Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus day 2008

library of congress

Undoubtedly you've heard people say, "I don't know much about [thing x], but I know what I like." Well, I like art, and I know essentially nothing about it. Why was Jackson Pollock's splattering valuable, and your two year old cousin Jeff's splattering a thing to be outgrown and simply lamentable? I dunno.

All the same, I suspect, in my untutored way, that this lithograph is visual doggerel. I think it might be famous, and of course I could be dead wrong, at least about the critical rep of the original. Nevertheless, I felt sufficiently bold to draw a nice little yellow arrow on the middle-right side of the panel to show you a Pre-Columbian Native, so you'd notice him, lurking behind the fern.

Why is he there? Does the artist want us to see the Native Indian Indigenous guy as ominous, representing a threat to Columbus?

Or maybe we're supposed to see the Indigenous Guy as fearful, knowing his place and conveniently staying out of the picture.

I'm tempted to say that a psychoanalytical view would say that the artist wants to banish all thought of Indigenous Guy's presence, but nevertheless feels a compulsion, perhaps out of unresolved guilt, to represent our friend Indigenous Guy. (Such a view might also note in passing my childishness in drawing the arrow.) But then, psychoanalysis is yet another field I know nothing about, so I really shouldn't say this...

[here's a larger view.]

cross-posted at "Hugo Zoom"

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