THE PAVILION ANNEX

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Mark Tiedemann
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:01 pm

FrankChurch wrote:I used to ride a yellow sillybus when I was in school.

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Van Gogh sure in the hell challenges me. You certainly want to know what he was thinking when he was painting. Is his self portrait him at his best or his worse? Only the bird on the wire can tell us.


This is purely a matter of taste. Van Gogh challenges me---to wonder what it is everyone else sees in him. Likewise with Jackson Pollack. So I suppose if the work sparks a conversation, it's worthwhile, but...

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Steve Evil
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Steve Evil » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:11 pm

I know only slightly more about Art than about Quantum Physics, so I can't explain Van Gogh, so I can only say his blotches of paint. . .calm me. Fill me with peace. Beyhond that I can say no more. I actually find his letters much more interesting though. . .

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:21 pm

Lori Koonce wrote:
Tom C wrote:
Lori Koonce wrote:What good is any art, visual or otherwise, if it's not challenging you?


I dunno. I love Van Gogh's work but I cant say I find it challenging. Can’t we appreciate art without it being challenging?


I suppose you could Tom, but why would you want to? I look at the mundane at every moment of my life. If I'm gonna spend money to look at or read something, at least let it be challenging at some level.

As the acronyms go, JMHO YMMV.


I kinda go both ways on this one. (Lori, stop snorting coffee outa your nose, grrlfriend! ;) )

There's challenging art, like Mapplethorpe's nudes, then there's just beautiful art, like Platt-Lynes' nudes. Both are pics of nekkid men and women, which is challenging enough for American society I guess, but I find Mapplethorpe's images really push my buttons and make me uncomfortable, which makes me question, why? With Platt-Lynes, I just find myself gawking at the images, gorgeous bods, and wondering about how he lit them so incredibly well (which is an art form unto itself.)

It's the same reaction I had to reading Harlan's work as a 12 year old. It felt like being invited into a secret club for grownups only. (Thank you Linda Fowler, children's librarian extraordinaire for not ratting me out to my mom, who was the reference librarian.) I loved (and still do) Anne McCaffrey's work too, but on a totally different level. McCaffrey was fun escapism; Ellison made me reach for the dictionary, the encyclopedia, the Who's Who, and the card catalog to truly *get* all his references. Harlan turned me on to all kinds of artists and writers whom I never would have heard of otherwise. And then the man's prose -- WOW! What a writer!

(And Steve E. if you can get a copy, rent "Vincent", the one man show done by Leonard Nimoy. It's based on Vincent's letters to Theo and is a knockout.)
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:38 pm

I don't want to bum the room down but how about a small factoid? The song 'Vincent' by Don McLean was one of Tupac Shakur's favorite songs. At his bedside, his girlfriend played the song right before he died. The sad truth? Never prejudge.

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The song, ah, yes, the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dipFMJckZOM

The brush strokes and the colors, it's all about that. The swirls are the unseen whirl of violence Van Gogh may have seen in nature.

He painted Starry Night in an asylum. I'm starting to believe sanity is artless. Sane people bore nature.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:51 pm

Barber, bad news. Look at this:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/06/1 ... -sour.html

I knew some of it was staged. Don't know what to think. This is why I don't watch reality tv.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:15 pm

When we say a work is challenging we usually mean that it requires that we bring something to it and engage with it rather than passively receive it. Sadly our media so encourages this passivity that most people find the idea of a work that does not immediately give up its secrets to be incomprehensible. The best art is a conversation.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Tom C » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:14 am

Lori Koonce wrote:I suppose you could Tom, but why would you want to? I look at the mundane at every moment of my life. If I'm gonna spend money to look at or read something, at least let it be challenging at some level.


Why would I want to? I suppose because there is beauty in art that needs no deep meaning. I went to the Guggenheim museum for the first time a few weeks ago. I fell in love with the work of Vasily Kandinsky. There may have been some meaning in his art but for the most part it was lost on me. I just liked what I saw.

I'm all for art that challenges you. Shakespeare, James Joyce, etc. bring something wonderful to the world. But sometimes a rose is just a rose and perhaps you should appreciate it for what it is.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Moderator » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:21 am

Art doesn't have to be challenging to be appreciated. Impressionism isn't necessarily a very challenging form of painting, but it's profoundly beautiful when at its best.

I would suppose you have to consider intent -- but what, really, is a challenging work of art? Is controversy a hallmark? Is it layered with meaning that needs to be sussed out? Does a work of art need to be complex to be emotionally impactful? I don't think it does.

