Joseph Raffael (1933-). American painter.
Tianjin Binhai Library, China.
MVRDV and TUPDI architects.
MVRDV and TUPDI architects.
I am rather skeptical about the contemporary Chinese architecture, in my opinion the formal experimentalism is too widespread and this inevitably leads to gratuity and kitsch. The library was designed by a firm based in Rotterdam in collaboration with a Chinese team. So despite my misgivings this public library is so great as to leave you speechless, it is impressive, it is disturbing, but it has the power to seduce.
These brief considerations are dedicated to my most assiduous readers. An Italian artist (whose name I don't want to mention because it is not worth it) has dared to propose a stupid but blasphemous "work of art": the statue of the Madonna carrying a Kalashnikov; the irony is that he called it "Heaven and Hell" (more stupid than this you can't get). This is how certain contemporary art has the boldness to offer. What a sordidness. Of course it is easy to make sensation using images of the Christian religious tradition, but it is not with a couple of other religions that we know very well. With the first one would be burned instantly because they have the power to do it when they want; with the second one would live for his whole life in the anguish of being eliminated in any moment, and this guy is not as much brave as to provoke them.
Donald De Lue (1897-1988). American sculptor.
The "Rocket Thrower" is a sculpture made in 1963 and one would not say that. It was at the height of Pop Art, during the years of the "unmasking" of art (see Andy Warhol). Well, let's look at this sculpture. A young and powerful male naked body with muscles in tension due to the superhuman effort, it seems he wants to launch his body with the rocket too. A suggestive sculpture. Despite the fact that two thousand five hundred years passed since the nudes of Greek art; here the genitals are rigorously covered by a floating drape, in deference to the American moralism. Lue was a very gifted sculptor, but unfortunately he does not seem very sure of himself. Looking at his works one is surprised to find out a stylistic uncertainty that makes him almost unqualificable. Yet his skill is evident, this work alone demonstrates it, despite the evil commentary of Canaday. Lue seems to be attracted from time to time to classical statuary, to the celebratory and not little rhetoric of the decades at the turn of the twentieth century, and also to the sculpture of totalitarian regime art (it must be said). Perhaps was he too dependent on the choices of his principals? He almost seems to be an out-to-date artist, but he is not. On the contrary we have to recognize him credit for the fact that he did not align himself with the engagé art (always winking at the left). An artist who wanted to remain independent.