FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 141 Marvin Minsky Part F (Featured artist is Llyn Foulkes, )

Marvin Minsky

Image result for marvin minsky

I was sorry recently  to learn of the passing of one of the great scholars of our generation. I have written about Marvin Minsky several times before in this series and today I again look at a letter I wrote to him in the last couple of years. It is my practice in my letters to quote from the works of Adrian Rogers or Francis Schaeffer or both in my letters to these scholars.

Daniel Dennet Discussion with Marvin Minsky: The New Humanists 1/2

Published on Aug 3, 2012

John Brockman, editor of The New Humanists: Science at the Edge, moderated a discussion between contributors Daniel Dennett and Marvin Minsky. During the course of the discussion, Dennett and Minsky talked about the existence of the universe, intelligent design versus evolution, and the theories of Stephen Jay Gould. Following the discussion, the panelists responded to questions from the audience. The book is published by Barnes and Noble.


Daniel Dennet Discussion with Marvin Minsky: The New Humanists 2/2

Published on Aug 2, 2012

John Brockman, editor of The New Humanists: Science at the Edge, moderated a discussion between contributors Daniel Dennett and Marvin Minsky. During the course of the discussion, Dennett and Minsky talked about the existence of the universe, intelligent design versus evolution, and the theories of Stephen Jay Gould. Following the discussion, the panelists responded to questions from the audience. The book is published by Barnes and Noble.



Fifth  Email on 10-31-14 on NASA and Brandon Sermon Old Testament prophecies on Jesus


To Marvin Minsky c/o MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA

Recently I had the opportunity to correspond with Harold Kroto who is one of your friends and he asserted:

I think we may see the good things the same way but I do not gloss over the bad aspects of religiosity but …some of the bad…cf ISIS…“Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”― Steven Weinberg


My reaction to Professor Kroto quoting his friend Steven Weinberg  is to quote another one of his friends. Sam Harris rightly noted earlier this month on Bill Maher’s show that liberals are still getting “AGITATED OVER THE ABORTION CLINIC BOMBINGS THAT HAPPENED IN 1984″ but they are not upset at what is happening in the Muslim world right now!!!! THERE IS REALLY NO COMPARISON AT ALL BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM AND THEIR AFFECTS IN THE AREAS OF FREEDOM OF PRESS, POLITICAL FREEDOM AND FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. Professor Kroto mentions ISIS but is there a group on the Christian side beheading in large numbers today? Also Professor Kroto gave me a link  that gave more quotes from his friend Steven Weinberg and here are some of those quotes and my initial reaction to them:

“One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment.”  Steven Weinberg (Many of Weinberg and Kroto’s scientific heroes of the past were Bible believing Christians such as Isaac Newton and I pointed this out to Ernst Mayr during our correspondence in 1995.I have also pointed out that evolutionists must hope  like George Wald that   “Time is the Hero” because the law of bio-genesis seems to  disprove evolution altogether.)

“I don’t need to argue here that the evil in the world proves that the universe is not designed, but only that there are no signs of benevolence that might have shown the hand of a designer.” Steven Weinberg  (There are great problems for the agnostic on this subject too and my discussion with Lester Mondale in his home in Missouri in 1996 clearly shows the secular humanist’s glaring weakness.)

“If there is no point in the universe that we discover by the methods of science, there is a point that we can give the universe by the way we live, by loving each other, by discovering things about nature, by creating works of art. And that—in a way, although we are not the stars in a cosmic drama, if the only drama we’re starring in is one that we are making up as we go along, it is not entirely ignoble that faced with this unloving, impersonal universe we make a little island of warmth and love and science and art for ourselves. That’s not an entirely despicable role for us to play.” Steven Weinberg (I was privileged to have the opportunity to correspond with Carl Sagan during the last year of his life and in that correspondence I answered back his letter with the assertion that mankind was put on this earth by God with a special purpose. We are precious, but even though Jodie Foster makes that claim in the movie CONTACT which Sagan wrote, the secular worldview does not in anywhere support that conclusion.)

