THE OLD DOG BEGINS TO BITE
All quotes taken from an interview with Botero here. For a slide show on his Abu Ghraib work, go here. A good story on his first forays into Columbian political art can be found here. And for one critic who considers Botero’s work no more than popular kitsch, go here.
The artist’s subjects are enormous.
He is fond of fleshy souls and depicts them in all their immensity.
Born in Columbia in 1932, Fernando Botero
took the figures of his boyhood and his imagination,
and inflated them, endowing his dancers, husbands,
bullfighters and lovers with comic and mythic proportion.
The images are widely beloved. Botero’s art hangs in museums
around the world. He is incredibly famous. He is incredible wealthy.
He has made thousands of paintings, each one worth
more than most make in a lifetime.
“I like to paint pleasant things…All of my life, by conviction,
I did subjects that were rather pleasant.”
As a young artist, Botero left Columbia for New York.
In the 13 years he lived there, he painted only his private Columbia.
He moved to Paris and resided there for more than 30 years.
But Paris was never his subject. Only the quaint, charming
figures from his mythic Columbia made the canvas.
All this time, the real Columbia was mired in disaster.
There were massacres, kidnappings and torture.
Guerillas, paramilitary groups, government forces and
vicious drug cartels vied for control. Life was cheap.
200,000 Columbians were murdered while Botero painted.
But decade after decade, the popular artist portrayed only a sweet,
whimsical world of perpetual innocence.
Then something happened.
We do not know what.
All we know is that as he approached his 70th year,
the artist began painting things most unpleasant.
He had heard and read the news reports.
He had imagined the countless horrors of his homeland.
Now he took paint to canvas.
The fat images were no longer funny.
The world famous artist did not sell these paintings.
He gave them to the people of Columbia,
donating the work to the National Museum of Columbia.
Botero seemed to be changing.
When he read of the crimes at Abu Ghraib,
he said he felt he must do something.
So he began to draw. He began to paint.
His prisoners carry the voluminous corpulence that is his trademark,
but now they wear their flesh as a kind of stark testament
to their tortures. The images are emphatic, insistent.
“I wanted to recreate the atmosphere in the prison with scenes
that were not scenes in the photos, to make some idea of the feeling,
so that I could communicate some idea of the horrors that were going on…
In painting there is this concentration of emotion through time,
leaving out everything that doesn’t concern the subject,
and this makes the images in painting have special meaning….
Art has the capacity to make us remember a situation for a long time.”
The artist who found fame and fortune creating
amusing figures from a quaint land of the past
now turns to our world and our time,
and says terrible and unjust events must not go forgotten.
“It has to be remembered….I could not stay silent. The power of art
is to make you remember something. I hope that will happen with my work.”
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TEACH THE CHILDREN!
Or How Will They Know What to Kill?
"When one is in prison, the most important thing is the door."
(Robert Bresson, French Filmmaker)
Do Something Amazing
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Bibleman Fights The Protester
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to see the exciting trailer!
Not only that, you can purchase action figures here
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The War Machine
Just how mechanical is our culture and its industry of war? Click here
to see artist Deven Langston's award-winning interactive animation The War Machine
The Performing Artist Transcendent
From a documentary on legendary poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen. A relatively obscure singer by the name of Antony gives an astonishing performance of Cohen's If It Be Your Will
The Results of our Experiment
"This is a dark chapter in our history. Whatever else happens, our country's international standing has been frittered away by people who don't have the foggiest understanding of how the hell the world works. America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn't make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment [laughs]. If a guy is stupid, it makes a big difference. "
(Retired General Tony McPeak in Rolling Stone Magazine, March 7, 2007)
PARIS BEGINS IT ALL
banksy, hilton, celebrity, fakery, guerilla art, profound vacancy, destroy
UPON TAKING THE PHOTOGRAPHS BACK OUT
blue, blue, blue, blue sky, september 11th
WE AS HUMANS
robots, camel racing, child slaves, starvation, sport, robot jockeys, sheikhs
THE HUMAN FORM DIVINE
william blake, leduff, storyteller, detroit, charon, body snatcher, 14 bucks
THAT WHICH OFFENDS
michael dickinson, rude, madman, torture, eggs, bush, photomontage
LIBERTY OR DEATH
patrick henry, gabriel, slaves, rebellion, how awkward, freedom, death
CHILDREN'S GUIDE TO TERRORISM archie campbell,
warning to children, arabian, delight
THE GLORY OF ART
warhol, commodity, south africa, death and water, creativity, merry-go-round
SEND IN THE CLOWNS
mughal emperor, saira wasim, pakistan, buffoon, boys, politics, missiles
AS IF WE COUNT
obvious & obscene, the dead unheard, civilian toll, counting, who? who?
