My "Folk Music for Families" band The Hollow Trees is playing again this Sunday, Feb. 20th at Creative Grounds Cafe. It's located at 3042 Glendale Blvd. (just over the Hyperion bridge - map) and we go on at 11am. I'll be debuting an original composition entitled "Bunny Hop" (a big hit for months around the house) so you won't want to miss it.
I'll be sitting in with the bluegrass band The Stage Robbers on Thursday night at the Coffee Cartel (1820 S. Catalina) in Redondo Beach from 7-9pm. Come on down!
posted by Greg 9:21 AM
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Sean and I went to the Getty on Sunday. It's alway fun to get there right when it opens at 10 and enjoy it for a few hours without all the crowds. We spent over an hour running through the gardens and playing on the grass, all the while looking down over the south bay to the Pacific Ocean. I was excited to find a Jacques-Louis David show there which I somehow had forgotten was coming. David is an artist who I'm quite interested in, and I actually have a book about him out from the library which I'm currently reading. Sean was kind enough to let me walk through the exhibition twice. David was an interesting guy, another example (like Emil Nolde or Ike Turner) of a man who personally is unappealing but who has tremendous talent and whose art can be appreciated in spite of what you think of the man. Aligned with Robespierre, David was involved in some of the worst aspects of "The Terror" during the French Revolution, personally signing over a hundred death sentences while a member of the National Convention. He was also the head of the propoganda wing for that organization. He was in charge of the design for the festival introducing Robespierre's new religion, the Cult of the Supreme Being. David's famous painting "Death of Marat" is a powerful image, but Marat was a bad character who was responsible for a great amount of death and chaos through the newspaper he edited. After Robespierre was executed, David was imprisoned, where he shunned politics for the artistic life. Later, he became a slavish follower of Napoleon, producing some of his greatest works for the Emperor. At the end of his life he lived in exile in Brussels.
The show at the Getty has two great Napoleon pictures, one from the Louvre of him crossing the alps, and one full size portrait from the National Gallery in Washington. Besides those paintings, there are several large mythological pictures, many portrait paintings, and some drawings. David was a leader of the neo-classical school in France, drawing inspiration from Greek and Roman sources, many of which were being newly discovered in his lifetime. I am interested in neo-classicism in theory, being a big fan of the earlier painter Poussin, but I was surprised at how cold David's mythological paintings left me. They seem very sterile and lifeless, especially compared to similar subjects by Reubens, Titian, or anything by the later romantics like Gericault or Delacroix. Those artist let their paint flow and express mystery, while David's paint is uniformly flat and illustrative. Poussin's paint can be flat as well, but there is an essential mystery and otherness about his work which gives it great power. Where David shines is in his portrait work. His technique is state of the art for academic painting in the late 1700's, early 1800's, and his portraits are very powerful. My favorite is this one, which I've seen once before as it is owned by the Timken Museum of Art down in San Diego. It conveys an amazing amount of personality and the vast background gives it great mystery.
Overall this is a great show and a rare opportunity to see some true masterpieces right here in Los Angeles. I'll be going back before it ends on April 24th.
posted by Greg 9:54 AM