One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment. Steven Weinberg (Although Charles Darwin did lead science that direction,  Dr. H. Fritz Schaefer confronted the assertion that a scientist cannot believe in God in an excellent article. )


One of my favorite messages by Adrian Rogers is called  “WHO IS JESUS?”and he goes through the Old Testament and looks at the scriptures that describe the Messiah.  I want to encourage you to listen to this audio message which I will send to anyone anywhere anytime. I have given thousands of these CD’s away over the years that contain this message and they all contain the following story from Adrian Rogers.  Here is how the story goes:

Years ago Adrian Rogers counseled with a NASA scientist and his severely depressed wife. The wife pointed to her husband and said, “My problem is him.” She went on to explain that her husband was a drinker, a liar, and an adulterer. Dr. Rogers asked the man if he were a Christian. “No!” the man laughed. “I’m an atheist.”

“Really?” Dr. Rogers replied. “That means you’re someone who knows that God does not exist.”

“That’s right,” said the man.

“Would it be fair to say that you don’t know all there is to know in the universe?”

“Of course.”

“Would it be generous to say you know half of all there is to know?”


“Wouldn’t it be possible that God’s existence might be in the half you don’t know?”

“Okay, but I don’t think He exists.”

“Well then, you’re not an atheist; you’re an agnostic. You’re a doubter.”

“Yes, and I’m a big one.”

“It doesn’t matter what size you are. I want to know what kind you are.”

“What kinds are there?”

“There are honest doubters and dishonest doubters. An honest doubter is willing to search out the truth and live by the results; a dishonest doubter doesn’t want to know the truth. He can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman.”

“I want to know the truth.”

“Would you like to prove that God exists?”

“It can’t be done.”

“It can be done. You’ve just been in the wrong laboratory. Jesus said, ‘If any man’s will is to do His will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority’ (John 7:17). I suggest you read one chapter of the book of John each day, but before you do, pray something like this, ‘God, I don’t know if You’re there, I don’t know if the Bible is true, I don’t know if Jesus is Your Son. But if You show me that You are there, that the Bible is true, and that Jesus is Your Son, then I will follow You. My will is to do your will.”

The man agreed. About three weeks later he returned to Dr. Rogers’s office and invited Jesus Christ to be his Savior and Lord.

When I was 15 I joined my family on an amazing trip with our pastor Adrian Rogers to the land of Israel in 1976 and the most notable event to me was our visit to the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) where hundreds of orthodox Jews were praying and kissing the wall. At the time we were visiting the wall I noticed that Dr. Rogers was visibly moved to tears because he knew that these Jews had missed the true messiah who had come and died on a cross almost 2000 years before. They were still looking for the messiah to come for the first time sometime in the future.

That one event encouraged my interest in presenting the gospel to the Jews.  At about the same time in Little Rock two Jews by the names of Dr. Charles Barg and Dr. Jack Sternberg were encountering that gospel message.   I have posted before about their life stories and they can be easily found on the internet.

I THOUGHT OF YOU ON  10-26-14 WHEN OUR TEACHING PASTOR BRANDON BARNARD AT FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH IN LITTLE ROCK TAUGHT ON JESUS’ MESSAGE TO THOSE JEWS SKEPTICAL OF HIS CLAIMS TO BE THE MESSIAH AND THE SON OF GOD.  After hearing this message I went straight to our church bookstore and asked for any books that deal with Jewish skeptics and I bought the books BETWEEN TWO FATHERS by Dr. Charles Barg and CHRISTIANITY: IT’S JEWISH ROOTS by Dr. Jack Sternberg.  I highly recommend both of these books.

