Friday, May 16, 2008

Mr. Richard J. Luschek II, SM

I recently applied for super special Signature membership of the Cincinnati Art Club. I had to drop off 5 paintings for a super secret Selection Committee. They accepted me in as a Signature Member and I am honored.
Still trying to figure out how to actually add this honor to my signature. If you were a member of the Royal Academy, you got an RA behind your name, so I suppose a 'SM' works. Should it be SMCAC (Signature Member Cincinnati Art Club)? I am sure I will find out in the next meeting.

The interesting thing about being a Signature member is that the Associate members have to carry my books and art supplies for me when I come to the club, open doors and just generally worship me as a Signature member.

I think there are secret meetings with Signature members, not unlike the Skull and Bones organization or the Masons. I am hoping to be involved in some sort of deep, dark Signature Member art conspiracies that we will discuss at length in meetings peppered with evil laughter in a cigar smoke filled room while we swirl the snifter of 20 year single malt scotch- yeah, technically a snifter is for Brandy, but that is just the kind of crazy stuff us Signature members do. Most of the crazy stuff of course I can't discuss with any of you non-Signature Members.

I probably should smoke a pipe more now. Just seems like something a Signature member should do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Got Called Out

I was mentioned on Sara Pearce's Blog this weekend. She has a nice blog on the Cincinnati art scene.
I had no idea she was so riveted to my Blog. But honestly, she was just fishing for Art Museum news and found my rant in the search. She did not agree with my post below discussing the terrible lighting in the Rembrandt show. The title of her post was "Rembrandt: too little light for the master?". While it is true I thought there was too little light, I was kind of embarrassed that Sara called me a master. I mean come on, I could see Master used for Rembrandt, but I am just getting started as a painter.


Huh? She was talking about Rembrandt, not me?


Anyway, I know the museum went to great lengths to get the work, and surprisingly there were probably a bunch of meetings on the topic of how to display these masterpieces. A lot of work and thought went into how to display these paintings. I suppose I should be thankful for that at least. Still, I would like to have been able to actually see the paintings, in the truest sense, not in forced mood lighting.

In her post Sara says: "Meanwhile, I challenge Luschek's assertion that not "a single artist in history" would be happier with artificial light. C'mon. I know painters now who paint in studios lit by artificial light and who think their work looks best in artificial light. I can't begin to read the mind of the dead but I bet Andy Warhol would be an artificial light proponent."

Really, who cares what Warhol would have thought?
I swear anytime someone wants to argue about great painters and then whips out the Andy Warhol card *, I am done. You might as well bring up Bob Ross or Kinkade the Painter of Light.
Andy Warhol was a clown, and as I said before, work should be shown in the light it was painted in, I suppose then Warhol should be shown through marijuana smoke lit by a lava lamp.

Though, as was insinuated in a comment by Anonymous on Sara's blog, I am just a "nostalgic" fool bogged down in 1000's of years of tradition, too silly to jump on the series of uneducated ideas that have come and gone with "vitality" in the last 60 years.

I am done talking about this, as I am right on this subject. While the red walls and incandescent bulbs may be enough for those that just want to see a Rembrandt dog and pony show put on by the museum, serious students of painting must have daylight on paintings to study the color- yes I know that the sun goes down and occasionally we have to turn the lights on. I enjoy that technological advance as much as anyone, but one can never see a painting truthfully in artificial light.

Ives Gammell discussed this much better than I ever could in his article:
A Clarion Call for Daylight in Picture Galleries. Check it out. I am planning to print this out and stick it in the comment box at the museum.

Off to paint in my north lit studio. I will resist the urge to turn on the lights.

*note: This link is to David Hockney's idiotic book on the secrets of the masters. In it he uses the brilliant logic that the similar style of drawn lines by Warhol and Ingres prove that since Warhol couldn't draw and traced photos, Ingres must have not been able to draw either and must have used some sort of lens as an aid. Can't wait to read Hockney's book disproving Einstein's theories.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rembrandt: Three Faces in a Closet

I went to a show at the Cincinnati Art Museum today to see the Rembrandt paintings. It was like going to see paintings by one of the top painters in history and then finding them hanging in a closet. The only thing that would have been worse would have been if they had just turned the lights off. Had to be the worst lit show I have ever been to. I suppose someone decided, "The paintings are dark, maybe the room should be too." I have seen drawings and works on paper (work that is actually sensitive to light) in better lighting than this show.
The amazing thing is that there are skylights in the room they were shown in, but they had blocked them, to then spot light the paintings with incandescent bulbs. I am not sure who made this decision, but it was a poor and ill informed one. Only explanation that I would accept is that this was a condition of them being lent from the other museums. I can't see why, as sunlight is good for oil paintings, and while I can't speak for our museum or the one in Indy, but I would think at least that the Louvre knows better.
I can't think of a single 'great' artist in history that would suggest that his work would look better in artificial light. Rembrandt would be horrified to see his work shown so poorly. It would have been nice to really study the work, but it was hard to see them and study them fairly. I bet with natural light on them they would have glowed and the colors would have sparkled. Rembrandt is not known for his color, but the full spectrum of daylight would have done this show wonders.