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MY DAILY PIC (#1598): I came away from the wonderful Stuart Davis retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York convinced that he was one of the most important, most influential artists in 20th-century America. The reason we can’t quite recognize his excellence is that history is always written by the winners, and Davis lost out to a rival tradition.

Looking back from today’s vantage point, we cherish everything in American art that has been difficult, conceptual, anti-esthetic, tough and unsparing. Those were the neo-Dada values that began to win out in the early 1960s and have remained in ascendance ever since – and that I have to admit I often buy into.

Davis represented different tendencies that we’ve mostly lost track of but that mattered hugely in his own time. His art was all about inventing and perfecting a seamlessly coherent modern style, about embracing illustration and delight, about celebration rather than critique.

In looking at Davis’s work, we need to remember that modernism once felt like it was starting from an absolute tabula rasa. This meant that turning it into a comprehensible, useable language felt like a greater achievement than celebrating its innate disjunctions and aporias (sorry for the term of art), which is what we tend to do now. Davis created just such a language, however facile and light it may seem to us. Stylishness, so derided today, was a real achievement when modern art had left you at style degree zero, as it seemed for Stuart and his contemporaries.

And then there was the utopian side to modernist image-making, especially for a dedicated lefty like Davis. It meant that creating a style that spoke easily to a wide audience also registered as an achievement – especially when that style was strikingly modern, rather than steeped in reaction a la Norman Rockwell. The overlaps between Davis’s fine art and the work of popular “illustrators” such as Saul Steinberg would have registered as a definite plus, not a minus, as he worked to bring modern experiments down to earth. Ditto for his use of motifs borrowed from pop culture – in today’s Daily Pic, it’s the Champion spark-plug. When he first launched into such borrowings, they would have felt like a truly populist gesture that was also avant-garde. That combination was an ideal that few other artists really managed.

The links between Davis and 1960s Pop art have often been asserted, and I’ve found pretty good evidence that Andy Warhol, for one, would have had close encounters with Davis’s art from early-on. But Pop, coming so late in American capitalism, always had an ironic, critical edge that Davis never quite mastered. Maybe it’s time we forgave him for that. (Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Gertrud A. Mellon; ©Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY)


The Daily Pic also appears at Artnet News.  For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

I am no novice
Of those elaborate rituals
Of Dionysian savagery
And Plutarchian sacrifice.
I am no innocent.
I am still plucking deer bones from my teeth
And unsowing the sorrow
That has festered beneath my skin.
It was a night much like this one
The sky, as dark and wretched
As the river Styx.
We drowned in that darkness.
It rose up around us and crawled into our throats.
Sweet moonlight drifted
Like pockets of salvation.
We inhaled it like oxygen
Into our aching lungs.
But we were already sanctified
By the unholy trees
That swayed lithely
In the chill of the night.
They bowed,
And bent,
Like nymphs
Come to great us.
Pan must have been near
For I felt the unsteady tremble of the earth
As it waited for its king.
Wild, raw, and inexorable in its passions.
It was just as nature should be,
And we trembled in want
Of such absolution.
So we bowed,
And bent,
Like nymphs,
Like long-lost gods
Cast down from Olympus’s perilous heights.
It was too impure there
To separate from this wholeness
From the unadulterated power of the earth.
Here,
In savagery,
In bloodlust,
In a world like Lethe
We dipped out hands
Into the sky and painted:
WAR
Onto the nape of our necks.
Until we forgot the curse of falling.
Threw off our mortal coils
And we became gods once again.
— 

“What We Forgot in the Dark”, Bianca Braswell

Inspired by @metvmorqhoses. Her blog is straight fire tho. It will change you. 

hi there i’m eve and i’m a cute fat babe!

i’m 19 years old (going on 20 in… 2 months)

i’m currently in school for my cosmetology license and will be studying for my esthetics license after that.

i’m very interested in combining makeup/hair/fashion into performance art or creating my own makeup line.

i’m a size 20-22 and i love it! i love who i am. 

i’ve been getting some really rude messages lately about my weight so i figure, what would be a better pick me up than being on the same blog as a bunch of other cute fat ppl?

i’ve submitted before (even 5 years ago i submitted a pic! i’ve been on a long journey) and i’m really happy to submit again.

i love you all! feel free to come talk to me!! <3