The Alpha Seer understanding true art

March 28, 2009

ESSAY BY THE GREAT KNOX MARTIN, in praise of the Alpha Seer

Filed under: Citizens of Art Respond,Understanding Art — MASTER BEN LAU @ 10:27 am

Shortly after teaching at the Yale Graduate
School—I left because of interim politics—I find
myself teaching at the Art Students League, my
alma mater, with hilarity in kiddo plangent ricochets.
Meeting with an extraordinary cross-section
of so-called artists, painters, sculptors, poets,
and people like others. Seeing a thousand people,
gigs at other universities and schools—I meet Mr.
Ben Lau at the Art Students League—sort of like
James Joyce meeting Svevo-—in his classroom,
reading his effort and proclaiming “Sir, you are a
genius”—I let fall this intelligence on Ben. I have
said of Ben, “If you fell off a ladder—and your
brush hit the wall—it would be beautiful.”What
gives me the status, position, altitude to make
such a hootsy-cootchy? Same thing what gives
James Joyce clang—perfect pitch. That’s me,
which makes me the ultimate cigarro. It’s as it is,
does Ben get this? Some of it, part of it, all of its
stuff? Or does he take this to Ben’s domain—tee
hee!
Now, Ben picks up my notion of alpha art, and
takes off on the Alpha Seer puts that all into true
art blog and creates a miracle, some of it pure Ben
Lau, the rest is sweet truth. In several Titian
paintings the surface subject matter repeatedly
GIVES the message that you could not look upon
truth with impunity, to look upon truth all
mechanical things would vanish!
This is what I see as the working basics of this
book, a two edged sword cutting both ways and
being wounded at the same time in a highflying
clearing cutting a swath. Hopefully, not like a bull
in a china closet, but nailed down to specifics,
which is the way of the Alpha Seer book.
The Alpha seer burns with intelligence to torch
the doldrums of the insipid, the laughter out of
fear, herd consumption, leaders, dead fashion,
architects of rewards to no talent. Yes, no talent is
rewarded big time very fast and full so that the
vested interests won’t be threatened in their life
times(we don’t want any thing around we can’t
see) a-a-a-a-all is the same every thing is art, we
can now live the life of an artist. Tee hee, falderol.
Bruce Nauman displays a film on digging a fence
post hole on his property and says “this is art:”—
The position of the won’t be taken in, the Alpha
Seer is, nothing that Nauman has ever done is art!
Renoir said of Cézanne,“Man, he can’t put down
but three strokes, and it’s good”—good for what?
Aye—there’s the rub. Can it be, can it be, can it
really be that what is truly really essential in art be
so rare as to be done by us so very few in the face
of an ocean of art that comes out of the world
from the universities from the academies from the
rafters from the streets, it rains so-called artists,
the Turners,Monet, Pissarro, the German
Expressionists, the futurists, the ash can school—
Luks, Sloan, Bellows, Glackens,Whistler, Sir
Joshua Reynolds, South American art, all Latino
art, modern Japanese, modern Chinese, Russian,
American art,Mark Rothko, Clifford Still, Ad
Reinhardt, Gottlieb, Hans Hoffman, Jackson
Pollock—
There’s an immense sheet of wonderful people
who are not doing the central fire of art the same
way that all the rest on the list are not doing.
Francis Bacon, Turner, Damien Hirst may feed us
to the domains of non-monkey Cocco, the place
where reside—all those that promote only harmless
novelty and creatures from the id and dread
pool the drively unconscious as a Francis Bacon
painting a man on the toilet masturbating with
throat cut, lousy mealy colored and dead brushstrokes.
Of course this is button pushing
supreme—if your buttons are pushed you don’t
have to inspect the work!
All that bonafidely moves in the ultimate creation,
where creation is the subject matter—
which is anathema to what obscures, attempts to
remove all traces of whatever points to the real
thing.
Mephistopheles and a foul henchman while out
on a walk spot a man who has picked up something
in his hands glowing with a preternatural
grace, and he radiates enlightenment! The devil’s
companion asks his master, “What is that?”
Answer—“He has found truth”.””Well hell, isn’t
that bad for you?”“No” says Devil, “I will help him
to organize it.”
Would it be helpful to see a partial list of those
condemned on account of the subject matter of
their work is creation? Okay!—it’s Titian,
Velasquez, Adrien Brouwer, Franz Hals, Cézanne,
Matisse, Picasso, de Kooning and us chickens.
“On the smithy of my soul I go to create the yet
not created consciousness of my race.”—James
Joyce
As with the real stuff, which I have not included
here—ya gots ta read into the warp and weft of
the above and with rare intelligence come to grips
with what it is posited here.Who knows, Ben
Lau’s book The Alpha Seer will save the world.
—KNOX MARTIN

