Tag Archives: art

“Lennon Sings Sinatra”

In the world of art there are generally four steps:

  • Creation
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Acquisition

The artist comes up with an idea. That idea is then manifest in some outwardly physical (and possibly) repeatable form. Then that is put out in the world in some way.

The Creation part is as easy to understand as it is difficult to do.

The Production part can take various forms. For example, for a piece of music this might be writing it down in musical notation or recording it on some form of media, whether tape (that can be used to create things like albums) or as a digital file.

Then there is the Distribution. Certainly an artist who is only interested in the Creation part might not even go to the Production step, simply having the music in her head or performing it in the world yet not capturing it so that the performance is ephemeral. But she might want to create artifacts for her own use or edification. In this case, the work of art doesn’t go out into the wider world but it still exists in a form that someone else could have it. (E.g., If Renée Fleming sings in her shower, no matter how wonderful it is, it only exists in that period of time. If she records herself singing in the shower, then that performance exists after the time of the performance.)

In the case of something that has been created and transformed into some sort of artifactual being, there is the possibility for the Acquisition by others: Someone buys the painting or downloads the music.

While this is a linear model that leads from the creator to the object and vice versa, there are situations where there is a disruption because it very well may be the creator is not the person who is thought to be the person who has created the work in question.

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Objects of Interest

I regularly receive emails from Wolfgang’s Vault, promoting the latest items that it wants me to purchase. Wolfgang’s, if you’re not familiar with it, is the archival trove and then some of concert promoter Wolfgang Grajonca, better known as Bill Graham, he of the Fillmore fame. It is a vast compendium of photos, vinyl, books, merch, and posters from the venues (e.g., The Filmore, Winterland, Avalon Ballroom) at which Graham staged what can now only be considered legendary shows, even though back in the ‘60s they were considered, well, shows.

The posters are the most wonderful objects. Graphic artists including Wes Wilson, Lee Conklin and Rick Griffin created a visual vocabulary on the posters they designed. In addition to the full-size posters, these works of art—yes, commercial art, but be that as it may, they were artists, not just layout jockeys—were printed as 5 x 7-inch postcards, which increased the opportunity for ownership.

In addition to the wildly imaginative lettering and graphics that these objects embody, there is another fascinating aspect to them, which are the performers they promote. As the setting was San Francisco, it is not at all surprising that The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane loom large. Often, the two bands were on the same bill.

But what is in some ways more interesting than the art is the selection of performers on a given night. The Who and Cannonball Adderly. Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Led Zeppelin and Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity (in my humble estimation one of the best groups of the last half of the 20th century that never got its due). The Yardbirds and The Doors. Pink Floyd and Procol Harum. These and many other shows are the stuff that audio dreams are made of, the sorts of events that give rise to “If only. . . .”

As I grew up in Detroit, there was the Grande Ballroom and similar handbills created, many penned by Gary Grimshaw, many including the MC5, which was something of the house band but one that would often get top billing, except in cases like playing second to Cream and Jefferson Airplane. Again, shows that only the imagination can capture.

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Sounds Like. . . ?

Apparently there is a museum in France dedicated to the works of a late 19th- early 20th century painter, Étienne Terrus.

The museum, located in Elne, France, in the Pyrénées, is full of paintings by Terrus.

Or at least many of the 140 paintings are by the artist.

And even more of them are, as has recently been discovered, fakes.

Experts have come in and determined that 82 of the paintings were not executed by Étienne Terrus, who died in 1922.

One of the clues in one of the landscapes: buildings that weren’t built until after the artist died.

You would think that something like that might be noticed.

But you often don’t see something unless you are looking, even if you’re looking right at it. And arguably there have been hundreds of people looking at those paintings, thinking to themselves, “That’s a nice Terrus.”

As the tagline for this site is not “Gouaches Can Change Your Life,” you are probably wondering what the Terrus Museum has to do with anything.

It got me to wondering about how we actually know whether music that we think has been recorded by an individual or a band really is aural evidence of that.

Continue reading Sounds Like. . . ?

Glorious Noise Interview: Daniel Edlen, VinylArt

Daniel Edlen's VinylArtWhen CDs debuted on a large scale in the mid-80s everyone was sure it was the death knell for vinyl. I remember watching a stereo salesman at the mall throw a CD on the floor and step on it to illustrate to a prospective customer the format’s durability. The CD skipped when he popped it into the player, but a point had been made: CDs are here to stay.

Twenty years later everyone is now predicting the death of the CD as digital downloads lurch to the front of the pack as the latest, most convenient format. In the meantime, a funny thing happened—vinyl has been creeping back. No, it’s not likely to ever recover as the dominate medium for music listening but just last year vinyl albums sold 1.8 million, more than any other year since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. That’s a lot of wax.

Daniel Edlen is an artist and an opportunist (like most good artists are). He’s carving out a niche for himself with a novel idea that uses vinyl records as the medium for his drawings. Each piece is hand-painted with white acrylic on the vinyl. The results may be the perfect gifts for the vinyl fetishists among us. GLONO caught up with Daniel as he undertakes the dog days of summer and the art fair season.

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