If  someone is truly interested in investigating the Old Testament Scriptures then all they have to do is google “Bible Evidence Archaeology” or  click on the links on my blog and the evidence is there showing that Christ is the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament. Here are some of my past posts on this subject, 1. My correspondence with Daniel Bell and Irving Kristol about the rebirth of Israel!!!!, 2. My personal visit with Bill Kristol on 7-18-14 in Hot Springs, Arkansas!!!!, 3. Simon Schama’s lack of faith in Old Testament Prophecy, 4. Who are the good guys: Hamas or Israel?, 5. “A Jewish Doctor Speaks Out: Why I Believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah” written by Dr. Jack Sternberg (author of the book CHRISTIANITY: THE JEWISH ROOTS), and 6.  Jesus Christ in the Old Testament by Adrian Rogers,

Brandon’s sermon started with these words from Jesus to the Jewish skeptics of his day:

John 5:18-47 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Jesus’ Equality with God

18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever[a]the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Himgreater works than these, so that you will marvel. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Two Resurrections

25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [b]the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

30 “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

31 “If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not [c]true. 32 There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true.

Witness of John

33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for [d]a while in his light.

Witness of Works

36 But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.

Witness of the Father

37 And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. 38 You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

Witness of the Scripture

39 [e]You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it isthese that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men; 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when youreceive [f]glory from one another and you do not seek the [g]glory that is from the one andonly God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Then Brandon gave the quote below from C.S. Lewis:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
     We are faced, then, with a frightening alternative. This man we are talking about either was (and is) just what He said or else a lunatic, or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form.

Quotes from Mere Christianity, Part 20
For enquiring minds, see the Wikipedia article: Lewis’s trilemma
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 52-53.

In this passage from John Jesus gives his identity (Son of God verse 25) and his authority (v.27-28 to judge and give life). It also discusses the four witnesses in Christ behalf. Then Brandon asked, “How does the identity and authority of Jesus affect you? He asserted, “It is impossible to honor God apart from honoring Jesus Christ.”

Brandon’s last point of the sermon was this:



If someone truly wants to worship the Jewish Messiah of the Old Testament then they should take a close look at what the Old Testament says about that Messiah. Both Dr. Barg and Dr. Sternberg found the Old Testament prophecies very convincing and they both are now members of my church in Little Rock which is Fellowship Bible Church. Take a look at some of these verses which are mentioned in Adrian Rogers’ short article below.

Jesus Christ in the Old Testament

Acts 10:43

“Digging Deeper” into Scripture, you’re going to find that all of the Bible—Old Testament as well as New—is about Jesus Christ.  Yes, He appears in the Old Testament—if you know how to find Him there. The Lord Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, is found throughout the Old Testament in prophecy, types and shadows.

In this study we’ll see how that occurs.

Did you know there are about 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah? Professor Peter Stoner was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953, then was Chairman of the Science Department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He wrote a book titled Science Speaks. He proved that it is impossible, by the law of mathematical probability, for Jesus Christ not to be the one true Messiah of Israel and the Son of God

Later in this study we’re going to look at that, so keep reading.

But first let’s begin with something the apostle Peter said, confirming Jesus’ presence in the Old Testament:

1. Turn to Acts 10:43.  Peter, testifying in the household of Cornelius about Jesus, says:       “To Him,” [to Jesus,] “give all the prophets witness.”

When Peter made this statement, the New Testament had not yet been written. So when Peter says “the prophets,” who is he talking about?

Peter wanted Cornelius, a Roman officer, to know that throughout the Old Testament, the prophets were looking ahead, predicting and proclaiming the arrival of the Messiah.

When we get to the New Testament, we find the fulfillment.

  • In the gospels, we see Jesus as the Prophet preaching the kingdom of God.
  • In the epistles and Acts you see Jesus Christ, the ascended Priest, interceding for the people of God.
  • In the book of Revelation, you see Jesus Christ as the King, coming to rule and reign.

Each of these offices is a portrait of Jesus Christ.
All of the Old Testament pictures Jesus as prophet, priest, and king.
All of the New Testament shows Jesus as the fulfillment.
He is the Prophet, Priest, and King.

