Welcome. This is a blog aimed primarily at looking at the visual arts, but also with poetry, music or whatever might catch my interest on any given day being thrown in. My main focus is on painting and painters, since that’s my primary interest and educational background, but I also  find myself looking at comic, political cartooning, and graphic art.  Comments are always welcome, although I do moderate them, and so there will be a short pause before I get them posted.

31 Responses to About

  1. johnk823 says:

    This seems like an interesting site for discussion on the old masters and 20th century artists. I will be commenting on various post that I have read in this blog. Looking forward to a continual contribution of oil painting ideas and the spiritual endevours that go hand in hand.

    Blessings, John

  2. sophiem says:

    I love your site, and your approach. keep me posted!

    • trueoutsider says:

      Thanks, Sophie. By all means add any comments to whatever interests you! I’m off to Phoenix for three days but will be returning Saturday to more posts. Wonder if you’re anywhere near those Turners at the Tate. I want to to a post on one of my favorite British artists of the 20th Century all but unknown in the US, Edward Burra. I saw a retrospective of his watercolors at the Hayward Gallery in the early 80s and his work had a significant impact on my own work.

      • sophiem says:

        Yes, i’m near(ish) to the Turners at the Tate – they’re marvellous, (as Philip Guston would say!). The Tate has also made a re-creation of his studio, together with great short films on his colour theory and technique, etc etc, which is a bit of a hidden gem. Let me know if I can ever scout for photos and upload them for you….. And i’m not hugely familiar with Burra, so am intrigued to know more….

  3. trueoutsider says:

    That does sound marvelous…. I had no idea they’d added the studio and short films. I wish I could see them.

    I visited the Tate in the 80s a couple times… before Tate Modern. The Turners are overwhelming. I hope I can get another visit sometime or somehow. I saw the big Turner retrospective a couple years ago at the National Gallery in D.C., which was just incredible. There was a Hopper retrospective at the same time, which I’d wanted to see as well. But I spent the entire time looking at the Turners, too absorbed in them to get to the Hoppers.

    I’m doing the post on Edward Burra. He’s my favorite among many 20th century British artists I admire… Freud, Auerbach, Gwen John, Sickert, Stanley Spencer, Bacon, Eyton…. etc.

    First Burra in connection with Bacon. Go here:


  4. Hi Bart,
    I have enjoyed your blog. Please send me in your updates. Thanks. Margaret

  5. trueoutsider says:

    Hi Margaret,
    Thanks. Good to hear from you. As soon as I start writing again you should be getting the posts. We were up in Denver the last few days….

  6. Hi Bart:
    It’s nice to be in touch. I look forward to hearing about your eclectic aesthetic adventures in the years to come!
    Best WIshes,

  7. trueoutsider says:

    Hi Destry,
    I look forward to checking out what you’re up to as well. If you can follow my eclectic aesthetic adventures you’ll be doing better than I am…..

    And please take my dyspeptic diatribes with a grain of salt. Just a way of keeping myself awake. In person I’m a pussycat….
    My paternal family are all from NC…

  8. Hi Bart. I like your blog! I’ve shared it on FB. Only just found it but will keep checking in.

  9. trueoutsider says:

    Hi Russell. Thanks. You just reminded me I need to get a new post up!

  10. finbofinbo says:

    Hi trueoutsider,

    You were kind enough to post a comment on an article I wrote about Norman Cope:

    I’m putting together an exhibition of his work, alongside Shelton and Berry, in October of this year (I have no prior experience of putting an art exhibition together!) with help from Barewall:

    I was wondering if you’d be interested/kind enough to provide a short critique (apologies for the oxymoron) of one of Cope’s pieces which could be used as an accompanying narrative alongside his work at the exhibition.

    Mark Finney (finbofinbo).

  11. It is refreshing that you express your opinion and your anger!
    thanx for sharing

  12. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks, Cynthia…. I’ve heard it said that anger comes from fear. Maybe so in certain cases. In the case of my anger at the art world, however, it comes just as much from boredom.

    Have you read the poem that introduces Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil? This is Roy Campbell’s translation of it:

    To the Reader

    Folly and error, avarice and vice,
    Employ our souls and waste our bodies’ force.
    As mangey beggars incubate their lice,
    We nourish our innocuous remorse.

    Our sins are stubborn, craven our repentance.
    For our weak vows we ask excessive prices.
    Trusting our tears will wash away the sentence,
    We sneak off where the muddy road entices.

    Cradled in evil, that Thrice-Great Magician,
    The Devil, rocks our souls, that can’t resist;
    And the rich metal of our own volition
    Is vaporized by that sage alchemist.

    The Devil pulls the strings by which we’re worked:
    By all revolting objects lured, we slink
    Hellwards; each day down one more step we’re jerked
    Feeling no horror, through the shades that stink.

