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Abstract Surrealism

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Billionaire Griffin Pays $500 Million for Two Paintings

The Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Source: Art Institute of Chicago

“In order to own the greatest art historical objects of our time one has to go above and beyond to obtain them,” said Abigail Asher, a partner at art advisory firm Guggenheim Asher Associates Inc. in New York, who wasn’t involved in the transaction.

This makes me think of a couple of lines from the chapter on Anti-Greed. One: "She picked up a discarded newspaper; she managed, with effort, to understand what was written, but not why it should ever have been written: it all seemed so childishly senseless."

True, it is quite a story. It is not every day a billionaire purchases two such paint-works for half a billion dollars.

The other: "But the child, she thought, knows that he is playing a game; these people pretend to themselves that they are not pretending; they know no other state of existence."

There are some really surreal aspects to this.


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Ok. So market evaluation at this time, per this article, is half a mil, but the FBI is only offering $25K to get it back.

That means each of these would go for $50K, vs. an alleged value in the previous post for $250K ea.

I think I see why that abstract stuff commands the higher price. To see a wall of soup cans, one need only visit a produce store in the more capitalist zones of the world.

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Surrealism, from Etymology:

1927, from French surréalisme (from sur- "beyond" + réalisme "realism"), according to OED coined c. 1917 by Guillaume Apollinaire, taken over by Andre Breton as the name of the movement he launched in 1924 with "Manifeste de Surréalisme." Taken up in English at first in the French form; the Englished version is from 1931.

From wikipedia,

Les mamelles de Tirésias (The Breasts of Tiresias) is an opéra bouffe by Francis Poulenc, in a prologue and two acts based on the play of the same title by Guillaume Apollinaire. ... Although the action of the opera is farcical, it contains a serious message: the need to rediscover and repopulate a country ravaged by war.

The opera, written in 1945 performed in 1947, was based on the play by the same name written in 1903. The plot is described as:

Inspired by the story of the Theban soothsayer Teiresias, the author inverted the myth to produce a provocative interpretation with feminist and pacifist elements. He tells the story of Thérèse, who changes her sex to obtain power among men, with the aim of changing customs, subverting the past, and establishing equality between the sexes.

A point observed and mentioned in an undocumented search of mine, the myth of Tiresias contains one of the earliest allusions to transgender known.

In Greek mythology, Tiresias (/taɪˈriːsiəs/; Greek: Τειρεσίας, Teiresias) was a blind prophet of Apollo in Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years.

Tiresias was blinded for having observed Athena's nakedness and was ultimately granted clairvoyance, rather than sight, in response to his mother's pleadings with Athena. The question 'Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?' poses as an arrow in a crossbow aimed at a heart.

The landscape has to be the same for the philosopher or the artist. Only the mode of expression differs. The sculptor sculpts. The painter paints. The writer writes. The philosopher philosophizes. Perhaps it is only the musician that crosses the mode of modalities, at least until the philosopher grasps the means by which the musician does so. Until then, the melody will only be discerned by its creator and those who are more attuned to nuances of the musical arts.

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Art is an achievement. It is an expression of yourself that nobody else could have made but you. Both of those pictures above, I could have made myself... and I'm no great painter.

I'd consider a preschool finger painting more of a piece of art than Pollock or Warhol.


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In the series Law and Order, Season 10, Episode 20 titled "Untitled", focused on a crime where the victim was murdered in such a way as to resemble a particular painting. The victim was a philanthropist in the pop-art culture. The detectives discovered the painting during the course of the investigation.



The trial was, in essence, a variation on a theme of the "Twinkies" defense: "The painting made me do it."

The show included a scene where the artist was interviewed by the detectives, and a later scene where he was called to the stand to provide testimony during the trial. The perpetrator of the crime was portrayed as being disgruntled about his paintings never having been supported by the philanthropic community.

Recursively, one could step back from the Law and Order show, and try viewing it as a piece of art, consider what the artists are portraying and the audience's thoughts might be about the show.

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