Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Am I Wasting Time At My Day Job...?

What is this piece of cr*ap, picture, you ask...? Well, it's one of the drawings in the upcoming exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. My friend Leslie and I were discussing just the other day how dismal and sad Vancouver's Art Gallery is, and how they attempt to be avant garde, but just end up missing the mark by miles. I know, I know, art can be edgy, it doesn't all have to be Rembrandt or Van Gogh or even Odilon Redon, but for goodness sake...  Would you actually go to a gallery and part with your well-earned money to see this?  Oh, I suppose some folks will, and they will nod their heads and say, "Amazing, wonderful..."

The name of the exhibit is UNREAL and it runs from January 22 to September 5, 2011.  The name of the drawing is Untitled, by Marcel Dzama, 2000, ink, watercolour, root-beer wash on paper, and it's part of the collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  According to the New York Times, "Dzama is a Canadian Wunderkind, and his lugubrious fairy-tale sensibility in some way exemplifies the latest drift in contemporary art. Call it cute tragedy or tragic cuteness: either way, it refers to the impulses of a post-Warhol generation that uses the popular art forms of childhood to express a startling array of adult feelings."  They're kidding us, right?  What claptrap.  Here is some more of his work:

Why am I wasting so much time at my day job?  I could be doing this and earning thousands of $$dollars. I guess this is art ... well, anything can be art, but ... am I missing something?


joanne said...

I am obviously not avant garde enough to know this is supposed to be confuses me in a sort of scary demented way. art huh?

Leslie: said...

This is the big draw for over 6 months and during tourist season??? Good grief - well, I know where I am NOT going to go this year! I've seen better works of "art" by some grade 4 students!

A human kind of human said...

Whatever brand he is smoking, he should change it!

Anonymous said...

I don't want to boast but I posed for all those squirrel like creatures in the paintings. Do you see the resemblance?

Bagman and Butler said...

Proof that it is not the quality of the art but the quality of the marketing efforts promoting the art. Then again, I guess that art (or communication) of any kind requires two people -- the artist and the art viewer. If they click, it's successful. If they don't it's not.

KathyB. said...

Well Jo, I think they would do far better exhibiting YOUR work, but then, maybe I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate the juvenile and silly "art" they do exhibit. I would not spend even a penny to see this exhibit. Some how the story 'The Emperors' New Clothes ' Comes to mind.Don't they have anyone there at the Vancouver Art Gallery to oversee the choices made for exhibit? Anyone over 19 years of age maybe?

Bruce Coltin said...

I've sat through many awful plays and then went back and reread the glowing reviews that brought me there in the first place.

Well Jo, at least there's a laugh or two in these experiences.

Russell said...

Okay. You have to admit. Those drawings ARE sort of fun, aren't they?

I liked them a lot more than the current exhibit at the Des Moines Art Center. Some woman painted with all black and is depicting the end of the world and all sorts of awful, beyond depressing themes. I can't think of any art I disliked more. So THIS is refreshing!

I liked the cowboys shooting the bats with their six shooters! And the bear playing the guitar is fun.

So, did I read this correctly? The artist will be in Grade 5 next year?

DJan said...

It's hard to know whether it's a joke or real. I am amazed at what becomes "art" for prestigious galleries. It's not the first time I've wondered if I am missing something.

Jennifer D said...

Creepy! I would much rather look at your art work. To each his own I guess?

Charles Gramlich said...

As Lana has found, in the art world you have to be anointed by the powers that be, and that is really what gets you into the big galleries and gets your work talked about and bought. One could be far more talented than the anointed ones and it wouldn't make any difference. I like the verbiage that accompanies some of these kinds of exhibits. I just have to shake my head at the melodramatic and over the top descriptions.


Hey there, Jo - if the title of the exhibit is UNREAL, then tell the curator you don't intend to pay for something that isn't real, and ask him if he'll accept play-money from your Monopoly game.

If he balks, suggest to him that because they're going to 'monopolize' the gallery with this UNREAL theme for 6 months, the only kind of acceptable form of currency that the gallery should accept from its patrons, is Monopoly money unless they're willing to part with both Board Walk and Park Place and give them a 'get out of jail' card free.

The only edgy thing about this material is the kind one feels when you run your fingernails down a chalkboard.

If one wants to see cartoons as twisted as this, they can find them in most all-night liquor stores and probably for less than the admission price (plus they can keep the comic book when they're done).

Believe me if I lived up there, I truly would stack up those little $500 bills from my own game, and do just what I'm suggesting. At least there would be some feed-back to the people who arranged for this exhibit, and maybe they'd take the hint.

