Saturday, May 02, 2009
Big Art WTF?
So - Brian and his boss are pouring wine at an art gallery opening tonight. I stopped by to see what was on offer, since Brian had said the images he'd seen were rather similar to the Frederic Church/Hudson River School of painting.
The studio is housed in a former television studio in Kingston's "midtown" (read: ghetto). I parked the car on the street within view of the gallery and dashed indoors.
As I entered the gallery, I had to check to make sure that I hadn't stumbled upon one of those "starving artist" oil paintings sales and expositions that you see advertised at hotels near major airports. You know the ones - where one of their biggest selling points is that they have sofa-sized paintings.
There's a damn good reason those artists are starving, by the way.
Anyhoo - I saw a few nice landscapes, but nothing remotely close to the Hudson River School in quality.
But mixed in with them were these faux-Victoriana gauzy foo-foo nightmares that resembled nothing more than Marie Osmond dolls on canvas. And not the good ones - the rejects. There was some malformity associated with each one - one had man feet. Another had a torso that looked like a science experiment. Yet another had a lopsided face, with one eye sagging down her cheek as if she were melting.
And yet - and yet - the artist (a "realist painter") had the gall to list these paintings for thousands of dollars. Like I'm going to pay $12,000 for a painting of a lopsided Victorian transvestite holding daisies on a porch.
I was gobsmacked.
But it gets better. The artist 's wife - billed as an 'impressionist' (translation: has no talent and paints with her elbows.) - had some equally egregious and overpriced paintings that any grade school child would be ashamed to show their parents.
We were making up names for some of the paintings - 'Morning Splendor' became 'Exploding Trees.' 'Roses for Mary' became 'Mental Breakdown ala Hitchcock.'
They were simply dreadful.
Now - before anyone gets on the "art is in the eye of the beholder" soap box - I know art and I know artists. And I appreciate all forms of art. We happen to own some very good art - and some not so good art. But it's all art that speaks to us.
Simply put, what I was seeing here was pedestrian art and sub-par delusions of grandeur being touted as high art.
Another artist - one who worked in pastels - and had some lovely pieces in the exhibit. Some I'd consider buying not only because they were beautiful to look at - but they were also priced more reasonably in the hundreds of dollars, not thousands.
I look forward to hearing how the exhibition went. And whether any pieces sold.
And then I want a list of the people who bought them.
I plan to have some lovely canvasses that I've rolled around on - naked - and covered in paint.
Maybe I can get that new car after all.