Portraits of Jesus in the Old Testament:

Jesus is the second Adam because the first Adam prophesied Him.
Jesus is a beloved, rejected, exalted son and world bread supplier like Joseph.
Jesus is that root out of dry ground, born of a virgin. (Is. 53:2)
Jesus is a priest like Aaron and Melchizedek because they prefigured Him.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah (the same
mount as Mt. Calvary, where Jesus literally died.)
Jesus is the Passover lamb.
Jesus is a prophet like Moses because Moses typified Him.
Jesus is the water that came from the rock in the wilderness.
Jesus is the manna that fell from the sky.
Jesus is the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness.
Jesus is the scapegoat bearing away the sins of the people.
Jesus is pictured in the Ark of the Covenant.
Jesus is the mercy seat where the shekinah glory of God dwells.
Jesus is the sacrifice upon the brazen altar in the tabernacle and the temple.
Jesus is a champion like Joshua, whose name literally means “Jesus.”
Jesus is a king like David.
Jesus is a wise counselor like Solomon.
Jesus is the lion of Judah.
Jesus is the good shepherd, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Jesus is the fruitful branch.
Jesus is that one without form or comeliness yet altogether lovely. (Is 53:2)


Prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament

Fulfilled prophecy is one of the great proofs of the Deity of Jesus Christ.

God began to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus with a multitude of prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Him. There can be no mistake that Jesus is the Messiah. As Professor Peter Stoner pointed out, the law of mathematical probability makes it totally impossible that anyone other than Jesus else could be the Messiah.

The law of probability is not an abstract law. Life insurance policies, for example, are based on mathematical probability.

Let’s look at just 8 out of 108 Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled.

1. The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
Fulfillment: Luke chapter 2 and Matthew 2:1

2. The Messiah will have a forerunner. (Malachi 3:1)
“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple…”

Fulfillment: Matthew 3:1-3 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [Isaiah], saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.’”

3. The Messiah would make His triumphant entry riding on a donkey (now what king does that?)
Zechariah 9:9 “Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a ___________, Even on a colt, the foal of a ___________.

Fulfillment: Matthew 21:7, John 12:14-16

4. The Messiah would die by crucifixion. (Psalm 22, especially vv. 11-18)
“…for dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they have pierced  my hands  and feet.”

Fulfillment: Luke 23:33, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24 John 19:23

5. Those who arrested Him would cast lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18)
“They part my garments among them, and _______ ______ upon my vesture.

Fulfillment: Luke 23:34
34 “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.” Also John 19:23, Mark 15:24, and
Matthew 27:35, “and parted His garments, casting lots.”

6. Messiah would be betrayed by one of His own friends. (Zechariah 11:6)
6 “And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my ___________.’

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:14-16, “14 Then ____ of the __________, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests…” Also Mark 14:10-11, John 18:2

7. Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12)

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:15-16
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you? And they covenanted with him for _________ pieces of _________. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

8. The Messiah will remain silent when He is accused and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:7)
“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.”

Fulfillment: Mark 14:61, 61 But He held his peace, and answered nothing.”
1 Peter 2:23 23 Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:”

These are just 8 examples of Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled. There are at least 108, many of which He had no control over, if He were only a human being (such as the place of His birth and the prophesied “flight to Egypt” when He was a child.)

The odds of any one person being able by accident to fulfill even 8 of the 108 prophecies is a number so astronomical, our minds cannot conceive of it. Professor Stoner calculated it to be 1in 1017 or 1 in 100 quadrillion.

Is Jesus Christ found in the Old Testament? He is found in type and shadow in every book of the Old Testament.

Thank you for taking time to read this and feel free to contact me back at or 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002


Dr. Charles Barg’s book below:

Dr. Jack Sternberg below:


Dancing at the Wailing Wall in 1967:

Picture of Wailing Wall from 1863

Source: Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee, p. 147.

