The End of Wildlife

durer 1

Albrecht Dürer, 1515

The World Wild Fund has released a report showing a 52 percent decline in global wildlife over the 40 year span from 1970 until 2010. The trend is only increasing as oblivious humankind  proceeds headlong to its own destruction. No doubt some branch of the scientific community responsible for the techno-wonderland keeping us happily entertained is busy at work designing entirely new genetically-engineered species even more exciting than the ones disappearing before our closed eyes.

And we’ll always have paintings of photographs of the old days. So why worry?

durer 2

Albrecht Dürer, Head of a Walrus

Yesterday Newsweek reported: 35,000 Walruses Gather on Alaska Beach Because They Can’t Find Sea Ice

jan b 1

 Jan van Kessel II, Noah’s Family Assembling Animals Before the Ark, ca. 1660

uttech 1Tom Uttech, Nin Maminawendam, 2006

rungius 1Carl Rungius, White Mountain Goats, 1919

hicks 1Edward Hicks, The Peaceful  Kingdom


soutine 1Chaim Soutine, Flayed Beef, ca. 1925

nat historyBiodiversity Hall, American Museum of Natural History

To see the response of the enlightened art community, and the noble and culturally sophisticated collector class to this human and planetary crisis one can look over the post below this one. Or simply click here.

About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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6 Responses to The End of Wildlife

  1. Thank you for your selection of remarkable and diverse pieces to illuminate your observations.

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks, Margaret. By the way, I just finished reading Joyce Carol Oates’ great collection of short stories, The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares. There’s one I’d particularly recommend you read about twin brothers. One becomes a Republican Congressman, the other an eccentric visionary artist. A really brilliant story called “Fossil-Figures.” Joyce Carol is up there among my nominees for greatest American writer of the Twentieth-Century. She gets so much less attention than she deserves. I imagine for the same reason that Gore Vidal was almost completely ignored by the literary establishment. She’s too brutally honest about American society and its total corruption. Her recent short story skewering Robert Frost, which reduces his reputation to ashes, is a good example.

    Her portrayal of JFK in Blonde was also terrific, as well as Teddy’s cowardly exploit at Chappaquadick in Black Water.

    Note how even in Britain the Guardian squawks about her portrait of Frost. I really admire Joyce Carol Oates like I admire few other American writers. She’s kicking ass and taking names.

  3. Many thanks for your recommendation, Bart! I cannot wait to read “Fossil-Figures.” Just because of the title, this brings to mind the extraordinary Edwin Dickinson painting, “The Fossil Hunters.” I have seen several of Dickinson’s paintings. Sadly, I have never had the chance to see this one in person, but I plan to. I wonder if there could be a connection.

  4. trueoutsider says:

    Dickinson is another great American artist who’s been crossed out of our history books for the most part. Viewed as some kind of aberration. That’s a painting owned by the Whitney that I’ve never seen hanging, just like I’ve never seen the Soyer brothers hanging there, Phillip Evergood, or any of the other artists who were the lifeblood of the Whitney collection before abstract expressionism murdered them all off and consigned to the basement or the trash heap. Fossilized. Abstract Expressionism and the enshrinement of abstraction was a murderous calamity for American art. Figurative artists, and the Surrealists as well, were mercilessly trashed during that period. It’s clear to me, if to nobody else, why we’ve ended up in this sterile wasteland of an art world. Small wonder that who else, but the odious Jeff Koons would cap off the Whitney’s last show. A fitting testament to what the Museum has been turned into along with everything else.

    Your mention of Dickinson brings to mind an artist who it looks like is still showing at Blue Mountain Gallery and who studied with Dickinson. A terrific painter named Charles Kaiman.

    I might wonder if Oates had the Dickinson painting in mind, as she wrote a fantastic little book in appreciation of George Bellows — another brilliant American painter whose achievements are generally ignored, when not being derided by the art world hipsters. American art is little more than a parody of art at this point. No feeling or emotion. Empty posturing or cold technique, take your pick.

  5. Thanks for bringing Charles Kaiman to my attention. I greatly admire Dickinson’s teaching philosophy. He encouraged seeing and recording color, light and form, starting with what he referred to as color spots and then blending with brush, knife, and little finger to refine. He gave challenging assignments with regard to composition and point of view to promote unconventional perspectives and seeing without reliance on systems. He gave valuable insights into the use of materials and tools, but he never painted in front of students. My research has revealed that his own painting sessions were private, and, dare I say, something sacred to him.

  6. trueoutsider says:

    Painting is a sacred activity. It’s a mystical activity. It’s a monastic activity. What you say about Dickinson’s teaching philosophy is reminiscent of Charles Hawthorne, another great painter and teacher: “It is so hard and long before a student comes to a realization that these [first] few large simple spots in right relations are the most important things in the study of painting. They are the fundamentals of all painting.” Of course, both Hawthorne and Dickinson were born in the latter part of the 19th century and they had their roots in the great Western tradition of painting, which we’ve completely desacralized and desecrated. So-called Contemporary American Painting (and the same goes for all the other nationalities emulating it) is a mockery of true painting, a mockery of life and a mockery the human spirit.

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