Saturday, 3 September 2016

angels and icons

Florence in its role as the traditional birthplace of the Renaissance is much like an open air museum with galleries dedicated to the worship of art, beauty and enlightenment. Today, Los Angeles takes centre stage in promoting and worshipping these ideals, showing the rest of the world how the gods and goddesses of the 21st Century are packaged and revered.

Los Angeles fuels the imagination. You can be a porn star and a physicist. You can decide to study Zen Buddhism until the next lifestyle trend seduces you. There are no rules. It has to be one of the most ridiculously wonderful cities in the world.

While Florence's piazzas attest to its rich history of art and architecture, Los Angeles is a landscape of concrete with no sense of self justification. It is architecturally and linguistically free. No one thinks that L.A. "works," or that it's well-designed or even that it makes sense to have put it there in the first place; they just think it's interesting, a place to indulge your latest addictions and be your creative untamed self.

Los Angeles is a place where you can confront the objective fact that you mean nothing. Everything precedes you and is bigger than you and more abstract than you. Everything is indifferent to you. You don't matter. You're free. It is a post post-modern landscape of indifference.

Just as Florence with its legendary paintings of prophets and saints paved the way for the visits of future gods, the billboards on Sunset Boulevard do the same thing. The legendary images are everywhere. They’re fresh and formidable. A pantheon of prophets and icons, ripe with merchants selling their dreams, Hollywood peddles 21st century renewal and rebirth

© 2016


* During the Renaissance, money and art went hand in hand. Artists depended entirely on patrons while the patrons needed money to foster artistic talent. Wealth was brought to Italy in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries by expanding trade into Asia and Europe.

Merchants brought with them ideas from far corners of the globe, particularly the Levant. Venice was Europe's gateway to trade with the East, and a producer of fine glass, while Florence was a capital of textiles. The wealth such business brought to Italy meant large public and private artistic projects could be commissioned and individuals had more leisure time for study * Wikipedia~Renaissance

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