Same job, different uniform.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Art Appreciation for Dummies

"Art in the Park" was this weekend, and I am going to talk about it. You have been warned.

I am not an artist or an art connoisseur. I feel snobbish and awkward when I talk about art. So forgive me if I sound either when I say I love good art. I am awed by people who can see something beautiful or moving and recreate it. Or people who can imagine and translate that imagination into something for the rest of us to enjoy. I love Realism. Impressionism. Some Cubism and Expressionism. Modern art, and its use of color. (Though I admit there are many strange pieces of modern art, barely definable as such.)

Don't worry: I had to look these titles up.

Quality photographers intrigue me, too, as long as they are not photographing napping cats or dogs in pin-striped suits.

In my judgment, art should be one of two things: meaningful or damn good. If it doesn't transport you, or add a lot of value to your home or collection, skip it. And don't be afraid to call a generic wood sketch of a Mallard Duck bad art. "Shirley's Painting in Wood" was a display this weekend. We didn't stop. Lots of people can draw ducks and mountain scenes. But can they draw you in?

If you're going to buy mediocre artwork, it should mean something to you.

Gardenstown is a tiny village tucked away on the East Coast of Scotland, just up from Aberdeen. It is a treacherous drive down the steep, narrow roads into the village, and the parking is impossible. The tiny houses are piled on top of each other, yards away from the rocky coastline.

Gardenstown is not high on the tourist radar and consequently it's almost impossible to find a postcard or other regional memorabilia. I finally found a couple of very blurry photographic postcards, which I bought. I want to remember that obscure, freezing town and the people that have homes there, and if that means buying a postcard by a local photographer lacking a little artistic flair so be it.

On the other hand, when I stop to consider whether or not the Mona Lisa, its value and history aside, is the kind of piece I want in my living room, the answer is probably no. But if I were offered the Mona Lisa, well of course I would display it.

Meaningful or damn good and best if it's both.

Ufortunately only one of the "artists" I bought something from this weekend has a website (David Levy) so you can't weigh in on whether or not you think I have a true eye for art. But I do like the artwork found at Lone Prairie, though it's not all available yet, and Ward Hooper is a wonderful Idaho artist for those who like retro.

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Blogger Hobster said...

Art, sadly, does little for me. But you've given me the opportunity to share a joke :)

A thief in Paris decided to steal some paintings from the Louvre. He got past security, stole the paintings and made it safely to his van.

However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied:

"Monsieur, I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."

(And you thought I lacked De Gaulle to send this)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


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