Warrington Colescott

While I’m primarily looking at paintings, I can’t help but put up the work of some printmakers who I think are particularly terrific and are almost completely neglected, as are almost all traditional printmakers. He taught printmaking in at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

His work partakes of the narrative tradition and has the kind of narrative content that I’ve been interested in bringing attention to.

I’d mentioned that Golub was the single pointedly political painter that’s managed to have a visible career in the contemporary art world. And it got me trying to think of a couple more. Sue Coe would be one. But I’ve always loved Colescott’s work and I just happened to be looking at some of his earlier stuff and see that he’d gotten with some fascinating political work. Great stuff! I only wish they were larger so that all the detail could be viewed. Viewing artwork in cyberspace unfortunately levels much of the greatest work. I’ve seen many Colescott etchings and they’re some of my favorite prints by any American printmaker. They certainly put to shame most of what passes for contemporary printmaking by any number of artists with their overblown reputations. The work of an enormously sophisticated and killed printmaker will be ignored while a Tracey Emin dashes of an inept line drawing of herself masturbating. And who is estimated a major artist? Of course,  Tracey is  “exploring her own raw nerve endings.” (C. Carr, Village Voice, 6/18/99 [where else do you get such scintillating analysis?])

Colescott is merely busting his ass for a lifetime organizing doing work bursting with incident and social comment. If only he’d realized he could have made a couple line drawings of himself jerking off, exploring his own raw nerve endings, he might have had a shot at a retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London and a major international career.

That Colescott’s work is hardly known at all is another of the many indictments I’m launching here against the banal condition of the current art world. One of my points is that the exclusion of complex narrative from painting, which is a feature of the Western tradition going back to Giotto has led to an condition of gross visual malnutrition. Walking through the contemporary wing of most major museums is like walking into a chilling human absence. Abstract spatial effects, neon lights, pigment piles, gray slabs, “concepts”,  whatever the fuck resists any kind of serious visual interest seems to be the pre-requsite for inclusion in a wing of contemporary art.


Imperium: Down in the Green Zone, 2007

Imperium: Royal Lancers Attack Wog Armor

Also a couple prints from Suite Louisana:


Mardi Gross

Plus, to add another Last Judgement to a previous post.


About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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