Saturday, April 18, 2009

2009 Fine Arts Creativity Awards

The Palm Spring Arts Museum is featuring a huge retrospective of Wayne Thiebaud's art and a large selection of photos by Robert Mapplethorpe of New York celebrities from the 1980s.

The juxtaposition simply confirmed that Thiebaud is one of the most underrated artists of the twentieth century and that Mapplethorpe is one of the most shockingly overrated...

...though the great, light-filled paintings from the West Coast and the boring black-and-white photos from the East Coast were not, I suppose, a fair contest.

The most interesting exhibit at the museum is in its basement, where ten Coachella Valley high schools and the local College of the Desert participated in an annual juried exhibit that features scholarships (click here for more info).

What was astonishing was the quality level of the entire exhibit, with a few artists in particular standing out...

...including winner Eduardo Valadez with his "Los Libros de mi Tio" above (all the art in this post is from the exhibit).

In fact, when I told an elderly volunteer that I thought the art was as good as the adult juried exhibit later in the year, she confirmed what I was secretly thinking. "It's a lot better than the adults," she said.

A big chunk of the teenage art was frankly dystopian, and who can blame them after being handed the world in its current shape.

I liked the cityscape above with a tagger painting "BREATHE" on a rooftop wall (above) and loved the noose-tied young man with a "Life is good." mug in his hand.

That's some serious teenage cynicism.


The Opera Tattler said...

I'm rather fond of Thiebaud, on account of his paintings of sweets.

Civic Center said...

Dear Opera Tattler: I had never thought of it before, but of course Thiebaud is one of your inspirations. I don't much care for sweets so I've never been one of his pop art swooners, but this exhibit completely blew my mind. It was his recent paintings of beaches that struck me as some of the most beautiful paintings I've ever seen.