President Carter with Adrian and Joyce Rogers in 1979 at the White House:

Adrian Rogers in the White House pictured with President Ronald Reagan below:


Adrian and Joyce Rogers with President Bush at Union University in Jackson, TN:


Adrian Rogers pictured below on national day of prayer with President Bush.


Featured artist today is LLYN FOULKES


Llyn Foulkes, Dali and Me, 2006
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA. Courtesy: the artist


by Andrew Berardini


Charred remains, hard to tell if it’s from firefights or just neglect. The classroom’s vacant. There’s nothing left but a child’s chair and a blackboard cut into two levels, the top for an absent alphabet the bottom for the day’s chalk puzzles and problems, lessons and teacherly ruminations. The frame is charred, some unknown heat has bubbled it over, giving it a curdled skin that flakes over the slate. The board is still dusty from some distant assignment, the only marking left on it is carved into the top corner, a little swastika. Hastily drawn, but recognizable.

A monument perhaps, it’s called “In Memory of St. Vincent’s School”, which sounds like a memorial for a childhood more than for a war. But it’s 1960 and there’s some echo of dad fending off Nazis, the long “good” war, the triumphal victory of the American way. Is it an American classroom? A German one? Like all the broken skeletons in Normandy battlefields, can anyone really tell the difference between what’s German and what’s American?

America beat the Germans in World War II, it’s true. But did we beat fascism?

It’s a battered horizon, a religious scene, an altarpiece, but there aren’t any gods or saints lest you count Mickey Mouse in prairie drag patrolling the border, rifle in hand. The Hollywood hills are covered in debris, before the border is some mummified figure like an Indian dark as the hills around him, on the hill opposite him is a very dead cat. Close by, the back of a man’s head approaches the border, looking intently into the dead screen of a TV piled in the garbage, a bleak brown city stretches beyond the hills in the distance, a smogged out Los Angeles, its own pile of junk.

The whole scene is magnificently weird. Disconcerting even. Why a dead cat? Who’s the Indian? The man looking in, is he our hero, a saint, a traveller, a Dante crossing into hell or at least purgatory? In this theater, we must feel like him, t-shirted and lost, looking into the broken terrain of a familiar city. None of us wants to be shot by Mickey in drag. Still smiling his saccharine, Disney grin, there’s something sinister about his chunky body, his rifle, his dress.

Los Angeles; the end of the road, the end of America’s westward expansion, the last frontier, the lost frontier.

A friend of mine who worked in advertising often joked that he makes capitalist propaganda.

Instead of beaming laborers in drab olive in US’s ad history, we had beaming consumers. They were sexier of course than Soviet workers and chubby-faced Maoist children, but capitalism has always been a bit sexier. Cheerful and suntanned in deck shorts smoking Newport cigarettes on windswept yachts, drinking ice-cold bottles of Coca-Colas with voluptuous ladies in bikinis, and of course after every major achievement in life, we are asked the question: “How are you going to celebrate?”. And always, cameras flickering at our shit-eating grins, we announce: “I’m going to Disneyland!”

Llyn Foulkes, In Memory of St. Vincent’s School, 1960
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA. Courtesy: the artist

I want to write an essay about Llyn Foulkes, but am finding it really difficult. I think part of the reason why is that no one as far as I can tell has ever written anything interesting about Llyn Foulkes. Maybe someone has, but I haven’t found anything that satisfying. They tend to repeat the same boring and sometimes inaccurate litany of traits and coincidences about Foulkes. The first two above are descriptions of artworks, one from early in his career and the other from more recently. I wanted to begin with the work and some of its philosophical underpinnings before actually talking about the critical clichés.

