Early Drawings

Erik ReeL early drawing
Drawing of John Coltrane by Erik ReeL age 15, pencil on paper, 1967

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Reformation and Truth

Erik ReeL and Kathy Rae Huffman
Kathy Rae Huffman, independent curator, and Erik ReeL converse at Villa Aurora, Los Angeles,  November, 2016

Published in conjunction with the exhibition of Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA] running until 26 May 2017.

Blame it on the Germans [or thank them profusely].  As Andreas Görgen reminded a quiet audience at the Villa Aurora–which among other things houses residencies for German artists in Los Angeles and serves as an embassy for German-American cultural relations–the Reformation created three ideas that are still playing out in our world today with great force and energy:   Continue reading “Reformation and Truth”

Hannah Arendt’s Human Condition

Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt, author of The Human Condition

I recently read Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition [University of Chicago Press, 1958].  I’ve only been wanting to read this book for about 40 years, finally a short while ago a copy fell into my hands and I said, OK, it’s about time to actually read it.

It’s a quite idiosyncratic, extraordinary, and fascinating book. No other  book  Continue reading “Hannah Arendt’s Human Condition”

Another Early Drawing

Erik ReeL early drawing
Drawing of Miles Davis, by Erik ReeL, age 15, pencil on paper, 1967.

In my previous post I talked about  going to the library when I was a kid to get good LPs  and then drawing from the photos on them.

One of my favorite musicians when I was a teenager was Miles Davis.  When I was looking for a photo to draw him  I remember it was a bit difficult to get a good enough photo at that time without a horn in his mouth. I did some drawings of him playing, but I also wanted one without a horn in his mouth and finally found a very early photo of him.

Miles is young in the picture, it’s off of one of his earliest albums and I was very young when I drew this pencil sketch. It was  the summer before I entered ninth grade: I was 15.

The original sketch is quite small: only a couple of inches across.


Erik ReeL painting
Erik ReeL, Opus 1684, acrylic on paper

This is a special week between my wife’s birthday and our anniversary.  I cannot say–I will be forever incapable of saying–enough good and wonderful things about the woman who shares my life.  The joy and beauty of this relationship are beyond words, but right in front of us and in us at all times. I give thanks for her existence each and every day.  She is my greatest blessing and honor in this all too short life .

Follow the Money

Erik ReeL painting
Erik ReeL, opus 1680, acrylic on linen

Herodotus and Thucydides reveal that between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, the entire Greek-speaking world for the most part had monetized virtually every bit of land and aspect of civilized life.

This determines a lot of how and why they did things, including wage war. In fact, it seems to be an integral aspect of the motivations in the ancient Greek world for the near perpetual warfare that finally engulfed and bankrupted them during the long and horrific Peloponnesian conflicts.

So Orwell’s grim vision of the future of Capitalism and its potential for perpetual warfare was prefigured already in Thucydides’ history. On the other hand, history presents us with one of its little ironies: that modern Greece has become the current focus and  challenge to Europe’s latest attempts at melding a peaceful world order with the Capitalist monetization of every aspect of society. Or is it just one more instance revealing that the project is inherently contradictory after all? And perhaps not an irony, but confirmation that the Greeks have held to a profound truth all along.