Archive for the ‘Sweet Tooth – Issue #12’ Category

Buy Art

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Here is my sales pitch: these young artists have faith in the universe enough to make art works. This is not an easy choice or at least not an easy one to stick with. As a buyer of art work, you are influencing them to continue on their artistic journey. I think this is a very gratifying experience and your walls will beam with such beauty. And I want them to grow old making their art!

I feel as though I serve up the art works for the audience to view and hopefully they will be guided by their own inner eye to purchase an original piece of art. Sometimes it takes time for it to sink in but then someone else has bought the piece. Hone the “love at first sight” instinct when looking at art, not the “does it go with the couch” rationale. I promise you will be amazed at what a unique painting, cup and photograph can do for you every morning. Just imagine your cup of tea or coffee in a hand made porcelain mug with beautiful celadon glaze. I believe the molecules of the clay have special frequencies that are good for the body and make you happy. (inspired by Adrienne Lynch)

An Object of Beauty

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Steve Martin, the multi-talented philosopher gone comedian gone screenwriter and now touring musician, has written, on the heels of 2007’s Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, an autobiography of his stand-up years, another book. An Object of Beauty is a fictionalized but thoughtful and insighful look at the New York City art scene and the art world beyond, a community that the author has been acquainted with, as a serious collector, for some time.

The voice of Steve Martin, the comedian who slayed the world in the seventies, is thankfully missing. In it’s place is thoughtfulness, and an erudite intelligence that is witty on a deeper level. Deeper, I hear you say, than ‘Excuuuuuuse me?!’ Yes, indeed. And it’s not overly lexigraphic, although there was one word I did not know: chuffed. I couldn’t gloss it and no one I know knew chuffed either. So I looked it up. I am now quite chuffed to know that it means well pleased or satisfied.

The narrator of the story is a quiet art critic named Daniel Franks, and the name is significant. Mr. Franks can be very frank, and I appreciated his skepticism concerning, for example, overly-intellectualized artspeak:

‘In dialogue’ was a new phrase that art writers could no longer live without. It meant that hanging two works next to or opposite each other produced a third thing, a dialogue, and that we were now all the better for it. I suppose the old phrase would have been ‘an art show,’ but now we were listening. It also hilariously implied that when the room was empty of viewers, the two works were still chatting. I was tolerant when he said ‘in dialogue’ because I can get it, but when he said ‘line-space matrix’ I wanted to puke.

The main character is Lacey Yeager, a beautiful and possibly narcissistic (suggested perhaps by the name Lacey) explorer (the surname Yeager refers, possibly, to Chuck

Yeager, the famous test pilot who explored the limits of flight) of the art world. She travels from the equivalent of the mail room at a major auction house to the helm of her own Manhattan gallery and then, tragically, back down to earth.

The title of the book is also significant, in many ways. An Object of Beauty, (not to be confused with the 1991 film The Object Of Beauty, with John Malkovich and Andie MacDowell, which, incidentally, I also recommend), could refer to the purpose of art, perhaps the pure aesthetic pleasure derived from art, the viewer or the collector’s pursuit of the aesthetic pleasure of art, or, most coarsely, the pursuit of financial gain, cash money, that is to say mere dollars, through art.

It might also refer to a work of art itself, including any one of the 22 pieces that are beautifully reproduced and placed to complement their mention in the pages of the book. These range from Maxfield Parrish’s Daybreak, to Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles County Museum on Fire, to Tom Friedman’s Untitled (an exquisite self-portrait carved on an aspirin), to Pablo Picasso’s cubist Woman with Pears, to Andy Warhol’s screenprints (1964’s Marilyn and 1965’s Flowers), capped off with Dorothea Tanning’s brilliant surrealist masterpiece Eine Kleine Nachtmusik as in the text a fictional Dorothea is ecstatically received at a thinly disguised Miami Basel art fair.

An Object of Beauty might refer to Lacey Yeager, the protagonist, who is desired by many men and who clearly enjoys the desire as much as she enjoys the conquest. After the conquest, (one of which is hilariously fulfilled in full view of a favorite painting of hers), her beauty becomes frosty and dark. In one telling moment she glimpses herself in Willem de Dooning’s famously ghastly Woman I.

But in an equally apt, although unintended, reading, An Object of Beauty might also refer to the book itself. In this age of e-books and digital downloads, it’s refreshing to find a solid tome that is deliberately beautiful and rewarding to behold, even if it is, perhaps, over-designed. The cover is textured and colored to resemble white primed canvas, with hand lettering that offers a glimpse of the warmly textured end papers that lead us into the story itself. The paper is bright white, a break from the traditional cream color of fine books, but a choice that matches the cover and gives greater clarity to the illustrations. The text font is Garamond, a classic, and though the point size is slightly larger than necessary, older readers won’t mind a bit. The running titles and chapter numbers are set in Neutraface, a modern take on art deco. Each chapter number is followed by a period. Unnecessary, perhaps, but these remind me of the mole on Andy Warhol’s Marilyn, and are therefore perfect.

