Category:
Art

Haruo Shimada, Child Artist

As a young boy of five living in Tokyo, Haruo Shimada was hailed as an artistic prodigy. Articles about him appeared in American papers as well as in Life magazine. It was noted that his preferred subject was 'impressionistic nudes'.



Life - Jan 23, 1950



With news stories like this there's usually no follow-up, which I always find frustrating. So you never find out what happened to these people later in life. But that's not the case with Shimada thanks to his personal website on which he tells the story (in English) of his subsequent career.

Shimada explains that he gave up painting while still young, after his instructor, Kenzo Akada, moved to the United States. In college he studied economics, and eventually he became a professor of economics at Keio University and MIT. But late in life, at around the age of 60, he decided to take up painting again and ended up having an exhibition of his work at Chanel's flagship store in the Ginza district of Tokyo.

He's posted a gallery on his site of some of his later works. I don't see any nudes. Instead, his preferred subjects now seem to be landscapes and abstract patterns.

Chicago Tribune - May 14, 1950


Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 20, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Children, 1950s

Richard Nixon, Cottage Cheese, and Ketchup

Richard Nixon's favorite snack was reportedly cottage cheese topped with ketchup.

A 1960 article in the LA Times treated this as noncontroversial personal information about the then-presidential candidate, noting that he had acquired a taste for this unusual delicacy from his Quaker grandmother.

Los Angeles Times - Mar 14, 1960



However, by the 1970s Nixon's team was downplaying his fondness for this snack. Helen Smith, the first lady's press secretary, dismissed it as overblown rumor.

Casper Star Tribune - June 5, 1973



Similarly, White House chef Henry Haller, in his book The White House Family Cookbook, denied he had ever seen Nixon eat such a concoction: "If the President ever doused his cottage cheese with catsup, I never saw him, and doubt he ever did."

I suspect the truth is that Nixon enjoyed this snack when he was younger, but didn't continue eating it when he was President. Regardless, the combination of cottage cheese and ketchup was definitely associated with Nixon in the public mind, and it inspired one odd work of art.

In 1973, on the eve of Nixon's second inauguration, the sculptor Carl Andre dumped 500 pounds of cottage cheese on the floor of the Max Protetch gallery in Washington, DC. He then topped this with 10 gallons of ketchup. He called the work 'American Decay'. However, it smelled so bad that it all had to be removed the next day.

More info: Interview Magazine

'American Decay'. Image source: bonhams

Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 18, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Food, Politics, 1970s

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 39





The artist's Wikipedia page.


The Images of Modern Evil series, painted between 1943 and 1948, offers a probing and powerful insight into the schismatic socio-political climate of World War II and its aftermath. Though neither critically nor popularly successful at the time, the series proved formative in Tucker’s practice as a distillation of humanist, psychological and mythological ideas and as a vehicle for specific motifs and narratives that have endured within his art.


Posted By: Paul - Fri Oct 15, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Evil, 1940s

The Farm Art of Jens ‘Art’ Morrison

Jens 'Art' Morrison, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was a practitioner of 'farm art'. Or, as he put it, he was a 'farmicist'. He mostly worked in ceramics and was most active during the 1970s and '80s.

By 'farm art' he meant that a) farm animals were a recurring theme throughout his work, and b) there was a heavy emphasis on quirky, folk humor in his work, as well as A LOT of bad puns (see 'farmicist'). So, 'farm art' was deliberately distinct from 'serious art'.

One of his creations was 'Juxtapachickens.' This was a series of fourteen-inch ceramic chickens. (The url juxtapachicken.com leads to a site that consists solely of a picture of two skinned chickens in a pot. I have no idea if this was somehow inspired by or related to Morrison's work. I'm guessing not.)

Far more elaborate was his "artillogical" discovery of the "Farmounians," who he claimed were the ancient, original settlers of Iowa. As he put it:

About 450 B.C. (before ceramics), the Farmounians crossed the Boaring Straits, sailed down the River Swine, and settled in the eastern basins of Iowania, to farm the fertile fields and rolling hills. The ancient glyphs and corntainers are imporktant because they depigt the lifestyles and legends of the Farmounians: the mysteries of the Corn Cult, the age of Barcornius, and the winter dwelling or Pigloo. These frelics of the daily rituals, banal activities, and peculiar characteristics make Farmounian art unique in the western world.



He created (or 'discovered') numerous artifacts of these Farmounians, such as 'corntainers' that displayed ancient-looking ceramic reliefs he called 'Pigtaglyphs'. He said he was just providing 'infarmation' about this ancient culture.



Morrison even wrote a book about the Farmounians — A History of Farmounia. He described it as a 'Historical Gehography'. It's an obscure work, but there's a copy available on abebooks for $33.66 (plus $34 shipping from the UK to US).

Posted By: Alex - Tue Oct 12, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Farming, Art

Lyndon Johnson’s go-to gift

President Lyndon Johnson met with Pope Paul VI on Dec 23, 1967. The two spoke for over an hour and then exchanged gifts. The Pope gave Johnson a sixteenth-century painting of the Nativity. Johnson, in return, gave the Pope a small bust of himself, Lyndon Johnson.

Pope Paul VI admiring the LBJ bust he just received



It struck people at the time (and ever since) as odd for Johnson to give a bust of himself as a gift to the Pope. But, in fact, the Pope wasn't the only recipient of this bust. It was Johnson's go-to gift for just about everyone: world leaders, congressmen, white house aides, etc. He traveled with a box of them, so he would always have one at hand.

The busts were replicas of a lifesize bust created by sculptress Jimilu Mason. In case you'd like to give one as a gift, they're available for purchase from the Johnson Presidential Library — only $150 each.

More info: Dead Presidents blog

Jimilu Mason poses with her bust of LBJ



Arizona Republic - Jan 14, 1968

Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 06, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Statues and Monuments, Gifts, Presents, Tributes, and Other Honoraria, 1960s

Portrait With Hydrogen Peroxide Strips





More photos here.

As you can see, Mister Wilson uses a variety of other objects as well in his art.









Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 31, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Sticky, Messy, Sloppy, Drippy, Treacly Things

Ferdi Jansen

The artist's homepage. Sadly, she died very young in 1969.





Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 16, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, 1960s, Genitals

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