Artists (any medium) whom you define as "great"

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DVG
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Artists (any medium) whom you define as "great"

Postby DVG » Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:46 pm

My recent dialogue with Ezra regarding Lovecraft interested me to the extent that I suppose we all have at least one artist (in whatever medium) whom we define as being of great worth in the face of fairly widespread public opinion to the contrary. I believe I have more than one:

David Lynch
Bret Easton Ellis
Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music
Charles Schultz
Edward Durell Stone
Candy Darling

I will return to this thread with my reasons later, but wonder if you have favorites whom you see as very much more than "guilty pleasures" and if so, why.

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Postby Gwyneth M905 » Fri Sep 22, 2006 2:06 am

Brian Wilson, for his creative use of mixing and studio work.
Charles Schultz, for Peanuts, natch
Preston Sturges, for being the first writer/director
Jean Harlow for her comedic timing and overall sexiness

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:29 am

DVG wrote

My recent dialogue with Ezra regarding Lovecraft interested me to the extent that I suppose we all have at least one artist (in whatever medium) whom we define as being of great worth in the face of fairly widespread public opinion to the contrary.

But Lovecraft's books sell MILLIONS. His influence in our popular culture is overwhelming, far beyond the influence of his original writings. Movies, heavy metal music, there is even an occult movement based on his writings (although HPL was an atheist).

I'll say it again, the idea that HPL is the center of some obscure, persecuted cult is ludicrous.

If you really want to talk wonderful artists who dwell in undeserved obscurity, well that's easy.

Writers:
Paul Bowles
Thomas Ligotti
Boris & Arkady Strugatsky (out of print in the west currently)

Musicians:
Tom Verlaine
Markus Reuter
Stephan Micus

There are more, alas.
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Postby Earl Wells » Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:55 am

The name is Schulz, not Schultz.

This may be a hepful mnemonic: his last name has the same number of letters as Snoopy.

As to the topic, which I gather is not so much unheralded artists but artists about whom a negative opinion holds sway, at the moment I can't think of anybody I think is great that fits. Fritz Leiber is certainly not a household name, but what critical commentary there is has been for the most part quite positive. Hemingway & Heinlein may be currently out of favor, but both got and still get considerable praise. And I think the modern consensus about John Wayne as a movie actor is that he was at least very good, although I'm not up on movie criticism nowadays. Good question though.

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Postby Moderator » Fri Sep 22, 2006 9:38 am

(as Steve)


This is a difficult topic, because of exactly the reasons Earl cites. It'd be a far easier topic to discuss who is overrated, but that's not the question. Who is held in a lack of respect (as opposed to dwelling in obscurity) is a far different matter. It's the "wdespread" that sets the bar pretty high.

(Charles Schulz is hardly in disfavor...)

For cartoonists, Walt Kelly tends to be dismissed more than warranted (IMHO).

Authors, Stephen King often doesn't get credit for being able to string very readable works together. (Tom Clancy is vastly overrated, however.)

Stephen Ambrose.
Harlan, natch. (Look at the number of times we're told the rest of the world dislikes him and his apologists. Evidently this is a widespread belief, so ...)
Tom Cruise (watch Vanilla Sky).
Mel Gibson (watch Man Without a Face).
Star Trek Enterprise (3rd and 4th seasons)
Salvador Dali.
Terry Gilliam.
Hunter S Thompson.
Ralph Steadman.
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Postby markabaddon » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:21 am

Would Shannon Tweed count? I consider "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death" one of my all-time favorite films
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Postby Gwyneth M905 » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:37 am

Dennis Potter -- for the Singing Detective and other TV scripts
(PS. Earl :) thank you for the correction of the spelling of Schulz's name)
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Fritz Leiber and Harlan Ellison!
Val Lewton-- Producer (although he has a fairly substantial cult following)
Vincent D'Onofrio -- actor

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Postby DVG » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:39 am

Yes, to clarify, I mean an artist who is seen as a popular success but who seems to have aesthetic chops to go along with it that are seldom acknowledged.

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Postby Gwyneth M905 » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:48 am

Aha! Thanks for the clarification...
How about Kate Winslet? I thought she did a magnificent job in Titanic and is a true movie star of the first rank.
Same thing with George Clooney, who has a screen presence that rivals Clark Gable's.

