Friday, May 15, 2015

Welcome to my Culture Blog

"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing." - Camille Pissarro

Greetings dear friends and readers, 

Welcome to my blog! My plan is to contribute a new post every week. This is a blog primarily about culture in its many forms, but it will have a strong focus on the visual arts. My art history background will be a foundation for most of my writing, but I am also a passionate follower of indie rock music, and film. Sometimes, i make broader cultural references, based on trends in popular culture, including sports, or even political ramifications. "World views," especially of a spiritual nature are fascinating to me, and some of the most compelling works of art or music have some religious messages that I'll want to explore.  

This will not be, however, a religious, political, or personal blog. It will impassioned though and those heavier aspects may come out, but primarily I want this to be a fun, joyful experience for the reader and me. We can learn from and appreciate sentiments like this by looking back. 

A work like Hannah Höch's is amazing today and the kind that I will want to give attention. Enjoy the absurdities of a simple, yet brilliant and meaningful imagined image and reflect a moment. Flucht has so many remarkable qualities, it is attractively proportioned, subtly colored with a balanced blend of blues, grays, whites, and blacks. Yet there is clearly meaning in the selection of images the artist chose for the photomontage. A half monkey, half celebrity from a newspaper cut-out. Social Darwinism references? A winged faced political figure? Mockery and farce at a very stressful time for an economically pressured nation. This picture is both fresh and innovative for its time in terms of style, technique, and symbol; it also is a precursor to aspects of our own culture today, with references to Monty Python and its later modern media followers. What is most striking is that a work like this produced in 1930's Germany, just as the world would cave in to horrors of genocide and modern warfare, emanating from that place. Why? And what is the relationship to broader sociopolitical mechanics, and art and culture. At this point in time the disconnect between Höch's art and Hitler's Germany is an example I would want to explore and encourage us to consider lessons to help that to never happen again.
Hannah Höch, Flucht [flight], 1931, photomontage.

Hannah Höch's, Flucht, 1931, photomontage

Going forward I will share more of my background and begin to explain some of my current concerns in the arts and culture of our time.

Frederick Crawford Schwertfeger