Art directed by Anne Twomey, with cover lettering and end paper illustrations by Darren Booth, it is a fitting design for a rewarding book that deftly surveys no less than the broad spectrum of late American twentieth century art. And as Mr. Martin, in the guise of Dan Franks, puts it:

This secular renaissance, this abundant artistic output, made news. It brought people to the arts, engendered though, analysis, swagger, winners, and losers, and created a cache of art, whether on display or in storage, that will probably supply the cultural world with aesthetic grist for the next five hundred years.

Bye Bye MBA

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

There was a knock on the door. I looked out and saw two men in dark suits. Damn, it’s the FBI. One week ago, my friend, Jamie, died. He was a twenty five year old graphic artist. I’m Poodgy. I’m in for an MBA. Jamie and I met in a bar and decided to room together. My family didn’t like him. Jamie didn’t have any family. We did it anyway.

He spent all his time at his desk. Long after I’d quit cramming, I heard him typing, then silence as the computer saved. Some people have an iron deficiency. He must have had a plastic deficiency. He always had the cap of a ball point pen in his mouth. He had mastered the art of talking around it.

We intended to tame that beast named World. Every night we said,” In a year or two we will be eating high on the hog.” Then over cheap food and cheap beer we dreamed ideas of platinum quality. We thought and trashed. Nothing seemed right. Then one night, Jamie, depressed as hell, really hungry, but too broke to go out, blew up and screamed “I’ll make my own money.” Everything shook as he slammed the door.

Shrugging, I went to bed. The door opened about 3:00 a.m. Silence. Next morning Jamie was hunched over his desk. Crumpled paper littered the floor. Grabbing a stale cinnamon roll with a mildewed edge, I said, “See ya later, Jamie.”

“Yeah, just get the hell outta here and let me be”, he mumbled as he wadded another piece of paper.

Thus began months of living alone with a roommate. Being a part of a busted love affair with half a year left on the lease couldn’t have been lonelier. Months passed.

A week ago I’d had it. I started packing.

I heard the door open but kept on throwing things in the suitcase.

“What are you doing?” Jamie said. He grabbed me.

“I’m leaving.”

“You can’t leave, you moron. I’ve done it!”

Pulling free, I looked at him. This was the Jamie I’d agreed to live with. He was still talking around that piece of plastic.

“Look.”

He handed me a stack of money. I threw it on the floor.

“Hey, hold it. That’s our ticket to the future! Hell, man, Superdollars aren’t as good as mine and they’ve been giving the government fits since the 80’s …Poodgy, this is our platinum chance. I know I’ve been an ass but give it…”

Fed up, I brushed past him and headed for the door. Heard a thud and turned around. He lay crumpled on the floor.

“Jamie!” I yelled, then called EMS before I picked up the money.

EMS said Heimlich wouldn’t have helped. Plastic cap lodged in wind pipe, instant suffocation.

The coroner came, signed the death certificate, and asked what funeral home. I gave him a name.

The authorities left. I called my folks. They were sorry. Should they come?

No. Jamie had made a little money. It would cover the cost.

Jamie said the bills were the best. Figured, it was the least I could do to honor his art. I paid cash.

Heard the knock again, and went to the door.

“Paul Allistair McBurney?”

Hell, I’ve been Poodgy so long, I had to regroup.

“Yes.”

They showed their badges. Not the FBI, The National Council for the Arts.

“You are under arrest” the one nearest the door said. Then he began to read;

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say………”

“What the hell is this all about?” I interrupted.

“You are charged with inflicting a gross misrepresentation of United States currency on a commercial establishment.”

“You kidding me?”

“Nope. Worst art work I have ever seen.”

I’m doing three to five thanks to an incompetent graphic artist with an inflated ego.

Thoughts On Pots

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

your input = needed

Do you own a pot made by Mary Louise Carter or Andy Shaw? Did you recently purchase one of their works from Glassell Gallery? If so, you are invited to consider the following questions in regards to your pot, and to share your responses as part of research for an upcoming article (slated for publication Sept. 2012) about the work of these artists. Your participation is voluntary, and will contribute to a richer, more well-informed study of the journey a pot takes from its inception in the potter’s mind and studio, to the gallery, and finally, to a collector’s home and daily life. By sharing your experience, you fill in a crucial piece of this puzzle.

Please e-mail your responses and/or any questions to Adrienne Lynch at alynchyes@gmail.com, or send by snail-mail to Adrienne Lynch c/o Roswell Art Center West, 1355 Woodstock Road, Roswell, GA, 30075. Please note whether you would prefer your name withheld if quoted, and whether you are open to answering follow-up questions. Your generosity will help this research take shape – thank you.

Note: If you own more than one work by either/both artists, please answer each question in regards to one specific pot,& identify the nature of the pot (plate, bowl, teapot…) as well as its maker. Feel free to vary which pot you consider from question to question. Also, feel free to answer as few or as many questions as you’d like.

