“Homage to Bob Thompson and other artists.”

” Homage to Bob Thompson”  44″ x 56″.

Today I read an article on the front page of the New York Times about about black artists and how collectors  are beginning to realize how important their place is in the art world. Why does it always take so long for collectors, museums and critics to wake up to what’s going on. Has it been lack of interest or deliberate exclusion as has also been going on with women?

Is this surge in a renewed interest in the likes of Norman Lewis, Bob Thompson and Betye Saar related to the friction going on now between young Black men and the police. I don’t think so. These artist have been around for a long time. How come the rekindled interest all of a sudden? I am not fond of the term Afro-American and have mentioned it before, it pigeon holes artists , the same with Outsider art or Folk art call it what it is, ART by So and So, not So and so the Folk artist. They are artists period. Leave off the Afro, Folk and Outsider artists. They are as American as Gorky, de Koonig, and others who came from distant lands. We do not call de Kooning a Euro-American or Gorky, Armenian American. I came from England and am never referred to as English American.

There is a period of what I call ” The forgotten period of expressionist art” . It ranges between mid nineteen sixties to late nineteen eighties. There has been a renewed interest in this period. Critics are looking back at these years and realizing much was overlooked due to rapid waves of new art. Plus it seems that all the down to earth collectors like Walter Chrysler, Lester Lannon, Hudson Walker, have not been replaced. Their curiosity and love of finding the source of art has disappeared, alas.

Front page headline recognition of these artists in the New York Times is well over due and appreciated by many I’m sure.

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“The destruction of dreams”

Christmas 1986. A catholic priest at a school in Jersey City NJ. USA, told his class that Santa Clause did not exist. We all know he is correct. However, how would he react if he was told  that god did not exist.I think he would argue that he did ,even though there is no evidence of it being true.

Santa Lives, 46" x 34", 1986, oil on canvas
” Santa lives”

So many of us live in a world of  fantasies, especially children. Why destroy their dreams. The priest who believes in god , even though there is no evidence he/she exists, enjoys his fantasy while destroying a child’s world of dreams.

” Yellow mass” Our forth dimension.

64 Untitled, 6 x 7 oil on wood, J4, ID 1477
” Yellow mass”

Yellow mass has a simplicity to it but generates a massif feeling . I was Reading today about how artists feel about space and dimension . Sculpture is three dimensional painting two dimensional. Sculpture can never be seen in it’s totality , painting can can be. People are constantly looking for a forth dimension  ,could it be that we ourselves  are the forth dimension? Instead of looking out for a dimension, we look back inside.

 

Child Killers, it still goes on and on.

Just how many wars will there be, it seems endless. There are politicians now who want to declare war and go to war. It is all senseless stupidity and greed. I just watched Tony Ben give a speech in the British House of Parliament about the sale of weapons and how  the conservatives say it provides jobs . He says it provides profits for the wealthy and support for the enemy. It seems this is a major point. If we cut off the arms, no pun intended, how can they continue to fight?  Go back to sticks and stones? I watch the news and I see ISIS riding around in new Humvee’s well armed and well clothed, where is it all coming from? I feel that Obama  is correct in not sending troops into Syria  . He is for deescalating the situation. If countries like the UK, US, Russia, China, Germany, would stop supplying them with arms it would reduce the fighting. There are neo-conservatives politicians like Trump, Cruz, Rubio who would all go charging in with swords drawn and keep the arms industry thriving, they are the real killers. They have not personally experienced war and advocate going to war, it is hell , I experienced it as a child and was lucky to survive it , and feel Obama understands the consequences of ” Boots on the ground”.

It could be greed and avarice  by the weapons industry  that is at the center of all of the suffering, all the child killing.

“Child Killers, it still goes on”

Child Killers, 14 x 17, 1980, E3, ID 936

Viva La France!!

DSCF3308Last night was a sad night in France. It was hard to sit and watch such terror take place. My heart goes out to the French.

As a child I was in Dr Bernardo’s home, in England, eight years old. 1940. We where all called into the assembly hall. The Headmaster stood against a back drop of windows  covered with mattresses against air raids and gave us the sad news that France had surrendered. At eight years of age I did not quiet understand  how important it was, but I knew something was up. They played the Marseillaise  and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. It was an instinct that something disastrous was about to happen. What happened in France last night and the French president saying ” This is an act of war” gave me the shivers I had in 1940. Viva la France.!Viva La France, 28 x 33, 2009, D3, ID 840 ” Viva La France.” 34 x 36 inches. oil. 1999

Bob Thompson. Drawings and water colors.Continued.

I traded with Bob for work. Or I was given work for my birthday or Christmas. We celebrated a lot of diners together in Ibiza. We also would work together on some paper pieces. When we were short on paper we would take old art magazines and change the old master images with crayons and  watercolor. We would pour over old masters and discuss the compositions. These whee great days.We found a paint store that sold pigment so we would mix our own colors, a lot of red ocher and yellow ocher’s. There is one thing that bothers me and that is, Bob Thompson is often described as” African American.” I don’t like this term . I am from England and I am not termed English / American and was de Kooning described as Euro / American. Lets put that term in the garbage as it pigeon holes artists.

Here are some of the drawings and colored work.

Bob Thompson . Ink on paper.
Bob Thompson . Ink on paper.
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” Yelloy Godess”
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” Adoration of the Magi”
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” Ecco Homo”
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” Sleep”

 

Bob Thompson. Continued.

Later after Bob died I made one mistake. I went off to St Barths in the French West Indies for a winter, the first of three. I had given up my loft on Pitt St and needed some place to leave my large Thompson painting that he gave me for bringing bringing back his work from Ibiza.

I thought Carol would be the best bet as she loved his work…….Well I as wrong. When I returned from the Islands I called her and asked when would be a good time to pick up Bob’s painting. Her reply was.”Bill, I no longer consider it your painting, I have had it stretched and framed” I was heart broken. I pleaded with her to no avail. She called me one day and said she felt bad about keeping the painting but had not changed her mind. She invited me over to her place on first Ave and Tenth St to select a gausch to make up for the painting. I thought it would be better than nothing. I went  over and selected a gaucsh. My painting hung on the wall, she always had someone present when I visited. The irony of the whole story is that she had a fire in her apartment and the painting was destroyed. It would still be around if she had returned it to me. I can kind of understand how she felt about the work. His work was beginning to sell for decent sums of money and that was the only income she had. That’s life.
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