Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1969 Collier Paper Back Edition

This paper back edition is prized for its psychedelic '60's cover and the introduction written by Quentin Anderson, Professor at Columbia University.

Its interesting that the cover art primarily features the face of a person reflected in the water and not a whale, perhaps that face is Ahab, and perhaps not. There is really no indication as to who that is.

Tilting the cover on its side, one can then perhaps also make out a white whale in the act of consuming the face? Which only then indicates that it is perhaps Ahab. That ambiguity was a hallmark of the '60's art, and often times not a very successful form.

The whale boat and the Pequod are drawn with some precision, while the face and the white whale are all jittery and spooky, that juxtaposition in styles is hard to reconcile, again setting up a ambiguity that is not that successful.

No, you perhaps would guess that I was not a big fan of 60's art when I was in college in the 60's. As an art form it is interesting historically, and some pop art has merit, but in my book it was a failure and has no lasting power. Here in Albany resides one of the largest public collections of 60's art, accumulated by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. Now I am a hugh Rocky fan. A visit to the Plaza Art Collection, is actually worth the effort, it is a segment specific collection.

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