Monday, August 1, 2016


The idea of the background
of a painting having resonance
always rang with me. In the
artworld  of those late 60's
it was, of course, difficult to
make present  -  most art had
given up on any semblance of
'picture' or of being something
even recognizable, so a scene
in the background didn't exist
anyway. But, in my mind, I'd
take that idea out to the street
with me and realize it was at
the same time the very story
of life itself. We are always,
as our own portrait, seen as in
our own foregrounds : total
psychological basket cases
of ego, egocentricity,
dominance, self-awareness,
etc. That's where our identity
-  culturally and societally  -
comes form. But it's really
the scenes behind us that
make up our activities
and beings. And they
are seen, as it were, only
behind us  - we never
really face them off out
front of us, because
it's 'out front' where
they are being made.
To really underscore
the word 'hindsight,'
I suppose.
You can't get all cracked
up over stuff like that,
because then you begin
'altering' it  - and it's no
longer real, or authentic,
or even vibrant. As in
Quantum Physics just the
viewing of a situation, or
the experiment, changes
the result being sought -
Things change when under
observation, and somehow
'become' no longer their own
or 'themselves'. How very odd,
I always thought. Erroneously,
in Physics, and by laymen,
this is usually called the
'Heisenberg  Uncertainty
Principle', and that name,
yes, has stuck, but really
it's the 'Observer Principle.'
The Heisenberg Principle
is actually something a
little different, but I'm
not going into it now,
you can look it up
yourselves, if sought.
My point was in how, as
individuals, that big,
churning scene behind
us is often unseen
as we forge straight
ahead, forming our
selves and beings.
Leonardo and those
guys, with all their
little background scenes
always in the rear of
these quite meticulously
detailed paintings and
portraits, (yes, again, like
the Mona Lisa) were  - and
without even knowing it  -
in both their very-pre-Freduian
and pre-psychological awareness
days and times  -  presaging
all of that, quite symbolically.
We only now know how to
read that language. (By the
way, this is my theory, my
own 'art' thought, and I had
not or have not actually
read that yet anywhere,
though it perhaps may so
be. I do though sincerely
and authentically, and
maybe naively too, hereby
claim it). And then, only
a little later, if you push
the envelope, you get to
both Hieronymus Bosch
and Pieter Bruegel, where
the background has become
all  - an intense screen of
total activity. All that 'Fall of
Icarus' stuff, and those weird
ground-beings and the
pastoral happenings
on every front. It was
all pretty amazing,
and quite soon. It's a
bit  -  but only a bit  -  akin
to the ephemera of today's
suck-ass 'virtual'world in
which kids get all sidetracked
chasing down imaginary
scenes and planted stuff.
As an artist, hell, that's kind
of what you're always doing
anyway  -  mostly with no one
listening.  Kids now, they're all
communally geeked-out trading
orgasms over some Mickey
Mouse in a doughnut roll
somewhere, and listening,
very unfortunately, only to
themselves. once more the
background has become the
foreground, but for no good
reason at all except for the
nice scrim of ephemeral junk
it provides. Just because they
fall for it, doesn't mean it's any
good  -  and just because I can
look up your address on any
web-search, and find out
where you live, doesn't mean
I want to go there and visit.
Crazy world.
Speaking of which (crazy world),
just about hat same time a few
weird things were happening  -
sorts of real, defining things.
As viewed then anyway. One
was a song that was eventually
'banned' or at least pulled
from the playlists of WMCA
and WABC, I think, entitled
something like 'They're
Coming To Take Me Away,
Ha Ha....' to the funny farm, etc.
It was sort of spoken over some
repeated drum motif, and with
also some distorted voice play
too, I think, about some guys's
mental state after a breakup,
and then it sort of ends up
with him talking to his dog.
Jerry Samuels, and the
crazy world of Arthur
Brown. 'Fire' or 'You're
Gonna' Burn', something
lie that. Both of them were
pretty useless, 'industry' 
songs, put out in spite of 
all the counter-cultural 
ferment going on. Absolutely
no content or gravitas, just
a dumb slap-in-the-face to
the real street issues underway.
Like bad art, like Happenings
and all that high-society fake 
art cocktail party stuff that 
was just beginning  -  all 
an affront. To top it off, 
when the 'industry' really 
got hip  -  in its own mind  -  
and really felt ready to hit
back, what did they give us?
You guessed it : Strawberry
Alarm Clock, with something 
crappy called 'Incense and
Peppermint, Curse of Mankind.'
If I could have ripped their 
scalps, off, I would have.

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