Being at one time a part of the Ferus Gallery is one of these oft rattled off boilerplates on the man, sometimes they mention he got kicked out by Irving Blum, by way of Billy Al Bengston and Bob Irwin, stories differ. Ferus for those outside of LA is like the ur-myth of art in the city. It’s like the Cedar Tavern for the butch abstractionist of New York in the 1940s, some place repeated so many times it’s gone past legend into the anodyne, the cliché. Started by artist Ed Kienholz, curator Walter Hopps, and poet Bob Alexander and later taken over by dealer Irving Blum, Ferus was one of the early galleries and by far the most famous to exhibit contemporary art in Los Angeles. Kienholz went on to become a famous artist, Hopps a famous curator and Irving Blum a very wealthy dealer (I once heard him saying on a panel we were both on that the happiest moment of his life was selling Andy Warhol’s series of Campbell soup cans to MoMA as a very partial gift and a reported $15 million dollars). A good percentage of the artists became famous as well, Ed Ruscha and then Robert Irwin being by the far the biggest names, though the gallery exhibited Andy Warhol early on (those expensive soup cans), some legend spinners say it was the first gallery in the world to give Andy Warhol a solo show, which isn’t quite true. Foulkes had one show there in 1961. This fact always appears in the first paragraph of any article written on him, which kind of sucks. As if the most notable thing about him as an artist was that he was shown someplace cool with a bunch a people who became famous, except for him. He’s always sold by those that were around him.

More than one piece about Llyn Foulkes calls him a curmudgeon. And he is a little to be sure. He’s invariably quirky (one aspect of every curmudgeon); one of his passions being the novelty music of Spike Jones, a tradition he continues with a rambling one-man band set up he calls “The Machine”. And there is a little bitterness about a lifetime of missed opportunities and perceived antagonists. But calling Foulkes a curmudgeon would be like calling Kurt Vonnegut a curmudgeon, someone who takes a lot of America’s crimes and misdemeanors so personally, that outrage melts into ill-tempered resignation with occasional outbursts of surprise that no one else seems to notice how Kafkaesque the world’s become.

Okay, got that out of the way.

Now we can talk about the work.

Llyn Foulkes is an American painter who’s lived most of his life in and around Los Angeles making work that blends a very personal surreal and social critique using some of the most potent icons and themes of America mythology, a notable recurring character being Mickey Mouse. Sometimes his paintings better resemble dioramas and collages, assemblage and collage than old-fashioned brush-and-canvas varietal, but painting is the primary medium through which it’s all poured, one of his earliest inspirations being Willem de Kooning’s painting “Merritt Parkway” from 1959.

His paintings are haunted by sundry crimes of America, a lot of refracted through Disney and often through portraits, mostly of men, some of them famous, all of them tortured, broken, mutilated. His landscapes, which began like Magritte’s “The Anniversary”, huge peculiar and precarious boulders perched over America, postcards of the Western frontier, soon became troubled, broken, reaching a surreal pitch in one of his most diligent and agonized-over works, the diorama “The Lost Frontier”, 1997-2004 (described above with the prairie drag Mickey), which consisted of a long eight years of regular working and reworking to complete. Llyn Foulkes is an American with a guilty conscience.

There is some element of Ed Kienholz in Foulkes’ lineage, self-admitted by the artist. The weird materiality of broken-down America and the sometimes ham-fisted but heartfelt critique of the Land of the Free are trademarks of both artists’ work, but while Kienholz was a messy, sculptural, and barbaric yawp, Foulkes is darker, more interior. Foulkes critiques seem more painful, more psychologically exposed than Kienholz’s ramshackle room-sized installations, the politics of which generally lacked subtlety but are invariably (for me) visually satisfying. Foulkes in his work seems to take all the political and social misdeeds of a corporatized America deeply to heart, a personal affront. Sometimes the work seems so personal, it’s hard to look at.

Llyn Foulkes, Study for St. Anthony, 2009-2011
Courtesy: the artist

His portraits are so direct and broken, they also seem almost hard to look at. They remind me of Gerhard Richter’s series of portraits, as his were a way to cycle through history, but for Richter, to reflect on it without comment. Foulkes work seems to reflect on history “with” comment, a national culture as experienced by an individual, refracted through his work. Salvador Dalí appears too, both in paintings and in interviews with the artist, but Foulkes happily lacks Dalí’s commercial polish and hardly seems the deft publicity man that defines Dalí’s public persona.