Case in point: one of my all time favorite paintings is Monet's Houses of Parliament, London, with the sun breaking through the fog. http://www.monetalia.com/paintings/monet-houses-of-parliament-sun-fog.aspx . It's really a fairly simple piece, but tremendously beautiful and moving. The movie Field of Dreams is straightforward but emotionally rich.

Yes, there are many complex works which are equally rewarding -- but as Tom notes above, sometimes a rose can be just a rose and yet still appreciated for its simple beauty.
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:58 am

A long time ago some reporter asked Leonard Bernstein what good music was. I mean, huh? What a fatuous question.

But Bernstein had an answer, a serious one. "Music is the best tool we have for exploring the geography of the psyche."

It took years for me to fully understand what he meant (assuming I yet do), but I think that it is applicable across all forms. Consider: the notes go in, they bounce around our synapses, and create effects. Just effects. (Music as a wholly abstract form is all about effect and reaction---conscious thought rarely comes into it until you get to the level of trying to understand how a piece was assembled, etc.)

When you say "I don't know, it's just beautiful" it comes across like you're talking about something with surface aesthetics alone that does nothing else. But if that's the case, it's value would be exhausted by one or two viewings (or hearings or readings). Beauty that keeps you coming back is more than that. So there is no "just" about it---and the challenging part is not "Do you thereafter think profound thoughts" or are you required to interpret "meaning" from a given work, but have you allowed it to change, even slightly, the way you see everything else. Monet's paintings of Chartres, for instance. It's just the same facade, over and over again. But after seeing them, you can't look at the cathedral itself the same way anymore. You ability to react has been changed, perhaps only subtly, but changed nevertheless.

The whole point of abstract art is to work on the wiring in your skull in such a way that after you walk away the world looks different. Explicably different? Probably not.

Point being, something that is "just beautiful" is not "just" beautiful if you can keep going back to it with continuing joy. It's bouncing off the psyche in such a way that it affects the way you see.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby reddragon70 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:41 pm

I didnt want to post grim stuff on the main Pav so decided to sort of continue my post here.

Many of you have heard of Terry Pratchett. He is a Brittish humourous fantasy writer. Highly prolific and entertaining, a national treasure in every sense of the word and a true gent every time I have met him.

Now what you may or may not know is that he was one of the guests at the SFX Weekender that my wife and I attended at the beginning of February. For quite some time he has aslo been suffering from a rare form of early onset alzheimers disease. It was deeply saddening to see a great writer on stage being simply unable to remember certain words as he was doing a Q&A. Even worse for me is that he is a wordsmith. Words are the tools of his trade and he is losing them. How much more terrible thing can there be for any writer? No matter if you like their work or not, such a thing is an afront to the mind and the heart.

Now, I know that his work is not well known in the US. Maybe his humour is just a little too English, but I have always loved his books. Despite also being friends with his main rival (though theyre really NOT rivals at all) Robert Rankin. I still have a soft spot and a space in my bookcase for the next Pratchett hardback. Now it seems, there may be only a few more to come. And even though he has a huge back catalogue of novels and I was one of those few who read them from when they first got released back in '82 or suchlike.... I still find it sad, terribly awfully sad. He'll still be there, but will no longer be Terry Pratchett.

Oh well. So it goes.

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FrankChurch
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:37 pm

Barberrrr...

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Moderator » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:56 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Barberrrr...


Yes?
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:04 pm

I'm sorry guys, but if it aint challenging it aint art. Art should take you to another place, one where you not only get your feet wet, you may get a pie in the face or crotch.

Art should also be hard, something only a handful of people can do. Any idiot with a beat can rap so there are only a few really great rappers.

So much of modern art looks like smears of feces on the canvas of some dank cemetery wall.

Art shows man in his best and worst light.

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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Chuck Messer » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:56 pm

Iain,

It's sad to see someone you admire deteriorate this way. I hope that the few treatments there are for Alzheimer's will be effective for Mr. Pratchett -- now a knight, I understand! I'd like for him to enjoy the life he has ahead of him, as much as possible.

Chuck
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Re: THE PAVILION ANNEX

Postby Moderator » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:42 pm

if it aint challenging it aint art.


Jackson Pollock's work isn't challenging, really. Beautiful, striking, but not really challenging.

Rodin's The Thinker isn't terribly complex.

Robert Frost's Acquainted with the Night is pretty straightforward and uncomplicated.

I am awed by Ansel Adams' images. Landscapes. Stunning. Not challenging.

Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer is a tale of the ages. Not a whole lot of subtext and misdirection going on. Likewise his The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

Art should make a statement. Art should engage us. Art should give us pause. Some poor art challenges us, some great art does not.

And "great" art, like beauty, is largely in the eye of the observer.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.


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