Monday, December 15, 2014

Update 13 - Modern Art and Pop-culture

Some Thoughts

Last week, I mentioned the possibility of writing an article about the Albright-Knox gallery. I'm still thinking about it. But something interesting did occur to me on the subject.
It seems to me that pop-culture, at least in visual aesthetic, is closer to an older western sensibility than modern art is.

Take these three images: a landscape painted by Albert Bierstadt in the 1800's, a painting by Jackson Pollock, and a search result for "Shadow of Mordor wallpaper" on Google.
The first two are paintings by highly regarded artists. The third depicts a character and a setting from the story-line of a video game derived from a seminal work of high fantasy - the pop-culture is several layers deep there.

And yet, which of these three is not like the others?

Something being popular doesn't necessarily mean it's good. But, something being esoteric or unpopular doesn't necessarily mean it's good either. 

Jackson Pollock's paintings hang on gallery walls, but millions and millions of people enjoy The Lord of the Rings and play video games that look like that third picture there. I mean hey, guess which one's my desktop background?

Worth pondering.

Progress Report

I've made some good progress hammering out the first section of the book using large swaths of text from my already existing articles. More to do though. I promise I'll have a sample or something for you next week, k?

© 2014 John Hiner III

Monday, December 8, 2014

Update 12

Progress Report

So, I left for north-western New York the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, came back the Sunday after, got sick on Monday, and was sick all week. No writing got done until today.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Gamers

The Gamers is a giant inside joke told for the amusement of anyone who's ever played a pen and paper RPG like Dungeons and Dragons. I laughed. Many times. It could also be appreciated by anyone who's ever watched or listened to people play Dungeons and Dragons, because the things the movie makes fun of are pretty clearly funny whatever kind of familiarity you have with the game.

So, what's so funny?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Update 11 - Happy Thanksgiving

It's going to be a short one today folks. I'm leaving for north western New York in the morning and we've been packing all day.

These Wordle things are a great way to add visual interest. Above are words from what I've been working on this week in no particular order and not necessarily written horizontally.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Update 10 - My Audience

Progress Report

Upon reviewing and tweaking what I've got written so far, I'd say it's going well. For instance, after some wrestling, I think I've found a good way to tackle the issue of human nature (as in what it is and isn't, and what that has to do with pop-culture), which was giving me some trouble because there are at least two implied positions about human nature prevalent in pop-cultural circles which have a serious effect on the kind of things that get made and the kind of criticism used to judge them. Two implied positions on human nature, and maybe zero (or ½) explicit ones.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Update 9

Some Thoughts

The other day someone asked me how my book was coming and we ended up getting into a conversation about Objectivism and the philosophy of art. It was all very elevated and, just remembering it, I can barely keep my pinky finger from shooting out and seizing its privileged place above it's fellow fingers.
What a mysterious and imposing 'wordle' this turned out to be.
Clearly, I'm joking (I hope that's clear, or else my sense of humor is severely out of whack.) I could (I did) characterize the conversation we had that way, but it wasn't a conversation about putting things under the correct headings in a college coursebook, or helping each other feel superior because we both knew who Ayn Rand was or could debate the artistic elements and merit of photography. It was two guys talking about stuff guys think about and care about. If we'd been doing any of that other stuff, the conversation wouldn't have been about art, it would have been secretly about us.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Update 8 - Procrastination

Hey, did you see this week's article?
Some Thoughts

There is something I'm going to admit. I procrastinate. In part this has to do with the way I think. Often, when I begin to think about something, when I sit down to write about it, I immediately feel a kind of pull to focus on something else first.

It would be overly confident (and sound pretty ridiculous) to say this was simply how my mind works and how "we artists" do things or some silliness like that. But, I do think it's possible to force an idea before it's been allowed to sit long enough. Sometimes doing something else really is giving your mind long enough to work on something. On the other hand, sometimes it's just avoiding work because thinking is hard and stuff.

Also, deadlines really help to kick one's butt into gear. But, if you rely on the deadline to do this, you might end up riding pretty close to it. You might need it to breathe down your neck to really motivate you. This also happens to me.

Progress Report

The main point of all this is to let y'all know that I'm changing the release schedule on the blog a bit. I'll still be releasing something every week. But, on weeks I release an article, I won't be doing an update on the book. Considering my habits of procrastination, it's just too much insightful wit attempted in one day. I hope you can manage the withdrawal.

© 2014 John Hiner III