Tag Archives: 20th Century British artists

Letter to the Editor: Bacon’s Staying Power


[Published February 25, 1990, Los Angeles Times]

Regarding William Wilson’s Feb. 11 review of the Francis Bacon exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

I admit to snickering at a recent LACMA exhibition. Not at Francis Bacon’s paintings –I snickered at all the people fawning over Robert Longo’s superficiality. So Bacon belongs to the era of Existentialists and beatniks. Fine. Kurt Schwitters belongs to the era of Dadaists, revolutionaries and prophets. Cezanne and Goya belong to their times. I do not snicker at art because it belongs to another time. 

Francis Bacon has not changed much over the decades. He paints the same images. He chooses to refine, rather than add new techniques. His subjects –death, alienation, violence and sex– remain unchanged. Bacon rescues the viewer from Western “sophistication” of not feeling anything about much of anything. His paintings make us feel. Over and over again.

While his art belongs to another era, his place in art will not pass like so may fads. Wilson’s confused opinions will soon be forgotten. Like his MTV and “electronic culture.” Violence, sex and death do not bore me. Banality does. .