Hilma af Klint

 


Her work was done in secret but now you know who she is:

If you are a regular Open Culture reader, you’ve probably seen our many posts on Hilma af Klint, the Swedish abstract painter who might have been recognized, before Wassily Kandinsky, as the first 20th century abstractionist; that is, if she had shown any of her work before her death in obscurity in 1944 (the same year that Kandinsky died, it happens). Instead, af Klint instructed that her paintings not be exhibited until twenty years after her death. Then, another 22 years went by before anyone would see her enigmatic canvases. They first went on display in a 1986 Los Angeles show called, after Kandinsky, “The Spiritual in Art.” 

Comparisons seem inevitable, but where the great Russian abstractionist theorized about art and spirit, af Klint encountered it in person, she claimed in her Theosophical accounts, in which she writes of meeting five “high masters” in a séance and receiving instructions for her new style. She was a channel, a vessel, and a medium for the spirits, as she saw it.

There will be seven volumes published that will feature her work. She is absolutely remarkable and should be celebrated for her achievements.


 

Moonlighting

 


You could argue that this was the very early beginning of prestige television, a show so good it rivaled feature films in quality and substance:

It’s impossible to say all the ways in which Moonlighting influenced television that came after it. Its wacky breaking-the-fourth wall, mile-a-minute jokes, throwaway references that not all audience members might even understand place it in a lineage of television’s smartest, most sophisticated situation comedies. And its particular, zany take on the “lighthearted detective show” gambit was new, too—whenever I watch a show like Psych, I am overcome by the debt owed to Moonlighting. But Moonlighting’s impact was also extremely personal. One of these days I’ll launch an essay contest, a “what Moonlighting means to me” sort of deal. It made an enormous impact. The television critic Howard Rosenberg, who had panned the show upon its release, wrote a correction a few weeks later to apologize for not having understood Moonlighting and to confirm that he had since seen the light. After its startling first season, it had become such an enormous sensation that (according to people who were alive in the 80s) Moonlighting became the ubiquitous conversation topic on Wednesday mornings at work. Two years after it aired, sixty million viewers tuned in to watch the protagonists finally hook up, in a passionate (edgy for prime-time) sex-scene that involved destroying every nearby prop. (Anyone who wants to read about this, more in-depth, should pre-order Scott Ryan’s official book on the series, which is due out in June 2021.)

In terms of being a romance, procedural, mystery, or comedy show, Moonlighting was really a screwball workplace program. It did sexual tension and chemistry better than Cheers and was so good it burned out and fell off the schedule before most people knew it was even there.

Maybe White People Need to Stop Being So Bigoted and Racist

 


Bruce Springsteen has surprised me in recent years by being very much an advocate for defeating Republicans who espouse bigotry and hatred and racism. He is very much against what Trump did to this country for the last four years. And so, we now have his ad for Jeep.

It's Super Bowl Sunday and the stars are out, showing up in big budget commercials for the big game. Bruce Springsteen, who has never let his music be used in an ad, let alone appeared in one, decided to appear in a two-minute ad from Jeep titled "The Middle" that isn't so much about selling cars as it is about the idea of America and a need to find common ground. The ad was shot at U.S. Center Chapel in Kansas which is the geographic center point of the Lower 48 states.

 

 "It's no secret the middle has been a hard place to get to lately,' Bruce says in voiceover narration set against scenes of Bruce driving around and visiting the church and other heartland locales. "Between red and blue, servant and citizen, between our freedom and our fear. Now fear has never been the best of who we are. And as for freedom, it not the property of just the fortunate few. It belongs to us all. Whoever you are, wherever you're from, it's what connects us, and we need that connection. We need the middle." He later adds "We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground" and that "We will cross this divide." The commercial ends with the tagline, "To the ReUnited States of America."

Those of us who did not vote for Trump did not "disunite" the United States. Trump being a completely and utter troll and jackass did that. I'm not sure who I need to tolerate and unite with. I'm not sure who I'm supposed to meet "in the middle" when the middle doesn't even exist in the minds of Trump supporters. 

These people have literally killed people who disagree with them politically. They don't accept the votes of African-Americans and they threw babies in cages.

Sorry, Bruce. Fuck that shit.