The symbols that torment the artist-as-subject in the paintings are potent ones, Mickey Mouse, Super Man, the American West, subjects that almost seem untouchable to me. Not because they are mostly corporate icons or hackneyed political myths but because they are so obviously American, so easily lambasted as bad, almost as if they lack subtlety as a subject.
The umpteenth issue of “Adbusters” has sort of killed the corporate of these days, using big companies’ imagery against itself. It just looks facile and commercial in its own right, as effective in changing corporate and governmental policy as an angry letter to your congressman, which is to say very little to not at all. Shepard Fairey’s protest posters make for better t-shirts than they do protests. I don’t want to lump Foulkes in with these popularly loved and facile Popsters or with the ineffectually angry but commercially minded blusterers of the lowbrow or “Adbusters” set. Foulkes work is much darker and weirder and more interesting than the cool complacence or defanged critiques of either, whilst still maintaining its place in the conversation around art.

While the Pop made American high art safe for advertising, celebrity, and cartoons, Pop art is for me a movement grandfathered in. I’ve nostalgia for Pop art like I’ve nostalgia for TV commercial jingles from my childhood, but both are passive, complacent, bottoms to Kienholz’s top. American culture is dynamic, unapologetically commercial, and generally cheerful. All of which make it hard not to like, even if it can also be rapacious, manipulative, and exploitative. Artists, in varying ways, have of course reflected on this.
The supercharged sometimes-goofy imagery coupled with the emotional vulnerability can make Foulkes work off-putting. It’s like getting molested by Mickey Mouse on a family outing to Disneyland, it’s so dark and weird, that if you mentioned to anybody in casual conversation it would be almost impossible to respond to. It’s the stuff of bad melodrama. But with its ahistorical drive to traumatic and perpetual progress, its unwavering fealty to corporations and commerce, its vague flirtations with policies fascist in everything but name, so is America.

Finally, in his 70s, Foulkes seems to be getting some belated recognition, included in the 2011 Venice Biennale as well as Documenta 13. Some of it due to the advocacy of Hammer senior curator Ali Subotnick who is planning his upcoming retrospective, which while not the first is certainly the most prominent. When I met Foulkes recently, he seemed softened and honored by the recent change in fortune for his career. Less curmudgeonly than previous accounts and interviews outline, a critical artist finally recognized, his work a bitter antidote to the crass commercialism of an era dominated by Warholian antics, one we might be finally able to swallow.

Foulkes paintings don’t offer solutions necessarily to a century of American dominance and all the concomitant problems (and let’s be fair here, benefits too) that came with that, but they do offer an individual catharsis, one man’s grappling with the personal effects of a country changed by its hucksters and jingoists, its dreams and ambitions, its company men and their cartoons.

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Venice: Llyn Foulkes at the Central Pavilion

June 7th, 2011 in Events, Exhibitions (1) Comment

Artist: Llyn Foulkes

Venue: The Central Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Exhibition Title: ILLUMInations

Date: June 4 – November 27, 2011

Click here to view slideshow



Llyn Foulkes, Lucky Adam, 1985

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Llyn Foulkes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Crucifixion by Llyn Foulkes, 1985

Saddle Peak, oil, acrylic and photographs on canvas by Llyn Foulkes, 1984, Honolulu Museum of Art

Llyn Foulkes (born 1934, 17 November, Yakima, Washington) is an American artist living and working in Los Angeles.

As a student at Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts), Foulkes began exhibiting with the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles in 1959. He held his first one-man exhibition at Ferus in 1961. Other early solo exhibitions included the Pasadena Art Museum (1962) and the Oakland Art Museum (1964). He also showed with a new gallery across the street from Ferus (exhibiting Jess, Georgia O’Keeffe, Irving Petlin, and others) called the Rolf Nelson Gallery (1963, 64). In 1967, Foulkes was awarded the Prize for Painting at the Paris Biennale,Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris followed by a European exhibition there. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art was the first museum to acquire his work for its collection, in 1964 as the original building was still under construction. Charles Proof Demetrion selected Foulkes to represent the United States in the IX São Paulo Art Biennial, Museu de Arte Moderna São Paulo, Brazil also in 1967.