ESSAY BY MASTER OLIVIA MARTIN, in praise of the great Knox Martin

Filed under: Uncategorized — MASTER BEN LAU @ 10:26 am

Growing up with Knox, as my father, is an experience
and adventure that is unique.
My brother Jonathan, my sister Alma, and I had
what was unconventional then in the ’50s.
Which was, a father being home with the kids,
and the wife working. This arrangement enabled
Knox to develop his art, painting, drawing, sculpting,
and intense study of art through books and
weekly visits to the various museums in New
York.We went everywhere with him.
My mother Isabel, a Spanish beauty, who was also
a Flamenco dancer, gladly contributed to Knox, as
she saw the genius in him.
Knox, by his own keen interest, has trained his eye
to be able to perceive exactly what is there. To
view a painting at a museum or an art book with
Knox is to have one’s own perception intensified,
not only to how to look at art, and what the
painting really is doing, but to one’s environment
as well. Colors, shapes and beauty are at once
vivid all around.
Through the years, Knox’s perception is clearer
and astonishing. Recent visits to two New York
museums demonstrate this. Certain works of art
of the past were misnamed, or misidentified.
One trusts the establishment, but when one is
with an Alpha Seer, as my father is, be ready to
have authority questioned.
Knox, through his ability to see what is there in
art, from the ancient Egyptians along a certain
identified lineage of master artists, which has
been outlined in this book, has a quest to impart
the knowledge he has and continues to develop
ways to convey this.
This quest is of a generous nature and meant to
lift society’s awareness as a whole and not to lose
where art came from.
Ben Lau, Alpha Seer, has gathered this knowledge
in homage to Knox, enabling others to be Alpha
Seers as well.
—Affectionately, Olivia

