Monday, February 03, 2003

SO YOU'RE AN ARTIST, HUH? My three-year old scribbles pretty squiggles, some of which even resemble circles. If I called him an "artist" you would mock me; if I mounted his "art" in semi-expensive frames and offered it for sale at the local coffee shop for hundreds of dollars, you might feel insulted. Which is how I feel whenever some self-described "artist" hawks his mediocre work at my coffee shop. Out of charity, the most recent offender shall remain nameless. His first offense: a woman in a black cocktail dress, in a dimly lit room, hiking up her dress so as to urinate in a urinal. This image is ugly, disgusting, and weird; these, I can forgive. But what cannot be forgiven is the execution, from the crude, thick brush strokes that give the image a leaden quality, to the kindergarten-quality depiction of the human form, to the flatness of the lighting. The price: $600. Next, for $900, the "artist" offers a large centaur, whose face vaguely resembles Laurel of Laurel & Hardy, whose one-dimensional body has no muscles, no skin tone and features a large smudge on the lower chest, as if the "artist" began painting the male organ, then smeared it out when he remembered that that wasn't quite where it belonged, even on a half-man-half-horse. The most egregious offense against art and my eyes is entitled "Sexy Minnie": a crudely painted Minnie Mouse head stuck on top of a poorly painted nude woman's body, although we are spared the indignity of yet another childish depiction of human anatomy by a drape covering the "naughty bits." His price: $1300. I rest my case. This "artist," like so many others of his ilk, believes he is entitled to ask large sums of money for his work because he painted really large canvases. That would be insulting enough, but there's more. He thinks he doesn't have to exhibit even the most basic skill because he's "cutting edge," because he paints ugly, disgusting, and weird subjects. No, no, no! Taste is subjective, and some people's tastes are sick and twisted, but even if they must create ugly images, they must create them beautifully -- with some skill -- before they can call themselves "artists" and ask money for their "art." You want to paint a woman relieving herself at a urinal? You want to throw blobs of paint at a canvas? Fine -- as long as you do it skillfully, in terms of color, pattern, technique, or something that distinguishes you from my three-year old. I won't buy either one, and if your idea of "beauty is truth, truth beauty" is a woman urinating is unusual places, I'll think you're a sick pervert who shouldn't be allowed in my neighborhood coffee shop. But least I won't feel insulted.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails