[image_with_animation image_url=”8109″ alignment=”” animation=”None” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”] What does wax do for an oil painting? In addition to the protective qualities of a top coat, wax unifies the surface of a painting. Each pigment has varying degrees of matte and shiny, and each brush stroke can have slightly more, or slightly less medium, resulting in a …
Why I hate De Kooning
What comes to mind when you think of Williem De Kooning?
Mnuchin Gallery, New York
I have never seen a De Kooning in person. Viewing a work in person is nothing like viewing it on a screen or on a printed page, so to be able to know a work, to be able to talk about a work, I need to see it in person.
Mistress Katherine Control, Seattle
Back to the Merriam-Webster definitions. Here are the last, and the ugliest, definitions of “master.”
In addition to the word “master” baiting my distaste, it can be equally complicated for me to experience a painting, especially an abstract expressionist painting, through the thick veil of all the praise I’d heard about it. Viewing a painting, looking at anything really, is a process of curiosity and discovery. With a good painting, there can be surprise and wonderment. Excessive proclamations of brilliance leaves me with little room for personal discovery, surprise, or wonderment in the original work.
Imagine you were told that a joke was one of the funniest jokes in the world, and you were told this by Many Important Funny People for 20 years. You heard distilled versions of the funny bits, you saw books, blogs, and refrigerator magnets referring to the punchline. Then one day you finally hear the original joke yourself, and you think “Meh. It’s not that funny.” You were told what to think. The expectations were built up too high. The experience and discovery was taken from you. And, it wasn’t really the funniest joke in the world.
Similarly, it’s difficult to experience a famous work for myself. I hear all the things I was told to think about the work, I imagine all the people who praised it. I see the hype, the museum display, and the auction price – far larger than the artwork. De Kooning’s paintings sell for big money. His paintings sell for $66 million dollars.
6 million dollar man & the bionic woman
I love art, and I believe it has value in our culture, but that’s an insane amount of money for any artwork, including this one. It’s just too danged much money. I’ll say it, I’m just going to say it, even steeped in rich culture and history, that slap-dashed, loud and compositionally fraught bit of canvas is not worth $66 million dollars.
So, with this in mind, I found it difficult to get excited about seeing a De Kooning.
This ends part 1 of a 2 part post. Stay tuned for Part 2: How I fell in love with a De Kooning