  1. What basic obligations does a ‘functional vessel’ (bowl, cup, plate, mug, vase, etc.) have to its user, regardless of the material from which it is made? What things should a functional vessel do or not do?
  2. Thinking back to your first encounter with the Carter or Shaw pot you own, what compelled you to buy it?
  3. Do you imagine yourself as the ideal sort of user for whom the artist designed this pot? Why or why not?
  4. Describe (in as much detail as possible) one specific experience of using this pot.
  5. What, if anything, has surprised you about this pot?
  6. How do you characterize the general nature of your interactions with the piece since owning it? (Special use? Daily use? For guests only?…etc.)
  7. What does it mean to you to live with a piece of pottery?
  8. In thinking about the materials from which this pot is made, why do you think the artist chose those materials?
  9. Please give a sort of profile of the “usual suspects” of your dish collection: what dishes do you eat from/with daily? Why these particular pots?
  10. When you recall encountering Mary Louise Carter’s and/or Andy Shaw’s work in a gallery, what do you remember about the look and feel of the space itself? Did the gallery effect the impression the pots made on you? If so, please describe.

This Life as an Artist

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

“This is who I am!” was his mantra as a young artist. He painted what was in his soul. Colors and subjects that spoke to and moved him. Endless canvases of his passion poured out for all to see. But they sucked and he made no cash.

“Fuck ’em all” was his next stage as an artist. He slapped his rage onto his pallet and his brush strokes were angry. Oranges and reds filled his head. Black was his only background. He was a rebel. He lived on the street. No one felt his rage. No one bought his art.

“Art. Who needs it?” he asked himself while tucking in his pink oxford button down. He stayed out too late, drank too much and was once again late for his 9-5. He tripped on his way out and the spilled coffee stained his stack of unfinished commissions.

“I used to be an artist” he told his young bride. The yearning she heard during their honeymoon years was not for her but for his lost passion. He daydreamed of quitting his cubicle and moving them down south to paint. But a little one was on the way.

“I took art in college” he said to his young instructor. A six week basics class ignited his passion. He swooned among familiar smells, textures and tubes. The soft bristles and hard handles made him giddy. His belly was on fire. The artist was awakened.

“This one is not for sale” he explained. “But it’s so cool” said the young man. The artist smiled as his brush mixed red and blue to make the perfect purple. He gently applied his purple soul to the canvas as the young man looked on.

“This is my father’s studio” she sighs fondly. She explains to visitors, “Though no longer able to paint this is where he is most happy. This is where his art enlivened his soul. His peaceful canvases are now shown in galleries that once denied him. His work is envied and desired but most importantly his work is who he is”. His daughter’s words made him cry.

“I would sooner look for figs on thistles than for the higher attributes of art from one whose ruling motive… is money.” (Asher B. Durand) read his gravestone.

At the Indian Art Fair

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Lionel Little Bear asked my mother out on a date-except she’s so sweet she didn’t even notice. She called me here in Louisiana hours later telling me about the man she met at this “Indian art fair”. She’d gone to “Angel Mounds” museum, where they held it this year. It had always been held at a weird place, this year it was at prehistoric Indian burial grounds.

She told me Lionel didn’t look Indian, he looked “American” but wore a tight vest, had long black hair with black feathers and a black mustache (which was questionably opaque for his age). He was in fact, not as handsome as the “Indian” flute player we’d drooled over at the flea market by the river we’d attended when I used to live in Indiana (the irony of my home state name is not unnoticed). See, Indiana is full of JC Penny shopping men and women, who all look like they are in camouflage; but not the hunting kind-the kind of camo you wear to disappear in a crowd of people. Nobody wants to be seen. So when someone comes to the flea market looking like a real Indian, or someone at the art fair looks like this Lionel Little Bear-you take notice.

Mom says Lionel calmly asked her to go for a ride around town to look at the other burial mounds in the area. He did this as he was placing his painting she had just purchased in a brown paper sack. Thinking about this now, I’m certain why she missed his cue. Who would want to go around town looking at ancient graveyards? My mom had chosen to purchase Lionel’s painting of the “Great Prairie Chicken”. As an additional gesture, he had told her about the Prairie chicken festival near his home town.

I looked up the “Prairie chicken festival”, and there was Lionel Little Bear, MC of this year’s event. I got to see him in the flesh. I clicked on the “gallery” section of the website and found a special series of Prairie chicken bookmarks Lionel made. Each bookmark showed the animals low flight patterns and predilection for getting caught in fencing. I wondered if we’d show up unexpectedly to the festival this year, would Lionel remember my mom? Would he wave the $40.00 fee for the festival? Would he give me one the bookmarks for being her daughter?

What I really liked was the annual “fence snipping”. This consisted of heading out into the prairie with wire cutters and taking down rouge fencing which supposedly was unaccounted for and obstructing the Prairie chicken’s migration. Helping out this wild chicken could have been my mother’s new life’s work. I felt sad contemplating that Lionel Little Bear could have been a major source of inspiration for her. His dedication to this animal was endearing. He even wrote poems about it.

Over our next few phone calls my mom reassured me there was no chance he’d been flirting with her. She was old. But Lionel was old too. Only so much hair grease and feathers can do. In truth, often that much effort-the vests, the boots, dyed mustache-actually aged a man more than just being naturally old. I wondered when I came home next would mom and I go to the flea market. Or would we just eat the same Italian place and talk about my grandparents, watch the sun set on our iced coffees and think no more about the Lionel Little Bears of the world.