    Just as a lustful pauper bites and kisses
    The scarred and shrivelled breast of an old whore,
    We steal, along the roadside, furtive blisses,
    Squeezing them, like stale oranges, for more.

    Packed tight, like hives of maggots, thickly seething
    Within our brains a host of demons surges.
    Deep down into our lungs at every breathing,
    Death flows, an unseen river, moaning dirges.

    If rape or arson, poison, or the knife
    Has wove no pleasing patterns in the stuff
    Of this drab canvas we accept as life–
    It is because we are not bold enough!

    Amongst the jackals, leopards, mongrels, apes,
    Snakes, scorpions, vultures, that with hellish din,
    Squeal, roar, writhe, gambol, crawl, with monstrous shapes,
    In each man’s foul menagerie of sin–

    There’s one more damned than all. He never gambols,
    Nor crawls, nor roars, but, from the rest withdrawn,
    Gladly of this whole earth would make a shambles
    And swallow up existence with a yawn…

    Boredom! He smokes his hookah, while he dreams
    Of gibbets, weeping tears he cannot smother.
    You know this dainty monster, too, it seems–
    Hypocrite reader!–You!–My twin!–My brother!

  13. Jesse Shaw says:

    Stumbled across your blog while researching Quentin Matsys, a lot of great posts! Really enjoy it and will make my way through the archives!


  14. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks, Jesse. And excuse my not replying sooner. I was off the internet while up in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

  15. Hello there, I just came across your blog while on an image search. I saw your posting on Oelze, and coupled with your splenetic condemnations of the art world, and your focus on politics, you have a new subscriber (for whatever that is worth!). Through this site, and a comment by Paul Rumsey, I now know who Irving Norman is, for which I’m thankful.

    A friend of mine, who is a working class Central Valley-ite Californian like myself, just finished up a cushy art job doing an oral biography on some Central Valley artist who is recently deceased. He was even more disgusted with the empty narcissism of the art world than he had anticipated, and plans to have nothing more to do with it in the future. His tales of Russian tycoons blithely purchasing art after sizing it up through sunglasses, $30m piles of steel shit in the shape of pigs, and grotesque heirs and heiresses growing up in homes with fortunes in crap art loitering on the walls were both entertaining, infuriating, and depressing. Some of your posts are much the same, and I look forward to reading them.

    – Matt

  16. trueoutsider says:

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for following. It does make a big difference to me to know that there are a few artists out there reading it.

    Paul deserves a lot of credit for his help in alerting me to work that I’ve been unaware of. His vantage point in England, as well as his deeper involvement looking at internet images, give him access to a lot of work I’ve not been aware of.

    I assume it’s my working class background that animates my disgust with the nepotistic sewer system the art world has turned into at this point. As vast as the art world seems to be it’s largely controlled by a relatively small cabal of ultra-wealthy international collectors. The ruling elite sets the artistic standards for the art of their time.

    Seemingly very few artists want to examine this or admit this… I’d be happy to hear the argument why this isn’t the case… Perhaps the argument that in the free market the cream always rises to the top? Thus the Sly Stallone retrospective in St. Petersburg and the great acclaim for his work in Paris and other cultural capitals.

    Well, you’ve got me thinking Matt… I think I’m gonna put the rest of my thoughts on my next post.

    Thanks again… Drop links or stories/perceptions anytime you feel moved to do so.


  17. Thought you might be interested in the link below. Thanks for what you do. i come back again and again.

    Would like to now your take on this article, if you haven’t already commented on it. . .

  18. trueoutsider says:

    Hi David, Thanks. I greatly appreciate the support and the link. I’ll read it and get back to you. I see that it’s about Duchamp’s theft and I’ve read about that in passing. It’s entirely consistent with my low opinion of Duchamp and his manifest followers that he would have plagiarized another artist’s work, as the Stuckists have documented the Duchampian Damien Hirst.


    Duchamp was a charlatan and naturally the art evolving out of his baloney is also baloney. Duchamp and his supporters/followers, artists and critics alike have about the amount of integrity as your local used-car dealer, which is why Duchamp made such a point of how pure an artist he was, infinitely superior to the other artists who spent their lives laboring away making actual art.


  19. trueoutsider says:

    I’ve read the piece. Very good research and it’s entirely believable to me. I also appreciate their attack on Duchamp. It’s consistent with what I think about Duchamp and his influence. I just like to use more colorful language, as I’m not a scholar, art historian, art critic. Duchamp is indeed, as the authors write, “a canker in the heart of visual creativity” and his urinal is “mean and meaningless.” So it warms my heart to find that there are other writers like Spalding and Thompson working and writing to expose Duchamp as a charlatan, because once Duchamp’s work is exposed for its charlatanism and malevolence the rest of this bankrupt entertainment complex art world shatters with it. Without the twin props of Greenberg/Duchampian theories the entire post-War American is delegitimized.

