The Loop

Why do we do what we do here at RealTime? The Monthly’s Anwen Crawford offered a highly articulate case for supported arts criticism after Fairfax announced cuts to culture coverage. Lauren thinks the issue is bigger than Fairfax, and speaks to a wider breakdown in the arts ecology and democratic journalism in Australia: 

“Effective criticism is timely, and alert to the times in which it is made; it forms one strand of a wider public conversation that we are each entitled to join, by virtue of being alive. But in Australia we are all, increasingly, being denied participation in, and exposure to, art and arts criticism. The two go together, never mind the well-worn cliché that artists and critics are sworn enemies.”


Lt. Col. Kent Graham Solheim, U.S. Army. Credit President George W. Bush, source: www.nytimes.com

How do you critique a war criminal’s paintings? His political legacy feels feeble but George W’s new book of paintings—oddly naïve, flat, juvenile portraits of war veterans—has been greeted nostalgically by NY Times critic Jonathon Alter as an act of political atonementWe wonder how tightly a critic can squeeze their conscience. Time to decry fake art? 

“In the introduction to his new coffee-table book of oil paintings, Bush readily—perhaps pre-emptively—admits that he’s a ‘novice.’ Three years after leaving the White House, he set out to adopt the pastime of Winston Churchill, who painted to relieve the ‘Black Dog’ of depression. But age 66 is awfully late to achieve proficiency, especially for a man with a famously short attention span. Bush recalls playfully informing his first art instructor, Gail Norfleet, of his objectives. ‘Gail, there’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body,’ he told her. ‘Your job is to liberate him.’”


Louise Zhang, Instagram image courtesy the artist

Don’t panic—get some real art on your phone screen. Sydney artist Louise Zhang’s Instagram is a delightful feed. She conflates Western and Chinese iconography in candy colours on circular, painted surfaces. Horror films contribute more recently to her visual language—but abstracted just beyond the figurative.


Listening to Blade Runner. This brilliant new video essay by Nerdwriter1 goes beyond an analysis of Ridley Scott’s film’s soundscape, including Vangelis’ classic soundtrack, to encompass a wider appreciation of how sci fi has sounded across the decades:

“A movie without its music is not the same movie. [In Blade Runner] the music isn’t laid over the top of the visuals, it’s baked into the DNA of the movie itself. Everything you hear—the score, sound design, dialogue—is tightly integrated with the others. This integration is really what separates Blade Runner from other science fiction films. After all, electronic music had been a staple of science fiction cinema for three decades going back to Bernard Herrmann’s use of the theremin in The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Top image credit: Nerdwriter 1, video still courtesy the artist

23 May 2017