"Jaqueline Kennedy III" 1966 Warhol silkscreen print at MAG in Rochester, NY
“Jaqueline Kennedy III” 1966 Warhol silkscreen print at MAG in Rochester, NY

This morning’s paper had an article about the photographer, Nan Goldin. Living in Paris “since Bush stole the election”, as she puts it, she has an upcoming show at at Matthew Marks gallery in Chelsea where she will be showing photos from as far back as the seventies along with a slideshow of photos she shot inside the Louvre at night. As popular as Jerry Lewis and Mickey Rourke over there she was given free access to the museums collection. Any artist’s dream come true.

I was rummaging around the Memorial Art Gallery’s collection recently, online of course, and found this delightful Tiepolo drawing. I wish the photos were bigger and there is so much in the collection with “Image Not Available” tags. I can’t understand why a museum wouldn’t put a priority on photographing the collection. Wouldn’t it be fun to let artist and social networking types assemble their favorite pieces on the MAG’s site. Sounds like a php job for Joe Tunis.

I grabbed this picture of Warhol’s Jackie at the MAG on my way up to say hi to Dreamland Faces. Playing three sets there left no time to see the “Extreme Materials” show. My father liked it quite a bit so I plan to get over there soon. And same story at the Eastman House. I want to get back over there to see that giant photo collection of people with their eyes closed. The collection is so big that this Robert Maplethorpe photo of Alice Neel was out in the hall.

So much of art these days is appropriation, the Warhol silkscreens from photos of course, my scrapbooks from newspaper clippings, the drawings I’ve been making from crime page mugshots, photos of the woods even, all photography for that matter, landscape painting! Come on.

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Art Films

White flower weeds lining the path in Spring Valley
White flower weeds lining the path in Spring Valley

As a long time one movie at a time Netflix customer I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about when they jacked up their rates to cover the Instant Play movies that weren’t part of the package when I signed on but the announcement of the two separate companies seems plain crazy. At least they didn’t bring Meg Whitman on board.

On Tuesday we watched the Alice Neel movie from our Instant Queue. She is one my favorite painters so all they had to do was fill the screen with her paintings and I was happy. The movie was made by her grandson and he tried to come to terms with how Alice put her painting in front of family as if it follows that great artists should also have stellar parenting skills. Alice put her all into her work and her paintings testify to this. She was mostly ignored by the art world until well into her seventies. The story of how her sensational paintings could ever have been overlooked would have made a better movie.

The same art world embraced Mark Kostabi, the subject of Wednesday night’s movie, “Con Artist.” This one came in the mail in a red envelope. Kostabi did some really cute little line drawings early on and then decided to stop getting his hands dirty. He out flanked Warhol and hired a staff to not only churn out the work but come up with the concepts, mostly ugly, noisy paintings. They were snapped up as fast as he could sign them. Kostabi reminded us of Bob Ament, the muckraking candidate for our town supervisor. He rubbed his fakeness in the faces of the art establishment and demand continued to soar. So this really is the movie about how the art world ignored Alice Neel and it really isn’t all that good a movie.

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