A Van Gogh!

A Van Gogh!
From the artists at ArtWorks945

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ode To Life

The universe works in mysterious ways. I have made a trade.

The painting is called Ode To Life. I received it from an art collector, Jean Clee, who in her own words ‘travels all over the world looking for neglected works of brilliance.’

The artist, according to Madame Clee, emigrated to the United States from Czechosolovokia in the early 80’s and has recently died of AIDS. Madame Clee purchased all his work prior to his death and has offered to trade me this painting for the Kellie Lambert original.

The artist’s name, believe it or not, is ‘Boo’. Though you might think that someone with the name ‘Boo’ would have made a mark in his lifetime, Boo is apparently totally unknown in the art world.

The painting is the replication of part of a huge painting that appeared on the wall of the New York MOMA. The original was painted by Kara Walker and is called Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred b’tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and her Heart. Walker’s painting is, to be sure, a masterpiece.

So this painting is in some sense utterly post-modern. It is derivative upon a huge painting that was painted for the MOMA.

And yet, despite its post-modernity, indeed perhaps because of it, this painting is rather incredible.

The subject matter is shocking: what looks like a girl giving a blowjob to what looks like a boy who stands with his hands outstretched in a moment of joy.

And the color is striking too. The original is entirely black and white. But this one has shades of blue that both suggest and betray the forgotten innocence of the boy and girl. I am not sure how the artist did it, but the color demands attention.

So both the subject matter and the color transfix the viewer.

It is perhaps for these reasons that Madame Clee told me: Few have the eye to see just how brilliant this painting is. Plagiarism be damned!

So there you have it -- my latest painting. It is from an obscure artist who copied part of a painting that appears in the MOMA; and a self-proclaimed art collector traded it to me for Kellie Lambert’s original.

So did I trade up? Who the fuck knows?

But I couldn’t be more pleased. I love this painting.

If anyone wants to trade for Ode to Life, let me know.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

To Be (Rational) Or Not To Be (Rational)

I did not expect to be in this position. I’ve had a number of offers to trade. And I haven’t accepted any of them.

I can’t give any particularly rational reason for my refusal to trade. It boils down to the fact that I really like Kellie Lambert’s painting and haven’t been offered a painting that I like better than it.

My current stinginess, however, has made me wonder about rationality.

As I’ve said in previous posts, the whole process of trading up must involve a good deal of irrational behavior. And I’ve speculated that perhaps the predictable irrationality of people is what makes trading up possible.

But I now am wondering whether it would make sense to reintroduce the lottery idea into this scheme. Just as a refresher, I had toyed with the idea of giving anyone who traded with me the right to enter into a lottery for the Van Gogh at half of what the price of a lottery ticket would be worth. People could then either sell their right or enter the lottery at a highly discounter price.

Were there to be a lottery of this sort, half of the irrationality in the trading process would be eliminated. With a lottery in place those who traded with me would collectively lose half the value of Van Gogh. But losing half the value of a Van Gogh is less irrational than losing its full value.

So should I or shouldn’t I try to inject this process with a little more rationality?

I am inclined to think that I shouldn’t. Despite the fact that I am partial to rationality – I have studied way too much Aristotle not to be – a brief look at the world would convince most anyone that irrationality reigns. Consider politics. Repeatedly shouting slogans, it would seem, is far more effective than calm rational deliberation.

Nonetheless, I am open to the potential power of rationality. So I have decided to make a decision based upon my next trade. If the person who trades with me would be willing to trade a significantly better painting if a lottery is involved, then I will go with a lottery. If not, then I won’t.

And since I am so concerned with rationality, I want to take this opportunity to tell the universe:

I want to trade my original Kellie Lambert for a significantly valuable painting.
I want to trade my original Kellie Lambert for a significantly valuable painting.
I want to trade my original Kellie Lambert for a significantly valuable painting.

Anyone who wants to trade, let me know.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Van Gogh's Prostitutes

It is easy to turn someone into a saint, especially someone as brilliant and tragic as Van Gogh.

In fact, I am guilty of doing just that. When I think about Van Gogh, I can almost see a halo above his head. I form an image of a man who nobly pursued beauty in its purest form, a man with an untainted soul who was too good for this world, a man whose unrivalled artistic sensibilities led him to an act of tragic self-harm.

But was Van Gogh a saint?

That of course is a tricky question. But it is clear from his letters that he engaged in behavior that we typically don’t associate with saints.

After falling in love with two women who did not reciprocate his feelings, Van Gogh ended up living with a low class prostitute named Sien.

The following are three sentences taken from three of Van Gogh’s letters.

Van Gogh’s Prostitutes

And I tell you frankly that in my opinion one must not hesitate to go to a prostitute occasionally if there is one you can trust and feel something for, as there really are many.

I am reading the last part of Les Misérables; the figure of Fantine, a prostitute, made a deep impression on me...

To explain my meaning more clearly, let me begin by saying that even his most beautiful weeping Magdalenes or Mater Dolorosas always simply remind me of the tears of a beautiful prostitute who has caught a venereal disease or some such small misery of human life.

So maybe Van Gogh wasn’t so saintly after all.

But then again, maybe there is nothing un-saintly about frequenting prostitutes. Indeed, some have speculated that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

So maybe we are all too Victorian in our moral sensibilities.

The Catholic Church requires a saint to have performed three miracles. But I don’t see why the Catholic Church should have the final word on this matter. I will therefore articulate the following thesis. I will call it the Ho-Ho-Ho thesis.

Ho-Ho-Ho Thesis: Any saint must sleep with a prostitute at least three times.

See, I am doing it again. I can ‘t help but think of Van Gogh as a saint. And I will do just about anything to continue to do so.