These are amazing paintings. I can't think of anything in the west in the same time period that is as moving, as emotionally evocative, except Norman Rockwell. It surprises me that more people don't like them.
There's a book called The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters by Frances Stonor Saunders. Part of it deals with the CIA's efforts to destroy social realism, to make acceptable only art devoid of political or emotional content. I thought they had just succeeded in keeping it out of corporate media, out of the museums, but that they couldn't change how people reacted to it. But it may be that they won and that most of us can't react to such art anymore.
These pictures, to me, represent where art should have gone after the impressionists and the post-impressionists, that they are the heirs to Gauguin and Cezanne and of Van Gogh's "Potato Eaters", to Goya's "The Third of May, 1808, or The Executions on Principe Pio Hill." Instead, what do we have today? Sometimes art is pretty. Sometimes it is clever, but it is usually without any deeper significance, without any emotional or political content.
An excerpt from Monical Helsey’s new book I Can’t Believe it’s Not Better: A Woman’s Guide to Coping With Life called “Getting a Job, a Short Story by Your Parents” shows off both Helsey’s razor wit and the generational unfairness captured so well by Old Economy Steve.
John Oliver’s segment on mass-shootings and mental health makes all the right points: making the issue about mental health instead of guns stigmatizes mentally ill people (who are more likely to be shot than shoot someone), but since we’re on the subject, the American mental health system is a disgrace.
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