my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


Populist Culture? Or It's Just A Blog?

This morning I slogged through an article in the New Yorker ["The Missing Madonna" by Calvin Tomkins] about the above painting, an early Renaissance “Madonna and Child” by Duccio di Buoninsegna (circa 1300).

As I read about this painting, recently purchased by The Metropolitan Museum of Art for between forty-five and fifty million dollars, I chanced upon a paragraph that neatly addressed my point of pique this morning: the disparagement of blogs by those who reserve their intellect for higher (or no) writing pursuits.

According to Keith Christiansen, the Met's Jayne Wrightsman Curator of European Paintings, “'[This painting is part of] the whole revolution in expression that takes place in the late thirteenth century and early fourteenth century—the revolution which, of course, has as its real figurehead neither Duccio nor Giotto but Dante.

"'Dante is an absolute contemporary of Giotto, and a near-contemporary of Duccio … [and] … the fact that Dante chose to write in the vernacular, in Italian rather than Latin, is one of the turning points of the West.

this is precisely what these artists were about as well—finding a vernacular as opposed to an intentionally élitist, anti-popular form of painting ...'"

... in order to meet other humans in situ ... and evoke response from them where they exist, since most humans are unlikely to seek out culture in more rarified environments.

This idea of bringing paintings ... or music ... or writing ... to the people, then, is not so new. And blogs are merely the most recent incarnation of carting culture to the people. In this case, via Internet.

It isn't all Duccio, as you will be quick to point out. But bloggers, consciously and unconsciously, are communicating a broad range of culture, within a populist venue that today is where one is most likely to connect with other humans. And, as populist culture, it can have a veracity, a validity that may be overlooked if one looks only for "real art" (what is that?) in stereotypic media.

Today's fragrance: the very low-brow Tipton Charles Sandalwood with top notes of jasmine, lime, rose, clove; middle notes of pine needle, heliotrope, lavender; basenotes of musk, vanilla and sandalwood. An unpretentious, yet oddly satisfying little fragrance. *sniff*


Blogger Kyahgirl said...

Underlying everything is the human need to 'connect'. Those who scoff at blogs or 'art in the vernacular' are the same sorry souls who go through life, disconnected from real beauty and meaning.

Off with their heads!

9:50 AM

Blogger Laura said...

Gosh, I've been so busy doing my blog (and my nonblog art) that I hadn't heard the sniveling, snobby antibloggist chorus. Ah well, let them snarl, those superannuated curs. ;D The future belongs to us. Allons,enfants!

9:52 AM

Blogger Bela said...

Are you really saying that anything goes, M? That we're not allowed to criticize anything? That we have to suffer through any blog - even when the writing is atrocious and the thoughts beyond banal - just because someone is trying to "connect"?

I don't agree. Just because "anyone" can now be published on the Net doesn't mean that I have to read what they write and/or like it. I'm sure people read a few lines of my blog and go, "What a load of BS!" That's their prerogative. I reserve the right to do the same.

I'll consider myself slapped. xxx

10:12 AM

Blogger mireille said...

Nope, not saying anything goes. Just suggesting to those who may be looking down at the blogosphere from their rarified perches that they might want to take a more intensive look at what's here. There is some good work being done as well as junk ... and no slaps from me, cupcake. xoxo

10:16 AM

Anonymous Victoria said...

Great article. I find that the blog culture has been changing from a merely personal (something akin to a public diary) to a venue designed to inform. Museums were created for popularizing art, which prior to 19th c was chiefly confined to the select few.

On a related note, have you read an article (do not recall whether it was in NYT) about museums selling their artwork into private collections, often without even curators being aware of this. I was astonished and saddened!

11:29 AM

Blogger AP3 said...

Yes, interesting point. I do think blogs will turn out to be culturally important, if they haven't already!

2:34 PM

Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

YES! I read many TYPES of blogs. Some funny, some serious, some about religion, some about politics, etc.

Some well written, others less so. But the point is that I am exposed to ideas and people that I never would be any other way.

Some blogs I never return to. Others I read daily or almost daily. I think the internet and blogging are to this age what the automobile was to another age.

4:36 PM

Blogger Bela said...

Thanks for the clarification, M. xxx

4:55 PM

Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Has somebody been picking on you M? I missed it all, whatever it was.

But loved that article in the New Yorker. I love it when they talk about art, because the only things I know about art these days are whatever the New Yorker decides to tell me.

6:16 PM

Blogger mireille said...

jeez, i'm so transparent. *baring her teeth and drawing herself up to her full 60 in. of height*

6:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got a blog site for you. Well written, slice of life, interesting perspectives:

7:08 PM

Blogger Tom & Icy said...

We learn from each other through blogs and entertain each other.

8:22 PM

Blogger red-queen said...

The Washington Post magazine this week carried a long piece on the incipient end of newspaper journalism (and the consequent fall of Western civilization) because of blogs. Huh.

What the internet and desktop publishing have done is return to the hands of common people the ability to make their voices heard - a concept that is really the antithesis of big corporate newspapers. Bloggers fart in the general direction of Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner!

4:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes...there are some not so great blog things to read, but there's plenty that is fabulous.

Blog on!

e.e. cummings wrote:

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile


6:11 AM

Anonymous janey said...

There are so many things to comment on in your post (and it is so well written). Here are my thoughts on blogging and art (my two main interests at the moment).

I think blogging has much in common with the beginning of the printing press. That event took books and information out of the hands of the rich and gave them to the world. Blogs range from a joy to read (like this - no blushing allowed) to absolute you know what. The range is as disparate as the people who blog. Blogging for me is very much connected to my art. I wouldn’t be doing what I am now if it weren’t for blogging. I had so much lack of confidence that I hadn’t picked up a pen in 20 years. Very few people can exist in a vacuum. For me blogging burst that bubble of isolation and gave me an immediate connection. I look at the outsider artists of the past and I marvel at their tenacity. They drew because they had no choice. It didn’t matter that no one saw their work until years after their death. I wasn’t able to do that. I needed it to be seen. I needed to be able to talk to the world and this is my way to do it. Like Emily D – my letter to the world that never wrote to me.

Those “nabobs” who look down at blogging are just showing their fear. They are the past , this is the present. Blogging isn’t the future, it’s now.

And this was a bit of a ramble wasn’t it? Sorry but it did stir things up a bit.

6:24 PM


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