Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Farewell and God Bless You, Hilton Kramer

I cried yesterday when I read that the senior statesman of art criticism, Hilton Kramer had passed away.  Mr. Kramer is in my opinion, the greatest of art critics, brave, unafraid to go up against the biggest "art world" players and heavy hitters.  He was my kind of man.  So, when I read of his passing, I simply broke down and cried.  I cried because we have lost a great man of letters, a giant of a man.  I am not sure if we will ever see the likes of someone who can replace him although, I remain hopeful.  We need his the brand of courage of conviction and high brow, high minded and rugged forthrightness in art criticism and across the board when it comes to art. 

When I first encountered his writings,  many years ago, I knew that I was reading the criticism of someone who saw things the way that I did.  I realize was considered by many people to be too conservative in his viewpoint but, in many ways, I am conservative too. 

When I first read his articles many years ago, I was comforted to find that there was a critic out there who was cogent at the same time, expressed a contempt for run of the mill art and artists who weren't really raising the bar vis-a-vis their contributions. Artists who were nevertheless, making huge sums of money and at the same time, making American art history with far less than high caliber art.  The situation does not seem to have changed very much over the years, the difference is, now we are without Mr. Kramer to tell us like it is. 

As time went by, I lost track of Hilton Kramer, he left the New York Times and I did not know of his , New Criterion stint since 1982.  I lost track of a giant only to find yesterday that he had left us to fend for ourselves in an art world of dubious distinction. 

Hilton Kramer was a hero of mine.  I treasure his memory and feel the need now more than ever to look into and research his critical essays and, rediscover this courageous and wonderful man of letters that the world can simply not replace.

Thank you, beloved Hilton Kramer, for being one of the very best men of letters that this world has thad o offer us. God bless you now and always.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Ultimately Mixed", a Memoir

I am working on a hybrid, cross-genre memoir that combines essays, art criticism, personal memoir and other ruminations that should be of interest to readers in viewpoint on existential questions and the art work from an outsider perspective.

Ultimately Mixed,

A Memoir with Self Analysis & Musings of an Afro-Euro, Italo & Daoist Han Chinese Abstractionist

I believe that Miller is a young performer who will continue to prove and improve himself at the transcendent level pushing his voice and cross-genre vocalisms in the years to come. I sense we have a not only a great deal to look forward to from Matisyahu Miller but, a great many wonderful surprises in terms of his contributions.

The caliber of these two huge talents, Hendrix and now, Matisyahu, serves as a role model to me and my creative efforts as a fine artist and special effects photographer. These vocalists exemplify for me, the finest, the artistically bravest and most daring artists whose vocals create something new and hybrid which is uniquely beautiful and of a very high (musical) standard.

The themes of love, freedom and faith that Matisyahu sings of go beyond the commonplace sentiment of so much of American popular music including some forms of Rap music for example. With a lot of Rap musicians we get the material world alright but, it's ultimately boring. We hear the same staccato, drumming over and over. We hear the same "shower" lyrics. Worldly interests that rappers sing about are limited to childish ramblings such as, showering girls with Champagne in the VIP room at clubs and how nice it is to have so much money. Lyrics which are ultimately empty and meaningless, one simply can't get much mileage out of those kind of lyrics or value for that matter.  Young or old, it dumbs us down.