Daniel Buckley’s Art Every Day series on Facebook starts its second year

Marc Chagall: The Dancer

Marc Chagall: The Dancer

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Art Every Day was never meant to be a series. It was intended to be a single artwork on a single day submitted on Facebook after a flurry of contentious political arguing by various friends on social media. It was meant to be something that was not a meme. Something whimsical and beautiful.

 

The first day’s choice was The Dancer by Marc Chagall.

 

It worked.

 

Grete Stern -- Sueño No. 35 / Dream No. 35, 1949

Grete Stern — Sueño No. 35 / Dream No. 35, 1949

But there was something good the next day too that I wanted to share. And something the day after that.

 

Somewhere down the line Art Every Day acquired it’s name and the Facebook series officially began. My guess is it had just reached critical mass.

 

Whether intended as a series or not Art Every Day is now entering its second year.

 

Each day I spend a bit of time looking at art and photography blogs on Tumblr. I don’t look at news blogs on that forum, so my trips there are an escape from the real world.

 

It has become a ritual that I deeply enjoy. Though intended to search for material for the series, in many ways it has renewed my faith in humanity, during a time when the events of the news make that faith pretty shaky. But in poring through images I have reassuringly observed that as a species we have been making art for as long as we have been around. Every culture makes great art. It comes from golden and not so golden eras. It is pervasive over time and space. It exists in our own time and very recent years. It comes from well-known masters and anonymous artists, as well as those whose place in history remains in flux.

 

Bertolt Brecht - Prima viene lo stomaco, poi viene la morale…

Bertolt Brecht – Prima viene lo stomaco, poi viene la morale…

Art changes over time to reflect the cultures that made it, technological advances, societal changes, the times and in general, and changing tastes and mores.  It’s a lot deeper than that, but there’s a starting point.

 

The series took shape out of a desire to share diverse and often awesome work. To show our common humanity and how good we can be. To show that art has the power to provoke discussion that’s sometimes hard to start.

 

The series was intended to be shared widely to, at the very least, get people looking at art, and maybe even get them talking about it. Limited action on that front so far but it may. This thing appears to have some legs.

 

Art Every Day has taken me on a personal journey as well. One I needed to take for many reasons.

 

Bird Vessel - Olmec , Mexico, Mesoamerica 12th-9th century B.C.

Bird Vessel – Olmec , Mexico, Mesoamerica 12th-9th century B.C.

I loved the art history classes I took at the University of Arizona in the mid-1970s. It was fascinating to see all those famous and lesser-known works laid out chronologically and to begin to recognize trends, forms, evolution and the general interplay of the times and art. But frankly it was hard to fully absorb while taking a full college course load at the same time.

 

On Tumblr all of this comes in a bottomless flood through random access scrolls of images, but my memories of those classes kick in and I’m sent hunting for the missing pieces.

 

Like anything worth delving into every day it’s so much deeper and broader than one can imagine. Art history classes were focused almost entirely on art of western civilization. Tumblr, by contrast, is fabulously indiscriminate in its presentation of art. Works from across the planet and throughout time show up, along with collections of the best-known masters of every era of western art. Some of the art is utilitarian, some fanciful, some abstract or figurative. Along the line a great number of artistic trends have found representation in the series.

 

Some of the blogs I explore for material are hosted by experts, others by enthusiasts, and most have a clear theme. And Tumblr does a good job of suggesting other blogs you might want to explore.

 

Fountains by Polish artist, Małgorzata Chodakowska

Fountains by Polish artist, Małgorzata Chodakowska

It’s a lot to mine every day, but there’s always too much great stuff. So I keep a big folder of candidates on my hard drive and poke through both the saved gems and recent harvests to choose each day.

 

As a photographer and filmmaker working on The Mariachi Miracle, this exercise has proven fundamentally important.  When filming now I see things in a different way. I compose my shots differently and look for elements and vantage points I might not have considered before. I know what I want to see, and through my craft I’m starting to get closer to that imagined view. I believe it ultimately will propel the story telling, though more likely in future productions than this one. But without question, it will change the look of the finished film.

 

I am a different person for taking this journey with my friends on Facebook. It has opened my eyes to the power and equality of art. My criteria of selection remains the same. I look for compelling images while scrolling through the digital stacks. But the past year has shown me how often those compelling images were created by women and artists from every reach of time and the globe.

 

 

Rodel Tapaya (Filipino, b. 1980), Visiting Family Cand, 2008

Rodel Tapaya (Filipino, b. 1980), Visiting Family Cand, 2008

I love watching what people do and don’t like. Seeing who among my friends will “like” certain works but not others, and who will love the more oblique selections. Some pieces get a handful of “likes,” while others get hundreds. It’s interesting to try to figure out what elements make a given piece broadly popular and another not so much.

 

Weirdly it helps me get to know all of you in a different way from our normal interaction. And hopefully it’s given us all a calmer place to gather for a few seconds each day and have a look at something someone created especially for us to see.

 

Onward to year two. We’re just getting started.

 

What’s coming up? We’ll find out.

 

 

~ by Daniel Buckley on July 15, 2018.

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