Lucian Freud’s art could be termed anti-romantic and confrontational.And just plain creepy. He tended to represent people as he saw them, and between what he perceived and came out on canvas we will never really understand all the processes involved. But the result was not pretty.Demystifying but ultimately restrained and at its extreme ,even cruel in that sexual bait found its way into the naked human psyche and not usually in a liberating or empathetic sense. Freud was sometimes seen as a merciless artist, and certainly his belief in capturing the truth as he saw it meant that his eye could see the weakness and absurdities of almost any sitter.
There were always bits and pieces that evoke a fragmented, conflicted person, a body and even a soul wanting integration, that he could withold. The intensified familiarity at which Freud aimed his art, both formally and more importantly, psychologically, eliminated all generality in favor of this extreme particularity. His intimacy distracts and destroys as well as focuses and ultimately cherishes. But that road was littered with metaphorical corpses.
…Dreams might be able to be read, which is to say interpreted as wish-symbols which, made conscious, could then be striven after in reality. However, dreams can also be too seductive, countering activity. Did not Sigmund Freud say that the dream is a trick to keep us sleeping? The technique of awakening was never completed.You have to wonder if Lucian’s does the art subliminally mine the incestual undertones of Freud, the taboo, while using overt sexuality, almost necrophilia as a decoy; always jumping between a figurative and graphic language of design with the more inscrutable language of paint and texture to which he played out his little dramas.
You wonder how Lucian Freud would have painted the Levy brothers of New York who became uber-millionaires through non-profit care for the developmentally disabled. How would Freud have represented the concept of abuse and use, something he seemed fixated on. If he stepped out of his comfort zone of the easy and familiar target of friends and family and focused on wild, less scrupulous and predatory, carnivorous game:
Philip and Joel Levy had expensive cars paid for out of public money and claimed the cost of their children’s education against the nonprofit group they ran. Philip Levy, 60, even charged the organisation $50,400 for his daughter’s living expenses whilst she attended college in New York. The money helped pay for her to buy an apartment in Greenwich Village instead of covering the cost of a dorm….
…Two days after being confronted by the New York Times both brothers resigned from the company.They denied their departure from Young Adult Institute Network, the largest operator of homes for people with developmental disabilities in New York, was related.Critics have dubbed the Levys the ‘Medicaid Moguls’ on account of the fact that they make so much money from the public purse.The have homes in the Hamptons, Sutton Place and Palm Beach Gardens and live a life of wealth and ease.Their nonprofit group The Young Adult Institute is amongst the biggest such companies in the U.S. and was paid $1 billion from Medicaid over the past 10 years.The most expensive residence it runs is on East 35th St in New York which was given $7.2million last year, or $700 for each of the 28 people per night.Read More:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2021682/Medicaid-millionaires-Philip-Joel-Levy-charge-state-disabled-care.html
Kuspit: Lucian has no intention of liberating his model from the slavery of inner suffering. Instead, he exploits it to paint a “telling” portrait — without quite realizing that it tells more about his inner life than the model’s.
The notion of the censor is a key idea in Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). In a sense, the aim of dream interpretation is to lift the censorship that suppresses the meaning of the dream. …The problem is that the sitter, fearing “clinical exposure,” resists the painter’s “interrogative eye,” to use Lucian’s terms. He has said that “it is the task of the artist. . . to make the human being feel uncomfortable,” but human beings don’t want to feel uncomfortable — vulnerable and anxious. (However uncomfortable they unconsciously — and not so unconsciously
212; are.) “Professional models” and “extreme narcissists” are always comfortable with themselves and their nakedness, Lucian remarked, which is why he never uses them as his models. Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/kuspit/kuspit8-19-02.aspa
The question to pose with Lucian Freud is how a mythic dream consciousness,a realization in the waking world : the longing for dream fulfillment in material goods, or an idea of love satisfied in prostitution, or the desire for human union through dependency, control and psychological colonialism; can be shaken up,startled and forced to smell the coffee and shake off the illusory thinking it indulges. It seems Lucian never crossed that line. Fear perhaps.
