The Alpha Seer understanding true art

March 19, 2011

Basho, a great Japanese spirit!

Filed under: Uncategorized — MASTER BEN LAU @ 12:45 am

Are you the butterfly
And I Chuang Tzu’s
Dreaming heart

Any parallel to Picasso’s one- line composition in poetry? You betcha!
The above Basho represents some of the greatest Japanese spirit!
But any lineage is universal, from China’s Chuang Tzu to the universal spirit of making metaphors, it belongs to ALL HUMANITY–whether it is with a line or with a slight collection of words… .

March 9, 2011

The Great Master (http://www.knoxmartin.com)In Praise of the Alpha Seer, a.k.a Master Ben Lau

Filed under: Uncategorized — MASTER BEN LAU @ 11:15 am

Master Knox Martin says:

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

Professor Leander S. Hughes on His Former Mentor Master Ben Lau

Filed under: Uncategorized — MASTER BEN LAU @ 11:12 am

PROFESSOR LEANDER S. HUGHES SAYS:

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 is currently
teaching at Saitama University, Japan.

Professor Leander S Hughes (Saitama University) on Master Ben Lau

Filed under: Uncategorized — MASTER BEN LAU @ 11:05 am

PROFESSOR LEANDER S. HUGHES

ON THE ALPHASEER

More than a decade has passed since I first met Ben Lau, but I remember the occasion well. I was a student at the Rudy and Lola Perpich Center for Arts Education, and Ben was a special guest at our school, invited to present before our entire student body. Things got off to a rocky start when Ben put a black and white copy of a Cezanne and one of a Pissarro side by side on the overhead and asked the audience which was a better composition. Ben never had a chance to move forward from this initial question, as students around me jumped up in protest: “How can you say one work of art is better than another?!” one student shouted, “It’s just your opinion!” Soon the hall was consumed in chaos with students interrupting Ben, talking over each other in their self-righteous tirade against this apparent act of artistic discrimination. For all of their talk about equality and mutual understanding, my classmates showed themselves to be thoroughly bigoted in their refusal to even allow Ben to explain himself. So, the first time I ever spoke to Ben was when I went up to him that day to apologize for the rude treatment he had received and to tell him that I would have liked to hear what he had to say. A year later, Ben came back to our school offering to be a mentor to anyone interested. I applied straight away, and Ben has been a mentor and good friend to me ever since.

There was no sudden enlightenment studying under Ben. I was a very skeptical student in the beginning. I did not see the beauty in his work. In fact, I did not see beauty in anyone’s work, including my own. Sometimes I liked a painting because it got me fantasizing or philosophizing about this or that, but my ability to take pleasure in something at a purely visual level was close to nil. Gradually though, over countless Saturday afternoons spent with Ben looking at the paintings in his many art books- engaging with Titian, Hals, Matisse, Van Eyck, Hokusai, and Knox Martin to name just a few- I began to feel something in those works: the way the dark and light embraced and intertwined, the energy and certainty of the brush strokes. Slowly, I began to taste, if ever so slightly, the dynamism and vitality of those great compositions, and in time, my appreciation went deeper- to a level which may well be impossible to explain: when a painter takes something essential to the human experience and reinvents it in the two-dimensional space of a canvas, letting the power of that thing guide each line and tap out the rhythmic dance of dark and light, then that painting becomes a thing onto itself- a small universe into which we can step and exist indefinitely, if we wish, simply by giving it our full attention. If this isn’t Beauty with a capital “B,” then it is at least one very important kind of beauty- one that has added immeasurable richness to my life and one that is clearly present in some paintings more than others.

Ben has a website at www.thealphaseer.com upon which he refers to himself as the Alphaseer- I laughed when I first read this self-bestowed title, but the title is not a product of an enflamed ego: Rather it is an honest appraisal of Ben’s own ability. Ben could see Beauty (yes, I think it deserves a capital “B”), whereas my art school classmates and I could not. Now thanks to Ben’s mentorship, I too can catch a glimpse into Beauty’s secret chambers, and for this I am truly grateful, but Ben remains light-years ahead of me- he can actually CREATE Beauty consistently with every new work he produces. Thus, I think “Alphaseer” may actually be a shade too modest- Ben, to me, is the Alphacreator: he creates Beauty on a daily basis and that Beauty is a gift to everyone willing to take the time to really see it. If I had the money to be Ben’s patron, I would buy up all of his work in an instant- not because doing so would be a wise investment (as it surely would be), but just so I could surround myself in the timelessness of his art. For now though, I can only offer this humble endorsement along with my heartfelt thanks to Ben and my hope that, in some small way, I may help bring to him the wider recognition he so deeply deserves.

Professor Leander s. Hughes is currently teaching at Saitama University, Japan.

*********************************************************************************************

Lee,

That was a beautiful statement, Lee, thank you for writing with such
heartfelt honesty. It’s always good to hear about my dad’s work from
someone else. Growing up in a household where I’m constantly
surrounded by these works and where the Alphacreator is also my dad
(you know how that is), I often take for granted my seemingly
effortless ability to discern Beauty from non-beauty – but I realize
time and again it is only because my dad raised me this way, so that
seeing art is like a native language.

I hope this can be published some day.

Love,
Isabella

Isabella is the daughter of Ben Lau, a.k.a. the Alpha Seer

Karen Monson

to me

show details Dec 6 (2 days ago)

This is so Beautiful and so true, Ben.  I remember the first time I met you … and that day very well.  Thank you for sharing this.  Karen

Karen M. is the lady who, in Leander Hughes’ youth had brought about the meeting of the latter and the Alpha Seer.

Master Knox Martin on Ben Lau

Filed under: Uncategorized — MASTER BEN LAU @ 5:38 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

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