Monday, September 06, 2010

Artistic Vision or Spilled Paint Can?

In the movie L.A. Story (rent it, you'll laugh), Steve Martin's character accompanies several friends to an art gallery, and as they stand in front of a painting, the camera angle not revealing the painting to the viewer, Martin gives his interpretation:
"I like the relationships. I mean each character has his own story. The puppy is a bit too much but you have to overlook things like that in these kinds of paintings. But...the way he's holding her. It's almost...filthy. I mean he's...he's about to kiss her, and she's...pulling away. The way his leg's sort of smashed up against her. Look how he's painted the blouse sort of...translucent, you can just make out her...breast underneath, and it' know, sort of touching him It's really...pretty torrid, don't you think?
Then of course you have the...onlookers, peeking at them from behind the doorway, like they're all shocked...
...they wish!
Yeah, I must admit when I see a painting like this, I get, uh...emotionallyyy...erect."
The camera flashes to the painting on the wall, showing a four-by-eight-foot rectangular mass of red that could have been applied with a roller...a few subtle shadows barely visible, but nothing else of distinction to the painting.

When I visit an art gallery, which is...OK, never (rarely)...I always think of that scene, and wonder what I'm missing in the paintings that a seasoned art critic would see. For instance, what do you see here? I see something that's going to need a second bottle of Windex before it's clean.


"Abstract art: a product of the untalented
sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered."
—Al Capp


  1. I had a long comment I wrote here the other night, about art, what it means to me, etc. But somehow I didn't post it. So, I'll just say that I don't like Al Capp's quotation very much, but I do agree that *that particular* example of abstract art is not very appealing.

  2. I disagree with Al Capp's quote, too, Becky (and that painting), but when I came across it in my quote search, I had to post it. Makes for an interesting point of discussion.