Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Roy Lichtenstein and The Donor Wall
The December 2006 issue of "Palm Springs Life" magazine has an article entitled "How to Buy Art" that contains "Tips from The Experts."
One tip is to "Get your interior designer onboard," says Alec Longmuir, director of Buschlen Mowatt Galleries. "If you are seeking decoration and the value of the artwork is on how it matches your upholstery, a good designer will help you. If your tastes are more serious, there are designers who understand fine art and have strong alliances with good dealers."
These words sprang to mind at the Palm Springs Art Museum (click here for their website), which is currently hosting a godawful show devoted to the Roy Lichtenstein print collection of a wealthy Portland, Oregon real estate development mogul named Jordan D. Schnitzer.
Lichtenstein (1923-1997) earned his way honestly into the art history books with his 1960s Pop Art blow-ups of (other people's) cartoon artworks (click here for his foundation website).
His brash moment in the art historical sun, however, turned into a repetitive, mannered style that looks like some ungodly combination of Peter Max and Andy Warhol over the next 40 years, with expensive 300-edition prints for people who wouldn't think of buying art without their interior designer onboard.
Or as the artist himself is quoted above one of his dumber large pieces, "I guess I like the activity of deciding to do a group of prints. I don't particularly like the activity of doing one print. It just interrupts my focus."
God knows, one wouldn't want Roy to lose his focus, but in truth, it was all about how much money the market would bear.
At the entrance to the exhibit in the front lobby of the museum, there is a large, beautiful stone wall that was covered with workmen on Wednesday.
It seems that a nearby wall with a listing of donors' names was not considered to be prominent enough.
The solution is to cover the beautiful old stone wall that dates from the building's incarnation as a natural science museum with some monstrosity spelling out the names of local philanthropists who have their tax accountant onboard when it comes to buying art.
Downstairs there was another show featuring second-rate art, but at least it was sincere in its badness....
The show, which sprawled all over the basement, was the 12th annual "Juried Exhibition" of Art Council members.
The results were being sold off with "at least 30% of the proceeds" to go directly to the museum.
There were awards given in various categories, and the above watercolor by Suzanne Blau Greenberg was given "Best in Show."
I didn't agree with that choice or Melva Head's "Variations of Klimt" receiving "First Prize"...
...since my favorite piece by far was the large painting above by Ron Meyers with a fabulous title, "Dyke With a Pearl Earring."