Maybe the feeling was that assertion simply of the reality of mercantile brutality and violence would fill the void. Likely, that old standby, boredom, in the end would finally force a change, through it would be unsustainable; a narrative of a history without events, a grey on grey in which the boredom returns and induces the sleeping state of which the yawn is the primal wimper, the gesture of both. Strangely, Lucian is a kick-back to the dreaming collective, the underbelly of the Lost Generation, that collective escapism between the end of WWI and the crash at the end of the roaring twenties, the Jazz Age, which was really a sleeping sickness that infected the West sending its victims into a coma with a Janus face where social liberals would morph into conservative reactionaries.
Were Lucian Freud’s own dreams politicized? Conceiving of the human body as a territory,a history, a series of spaces and spatial relationships, were his dreams and the historical roots he perceives in them an illustrated map and travel guide of some secret and unfathomable political ideology? Freud’s art recalls James Joyce’s quote that “history is a nightmare from which we are trying to awake”. Freud likely wants to wake from his dreams which have sauntered into some dark historical nightmares; the weight of authority, obedience, an imperialist mentality becomes turned in on itself, into the self of which the subject in the painting is merely the messenger. These can be pretty bad dreams. They reflect a collective consciousness that has succumbed, with little resistance, to the spectacle. All these “nakeds” as he called them seem part of a conformity and co-ordination, that result in a visually startling homogenous social receptacle.Which reminds of the totalitarian condition. Freud brings a phantasmagoric consciousness, a glossing over of the chasms of class difference, into a bizarre connection with commodity fetishism and totalitarianism, linking the span between Sigmund Freud, meditations on the erotic stimulation of fascism and its projections onto popular culture.
The circumstance of the new in Freud’s art seems illuminated by the figure of the flaneur of Charles Baudelaire. The thirst for the new is swallowed by the crowd, which appears self-impelled and endowed with a soul of its own. Freud’s subjects appear as sacrifices to this moloch. But, this collective is just an appearance. This “crowd” in which the flaneur-Freud- takes delight- titillated?- is bacically an empty mold subject to new castings. The flaneur, to Baudelaire prided himself on his alertness and nonconformity, would be also the first to fall victim to his own fatuations.
Jerry Saltz: …and his claustrophobic vision of naked models forever posing in his famously dilapidated London studio, and am often struck by how the life of his art seems to drain away. Mostly what I see is nearly maniacal painterly control. Yet Freud is an important touchstone for the many of us who secretly fear that we are not naturally gifted; we who are not precocious geniuses, we non-Picassos who are always unsure that we even are what we say we are….
…Thus I love Freud, even though I don’t love his work. Francis Bacon also came from moneyed roots, took his place in the cloistered English art world of the postwar years, and was a personal hero to Freud. But Bacon visibly struggled, labored, doubted. Although he made work that seemed to get into painterly ruts, he also had bursts of painterly exuberance, broke free of his repetition, arrived at highly original even revolutionary colors, and made stained surfaces that were as risky and flat Rothko’s. Freud, on the other hand, comes at you in the same ways every time; flesh for flesh’s sake; physical fervor; psychic frayed nerves. Read More:http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/07/jerry_saltz_on_lucien_freud_wh.html
Whatever a society regulates – for instance, sexuality and the public display of the body – vigilant critics will notice, often at the expense of everything else. In a pseudointerview conducted by Bowery shortly before Freud’s 1993-94 Metropolitan Museum retrospective, the painter preempted questions that nevertheless still pursue him: “In your work the pictures of naked women are always of straight women, while the pictures of naked men are always of gay men. Why is that?” queried Bowery. The reply was flippant, yet a plausible guide to future critical genius: “I’m drawn to women by nature and to queers because of their courage.” So Freud has consistent principles. Read More:http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0268/is_n5_v35/ai_19225282/
Kuspit:It seems clear that Lucian knows the basics of his grandfather’s theory of dreams, at least in outline. But in his art psychoanalytic ideas lose their therapeutic purpose. Sadistic clinical exposure was never Sigmund’s purpose; it became, however unconsciously, Lucian’s main purpose. Once again cruelty is the royal road to major art in modernity, that is, art that conveys the corrosive effect on the self of living in the cruel modern world: with the death of Francis Bacon — who encouraged Lucian to make the transition from socially polite to existentially potent art — Lucian became the greatest English master of the anti-heroic body. The stresses of life are inscribed in its uncensored flesh. Flesh becomes uncanny in Lucian’s paintings — the flesh of feeling, more crucially, the flesh that conveys the feeling of inhabiting what Max Scheler called the lived body. Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/kuspit/kuspit8-19-02.asp