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Friday, September 26, 2008

Cultural Heritage

The Vienna Secession was the first movement that I consciously identified with. I remember seeing Schiele’s drawings in college and thinking “Man, that putrid green and pus colored prostitute is soooooo hot. And look at those tortured lines.” But that was art. And then when I began to study design I was also set on fire by the secessionists’ astoundingly fresh and vigorous design work. Klimt, Moser, Kokoschka, et al were just amazingly gifted designers. Their poster work was one of the main inspirations for the entire 60s psychedelic look in America. Not to take anything away from Victor Moscoso or Wes Wilson (everyone has their artistic heritage), but without the Secession and Jugendstijl there is no psychedelic poster.

And then a few years ago my friend, last-of-the-sages Kenneth Smith, introduced me to the Viennese artist Ernst Fuchs. If the Secession was the first conscious influence in my artistic self-culture then Fuchs may be most profound. For those that have ears let them hear, and eyes, let them see. For Ernst Fuchs is the creator of some of the most powerfully spiritual and visionary art since the likes of Bosch, Grünewald, Blake and the few others like them. His work is invested with a living energy that simply cannot be denied by anyone with open orifices and an unshriveled mind.

So, you can imagine my delight when Mary and I traveled to Vienna for our honeymoon. I was able to visit the Olbrich designed Secession building and see Klimt’s Beethoven frieze. And I was euphoric at Professor Fuchs’ museum. Designed by Otto Wagner and refurbished and embellished by Fuchs himself the place was simply astounding. Professor Fuchs’ paintings virtually glow in person and to be in a room in which every piece was painted specifically for that spot was just awe inspiring. Next time you are in Vienna go check these places out. Until then I have some photos.

The Secession

The Fuchs Museum

One of the rooms in the museum (all the furniture is also designed by Professor Fuchs)

Professor Fuchs contemplating my sketchbook (Imagine my delight when I was told he happened to be in town on business. He lives in France these days.)

Inside the temple designed by Fuchs, next to the museum

Friday, September 5, 2008

Re-tying the Gordian knot

So far married life is absolutely wonderful! Mary and I tied the Gordian knot on Saturday 23 August 2008. The ceremony was typical of us, as Elliott said “that was the most organic wedding I have ever attended.” We will be posting all sorts of images and updates soon on our wedding blog, but I just wanted to post the invitation here, for all of you who haven’t seen it.

We are in Vienna right now having a delightful honeymoon and a well earned rest. We have slept like bears. The two weeks before the wedding and the week and a half after were incredibly hectic. It was like putting one’s head into a bee hive for 3 weeks, and getting stung just enough to remind you that you could be swarmed at any moment. But the honey was sweet. Finally after over 16 hours of travel, from car to plane to train to train to car, we arrived worn out and hungry, and now these bears are hibernating in Vienna. More on that later.

For the invitation we made a 2-color silkscreened poster on Stonehenge grey paper. It was printed by Kayrock in Brooklyn and they did a great job. I then spent three nights lovingly rolling posters, wrapping them with a purple belly band containing additional info, and binding it with a thick gross grain black ribbon and an aqua-green wax seal—sealed with a kiss, and finally placed into a cardboard poster tube with fluorescent address labels and white instruction stickers to hold down the thick ribbon on the outside.