Friday, July 30, 2010

Thanh Chuong's Work

Despite thinking Thanh Chuong is an asshole, I can't deny that he is an amazingly talented artist. His paintings are all interesting to say the least.

One thing I do take issue with though is that the pamphlet for the palace says, "All subjects are fair game, and he effortlessly renders them in his personal artistic 'language' that is unmistakably Thanh Chuong." My issue comes with this: All of us immediately said, "His work looks like Picassos," as soon as we saw a couple of paintings. And those that didn't look like Picasso's work, could have easily compared with Matisse's. Look, there's nothing wrong with having influences, just acknowledge them. But again, I guess this should expected from a guy who named a palace after himself and charges Vietnamese an average of two days wages to see how great he is.


Theresa said...

Ben, move over to the side, so I can see the pic... lol.

Anonymous said...

You should laid back with the ad hominem attacks and other whiny vitriols, lest you end up with an on-line hate crowd like the two douche bags in the link below.

Anonymous said...

Um, to the anonymous person above, I'm a long-time Vietnamese reader of Ben's blog who can at times get quite sensitive when people start to Vietnam bash, but it sounds like you must be new to his blog. I don't understand how you can compare Ben's blog to such whiny douches as in the link you posted, he wasn't even making offensive comments about Vietnam itself but rather a specific individual who sounds like he is a douche (the artist). Anyway even if the guys in the blog are quite whiny and act so entitled, it is their personal blog to rant and I've seen far worse when it comes to tourists' accounts of visiting Vietnam. the annoying rant in the link you provided was really quite tame compared to some of the stuff I've read =/

The vast majority of Ben's blog is very respectable, warmly written from someone who obviously enjoys Vietnam to some extent or else he wouldn't have stayed here all these years and is now engaged to a Vietnamese girl... no?

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I really wish I hadn't read that link posted. I've read far worse and I don't think it's actually "racist" but it does scream "entitled", "ignorant", "spoiled". blech, tourists

Benjamin said...

Thanks for the defense. Like you said though, anyone who has read my blog for more than the last two days knows that I love Vietnam. I've spent two life changing years here, am about to marry a Vietnamese girl, have opened a school for middle and lower class students, have raised money to build a couple of homes for poor people, etc. etc. Of course, from time to time, there are things and people in Vietnam that make me angry. That's life. Having come from a country with Freedom of Speech, I'm gonna speak my mind about it.

One thing I always tell my students when they ask about people from other countries is this: "There are good people and bad people in all countries. You can't generalize everyone." Sure, I think Thanh Chuong is a grade A prick but that doesn't mean I don't like all Vietnamese people. To think that is just ridiculous.

Anyway, have a good weekend everyone!...except Thanh Chuong!

Anonymous said...

Ben is a cool guy.I get that part.
I apologize, because my comment wasn't meant to be interpreted as a direct assault on his character.
What i wanted to get across was that he should keep things light(i.e. the Ninja robbers) in spite of the minor annoyances and inconveniences of living in a developing country like Vietnam. Otherwise, they will eat at his upbeat attitudes on life like a corrosive acid before he even realized it.


The 1st Anonymous Commenter

Jeffrey said...

Omg, my first comment. I've been reading this blog for a long time. Hi Ben! I thought I would write something about the art part since I'm studying art in San Francisco.

That pamphlet's words that you take issue with are as precisely manipulated as the paintings on the wall. I would hope to believe that at the Viet Palace, it wasn't simply a matter of ignorance to forget to include Thanh's Western influences, but rather a calculated interpretation of Thanh's contribution to art history. It already sounds like the guy sees himself in a great light, and I think the exclusion of some references like Picasso and Matisse probably add a sense of originality and even national pride to his illustrations. It's quite normal to walk into an American art space and not read the artist's references to artistic contemporaries in Africa or Asia. In fact, I think it's easier for a Westerner to ignorantly omit artistic influences since Modernism was focused in North America and Western Europe, whereas an artist outside these boundaries will probably have a difficult time doing anything without being compared to, say, Picasso or Matisse.

<3 u Ben!