Here & Now, Art, Lisa Williamson-Rosenberg, Window Swap, Expensive Banana, Nathaniel Russell, Aganetha Dyck, Kathryn Desplanque, Koopman & Jenkinson, Cahill & Sherlock, M. A. Fink.
HERE & NOW
This issue is a bit longer than usual and will be truncated in your email. You can see the whole thing by clicking on “View Entire Message.” Also, you may notice a change in the order of sections. That’s because of the essay on “Falutinism” which is included at the end of the issue—with footnotes. In Substack, I’ve learned, footnotes will appear at the very end of the newsletter, dammit.
The good news is that I’ve definitely recovered from my art slump, the major impetus being my meeting with the group of artists with whom I will be sharing space in the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts during the Arts Habitat Artists Studio Tour on Oct. 15/16. Nothing like a good deadline to get you going! Anyway, I hope to see you there. For a change, I’ll be showing mostly small drawings on handmade paper, with a few of my tiny handmade art books. Here’s the space I have to work with (there is currently another show up on their walls):
Check out “My Cell-Cluster Sibling was Aborted. I’m Here Instead” by Lisa Williamson Rosenberg, (Oldster Magazine). This puts into clearer context the (sometimes hellish for women and non-whites) era in which I was born.
From the “Art Assignment” folks. Everything you need to know about the $150,000 Banana:
Your art assignment is to make a fake flyer (from Nathaniel Russell):
Aganetha Dyck collaborates with bees:
Kathryn Desplanque: Satirical Art & The Humanities:
I got hung up on YouTube listening to young Dublin buskers, this evening/morning, which is one reason this issue is coming out after 1 a.m. These singers are good—but there’s also something about audiences on the street in Dublin—they seem so ready to enjoy the music—or maybe it’s just what happens on Grafton St.
Padraig Cahill and Allie Sherlock sing “Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen):
MORE ART: FALUTINISM!
A few years ago, I ran an online writing and poetry journal called Local Nomad. I now regret that I took the site down, as I would enjoy just taking a peek at it every now and then; and I published some terrific poems, prose, and art there.
One day M. A. Fink and I decided to do a spoof issue devoted to what we dubbed "Falutinism." We got very "serious" about it and decided to begin the issue with a well-footnoted summary of this, ahem, very important, “experimental art movement.” I learned some new words, in the process, like mucorrhea and feculant. Wonderful artists and poets sent in their best examples of Falutinism, and a great time was had by all. Here, then, is M. A. Fink’s historical summary of Falutinism (fully illustrated). Don’t forget to read all the footnotes:
Falutinism: A Summary
M. A. Fink
California Research & Art Program
The history of the artistic movement commonly known as Falutinism has been written about at length in academic circles,but digestible summaries for the layperson or community college instructor have been notably lacking. What follows is an attempt to rectify this deficiency, as fewer movements have impacted the visual art of the last two centuries with greater ambivalence than what one critic called “the surest cure for creative alopecia” than Falutinism.
An Eructation of Style
Although this is widely debated in certain circles,the generally recognized mother of this enfant terrible was Therese d’Bouillie (1792–1869), the Parisian painter known as much for her mucorrhea as for her equally prolific artistic output. It was in 1845, during her “Période Dégradée,” when she painted the portrait of Count Neilssen of Jutland using only red and yellow pigments applied with cat-hair brushes. Floating above his head she placed the word “saluti” (Latin for “salvation”), for some reason using the Old English “long ‘s’” so the word appeared instead to read “faluti.”
The Count was reportedly pleased beyond reason by the bizarre portrait and made sure it was shown at the Königliche Münchner Kunstausstellung in the autumn of 1846. Its appearance caused quite a stiramong the intelligentsia, who remarked at some length (and no little breadth) about the spiky brush strokes, the strangely sanguine color scheme, and the random tufts of white fur embedded permanently into the paint. The very next year, American artist Thomas Lynch (1800–1870) created his “Hampton Mechanical” series—a five-canvas work filled with blood-red pistons and fuzzy gears, which included his masterpiece “The High Point of Pudding.” Although he initially denied any connection to his earlier trip to Munich, much less the work of d’Bouillie, he admitted on his death bed that most of his later efforts were “after Faluti,” perhaps misremembering his inspiration.
A Questionable Bifurcation
It was during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that the as-yet unnamed style split into arguably separate paths. Following Lynch, the New World embraced the eccentricities which so dogged his work. New York in particular had no less than four prolific artists borrowing inspiration from Lynch’s obsession with machines and hirsute subjects.The greatest of these was no doubt Hugo Upton Felte (1869–1930), the wealthy son of famous surgeon Damion Felte. Hugo painted grim scenes of factory life using broad brush strokes upon canvases treated with a mixture of charcoal dust and pine tar. Critic Merdon Dobbs, writing in the magazine “The Paraclete,” called Felte’s 6 ½-foot-wide magnum opus “The Doom’d” a “monstrosity of irrefragable agony shouting its anti-capitalist message into the aether.” Dobbs questioned the “oddly felinoid” urchins, but admitted his appreciation for “making much use of krapplack" and "bitter-gold.”
