Posts Tagged ‘Vincent Van Gogh’

Service of Why the Faux When the Real is Right Here?

Monday, January 30th, 2023


Claude Monet: Image by David Mark from Pixabay

I’ve covered this topic from food substitutes to forged paintings over the 15 years I’ve written the blog. A different slant hit me after two conversations on the same day last week. From one friend, who lives in the south: “Cannot help but envy you being near such great artwork.” Another friend grumbled “What’s the point?” after having seen a commercial for Monet’s Garden: The Immersive Experience downtown on Wall Street.

The website describes the experience as follows: “Art enthusiasts will have their moment to surround themselves with moving Monet visuals and curated music to create their own impressionist masterpieces. This is not a class, but an immersive, exploratory painting experience where you will get to reconnect, express and be present.” It was to close the end of January but has been extended for another month.

Anyone who has spent as little as an hour at a major museum anywhere around the world will have noticed students with sketchbook in hand studying and sketching the pictures or sculptures by masters that are in front of them.

So why go downtown to see digital images when you can see original Claude Monet’s in museums such as MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum? The downtown immersive experience charges $25 for kids, $28 for students and up to $45 per adult. If you live in NYC you need only give a donation of any amount—or pay nothing–to visit the Met. MoMA charges $25 for adults, $18 for seniors, $14 for students and children under 16 are free. Plus you can sign up for free entrance days.

But it’s not a question of money–which I mention for those who thought the Wall Street view of Monet’s work might be inexpensive therefore better than nothing and a way to get people interested in art. It sounds like a gimmick. What could be better than the real thing? A visit to a museum to stand in front of art that a gifted person has created that perhaps you’ve seen in books that is now just a few inches from your face is thrilling.

There had been a similar immersive show focusing on Van Gogh which must have been financially successful or there wouldn’t have been a reprise. Do you think that a painting that moves–or is huge–in a flashy presentation can be better–more insightful–than the original?

Van Gogh’s “Silent Night” at MoMA

Service of Shining a Spotlight on a Wrong by Committing a Wrong: Is that Right?

Monday, October 31st, 2022

It’s tough when you are passionate about a situation that too many ignore. So how do you draw attention to it? That’s a challenge that marketing people address daily. It also causes some to lose sight of what they stand for.

Here’s an example of someone who got it right. I admired a political commercial featuring New Jersey Representative Tom Malinowski that I saw the day after Nancy Pelosi’s husband was viciously attacked in his home. It featured the representative’s valiant mother and the principles she taught him. He did not join the fray of colleagues who are neck and neck in midterm races on both sides of the aisle who try to whip up supporters’ emotions by verbally assaulting the opponent.

On the other hand, blatant examples of going to extremes while losing the point are wars to defend religion. Aren’t religions supposed to provide a roadmap to guide people to live good and peaceful lives?

Similarly, I am flummoxed by environmental activists who think they shine the right spotlight on the crises by defacing famous pictures in museums and/or pasting their hands on picture frames and walls. International media reported mashed potatoes tossed by members of Last Generation on Claude Monet’s “Grainstacks,” in the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany.

According to The New York Times, “Across Europe, climate protesters have sought to capture headlines in recent months by engaging in similar stunts tied to beloved pieces in the art world. In Britain, activists glued themselves to about a half-dozen masterpieces, including a 16th-century copy of ‘The Last Supper’ at the Royal Academy, a major art museum in London. And in Italy, activists glued themselves to a sculpture held in the Vatican and to works in the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence.”

The group “Just Stop Oil” attacked The Last Supper. Firstpostcom reported: “According to Deutsche Welle, the 500 year-old painting, attributed to Giampietrino, is a full-scale copy of the famous work by Vinci, who is thought to have been Giampietrino’s master. Just Stop Oil defines itself as a ‘coalition of groups working together to ensure the government commits to halting new fossil fuel licensing and production,’ as stated on the initiative’s website.” The group “said that they have been targeting art, as it is ‘part of our collective culture,’ adding, ‘We love our history and culture too much to just allow it all to be destroyed.’”

At London’s National Gallery two from Just Stop Oil covered John Constable’s painting “The Hay Wain” with a replica of the image and pasted their hands to the frame.

Newsweek reported “On October 14, two activists from the campaign Just Stop Oil threw cans of tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting before gluing themselves to the wall at London’s National Gallery. Nine days later, two activists from the German group Letze Generation smeared Monet’s Les Meules with mashed potatoes.”

There’s a risk to cockamamie or extreme initiatives and claims even if backed by valid propositions. Hate speech incentivizes the insane to perform violent acts; a religious war is an oxymoron that kills supporters and enemies alike and frustrated environmental activists who attack beloved objects of art claiming that they don’t want the environment to destroy the work–while potentially doing just that–get known but not for the right reasons. Does such behavior baffle and potentially turn off supporters?

Service of Lag Time for Recognition: Are Geniuses Discovered More Quickly Today?

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Fortunate is the artist, writer, scientist, poet or inventor who is recognized and reaps the benefits in his/her lifetime. There are so many who died on the equivalent of Skid Row only to be discovered once they were long gone. Just these few names that fit this tragic situation–Oscar Wilde, Johann Sebastian Bach, John Keats, Johannes Vermeer, Gregor Johann Mendel, Edgar Allan Poe and Vincent Van Gogh–make the point.

Swiss-born photographer died recently at 94 and enjoyed a different experience. While his early and some say best work was widely criticized when first seen, it garnered the praise it deserved long before his demise.

In her Wall Street Journal article “Robert Frank, 1924-2019: He Saw America Without Illusions,” Mary Panzer wrote: “Published first in France in 1958 and the following year in New York, ‘The Americans’ was deemed mean and depressing by critics in the U.S. Popular Photography’s editors called it ‘a wart-covered picture of America by a joyless man.’ Reigning photography critic Minor White found it ‘Utterly misleading! A degradation of a nation!’ The book sold less than half the print run of 2,500 copies; the rest were remaindered. Within 10 years, the critical tide had turned, and today the book is considered one of the most influential art publications of the 20th century.”

Panzer reviewed highlights of Frank’s life in her article and concluded: “’The Americans’ remains Robert Frank’s most important legacy, a modest book with 83 photographs that changed the way we see and photograph the world around us.”

It only took a decade for “The Americans” to be reevaluated and admired. So it’s hard to argue that a short life is the reason for a lag in appreciation of seminal work.

Might it be that since the middle of last century tastes and mores changed more quickly than before allowing visionaries to see their work accepted? Do drastically improved communications tools help geniuses in arts and science spread the word to a wide spectrum of people allowing more to “get” what they do? Is there an historic or contemporary person you admire who wasn’t discovered during her/his lifetime or someone who isn’t yet and should be?

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