In Ruins II – The West End – St. Louis – The Artistic Appeal of Ruin – Lomography

I drive by this house and I am drawn to take its picture. You will have come to this blog and you will be compelled to “Like” this post. And I do not mean to say that as a sort Jedi mind trick, as in “You will like this post.” But sometimes I am perplexed by my own fascination with such scenes.

Despite having what I feel is a laudable desire in myself to find beauty in broken things, some of my appeal for such images is culturally conditioned, I am sure, and perhaps is a byproduct or even a luxury from living in relative affluence. Do people who may have to live in such places, or other types of squalor, feel any sort of artistic draw to them, except perhaps for a nostalgic or reflective aesthetic draw later when they have escaped from them? Paging Dr. Maslow…

I once had a friend who was bi-polar and so suffered from a fair amount of ruin and fracture in his own person. He was also from another culture which seemed to give him less of a tolerance for things not overtly beautiful being set up as art (the discussion of culture and beauty and art will have to wait for another time). He would look at my some of my pictures of urban ruins and broken glass and say that they made him feel bad.

I am not sure what to make of my own ramblings here or if I have found a satisfactory place for them to land. In the meantime, enjoy (?) these two shots of a ruined house in my neighborhood. The color palettes are slightly different in each of these images, though both are rather stylized in the lomo style.

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Burning Rods – Anselm Kiefer – St. Louis Art Museum – Forest Park

One of my favorite pieces in the St. Louis Art Museum collection is Anselm Kiefer’s Burning Rods which Kiefer created after the Chernobyl disaster, and which is perhaps an equally apt reminder of the greater disaster that nearly was as a result of the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan this past year (which was bad enough in any case).

The texture and details of this piece are amazing. Here is the description from SLAM’s web site.

Lead, straw, porcelain, and iron converge in a vast charred landscape of blackened furrows leading into a distant horizon. Created after the Chernobyl accident, this painting depicts a landscape ravaged by nuclear disaster. The painting’s monumental size and imposing physical bulk are matched by its ambition to address the profound issues of death, destruction, and renewal that are found in the experiences facing humanity today.”

Another favorite Kiefer piece of mine is currently in storage as the museum is throwing out a new wing (to be opened in 2013) and the vibrations from the construction were not playing nice with its delicate broken glass, or so said a docent today. Breaking of the Vessels commemorates Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany and is equally impressive in scope and detail.

Cottage on the Bluffs – Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Novitiate – Godfrey, Illinois – Mississippi River

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