THE MARVEL OF THE TASER
glorious invention, small problems, library, confronting brutality
THE FACE OF HUMANITY
glory, mars, civilization, human marvel, sacred image, timeless message
BEHOLD THE LIGHT
thomas kinkade, serenity, inoffensive images, million dollar industry, kitsch, piss
THAT WHICH IS REPEATED
hiroshima, debate, civilians, annihilation, history class, patriotism, bomb drop
GESTURE, MOVEMENT, ACTION body, signal, raw, performance art, action, motive, irrational event
THAT WHICH IS SUBVERSIVE radical, souls & chumps, FBI, Jimmy Stewart, secret bond, lost world, human value
THE SPORTING LIFE
noble tradition, child abuse, nuisance, something good, mighty princes
WHOLE LOT SAFER
mission accomplished, dead Saddam, bad people, vigilance, rutabaga!
THAT WHICH DOESN'T EXIST madmen, pieta, diego rivera, rockefeller, lenin, robot beggar, erasure
GIFTS FROM THE GODS Limbaugh, healing words, incredible offer, angels, commies, warrior, O'Reilly
ART AND THE TOILET advertising, fantastic tale, soft and superior, Mona Lisa, civilized ass
WHEN RODNEY KING MADE A SPEECH brutal beating, riot, ignorance, eloquence, ridicule, we're all stuck
BURDEN OF IMAGES
Lee Miller, fashion, photographer, war, annihilation, cooking
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND hiding war images, civilian death, military coffin, surreal, shaming
THAT WHICH BLIGHTS THE CITY contamination, public work, illegal art, madman's ravings, abomination
WRITER AS HERO
Mr. Vonnegut has left
the room and may not
be back shortly
THAT WHICH ENTERTAINS
torture, Battle of Algiers, dark ages, filmmaker, 24, agony and amusement
THE MEASURE OF WOMEN
body, size, control, fear, engineering, dolls, violence, war, length of history
THE WALLS OF THE WORLD
creatures, murals, opening skins, struggle, dream, dolls, violence, Blu
THE MOST POSITIVE MAN IN THE WORLD boy, war, hunger, trek, fear, lions, art, new world, Awer Bul
VISION OF THE DIVINE
dark mysteries, dream visions, avatar, courage, clarity, guiding muse
THE NEXT GREAT SPECIES
changing planet, chemicals, consumption, cell phone, kingdom of the cockroach
oil industry, cataclysm, transformation, new fuel, janitor, bright future
GO FUCK YOURSELF MR. CHENEY crucial message, Dr. Marble, decency, FCC, boobies, achievement
THE DAILY DRIVE
Iraq, checkpoints, panic, broken, familiar, tedium, fear, mistakes, humor
THE COMPASSIONATE SOUL caring Americans, injustice, Mother Teresa, women, benefactor
WONDERFUL ANIMATION FOR AMERICAN CHILDREN terror, animation, evil, souls, patriot, inspiring
AS IF HUMAN
Hirst, skull, profit, homeless, Eqbal, dignity, portraits, street stories,
OUR FRIEND IS DEAD
stopping to move forward, endless mystery, foolishness & wisdom
THE OLD DOG BEGINS TO BITE Botero, enormous, mythic, Columbia, pleasant, murder, prison, memory
OUR STRANGE DREAMS aching manifestations, desires, justice, brazen truth, book 'em Danno
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW future glory, lightning from heaven, eternal trust, always with you
THE MAN WHO MADE THE MOUSETRAP machine gun, invention, Hiram Maxim, knighthood, thanks!
THE GIFT OF THE HEART AK-47, Valentine, sweet Kalashnikov, sacred and cheap, kiss, true love
OUR TWILIGHT ZONE
Saudi Executioner, TV talk show, insanity, modesty, brain matter, normal
THAT WHICH IS FASHIONABLE stylish, taser, objet d'art, writhing, music, pain, beauty, failure
BEHOLD THE MAN prison torture interview etchings stories catastrophe shame complicity
THE NEW WORLD garbage Texas dead zone plastics poison nature survival fittest nature!
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THE DREAM DEPICTED Guernica decimation dream of flight aerial slaughter civilized incineration