I think I told you I used to play piano for art exhibits as well as promote artists, so it's not like I don't know the power of the viewing public, if they don't like what's on display. If someone wants to take up the cause (I know you have to work and don't have the time), you could at least get a reporter from a local newspaper to put an article in the paper questioning the wisdom and logic of this selection, and possibly get it modified at least. Diane


Oh yes, I see it's running from January 22 until September 5, 2011. On top of this, this is what the gallery has to say about the exhibit:

Since the origins of Surrealism in the 1920s, the tension between the recognizable and the unfamiliar has inspired and informed artistic practices. Unreal, drawn primarily from the Gallery’s permanent collection and augmented with local loans, considers contemporary artists’ explorations beyond the rational and looks at the ways in which they delve into ideas around desire, fantasy, anxiety and the absurd. Although many of the images and objects presented may initially appear normal and familiar, upon closer examination these quotidian scenes have been transformed into strange, mysterious and at times nightmarish depictions.

From examinations of human vulnerability to the mining of the unconscious as a source of inspiration, to a conscious turn towards the strange and fantastic as a deliberate strategy to counter the cool rationality of conceptual art, this exhibition considers the diversity and innovation with which artists explore the many edges of reality. Artists include Francis Bacon, Maxwell Bates, Matthew Brown, Marcel Dzama, Jock Macdonald, Myfanwy Macleod, Luanne Martineau, Paul McCarthy, Jason McLean, Eric Metcalfe, Annette Messager, Sandra Meigs, Al Neil, Alfred Pellan, Marina Roy and Cindy Sherman, among many others.

This exhibition is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, chief curator/associate director.

Owen said...

Pretty sad to see what the arts are coming to. This looks like a poor rip-off of Edward Gorey's work or somesuch...

I went to see the Monet exhibition that is currently running at the Grand Palais in Paris. They have managed to gather Monet paintings from collections around the world to put this show together... now that is worth paying real money for, to see real art.

Happy holidays to you Jo !

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I like the root beer wash, but his draftsmanship ranks with poor comic book art. And the poor monkey will probably contract lung cancer from all that secondhand smoke.

But more importantly, yes, why are you wasting time doing anything but painting for fun and profit? You are marvelously talented and people would line up to buy your work if you could bear to part with it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

To all those who remarked that this "artist" is on grade school level, have you heard of the British 7-year old who paints like an Old Master? Jo?

Deedee said...

Jo, you made me laugh in agreement. Art is truly in the eye of the beholder. Many times, walking through the MFA in Boston or the MET in New York, I look around at the modern and contemporary stuff and say to myself "I coulda done that-why didn't I?" I guess because I know if I had done it, it wouldn't be hanging there.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year

Kathryn said...

I thought about this post overnight, Jo, and have a few things to say (in the spirit of lively debate)! First of all, I don't care for Dzama's work - it holds zero appeal for me and I wouldn't have it in my house even if it was free. The art in my home is generally in one style - and his is not it. However, if I were going to an art gallery, would I want to see only art similar to what I own or like? Probably not.
If I like it, is it art? If I don't like it, is it crap?
I'm a little intrigued by the guy; what was he thinking when he created his pieces? Who did he know who encouraged him, marketed him? Does he walk around smugly, thinking that he's duped everyone? Or is he passionate about what he does?
Could I have done them? I think so, but if I can do it, why don't I? Maybe the artist is not the person who sits at home and says I could do that; she's the person who gets out there and does it.
As for the critics, well, they always try to be cool and edgy by liking the weird stuff and hating the more traditional types of beauty, don't they? Rhetoric and double-speak; I take their opinions with a grain of salt.
One thing this artist has created: controversy....which leads to discussion.
I don't think I'd want the Vancouver Art Gallery to only exhibit things I like. How boring, and what would we talk about over lunch? My art dollars go toward things I find beautiful, but I'll gladly look at weird and unusual stuff.....and wonder about it.
Happy New Year Jo! Thanks for giving me food for thought throughout the year.

Linda Myers said...

I was in Florence, Italy in October and viewed all the famous artwork. For three of the places, we had an art archivist selecting a few pieces and telling us about them - and I understood him. For the other museums, I walked through and had no idea what I was looking at. And this was the world's great art!

Paula Slade said...

Dzama's work is interesting but not my cup of tea and that's okay.

I do agree with you Jo about the NYT commentary - it's pure "claptrap."

Mia said...

Art is subjective. Thankfully.

Britt said...

Jo I love reading your insights, but I disagree on this one. The point is not whether or not the art is skillful or even beautiful. Most of the artists that we love today were rejected by the high art societies of their Manet, Monet, Picasso, and now Koons and other contemporary artists.

I used to hate modern art, and then, after too many art history classes, I finally got it and found it refreshing--not because of what I learned in class but because of what I didn't.

I wish people would stop seeing art as something there to impress them, and think of it as something there to evoke a response in them--a memory, a chuckle...These paintings make me smile because I am immediately drawn back to a Charlie Brown pumpkin patch and Max's jungle in Where the Wild Things Are. It'd be great it people could stop judging art on what it's supposed to be and just accept that it is a person's point of view. It's not easy to create something and then put it out there for the whole world to see. That is incredibly scary.

I actually recently made a post the society's perceptions of art on my blog.

Thursday Friday said...

You must be old. Real old.

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