The Grickham Gallery on 16th Street was the first one to display Felte’s work, as well as the first institution to use the term “Falutinism.” The Smithsonian famously rejected the works of another American Falutinist, James “Jimmy” O’Roelley (1871–1949), on the grounds that “citizens do not visite to witness cavorting breech-miners and ragamuffins.”
The persistent American focus on low culture earned them the epithet “Low Falutinists.” Meanwhile, in Europethe Falutinist color palette dared to include the occasional cobalt highlight or verdant undertone. More to the point, the subject matter ascended until it was nearly unreachable: blurry angels danced on dramatic yellow pins (“L'aiguille du Saint” by Étienne Lorenzo (1839–1932)), fantastic beasts draped in unlikely fur scowled suggestively at similarly-tressed maidens (“Qu'est ce que tu Regardes?” by Florette Gebäck [1838–1921]), even a piquant Virgin Mary holding a wrench to her bosom (the controversial “Der Seelenspanner” by occultist Gustav Meer (1820?–1899). Inevitably, this led the Europeans to be associated with “High Falutinism.”
The Madder Crash
The disruption of WWI created deep shortages of alizarin, the relatively new replacement for Madder Lake. The French government commandeered the supply of the red pigment, until it was out of the reach of many Western artists. This hit no movement harder than the Falutinists. In desperation, many so-called High Falutinists tried anything they could think of to create a red pigment: onion skin, carmine, even pig blood with an iron mordant. Known as the “Fer à Main” or “Pig Ironists,” the hapless artists became the laughingstock of the Low Falutinistsas everyone watched the pigments turn brown or black, or even just peel off in sheets. Rather than swallow their pride (such as it was), the Europeans made a virtue out of necessity, claiming the muddy, sometimes literally rotting canvases made an even greater statement on the terror of the War to End All Wars than anything coming out of America.
It bolstered their case by the fact of being largely true.
The Pearl Before Swine
At least it was, until the career of Floridian painter and sculptor Eunice P. Staccio (1909–1970) made headlinesacross the Atlantic. The daughter of nut baron Samuel Staccio and his actress wife Gloria, Eunice forswore her father’s fortune in nut meats to put herself through college—namely, the Omaha Art Institute, where she graduated summa cum laude on the strength of her mixed media show entitled “Brown, Flat, and Furry.” Although never self-identifying as a Falutinist, her work endeared her to the High and Low alike. Art critic Neem Sommersby noted her circular, almost vertiginous brush style, saying she “slathered on the pigments as with an egg beater,” a statement made even more perspicacious by the fact that it was unexpectedly true. Staccio was known for constructing unusual devices for applying paint to canvas, such as the “Rachet-y Twirler” (made from boar bristle and a rotary beater) and the “Pussy-Tail Sock.”
Staccio’s work can be seen today in museums and private galleries across the world, from the Sleen Museum in Toronto to the Bombay Institute for the Advancement of Paint’s permanent collection. The largest number of her works are proudly displayed in her hometown of Kissimmee, Florida,where one can witness such paintings as the “Crabcake” series, the enormous “Sing to Me of Toiletries,” and her sexually explicit clusters of round canvases (by appointment only), collectively entitled “By Appointment Only.”
Staccio’s death in November of 1970 of severe stomach exposure shocked and irritated the art world, causing The New Yorker to comment “Never had we seen the like of such a ferocious luminary, if that is the right phrase.”
As Centuries Go, the Twenty-First
Today, Falutinism has mostly been relegated to an historical footnote.Nevertheless, there are some who still light that torch. Ex-mechanic Louis A. Carnaptur makes regular stylistic visits to the Falutinists, with his most recent showing consisting of twenty paintings of mechanical, somehow steam-driven alpacas. Infamous street artist Splatski stealthily paints municipal public sculptures...works of already existing art...in reds, yellows, and feculent greens with a nine-foot cat-hair brush. And 13-year-old transgender Tomato Payste amazed the Los Angeles art scene with their acrylic “Meditations on the T-Word.” The future might still be Falutin.
What else are they going to do?
Falutinism can be considered an impacted movement completely on its own.
Bordon, Alfred. 2009. “Signs of Aging in the Art World.” Group Hug Quarterly, January 3.
You know who you are.
Although to this day his great-granddaughter maintains he actually said “after her tooty.” She offers no explanation for this.
Note especially the nude “Ludia” modeled after his well-hackled wife.
In terms of mass.
Sometimes as wide as 14 inches!
The art world’s pretentious older sibling.
Which is like our uncle calling his brother a “redneck,” but we digress.
Such as “RED-LETTER DAY FOR LETTERED RED” (Saskatchewan Globe) and “PECAN
HEIRESS COMES OUT OF SHELL” (Brisbane Cornet).
Sommersby, Neem. 1955. “The Scene Today.” The Puce Caboose IV (2): 3-4.
Look it up!
Reportedly all shed by “Numptious,” his tabby.