    What will replace it, I can’t say. But I do know that it has to be shattered and destroyed just as surely as Duchamp/Greenberg shattered and destroyed painting’s legitimacy and turned art into a clown show where anything goes… except authentic passion and vision.

    I’m well aware that all my blog can have is a small effect. But I sincerely appreciate your helping to contribute to that by making me and other readers here aware of articles like the one in the Art Newspaper. The art world is no different from the corporate mainstream media world. The truth is forced to the far margins, to a small group of dissenters. Even reading the comments on the article one can see that the supporters of the Duchamp con job will deride those who try to pursue the truth…. I see these estimable scholars’ article described as “vengeful” and a “silly tirade.”

    There’s nothing vengeful about what they write, and it’s far from a silly tirade. It’s not a tirade at all. It’s simply the truth. I read Donald Kuspit’s The End of Art a long time ago but he also takes apart Duchamp quite successfully. On the other hand, I entirely disagree with almost all of what Kuspit wrote outside of this attacks on Duchamp, Paul MacArthy, Bruce Nauman and so on, as he’s supporting other art that is just as devitalized and barren as Conceptualism, amounting to no more than photo-derived Post-Modernism. He also described Dubuffet and Picasso as a type of juvenile art, which is as sheer stupidity as I’ve ever read, particularly as he’s advocating for the work of artists whose work exhibits less than a iota of the creativity that Dubuffet and Picasso possessed.

  20. Thanks for this thoughtful reply. My concern regarding the arts in general is that they are moving farther and farther away from any connection to life as it is lived and felt eveyday. A dry abstraction takes center stage, and, as you say, passion and vision –and even skill and ability–are pushed aside. The whole process mirrors the rise of fiat money–its value dependent on a declaration by authority. So it is with conceptual art, and (!) conceptual poetry . .. the idea of a thing’s “foundness” and the irony of believing that nothing new can be said or created, is somehow meant to raise conceptual work above the honest effort of one’s own imagination, skill, and learning. Such a bankrupt vision is kept afloat by those with means and the “authorities” in their employ.

    Exactly what you’d expect at “The End of History.”

    Nce work at your blog, by the way. . .

  21. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks David. I agree entirely with what you’ve written. Blake presciently described the current destruction of art and its interests centuries ago. And this destruction is an intention of the banking class, not an accident. This banking class is entirely bankrupt, both intellectually and in real money terms, as money itself is now just as entirely divorced from reality as is art. It’s necessary for artists NOT to have anything to do with or say about actual life, as that would point to the real degradation caused by corporate capitalist depravity.

    The Blake quote:

    Degrade first the arts, if you’d mankind degrade:
    Give high price for the worst,
    Leave the best in disgrace,
    And with labors of ignorance
    Fill every place.

    It would be hard to find a more perfect description of our current condition than that penned by an artist living two centuries ago. The nature of art doesn’t change. There’s no such thing as making “new” art. Art has always been painting, drawing and sculpture. The only thing contemporary artists with their earth works, concepts and performances are displaying is egomania coupled with complete ignorance. And for people thinking they’re having a profound aesthetic experience participating in the charade, I’d suggest they go into a museum and try looking at a Rembrandt or a van Gogh alone and with seriousness.

    It might help if the people in the art world possessed a grain of common sense and perhaps they could be brought to see that what they’re making are consumer products on one hand and Roman Bread and Circuses on the other.

    “The childish utopia of the art for art’s sake school, by excluding morality, and often passion too, was necessarily barren.”–Charles Baudelaire

    The art for art’s sake school was necessarily barren, and is necessarily barren. We’re staring out at an entirely barren art world, completely engaged in navel gazing and narcissism, while the real world around us, including the human species, is disappearing under an assault of advanced technology and rapacious plunder of natural resources. The least an artist of today can be asked to do is to witness this horrific tragedy, as opposed to providing entertainment and set designs for the “End of History.”

    And art today could use not just morality and passion. It could use some basic honesty.

  22. Lester Shepherd says:


    I find it fascinating that I would e-mail u about Marcel without having read these comments (1-4-2015), at the same time, as ulvfugl was commenting on the same exact topic on another blog. There is much to be learned from quantum physics. Too bad I know nothing about art or physics.


  23. trueoutsider says:

    There’s a mystical level to existence. It’s just a matter of accessing it. I’d recommend checking out some William Blake or American Transcendalists like Thoreau and Emerson. The scientific mind has the bizarre notion that it trumps the transcendental mind, which is why the artistic mind is invariably disparaged and laughed at. You should also get a hold of the film “Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon” which gives a good look at the difference between the artistic mind and the scientific mind and perhaps note the usefulness of their respective contributions to human happiness. Duchamp is an example of the scientific mind, of course.

