Off-Ramp

Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Great art, codpieces, the Off-Ramp newsletter, and you

A couple weeks ago in the Off-Ramp e-newsletter, we gave away a $40 catalogue to the Hammer’s new show Made in LA. One of the conditions to enter the contest was that you had to tell us your favorite piece of art. I loved the responses.

 
The winner, by sole virtue of being first, was Bruce Jones, who named The Burghers of Calais, the Rodin sculpture that memorializes the willingness of that town’s leaders to sacrifice themselves.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons/ Maarten van Vliet)

Was Jones’ pick a political statement? (How many members of Congress would deliver themselves to a conqueror in order to save their constituents?) Or does he just think it’s pretty?

Melissa Reskof of Venice digs Botticelli’s Birth of Venus...

... or “Venus on the Half-Shell,” as one wag dubbed it years ago.

 

I don’t like Birth of Venus nearly as much as the Burghers, in part because Venus's head is too small and her hair is too convenient.

Friend-of-Off-Ramp Donna Barnes-Roberts of Altadena writes, “My favorite piece of art changes constantly, but I keep coming back to Sewing the Sail by Joaquin Sorolla. I’m not sure if Donna means the 1896 version:

(sorollapaintings.com)

... or the much more sparse, and to my taste, more interesting 1904 version, with just a couple of old guys sewing a sail on the beach, getting sand in their shorts.

(sorollapaintings.com)

Sorolla gives us a few good quotes:

  • “All inspired painters are impressionists, even though it be true that some impressionists are not inspired."
  • “The color violet is … the only discovery of importance in the art world since Velazquez."
  • "I do not care to paint portraits indoors. I cannot feel sympathetic."

He sounds like he was a pain in the ass, but he sure could paint.

My favorite work of art, by the way, is Dali’s The Sacrament of the Last Supper ...

(dali-gallery.com)

... which I’ve visited every time I’ve gone to the National Gallery. I love its transparency and the fact that the guys have modern Italian men’s haircuts. But if I had to pick one painting to own, it’d be Bruegel’s The Wedding Dance at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The link is definitely Not Safe For Work, given the hearty codpieces and the website’s magnifying feature. When I was a kid, we traditionally visited the DIA the day after Thanksgiving, and I always got a kick out of its delicious dirtiness. They knew how to party in 1566.

If you want to get in on the highbrow art talk, and the loot we give away occasionally, sign up for Off-Ramp's weekly newsletter.

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