Saturday, June 18, 2011

120 Influences, Part 10: Artists

  1. Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose stunning retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 2005 expanded my definition of what art is.

  2. Pieter Bruegel, whose detailed allegorical renderings such as Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Children's Games, The Triumph of Death, The Tower of Babel, Massacre of the Innocents, and Peasant Wedding say more than hundred thousand word books.

  3. Romare Bearden, whose dramatic representation of his culture through vivid color and a potent blend of abstraction and realism continues to amaze me.

  4. Chuck Close, whose eight 7' X 9' black-and-white portraits of photographs of the late 1960s would have been enough, but his constant production and self-renewal in spite of paralysis from a spinal artery collapse in 1988 make him the ultimate artist's artist.

  5. Salvador Dali, whose surrealism and subject matter, which I learned of in my high school years, still fascinate.

  6. Keith Haring, whose public art I experienced as it happened in 1980 and 1981 on New York City subways. The seemingly endless exhibition was entertaining. At every subway stop, I would search for his signature white chalk on matte black paper childlike drawings.

  7. Edward Hopper, whose art was the perfect representation of twentieth century detachment most Americans felt in the face of increased technology and sprawl.

  8. Jacob Lawrence, whose distinctive depiction of the African-American experience is evident in all his work, starting with his 1940 Migration Series.

  9. Claude Monet, who Impressionist illustrations from lily ponds and foot bridges to the London Parliament Building and the Grand Canal of Venice are sheer magic.

  10. Edvard Munch, whose blending of somber portrait and dark Norwegian landscape mesmerizes the heart and soul.

  11. Pablo Picasso, whose association with Cubism so downplays his prodigious achievements.

  12. Diego Rivera, whose allegorical murals made him a twentieth century reincarnation of Bruegel and da Vinci, and whose politics so easily married his art.

I know I know I know. I said I mention only ten influences per discipline, but that would be cheating and lying. I couldn't resist these twelve.