Jump to content

News: 'Sugar Shack' painting, cover of Marvin Gaye's 'I Want You' sells for $15 million


Recommended Posts

On 22/05/2022 at 13:59, Owd Codger said:

Seem to recall Dave Godin being unhappy with the use of this picture for the LP.

He found something objectionable about the painting.

So a white Englishman objects to a painting by a black artist chosen as the cover art for a Marvin Gaye album? A black artist? Just what did Mr Godin find "objectionable" about the painting? It clearly shows a group of African Americans having a high old time in one of the infamous Juke Joints. Mr Godin does appear to have had something of a Messiah complex...

Link to comment
Social source share

1 hour ago, Moutton Noir said:

So a white Englishman objects to a painting by a black artist chosen as the cover art for a Marvin Gaye album? A black artist? Just what did Mr Godin find "objectionable" about the painting? It clearly shows a group of African Americans having a high old time in one of the infamous Juke Joints. Mr Godin does appear to have had something of a Messiah complex...

You couldn't find a less racist person than Dave Godin!

Link to comment
Social source share

15 hours ago, Owd Codger said:

I regret that I can't recall the exact the details. I must have read it in Blues & Soul circa 1976.

 

Maybe nothing sinister, maybe he just did not like the picture!

 

Link to comment
Social source share

4 minutes ago, Owd Codger said:

Thanks for digging this out.

Not a lot of detail fromMr Godin, but , as I remembered, he didn't like it, on sensability grounds.

Reading the article, I think he means it's patronising of rich people to glamorise poverty!

  • Up vote 2
Link to comment
Social source share

Posted (edited)

Yes I guess that it is. But of course if  Gordy or Gaye had painted it, the critiscism would have been more valid. I seriously doubt if Gordy had any input regarding this cover.

Edited by Owd Codger
Link to comment
Social source share

Posted (edited)

My opinion, which counts for little, is that Mr Godin was bitter with Motown following his 'removal/ quitting , depending on whose view you read, as UK Tamla Representative ( a another topic probably), . 

He was quite critical of Motown on several issues after previously being their flag bearer, so it doesn't surprise me that he would find fault on this issue.

Edited by Owd Codger
Link to comment
Social source share

21 minutes ago, Owd Codger said:

My opinion, which counts for little, is that Mr Godin was bitter with Motown following his 'removal/ quitting , depending on whose view you read, as UK Tamla Representative ( a another topic probably), . 

He was quite critical of Motown on several issues after previously being their flag bearer, so it doesn't surprise me that he would find fault on this issue.

He was critical of Marvin at times he was critical of him when he shaved his head in protest at the jailing of the boxer Ruben Carter .

 

Link to comment
Social source share

Posted (edited)
On 23/05/2022 at 18:34, Solidsoul said:

You couldn't find a less racist person than Dave Godin!

I'm well aware of Godin's pivotal role in promoting African American artists music here in the UK. This is more about Godin's arrogance. There is something of a messiah complex associated with him. The painting depicts an important element of Black culture. Who is Godin to criticise the work of a black artist and the decision of a black singer in their choice of subject matter. Did Godin think he "knew better" Was it a "paternalistic" viewpoint? Sometimes our bias can manifest itself in ways we never knew possible- even when we convince ourselves that such bias doesn't exist!

Edited by Moutton Noir
context
Link to comment
Social source share

1 hour ago, Moutton Noir said:

I'm well aware of Godin's pivotal role in promoting African American artists music here in the UK. This is more about Godin's arrogance. There is something of a messiah complex associated with him. The painting depicts an important element of Black culture. Who is Godin to criticise the work of a black artist and the decision of a black singer in their choice of subject matter. Did Godin think he "knew better" Was it a "paternalistic" viewpoint? Sometimes our bias can manifest itself in ways we never knew possible- even when we convince ourselves that such bias doesn't exist!

I doubt it was arrogance, he was a professor. He was expressing his opinion about his taste in art and TBF isn't the whole point about art to be joyful about it or criticise it.

 

  • Up vote 1
Link to comment
Social source share

On the official Ernie Barnes website (he being the artist responsible for "Sugar shack"), it states that:

Quote

“The Sugar Shack” has been known to art critics for embodying the style of art composition known as “Black Romantic,” which, according to Natalie Hopkinson of The Washington Post, is the “visual-art equivalent of the Chitlin’ circuit.”

That comment hardly seems to be given positively, and intrigued by it, I tracked down the original source of the quote. It comes from an article Hopkinson (who describes herself as "...a writer, scholar, and advocate for history, culture and the arts across the Black Diaspora.") wrote for The Washington Post in 2002, in which she reviewed an exhibition held in Harlem called "Black Romantic: The Figurative Impulse in Contemporary African-American Art".

Scathingly, she says of the exhibition:

Quote

"The 86 works by 30 artists on view are part of the visual-art equivalent of the Chitlin Circuit. At their worst, they can be compared to plays that begin with the word "Mama." Man-hating romance novels starring black heroines with issues. The latest blaxploitation film redux starring John Witherspoon.

We encounter the low end of this kind of art at black expos, fairs and sidewalk vending stands, often featuring black Jesuses, Mandingo beefcakes, brown angels, Black Greek letter organizations, Malcolm/MLK/Huey and maps of Africa."

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/2002/06/19/art-viewed-at-arms-length/038d76dd-e5ae-4fdb-ac94-02de4b950f73/

I suspect Godin's feelings towards both Sugar Shack and the photo used on the album by the Temptations align with Natalie Hopkinson's perspectives - albeit Godin's comments came some 18 years before the reviewer came up with her "Chitlin' circuit" analogy.

Godin, I suspect, perhaps felt that the artistic representations on both album covers were romanticised and backward looking expressions of Afro-Americans - their culture and music - at a time when Civil Rights struggles and the fight against societal and institutional racism were still very much painful daily realities (and the struggles continue, of course).

Perhaps that was very naive of him. At the same time, "class struggles" and societal change were very much a part of who he was, so perhaps he wanted to see images that were (to his mind) more progressive and more forward-looking in their portrayal of Afro-American people and their music, which he so much admired.

Regardless, here in 2022, I don't believe Godin's perspectives (as I've interpreted them) are widely accepted - as acknowledged by the price achieved by Sugar Shack. 

 

  • Up vote 1
Link to comment
Social source share

Get involved with Soul Source

Add your comments now

Join Soul Source

A free & easy soul music affair!

Join Soul Source now!

Log in to Soul Source

Jump right back in!

Log in now!


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.