My Father, Alpha Seer

ESSAY BY PROFESSOR LEANDER S. HUGHES in praise of the Alpha Seer

Filed under: Uncategorized — MASTER BEN LAU @ 10:25 am

Guidance to Understanding
the Alpha Seer
by Leander S. Hughes


There is a crisis in the modern world of visual art.
Art has lost its taste; or rather, we have lost our
ability or will to distinguish between tastes. A
stack of Brillo boxes (Warhol, 1965) is displayed
in the
same institution as a Van Gogh and we are told
that both works should be treated as equally
great. Of course, we have the right to hold a different
opinion, but not to speak it if we have any
interest in
maintaining our appearance as educated and cosmopolitan.
Instead, we are encouraged to work
out for ourselves ways in which a stack of cardboard
boxes that once contained steel-wool scouring
pads could
somehow rival the Van Gogh: “The boxes speak to
us by depicting the pervasiveness of commercialism
in all aspects of modern life, even fine art!”
we might exclaim. And we would not be wrong.
But what about
enjoyment? What about beauty?
The modern fine art expert will tell you that
beauty is just a matter of personal taste or a figment
of our culture’s collective imagination.
There is no sense in discussing it, since even those
who claim to see it,
disagree on what is beautiful and what is not. But
are we all really so different?
If you were allowed to take either the Brillo boxes
or the Van Gogh home (and assuming the monetary
values of both were equal), which of the
works would you take? Before you answer, let us
add one more element to the above scenario:
When you get home you will be locked
in a room with nothing in it but the work you
have chosen set behind glass, and you will not be
allowed to leave the room except to use the bathroom
for seven years.
Congratulations to those of you who would
choose the Van Gogh over the Brillo boxes. You
have provided hope for the possibility of beauty
that transcends individual differences. If you are
feeling condescended right now thinking, how
could anybody not choose the Van Gogh, take a
trip to your local art museum and look at what is
on display there. How many of those works could
you call beautiful? How many of
them could engage you visually for any significant
length of time? The unfortunate but probable
answer is few, if any. “Ah, but who says those
works are meant to be beautiful?” retorts the fine
art expert.
The expert seems to have a point.Maybe a given
work was created to shock the viewer or to
encourage the viewer to re-contextualize or
deconstruct some aspect of life, society, gender,
politics, etc. Thus, even if there is some universal
element to beauty, beauty was probably the last
thing on the artist’s mind when creating the work.
More likely, the artist made a conscious attempt
to avoid beauty. “Now you’re
catching on,” says our expert.
Let us imagine that, after your thought-provoking
visit to the local modern art museum, you decide
to try out a new restaurant nearby.When the food
comes, you are amazed; you have never seen cuisine
like this before and you wonder what it is
made of, from what
country it originates, and what techniques were
used to create it—very interesting. Then you take
a bite and find to your surprise that the food has
absolutely no taste. You try another bite; again, no
flavor at
all. You complain to the waiter, and he brings you
another dish, but again, the food has no taste! You
are beginning to think you have lost your mind,
when the chef storms out of the kitchen and
demands to know what all of the fuss is about.
You explain that the food is completely tasteless.
The chef looks at you as if you were a complete
dunce and says, “Who says it’s supposed to have
taste?”
Our modern artist-turned-chef would not be in
business very long. However, museums and
schools of the fine arts continue to thrive, accepting
and producing work that lacks what would
logically seem to be the most important quality
for a visual work to possess: the
potential for long-term visual engagement and
enjoyment, aka beauty.Worse, we have been persuaded
that this situation is not a problem; that
the equivalent of a lifetime eating occasionally
thought-provoking, but utterly flavorless food is
the norm, if not the ideal. In fact, many of us have
been so focused on everything but the visual flavor
of the works we view as to lose or even fail to
ever gain the awareness that some works really do
have the power to visually engage us and provide
lasting enjoyment. Lacking the awareness of beauty,
we doom ourselves to a world in which there is
no difference between a Van
Gogh and a stack of cardboard boxes or a
Cezanne and jar of human feces (ala Manzoni,
1961).
The purpose of this book is to awaken us from
the purgatorial dream cast upon us by modern art
aficionados.“Alpha Seer” is a term invented by the
author referring to one who is fully awakened to
beauty. Through his lectures, master painter and
Alpha Seer Ben Lau helps summon and deepen
our ability to sense and appreciate the dynamic
interaction of form, line, and color in great works
of art. Although this
dynamism, which the author describes as a
supreme mathematical relationship, cannot be
distilled into a formula or recipe for beauty, it can
be pointed to through leading the viewer’s attention
to certain characteristics in a piece. To lead
our attention thus,Master Lau brings out the
geometric ground plan of masterworks in detailed
diagrams, while describing the relationships highlighted
in his commentaries.
Through the development of well-defined terminology,
eyeball comparisons of different works
and succinct logical arguments, Master Lau brings
the attentive reader to an understanding of
metaphor and the difference between a masterpiece,
which possesses metaphor, and an illustration,
which does not possess it. Throughout the
book,Master Lau makes clear that the views
expressed are not his alone but are also held by
other Alpha Seers including master painter Knox
Martin, who has contributed the preface of this
book, and other great masters who have come
before him.
Ultimately, the Alpha Seer helps us achieve an
understanding of great visual art as just one manifestation
of the rhythms and poetic movement
which also underlie master works in music, literature,
dance
and other forms of artistic expression. Moreover,
through sensitizing the reader to the supreme
mathematical relationships in masterful art, it
leads the attentive reader to the experience of
beauty which goes beyond the individual, beyond
culture, and beyond thought itself.

Leander S. Hughes holds a Bachelor of Arts in East
Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin,
Madison. He received his master’s degree in 2007 at
a Japanese university. He is currently a professor
teaching English at Saitama University, Japan.

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