Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's kinda crazy but it all intersects through me, kinda, sorta.

Duchamp in front of The Large Glass
It should be no secret to anyone that Marcel Duchamp is one of my primary influences as an artist. At this particular point in my life I study & think about Duchamp quite a bit. Last week, after New York Comic-Con, my fellow Duchampian fanboy geek, Charles Brownstein and I made the trek to Philadelphia to experience the Arensberg wing of the Philadelphia Art Museum. It was an excellent trip. We walked in front of The Large Glass at midday, the sun was shining brightly through the glass doors and the light was hitting the painted glass in a way neither Charles nor I had ever seen before in previous trips. The subtlety of the color was rich and almost glowing.

This was my first experience with The Glass since my cataract procedure and so some of the extra crispness and vibrant color could have been chalked up to the fact I see stuff better now but Charles saw the same extraordinary warmth of the colors. (Because it was midday I chalked it up to Dreamishness.)

Peeking through the holes in the wooden door to view the extraordinary world of Etants Donne was
as mid-boggling as ever. It is something that has to be experienced. No photograph of what is inside ever does the installation any justice. The atmospherics you witness as a peeper into this alternate reality are indeed as Jasper Johns described as  "the strangest work of art in any museum."

But that's not what I'm writing about today.
I'm here to tell you about something else, another example where Beanworld crossed paths with Duchamp, or more precisely one of Duchamp's influences -- Cranach the Elder.

I don't know how many times I looked at the above Man Ray photograph of Duchamp and Bronia Perlmutter as Adam and Eve. Dozens, hundreds, I dunno. And i'st usually is subtitled as "After Cranach the Elder." But I have to admit, I never really gave much thought to who Cranach the Elder was.
That is until I started reading a book I bought a few weeks ago, Marcel Duchamp in Munich:1912.

Duchamp's self imposed exile in Munich was only for 3 months. It was there that the ideas that later became The Large Glass began to take root. He went to a lot of German art museums and was quite struck by the way that Cranach the Elder painted flesh tones. I wanted to read a bit more about Cranach the Elder and went to the Internet.

The moment I found the above painting I instantly realized "Ohhhhhh, after Cranach the elder. Duhhhhh!"
Odd that a tribute to the artist was done in black and white, well, a silver print, but still, some dots were connected. Duchamp tried out the colors he saw in Cranach in The Bride painted while in Munich.
You can see what he was trying with color blends in the painting below.

But that's still not what I'm here to write about.
While I was looking up Cranach the Elder I came across this:

It's Cranach the Elder's signature.
His signature!
It's pretty small in the paintings.
Was he a member of a secret society?
Does it have alchemical meaning?
No one knows.

The winged serpent is something I've long been fascinated with.
I wrote about it years ago and you can find it here.

Yes, of course, the first thing I thought of when I stumbled on this was Beanworld's owned crowned Goofy Sermon Jerk.

Anyone else see the family resemblance or am I nuts?
Actually the Goofy Jerks were more influenced by Garfield Goose than anything else but I got a real joy on connecting these dots -- as they only intersect through me. I see what I see.

Or as Duchamp would say "It's the viewer that makes the painting."
(I'll go quietly now!)

ps: For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, from the better late than never department I've posted pics of Comic-Con & my Korea trip.
And I'm Vine now too.


VJ said...

Larry, it's stuff like this that makes your work the favorite of an art history nerd like myself.

Desert Scribe said...

As soon as I scrolled down to that picture, I saw the resemblance! Thanks for sharing, and nice to see a blog post from you.