    Duchamp’s entire life was devoted to destroying Western Culture, a task that the American art world ably helped him carry out. The biggest joke with American art critics now is that they decry the patently ridiculous art world filled with art that’s based entirely on Duchampian definitions of art that they all heartily endorsed. If a urinal and hatrack and bicycle are art, as Duchamp did little but repeat himself contrary to his absurd on its face claim that he never repeated himself, then why exactly are Koons’ basketballs floating in an aquarium not art?

    Without Duchampian notions of art having been thoroughly approved by the New York Art world (MoMA), artists like Manzoni, Cattelan, Koons, Hirst, Abramovic, Emin, MacArthy, Nauman, all video artists, all performance artists, all earth artists, all conceptual artists and so on simply look like an absurd clown show each competing for the bigger spectacle. This is what I refer to when I term it the Barnum and Bailey Art World. The funniest clowns, the most “shocking” performers. Look up Chris Burden having himself shot and nailed to his Volkswagon… Back in the frigging 70s… But like the rest of the vampires, conceptual art will never die. It will eternally resurrect itself in ever more boring and monotonous displays while the rubes who missed the Chris Burden act get their “new” cheap thrills.

    And it will continue to label itself as high culture even though the people filing in to see the latest entertainment have no sense of culture outside of television culture. I just noticed that the Denver Art Museum has stripped the Museum shop of its wall of art books. Why? Nobody buys any art books and they needed to make way for more of the gift items that fill not just the gift shop but the contemporary art galleries themselves these days… There’s no difference whatsoever between some mass-produced piece of Chihuly schlock glass art and the schlock glass art mimicking his sold in various gift show and other glass art galleries.

    What? Big colored glass flowers are a profound idea, like Marcel’s urinal I assume? Kitsch is kitsch. Pure and simple. We’re a kitsch culture. Marcel and his followers like Warhol, Rauschenberg and Koons made everyone feel good about low taste and kitsch. … all of it sold as profound “ideas” about what art is.

  24. skrappy3 says:

    Dear Trueoutsider, I just wanted to let you know that I have a new exhibition opening March 26th at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel in New York. Details at http://532gallery.com

  25. trueoutsider says:

    Thanks for letting me know, John. A marvelous painting there on the 532 site. I really wish I could se the show in person. That painting actually puts me in mind of the paintings I did back when I lived in NYC in the 90s more than any of the other work I’ve seen by you, as I was painting Washington Square Park, Coney Island etc … by observation/memory rather than by photograph and they have the same kind of proliferation of figures in the Madison Sq. Park painting. Best of luck and keep up the great work. A real inspiration to me.

  26. kinneret says:

    Bart, I stumbled across your blog and am so inspired. I agree with you about Duchamp and I love that Blake quote. I don’t really go to galleries but I’m aware of a neorealism (if that’s the word) trend in painting now such as in Brooklyn (well, they also tend to rip off Renaissance and Medieval portraiture and “modernize” it), but what I’ve noticed sometimes is the lack of passion, beauty, or inspiration or you’re not sure whether the painting expresses anything at all or just something to buy and sell. Just wondered how you feel about the trend. Some examples are on my blog on these links: http://kinneretstern.com/2015/05/10/marco-grassi-garden/ This is lovely hyperrealism but I come away with nothing, no feeling about the subject other than the technique and maybe the self-consciousness of the technique. Others though do move me such as Atsuko Goto: http://kinneretstern.com/2015/08/06/atsuko-goto/

  27. Jerome says:

    Hi, it’s nice to have found some illustrations about Bronislaw Wojciech Linke on your site. Since I have seen some of his art in the National Gallery of Warsaw, I tried to get information. Until today, there is only one book (with good reproductions of his paintings and sketches) by Krzysztof Lipowski, Skorpion na policzku (which means the scorpio on the cheek) published in 2014.The book seems really interesting. Unfortunately only available in polish.

  28. trueoutsider says:

    Hi Jerome. Thanks for the comment and information. Also sorry for taking so long to post your comment and respond. I’ve been away on vacation (meaning no computer use). It’s a shame so many serious and interesting artists are overlooked. Even with the Dutch Old Masters, for example, there are a lot of gaps, although it seems that some of that is being rectified (good relatively recent monographs on Joachim Witwael, Frans van Meiris, Jan van der Heyden, e.g.) But I imagine there will always be a large number of artists whose work I’d love to see more of but that is hard to find in reproduction. I’m hoping to order the Lipowski book. Books that aren’t translated into English are fine with me as long as the reproductions are plentiful and of good enough quality.

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