December 11, 2012

"This is the most ass-o-centric painting I've ever seen."

Say I, viewing this NYT article "Thomas Hart Benton Masterwork Goes to Met."

The photo at the link is only one panel of said masterwork, which is called "America Today."

I've got nothing against it. It's pretty cool.
The 10 panels — most of them seven and a half feet high and of varying widths — depict a panoramic sweep of rural and urban life on the eve of the Great Depression....

Benton received no fee for the commission. “I did it for nothing, just expense money,” he said. “But it led to eight other murals which paid me very well, so it was a good thing for me.” Its critical success became the impetus for the Works Progress Administration mural programs of the later 1930s.

22 comments:

ricpic said...

Benton couldn't draw a human in a relaxed pose. All tension all the time. Sort of like El Greco -- without the inner fire.

Balfegor said...

Re: ricpic:

Benton couldn't draw a human in a relaxed pose. All tension all the time. Sort of like El Greco -- without the inner fire.

Can't say I am familiar with the man, but if he did comics or movie posters people would be white knighting all over him for the twist he's put in those female spines.

chickelit said...

The artist received no fee for the work. 'I did it for nothing, just expense money,' he said.

Obviously the "Butt For" rule--also referred to as the sine qua non rule (which means "without which not")--applies here. He did it for the assing.

Methadras said...

Looks like art deco dystopian propaganda to me.

edutcher said...

You want ass-o-centric, you want Rubens.

David said...

Interesting decision by the New School to sell this for $3 million. They let it go pretty cheap because they had put themselves in a bad financial spot. The New School is not known for it's economics program.

JohnSteele said...

the "centric" part focuses mostly on women. it reminds me of this conception of how superheroes look, depending on the gender of the artist.

http://tomdavenport.co.uk/post/13456259896/male-superhero-avengers-drawn-as-women-comic-sexism

Palladian said...

Horrendous.

Thomas Hart Benton was a dreadful artist.

Richard Dolan said...

Butt-forward would have been a classier way to put it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Must have been referring to this panel. All his people are wobbly and look like Mad magazine people.

McTriumph said...

The one with the oil derricks looks to pay homage to old man Koch.

EDH said...

This is the most ass-o-centric painting I've ever seen.

The word is ass-tastic. That's right. Ass-tastic.

One word. Ass-tastic. Ass-tastic.

It's... A-S-S-T-A-S-T-I-C. Okay? Ass-tastic.

Palladian said...
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Palladian said...

"This is the most ass-o-centric painting I've ever seen."

I hate to glorify this hateful neologism with any response, but if Benton's work is the most "ass-o-centric" painting someone has ever seen, they haven't looked at many paintings.

Off the top of my head (or pulling them out of my ass), here are are a few favorites: Bronzino's "Allegory", Rubens's "Rape of Ganymede" (or Damiano Mazza's painting of the same subject). Nom nom nom!

Unknown said...

Reading the blog post, I expected that I would hate the linked picture. But I don't. Like Ann, I think it looks pretty cool.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim in St Louis said...

The murals in the Missouri State Capitol are magnificent. Its all about scale I think. You walk up to these huge images and its all power and action and overlapping themes. Locomotives and industry, farm machines and muscle. Drive- Energy - Color - Action.
Schoolkids go on field-trip day and the poor guide never keeps the little snots attention, the kids are in rapture- then they point and call out and show their little buddies some small detail. Oh look at the baby in the corner- do you see Jesse James? Who is the that? Is that Frankie and Johnny? That man looks drunk.

Its ART without all the pretense.




FleetUSA said...

Putting the asses aside for now, I think it is a wonderful series showing action and good color. Every aspect tells a part of the story. $3million does sound cheap.

ErnieG said...

After scrolling through the images at the link, I came away with the impression that Socialist Realism was not confined to the USSR. Of course, there has long been a tradition of Social Realism in American art: John French Sloan, George Bellows, Ben Shahn, and Millard Sheets, to name a few. But in this work Benton captured the over-the-top Soviet spirit of the genre.

Clyde said...

I grew up in Kansas City, and there was always a great deal of pride in Thomas Hart Benton and his works. I remember seeing his painting at the Harry S Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO., when I was in my early teens, shortly after President Truman's death. Not surprisingly, both of their names are popular for schools and street names in Missouri.

Here's an interesting article (NSFW!) about Benton, with photographs from LIFE Magazine of him painting "The Rape of Persephone" with nude model Imogene Bruton.

Tim Morris said...

Interesting. Contemporary of Diego Rivera who did "Detroit Industry" for the Detroit Institute of Arts at about the same time.

Strelnikov said...

THB likes big butts and he cannot lie.