Thursday, September 23, 2010

Professor Provizer's Bad Jazz Art Gallery

Welcome-and abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

We'll stop the bleeding and let this stand as a representative sample. Clearly, some of this stuff was knocked off quickly. Some of it seems painfully pre-civil rights, some of it falls squarely in the tchotchke category (thanks, E. Doberman, whose comment inspired this post), some of it is carefully done yet still inept and some of it is just weird.

On a larger scale, the culture as a whole occasionally turns its resources to commissioning public jazz statuary. Here are Oscar Peterson, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie.




The results do not inspire confidence for the aesthetic future.

Why is there so little good jazz art-aside from album covers, the loss of which was a definite blow to the visual side of jazz. Is this just a jazz issue or is art not a good subject for art?

Maybe the problem begins when people start believing that someone is "larger than life." This is the road to romantic tripe and cultural ruin.

Is it really impossible for us to have music as a beautiful pursuit, relief, even escape, in our lives and not bleed the humanity out of our artists? As the mortician replaces blood with formaldehyde, we want to replace actual character, in all its contradictory, petty, wretchedly excessive glory, with a misty, fusty mythology.

I think there is a alternative choice: let's face the music and dance.

11 comments:

Chris said...

There is a Guy in NYC who often does sketches and paintings of the sets during the vision festival and I think does a pretty good job of capturing both the visage and the energy of performances. He's done bands I'm in a few times and I was pleased....though he says I'm hard to draw cause I tend to wear fedoras and the like when I play and he rarely gets a good look at my face....(that's on purpose;)).

I also think of abstract expressionism as jazz painting...lots of jazz.energy in Pollack for sure...also Larry Rivers who I understand was a fairly good out sax player.

On the flip side, the absolute worst. Ive.seen was a poster put out my the music educators national committee. It was a bunch of awful jigaboo charicatures with the title...."we has jazz". How anyone in their right mind allowed that to be printed in the 90s I'll never know. I burned.my copy.

Perhaps the best jazz art is photography.

Steve Provizer said...

Photography is a beautiful adjunct to jazz.

Ian Carey said...

Don't forget these nightmarish creations, which I happen to see in so many knicknack store windows that someone must be buying them:

http://www.itsablackthang.com/images/JAZZ-All-Night-Long.jpg

Bruno Leicht said...

By the way:

Are there also statues of white jazz folks?

If there are, they would be as black, as the ones, featuring African-American jazz artists. That's what I would call 'posthumous political correctness' ;)

Steve Provizer said...

Ian-That thing must have sprung from the mind of Todd Browning (director of the film "Freaks").

Bruno Leicht said...

Really one of those weird artifacts, Ian. My computer almost started to vomit when I opened the link!

By the way, folks, it's done, hehehe! -- I hope you'll enjoy it.:

Surprise, surprise!

Steve Provizer said...

Brew: Fantastic-Thanks!

Chris said...

Ian....yikes...it looks like someone scraped his insides out.

Bruno Leicht said...

But why should jazz - once called "negermusik" (nigger music) in Germany - be spared by those deranged individuals who also create (and buy!) kitsch like this?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephk/2305068438/

It's common among humans worldwide: They try to ridicule what they do not understand. They sometimes want to "erase" it, "wipe" it off the earth. -- The first step is always, making people laugh about it.

It could be some harmless joke, or a funny picture, and you still can decide if it's only a parody, like a political satire, or is it in fact a subtle, but vicious attack which tries to undermine, and tries to kill the soul.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Stürmer

Bruno Leicht said...

P.S. -- The best jazz, be it black or white, has always a sociopolitical message. I even would says:

If it wants to call itself jazz, there has to be a political aspect in it.

Today's players are in danger to lose that sub-context more and more. Jazz without a message is like food without pepper and salt.

So, why ridicule a jazz musician (or Buddha, or Jesus, or Mohammed, or you name it) like in these ugly little statues?

Because it's not the musician they fear, it's the message behind her / his music (in case there is one).

Steve Provizer said...

Jazz was also called "Juden" music...

It's my own prejudice, of course, but I have less trouble with people co-opting religious figures. Iconography (bloody christs, saintly mary's, etc.) have been built into religion from the beginning.

Buddha has been misconstrued almost since the beginning, from a person who demonstrated the possibility of dramatic personal change, to a GOD who must be worshipped.