Muafangejo - Wikipedia

I also noted these two sour observations:

Number one.

“In some niche areas, such as literary magazines and graduate schools of education, the idea of merit as separate from identity no longer exists.”  (George Packard, Atlantic, July /August 2021)

Number two.

“…immersive installations that have become museums’ most popular attractions in the last two decades create environments where art is not an object of contemplation but a backdrop for self-actualization, where the collectivity of the museum public breaks down into the individualities of selfie-taking ‘museum users.’ In becoming more ‘democratic and accessible,’ [Janet] Kraynak writes, the museum becomes indistinguishable from other venues of the experience economy, rather than ’an active productive public sphere.’” (from an essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books, by Brian Droitcour)

Closing with the breezy high interplay in Charlie at Full Speed by Anthony Carelli, and then Joan Retallack hits a walk off home run.

© 2021 Randy Stark
Please visit my website at
My books are available on Amazon.


1 comment:

  1. Always look forward to and enjoy "Shop Talk". I can count on Stark Impressions to provide insight into the artists of all genres...

    I like the paintings of Helen Lundeberg. There are many influences going on in her work.

    Thanks again for posting another year's worth of Stark Impressions.