FIRST LOOK: Deep dives into art and artist

A couple of new acquisitions have landed in my mailbox recently:

  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style was published in 2018 by Glasgow Museums in conjunction with an exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum that marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of the iconic artist/designer/architect whose work was essential to the creation of what has become known as the Glasgow Style. I ordered it online after my friend Charlotte visited a traveling version of the exhibit earlier this year at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. I have a real affinity for Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style that began when I bought my first house, a 1920s Craftsman bungalow in Rock Island, Illinois. I found myself drawn to the designs that arose out of the Arts and Crafts movement, including Mackintosh and American Gustav Stickley, with their clean geometric elegance and lack of fussy frills and curlicues. I’m looking forward to reading more about the Mackintosh in particular and the Glasgow Style in general, though I fear it will only stimulate my desire to acquire more examples of the genre to surround myself with.
  • Songwriters whose lyrics have their own geometric elegance and lack of fussy frills and curlicues also appeal to me. Bonus points awarded if they also can withstand deeper scrutiny and placement in a wider cultural context; accordingly I’ve read several books that take a deeper and wider dive into the creative output of Bruce Springsteen. This one, American Lonesome: The Work of Bruce Springsteen was written by Gavin Cologne-Brookes and published in 2018 by Louisiana State University Press. The jacket copy makes it sound a bit … academic, which is probably to be expected from a book written by a university professor whose thesis argues that “the artist’s confessed tendency toward a self-reliant isolation creates a tension in his work between lonesomeness and community.” I’m also intrigued to discover how Cologne-Brookes, a British professor and painter, experiences the work of an artist whose work seems so deeply steeped in American culture.