Wherefore ART thou?
“I only care about three things in life… Love, Art and Baseball.” – J. McAllen 2014
Many years ago, I opened a fortune cookie and read my fortune – “You are a lover of all things artistic.”
I stuffed that into a notebook somewhere and I still come across it from time to time. It’s true. I’ve always considered artists to be on a higher plane than the regular schmucks that you meet on a day to day basis. And by artist, I mean anyone who creates or fixes something. The wood carpenter, he’s an artist. The auto-body mechanic, he’s an artist. The left-handed relief pitcher who gets by on guile and an 88 mph fastball, he’s an artist too. The guy calling me at 9 am to try and sell me some flea-ridden stock, he’s a parasite.
Now, maybe he goes home and practices the oboe in his spare time, but I doubt it.
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be an artist of some sort; a singer, a writer, an actor, or even all three. At various times, I tried my hand at each of them, but I lacked the confidence and the discipline to get good at any of them. I would drift from one endeavor to another, never really gaining any headway, and yet still finding a creative outlet for the youthful frustrations bottled up inside me. Of course, every great artist has to have his demons in order to create art, and then be a drunk as well. Unfortunately, I spent more time drinking with my demons than I did working on my art.
Even though my heroes were all writers and singers, I still somehow held painters in a higher regard. When I think of an artist, I think of DaVinci and Michelangelo; the rest of the world is just made up of hacks that can’t paint. A few years ago, I tried my hand at painting. The results were not good. Eventually, I got myself a set of pencils and some charcoal and tried to do some sketching. In all honesty, it wasn’t that bad, but like everything else, I grew bored and never progressed. Soon, I went back to my keyboard where I belong. As it turns out, I’m a pretty good writer after all.
One of the perks of working for a billion-dollar company is that my ID gets me into just about every museum in the city for free, so Valarie and I decided to head over to MoMA for an afternoon visit. As you can probably imagine, I was overjoyed when I saw the $25 ticket price, knowing that we were skating in for free. People go to museums to gaze at the paintings on the walls. I go to look at the people.
We headed to the 6th floor to check out the Gaugin exhibit. Now I’ll admit, I don’t know Gaugin from Cezanne, from Moo goo gai pan. Impressionist, cubist, blue period, red period… it’s all foreign to me. Guagin is considered a very important post-impressionist artist, but I’ll have to take your word for it. Evidently, this guy liked to paint lots of pictures of naked Tahitian women, only he liked to do it badly. I’ll take a Bob Ross original over this guy anyday. At least I don’t need someone to explain what I’m looking at.
We headed downstairs to the permanent collection. This is where some of the more famous works reside: Picasso, Van Gogh, and Pollock all reside here. So does Matisse. Henri Matisse is another important French impressionist. If you want to study art, you have to spend like 3 years studying Matisse. This is one of the paintings we came across.
If you handed this in as a fourth grade art assignment, the teacher would fail you. As I watched people ooh and ahh over the various pieces on the wall, I wondered if they actually liked them, of if they liked them because they were expected to, like a Kubrick film.
I once went to the MET with my good friend Richie and we overheard a woman talking about one particular painting.
“Look at the movement.” She said.
“Yeah, bowel movement.” I whispered to Richie.
Eventually, we came to this painting, probably the second most famous piece of art in the world other than the Mona Lisa.
I admit, I like Starry Night, but I also think it looks like a finger-painting made by a 6 year old. I guess in a way, it was. This is what Van Gogh saw when he looked out the window of the sanitarium he was living in. It took me about 5 minutes to take this picture. The crowd in front of it was jostling for position. One of the tourists bumped into Valarie without saying excuse me. It was the third time it happened. I saw Valarie bare her teeth and flex her elbow. We hadn’t eaten all day. It was time to move on.
As we made our way downstairs, we came across this masterpiece.
This one was actually titled, “Untitled”. I’m not surprised.
I did a better job in my bedroom with a roller and painters tape.
I had had enough of the French impressionists for one day. Maybe next year I’ll go to the Lourve, or in the words of Justin Bieber, the 16th chapel.
For the time being, I’ll stick with Hemingway and Morrison, drunkards I can trust.
We headed across the street to Connally’s, an Irish joint on 54th street. There was a baseball game on the big screen; Tigers and Braves.
Love, Art and Baseball. It was a good day.