1945 - 2012
1945 - 2012
Today is the 69th birthday of English artist, graphic designer and illustrator, Alan Aldridge (click here to visit his site). His distinct airbrush work adorned numerous books and albums in the 1960s and '70s and helped define the aesthetic of the era -- equal parts whimsy and menace.
Aldridge appeals to me, in part, due to the way he draws upon older artists from very different traditions. The grotesque, fantastical characters echo the febrile visions of Dutch Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. The invasive, sometimes threatening vegetation reminds me of the vegetable portraits of Italian Mannerist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The soft, velvety folds and textures of clothing remind me of French Neoclassicist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres's almost single-minded focus on mastering the technique of depicting textiles.
As a young child, when I was first exposed to Aldridge, I hadn't yet heard of any of those artists. I don't remember ever even asking who Alan Aldridge was, but it was clear even that his particular synthesis of influences and ability to simultaneously captivate and repulse was immediately recognizable as the work of one artist, whatever work it adorned.
My idea of a romantic comedy!
Last night I had the pleasure of introducing the boyfriend to the 1971 film Harold & Maude. How he managed to make it to age thirtysomething without ever seeing it sooner shows an utter lack of regard from his friends and family, and we can only praise Allah that I showed up in his life.
Oddly enough, we seem devoted to cinema circa ’71 this week, as the films featured in our fetching living room all hail from that year. Before Harold & Maude was The Andromeda Strain, a movie which may well be the most boring sci-fi thriller ever to be shot, but was so beautiful we couldn’t stop looking. Oh, so boring! Imagine the longest, highest budget, fantastically designed instructional video ever, or if Stanley Kubrick had decided to make 2001: A Space Odyssey without all that pesky meaning.
Before that was Ciao! Manhattan, the enigmatic art film that accidentally became a biographical piece on tragic, subculture superstar, Edie Sedgwick. I hesitate to comment further on this particular work, because it presently consumes me in my career and I’m sure I’ll be devoting an entire blog to it someday soon. But if you’re a fan of all-things-touching Warhol’s Factory, the film is a must-see. Or if you just want to see a lot of full frontal nudity from a former Vogue model who’d recently gotten a boob job, there’s that.
Well somebody out there has money to burn ... shit, crisis what financial crisis? The pathetic and mostly lifeless contemporary art market was suddenly re-animated on Wednesday at Sotheby's New York when a silk-screen painting by Andy Warhol, produced in 1962, sold for a $43.8 million, the second highest price ever for a Warhol piece. (In 2007 his painting, Green car Crash (Green Burning Car 1), sold for a mind blowing $71.7 million.) The amazing thing about all this is that the pre-auction estimate of for the silk-screen was expected to pull in only about $8 - $12 million.