THIS IS HOW I FELL FOR HER

It began at the top of my head,
Where the dignified thoughts are.

Pity them! They fell far.

Philosophy turned into crying;
Infant fears my new philosophy,
Getting what it wants by lying.

After this occurred, what is left to say?
Reason descended and passion rose.

I read that eyes were paths to love:
When she was near, I looked in those.

Deprived of breath, I became drunk,
For what is the point of intoxication?
To die while you are living,
For love makes everything want to die.

The trick was: it seemed to be her.
But it all happened in my eye,
It all happened in my breath,

It was me inside me falling

And mine was a beautiful death.

The falling was happening in myself;
A frightening fall inside my head,
And after breath, blood succumbed;

My happy death knew at last it was dead.
My death found joy in a living
No longer known as life.
My life I tossed to her. Finally my feet fell;

I fell beside her.
I have not been myself since she became my wife.

UNFLINCHING

The famous fine arts painter Lucien Freud died in 2011 at the age of 88, bringing tears to the eyes of Sue Tilley, the model for one of his most famous paintings, “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping.”

We quote the Telegraph:

Sue Tilley, who sat for the nude Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, said today she has had ”fantastic experiences” as a result of posing for the unflattering portrait.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said: ”I found out last night on Twitter, bizarrely, and I did start crying. I haven’t seen him for a long time and he’s not really a close friend now but it’s a part of my life that’s kind of gone.”

Ms. Tilley has etchings that Freud gave to her, which are potentially worth thousands of pounds, but says that money is not an issue.

”Money’s not really important. Don’t you think in life sometimes experience is more important than financial gain? Because of this painting I’ve had fantastic experiences.”

The portrait is characteristic of Freud’s unflinching style, but Ms. Tilley said she watched the work being painted and so became acclimatised to it.

”I saw it all the time because it’s so huge, you would see it while he was painting it. He’s not behind it, so it’s in front of you the whole time, so I got very much used to it.”

“Unflinching.” This does sum up Lucien Freud’s “style,” doesn’t it?

Another term might be “High Realism,” or “Unflattering Realism,” and this raises an interesting question on how we view art—and poetry (since this is Scarriet’s milieu) in our time.

“Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” (1995) sold for 33 million dollars at auction in 2008, a record amount for a living artist.

We might say that Lucien Freud’s work is the very opposite of Abstract Art. No one would ever call Abstract Painting “unflinching.” On the spectrum of artistic expression, “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” is closer to Romantic Art than Modern Art—or does it lie between the two?

In Modern Art, the person disappears, human-oriented expression vanishes, the artist slyly hides as Design-Abyss stares back.

The “abyss of design,” a term we coin at this very moment to describe the rather inhuman, abstraction mania destroying all beautiful and intelligent art in an orgy of Ad-logo, unreflective doodling, might be occasionally called “unflinching,” but “unflinching” only and purely in regard to what is, unfortunately, in most cases, bad taste.

Go to any modern art museum, or any art school, and gaze with as much love and empathy possible at the so-called “art” on display there. What strikes us, after the initial and simple embarrassment of how purely ugly most of it is, is the awareness of an urgently crafted “design” of no design: art that says nothing, art that presents no context for what it is trying to say, and as a result, though there may be some interesting bare bones of  “design” present, some half-formed idea struggling to emerge from the foam of applied chemicals, some interesting pieces of material or texture present, nothing is finally realized or finished, to any moderately intelligent person’s satisfaction. It is Design so proud of itself (a pride typically fashioned from a philosophy that believes no audience can escape from the world which is brutal and meaningless) it has completely forgotten that it (design) exists for something else.

It doesn’t help that people in the art world often lack any real understanding of Letters.  The art world is full of brilliance—which unfortunately can barely read and write, and with an understanding of history skewed towards the haphazard and the new. Resenting those who can read and write, “artists” continue to commit suicide every day.

