Traditional Modern


The concept of a traditional Modernism is perhaps something of an oxymoron. Weren’t the Moderns the ones who decried the shopworn conventions of the old? Wasn’t “Make it new!” their battle cry? A Modernist tradition? Get with the programme.

The Moderns, for sure, were people who had the interesting idea that contemporary artworks might actually be better, or at least as worthy of attention, as those of earlier times; and that our age, while different from preceding ones, might be even more worthwhile as an object of enquiry. Back in the 19th century that was a fairly radical notion. Historically artists were taught to revere the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the great Renaissance masters. There were some dissenters of course, like the Pre-Raphaelites, but their dissent took the form of a reverence for different historical periods, not for the unique characteristics of their own time and place.

Somewhere during the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Modernist idea won, and painters turned from outmoded classical models to seek their inspiration in the new realities being opened up by contemporary science, technology, and philosophy. And although we have since moved from the Modern to the Post-Modern, the focus on the contemporary continues to this day. The past continues to be the nightmare from which we are trying to awake, not the model we are trying to emulate.

Or so say the art history survey books, delivered as gospel to each generation of 100-level undergrads. But of course, history always simplifies (kind of like I’m doing here): it has to, to create a coherent narrative out of what was ultimately a relatively incoherent mess of things that just kind of happened. That narrative becomes less convincing the more you start to dig into it.
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Getting Lightbox working in Nextgen Gallery

After having tried on and off for a while to get Lightbox working in Nextgen gallery/Wordpress I think I have finally succeeded, so my galleries are somewhat slicker now than they were a couple of hours ago.

It wasn’t entirely intuitive to set up though; after I thought I had activated Lightbox nothing much happened. As I couldn’t immediately see what was wrong I did my usual “Google the answer instead of thinking” thing. But that didn’t work too well either. Having waded through a lot of ultimately unhelpful advice out there I thought I would post here what eventually did work for me, after I resorted to tweaking various settings more or less at random. The fix turned out to be pretty simple.

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Some blogs I like

TopologĂ­as de red

It seems to me we are living in a Golden Age, or perhaps we just lived through one that is passing, or has passed. The Golden Age to which I refer is of course the Golden Age of Painting Blogs.

Back in the mid-80s a friend of mine, a super-early adopter who lugged around an Osborne 1, tried to sell me on the virtues of computer networking by talking up an aspect of it that I’d never then considered: the possibility of using things like chatrooms and BBS’s to form geographically dispersed communities of interest. Knowing my interest in painting, he suggested I might be able to network together an online community of like-minded painters. I have to confess I was more than a bit dubious, and nothing ever came of his suggestion. And it might have been a little premature given that at the time ASCII art represented the most sophisticated computer graphics that would likely have been available to me. But it’s a fine line between premature and prescient.

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