Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Men Only

Hartley, 1971

Men Only
Victoria Miro

After what has happened in Norway it is hard to feel the right to keep on going and to keep writing my blog. Somehow it all feels so shallow, so selfish, but life goes on and one can't let this person stop us from living. I say this person or maybe just use his initials ABB and keep it at that, he said he rather wants to be hated than forgotten. So I try with many others, to forget him. But, not quite yet... while Norway now has turned so beautifully blood into roses, I sit here in London wishing I was there with my fellow Norwegians. I don't think I have never missed Norway as much as right now and I am glad I am going home in a few days.

The photos published of ABB has haunted me these last long days, about how he looks so perfectly composed, so absolutely normal. He does not strike me in any way as the "perfect" criminal, but rather like any guy you could encounter. I think this shatters my thoughts on how you look at evil. Can you really see if someone got less empathy and compassion for his/hers fellow human beings? I am not confident that I can anymore.
ABB's pictures in captivity does not look as flattering, but still does he look like someone who could kill over 80 innocents?

I went to see this Alice Neel exhibit the day before the Twin Attacks, as it has been called. Her male portraits in the "Male Only" exhibit keeps lingering. When I walked through the exhibits I was thinking I could point out what the mens profession was, their personality, maybe imagine their lives... but would I dare to do that today?

Phil Bard, 1957

John Evans, 1968

Alice Neel (1900 - 1984) is one of Americas most well known Portrait painters.
She had strong left-wing beliefs, she painted people she met on the streets to other famous artists, lovers, family, women, children, writers and trade unionists.

Richard Gibbs, 1965

Purvis, 1958
Stephen Herbert, 1977

Richard 1973

Alice Neel struggled with her own losses. Losing one daughter to diphtheria, and later her second daughter was taken to Cuba by her husband. The loss, brought her to a suicide ward at the Philadelphia General hospital. 
When Alice Neel got out of the hospital she stayed with her parents before she moved to New York. She concentrated successfully on her paintings and years later she had two sons Hartley and Richard portrayed here as young men.

Ned McCabe

Ed Ziff, 1963

Let us do like the Norwegians are doing right now, embrace each other, remember and care for each other. Maybe by our LOVE we can make this world a better place. I hope so! ABB is not going to be remembered as an instigator to hate (as was his intention), but one who brought us closer to each other. 

With Love


  1. Amazing portraits, so much presence and personality in each one.

    Too many nutbars. Too many guns. Can Norway find a way, show the world how to heal from something like this?

  2. love the paintings! love the final words on your post. love IS the final word.
    loads of it here in the most beautiful and kind country in the world : )

  3. There will always be monsters. Of many sorts.

    These paintings push me further toward doing a Polaroid series on men. I should.

  4. Yes, Unfortunately there will be, but could we possibly lessen the powers of the monsters? I wish!
    I also do hope Norway will stand as an example!

  5. love IS the final word. thank you for your thoughts. left me sad AND hopeful, you know?

    what a sad story of the artist.

  6. My heart goes out to you and your fellow Norwegians my dear. Unfortunately, there are sick people everywhere. Let love make the world a better place indeed!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  7. the world is
    sadly full
    of goodlooking
    evil people
    who through their
    warped actions
    steal the joy
    from one and many
    the ripple effect
    of sorrow
    sometimes it is
    to rememeber
    and yet


    (thanks for your recent visits)

  8. K- I am so sorry-
    I actually looked at all the painting before going back to read your words and my first thought was that these men are creepy- I think it is the paint aspect of the depictions but none the less- that was my thought.

  9. I LOVE Alice Neel... she is so one of my favorite artists every. There is a documentary about her Netflix and it's pretty amazing

  10. Portraits full of personality.

    Particularly as you are Norwegian, I want to tell you my overriding thought and that is that your people are showing the overwhelming power of love triumphing over evil and I pay tribute to them for being a beacon to the whole world.

    I will think of you going back, which I am sure is where you need to be at this time.

  11. like the style, they have character

  12. My prayers are with your countrymen!

  13. No, Norway will never get over the massacre and nor can you turn it into a learning experience of any sort. It will remain as a painful and terrifying experience for this entire generation of Norwegians.

    In Australia the Port Arthur massacre 1996 was a massacre, set in Tasmania's most important historic tourist precinct. Australians will never get over the loss of all those beautiful young families who had been sitting in an open air cafe.

    I wish you just peace.

  14. Hello Kristin:
    Our hearts go out to all those affected by this terrible happening in Norway. This is the latest example of the very unpredictable, dangerous and uncertain times in which we all live.

    Art, and the paintings which you show here, remain a very civilising influence.

  15. these are such great portraits. i love how cool all of the men look.

  16. beautiful post... the images are amazing and love the your last paragraph!

  17. It is was so painful to hear about what happened in Norway. Its sad to think what the world is coming to and the amount of frustration that exists in our society. What enrages me the most is that the guy would go to one of the most best facilitated jails in the world and then walk out from there after serving a mere 21 years of term!!

  18. Yes, Hels, I might be too optimistic. Maybe my Country will never be the same?
    I am not sure about his prison times, the law might be changed for this case. But, yes prisons in Norway are actually nicer than many hospitals you will find abroad....

  19. The news was very upsetting and it's scary to think that this is what we are faced with now, and just like everyone, my heart goes out to everyone who was affected with what happened.

    Gorgeous portraits!

  20. A great tribute to all men...a wonderful post

    Claudia xo

  21. i so like the first and the last artwork, its so divine.

  22. my blood runs cold thinking of all those people lost i cant comprehend it all :(

    Love the paintings