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.
AMANDA C. MATHIS
5 weeks ago