Through the late sixties into the seventies Foulkes created landscape paintings that utilized the iconography of postcards, vintage landscape photography, and Route 66-inspired hazard signs. This period resulted in his first retrospective organized by the Newport Harbor Art Museum (1974). Music also became a major catalyst in Foulkes’s work at this time. He played drums with City Lights from 1965 to 1971, and formed his own band, The Rubber Band, in 1973, which stayed together until 1977. By 1979, Foulkes had returned to his childhood interest in one-man bands and began playing solo with “The Machine,” which he created. He still performs with The Machine regularly on the West Coast and has released a CD of original compositions, entitled Llyn Foulkes and His Machine: Live at the Church of Art.

Since the early 1980s, Foulkes began working on a series of tableaux, beginning with O’Pablo (1983). His work POP (1986-1990), in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, utilizes fragments of real clothing and real upholstery, all conjoined with the painted surface. Paul Shimmel included POP, along with a group of subsequent paintings, in the “Helter Skelter” exhibition of 1992 in which the artist was among the group exhibited. Foulkes’s most recent large scale projects are The Lost Frontier (1997-2004) andDeliverance (2004-2007). The execution of these two works along with extended interviews and musical contributions by Foulkes are the subject of a documentary entitled Llyn Foulkes One Man Band, directed by Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty. The documentary premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2013, where it was called “An illuminating portrait” by the Hollywood Reporter,[1] and was compared to other acclaimed artist portrait documentaries “Searching for Sugar Man” and “Cutie and the Boxer” by Variety.[2] The film will open theatrically in the United States in May 2014.

Llyn Foulkes was a participant and performer at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany in 2012 and was the subject of a major retrospective which started in February 2013 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.



  • Llyn Foulkes: Fifty Paintings, Collages and Prints from Southern California Collections: A Survey Exhibition 1959-1974. Newport Beach: Newport Harbor Art Museum, 1974.
  • Llyn Foulkes: The Sixties. New York: Kent Fine Art, 1987.
  • Rosetta Brooks. “Soul Searching.” Artforum, summer 1990, pp. 130–31.
  • Charles Desmarais. Proof: Los Angeles Art and the Photograph 1960—1980. Los Angeles: Fellows of Contemporary Art; Laguna Beach: Laguna Art Museum, 1992.
  • Paul Schimmel. Helter Skelter. Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1992.
  • Marilu Knode and Rosetta Brooks. Llyn Foulkes: Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Los Angeles: Fellows of Contemporary Art; Laguna Beach: Laguna Art Museum, 1995.
  • Michael Duncan. “A Better Mouse Trap.” Art in America, January 1997, pp. 82–87.
  • Cecile Whiting. Pop L.A.: Art and the City in the 1960s. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006 pp. 43–47.
  • Llyn Foulkes. New York: Kent Gallery, 2007.
  • Llyn Foulkes: Bloody Heads. New York: Kent Fine Art, 2011.
  • “Llyn Foulkes in the Studio.” Interview by Ross Simonini. Art in America, October 2011.
  • Ralf Michael Fischer: Llyn Foulkes. Eine Ausstellung des Museum Kurhaus Kleve, organisiert vom Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. 08.12.2013–02.03.2014. In:, Nr. 1, 2014 (19 pages), online (PDF).
  • Ralf Michael Fischer: Von Nature’s Nation zu ‘Waste’s Nation’ und darüber hinaus: Mythenkorrektur und Medienreflexion in The Lost Frontier von Llyn Foulkes. In:, Nr. 1, 2015 (30 pages), online (PDF).

External links[edit]



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