Animation/cartooning/illustration is the new wonder of the art schools, and has by far the most chance for something pedagogically useful, since the work on Cartoon Network is wonderful—precisely because it is forced to entertain coherent human ideas—to be, in a somewhat realized manner, happily and joyfully human, escaping the Prison Camp of Bad Taste “history” and “painting” and “design,” currently destroying thought in various near-illiterate institutions.

What do we think of Lucien Freud’s “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping?” Does a work like this make abstract artists and designers, artists who produce things without true realism or context: 3-dimensional bodies and faces which float in unreal spaces; bad jokes of collage, cut-and-paste, two-dimensionality, cowards? Does Lucien Freud, with his unflinching view of humans in a completely human context, make cowards of them all?

Well, almost. Design, after all, has its place. Take a look at the mass of humanity: all those T-shirts, baseball caps, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, bangles, tattoos.

The art of “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” does make other “artists” look like mere designers. Advertisers. Art School Officials. T-Shirt Logo Makers.

And yes, “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” does look back to the art era known as Romanticism—which was the renaissance of the Renaissance: Keats, Shelly, and Byron extending Shakespeare—to the sounds of Mozart and Beethoven who were extending Bach—as painters like Copley and Goya made Truth and Painting synonymous.

Perhaps Romanticism, like the great Renaissance era which inspired it, which was itself inspired by Plato, could not last—but it will never go away, (although, God knows, the “art” schools have tried).

The era of Romanticism ended—with Corot, landscape, and then Impressionism prettifying and domesticating what had been great—for purely political reasons: the great rivalry of Britain and France dissolved like a dream in the mid-19th Century, and Britain and France became a Joint Empire dedicated to crushing the Spirit of Goya and the United States—a marvelous Romantic experiment which gradually went from David-to-the-British-Empire’s-Goliath to surrogate British Empire. Ugly, anti-human, modern art was intentionally spawned by Paris and London, and then in the World War One era, imported to New York, as the Modernist sickness, allied with the building and fashion trades, took over, eventually becoming its own self-fulfilling prophecy in “democratic” academia.

“Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” a success today, (superficially, at least,) flying in the face of contemporary Abstract Painting “success,” reminds us of another unflinching, Hyper-Realism painting.

We think you will guess the painting we mean, when informed it emerged from a late Romantic artist in the very era we are discussing—the middle 19th century crossroads which saw the revolutionary greatness (if that be not too hyperbolic a term) of Romanticism still living but dying, as Britain/France, that dreaded, imperial, Modernist Monster, was born—: “L’Origine du monde” by Gustave Courbet.

This scandalous Courbet painting, a great Romantic painting, but veering towards what might be characterized as “unflinching” bad taste, is a symbol of Romanticism dying: a descent, perhaps?

We have hopes, then, that the late Lucien Freud’s “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” in our era, might represent a renewed ascent of human-based Romanticism come to rescue us from our cheap, Modernist “Art School Design” Nightmare.

Freud’s “unflinching” view of woman—and we believe the woman is superior to the man—may offend.  What do you think?  Does it offend you?

We ourselves, here on Scarriet, have offended our own dear mother, with the occasional poem on the human frailties of women—whether it be vanity, or getting old, or lacking inspiration—and this “unflinching” look is not meant to offend any one person, but to show the type, and not even to blame the type, but to look unflinchingly on how the type, in general, can be trapped and oppressed.  We are vindicated by our conviction that pity and truth in art is better than flattery and lies.

The Romantic loves, but loves honestly, without flattery.

Scarriet is producing essays and poems in the great Romantic spirit—never to demean, but to save the world from significant aesthetic and philosophical lapses.

Genius—in the crisis period in 1866, when Courbet revealed his painting to the world—and in the crisis period of today in 2015—has no choice, in the Romantic spirit, hard beset and distorted by many forces, but to risk the “unflinching” view, even if it offends various institutions, the men who run them, but, God forbid and forgive us now!—never, the holiest being in the universe: woman.

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