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Postby robochrist » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:58 am

Gwyn: "Sturges was the FIRST writer/director"?

Gwyn, I like Sturges a lot but - c'mon - he was predated by a million writer/directors:

Top 10 Most Influential Jewish Film Directors of All Time

Sergei Eisenstein
Bunuel
Fritz Lang
Hitchcock
Ernst Lubitsch
Chaplin
Michael Curtiz
Murnau
Griffith
Renoir...

Let's at least keep them all in the frame they deserve.

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Postby Moderator » Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:09 pm

K. I'm gonna add a few controversial photographers:

Jock Sturges
Robert Mapplethorpe
Sally Mann
Jacques Bourboulon
David Hamilton
Tom Bianchi

They all take pictures of, *gasp*, naked people. All but Mapplethorpe and Bianchi took pictures of *gasp*, young naked people. They've been *gasp*, accused of kiddie porn.

*gasp*

(Too bad the young people were just simply naturists -- some with parents -- and not engaged in anything suggestive... that might've made the charges stick instead of simply making the world look at the US as if we're sick wackos.)
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Postby David Loftus » Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:14 pm

Gwyneth M905 wrote:Aha! Thanks for the clarification...
How about Kate Winslet? I thought she did a magnificent job in Titanic and is a true movie star of the first rank.
Same thing with George Clooney, who has a screen presence that rivals Clark Gable's.



Clooney regularly surprises me.

Winslet is a good example, too, although I wouldn't put Titanic at the top of her list. If anything, she swam bravely against all the flotsam going against her in that project. That's what she's known for, not what should primarily earn people's praise and respect.

More than any one role, she has impressed me with the variety of her work across numerous films: Finding Neverland, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jude, Sense and Sensibility. I haven't even seen Holy Smoke, Hideous Kinky, Quills, or Heavenly Creatures, unfortunately.
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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:19 pm

Barber wrote:K. I'm gonna add a few controversial photographers:

Jock Sturges
Robert Mapplethorpe
Sally Mann
Jacques Bourboulon
David Hamilton
Tom Bianchi

They all take pictures of, *gasp*, naked people. All but Mapplethorpe and Bianchi took pictures of *gasp*, young naked people. They've been *gasp*, accused of kiddie porn.

*gasp*

(Too bad the young people were just simply naturists -- some with parents -- and not engaged in anything suggestive... that might've made the charges stick instead of simply making the world look at the US as if we're sick wackos.)



Although I'm mainly with you on this, Steve, I believe:

1) Mapplethorpe did in fact take a few calm, stately nude portraits of young teens, if my memory of the exhibition at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, circa 1988 is correct

2) His lovely photographic work aside, Hamilton's propensity for living with his 16-year-old and 17-year-old models -- often more than one at a time -- makes me uneasy
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Moderator » Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:44 pm

David Loftus wrote:1) Mapplethorpe did in fact take a few calm, stately nude portraits of young teens, if my memory of the exhibition at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, circa 1988 is correct

2) His lovely photographic work aside, Hamilton's propensity for living with his 16-year-old and 17-year-old models -- often more than one at a time -- makes me uneasy


1) K. You got me on the Mapplethorpe, I didn't know that and will have to see what I can find. Thanks for the update.

2) No question that on a personal level, Hamilton makes me nervous (then again, he lives in France where standards and morays are different), but I'm mainly going from the quality of the work which is, IMHO, extraordinarily good. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't see past the subject matter -- or his personal life -- to accept it.

To me it's kind of like Roman Polanski. I loved Chinatown, and really like Nastassja Kinski, but that doesn't mean I approve (at all) of what Polanski did with young girls.
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Postby David Loftus » Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:48 pm

Barber wrote:To me it's kind of like Roman Polanski. I loved Chinatown, and really like Nastassja Kinski, but that doesn't mean I approve (at all) of what Polanski did with young girls.



Interestingly, I just collected a mid Seventies interview with Ellison in which he trashes "Chinatown" up and down. Not only was I unaware of his animosity toward the film, but I wonder whether his attitude toward it has changed at all since then.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus


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