Three Vincents for Biography, and a Word Dirge for Any Living Peasant Artist

3vans

1. “Безумие/Madness”

2. “Дружба. Ухо отрезал Гоген. “Ты молчишь. Я тоже буду молчать/Friendship. The Ear Cut Off for Gauguin. ‘You are silent. I will Also Be Silent.'”

3. “Любовь. Ухо, как подарок для Габриэль/Love: The Ear, as a Gift for Gabrielle.”

Michelangelo the Brown-Noser (from Last Communion):

It’s true. He was a kiss-ass. The greatest heaven renderer of all time. But no artist. Not like the queer Seneca boy (his contemporary), with the gift of the seer, who carved an ugly French monster in the clay. Some tribal elders nodded their heads. The rest just laughed at his unmanliness. Michelangelo was a pompous servant-user. A Pope’s boy. But not an artist. Popes didn’t want art. They wouldn’t know what to do with it if it slapped their cheese with a brick. Michelangelo was the greatest of the great copiers. His fame is the church. He is iconic because he was the establishment’s choice, and all the other great renderers of his time, not quite as technologically sound, were lucky for a paid for nightly loaf of moldy bread. Those wild ones, the intensely expressive of grand or meager talent, the feelers, were lying about in dungeons and dung heaps gibbering away like mad. Today’s Michelangelos are a CV a dozen, and their reward is a $1500.00 mortgage and occasional self-assurance. I imagine the Medici gopher, the Pope’s stooge, the man who today is known as the Great Michelangelo, losing sleep in fear that God would not deliver that perfect color in the morning, the one to please his patron, the exact one to insure another gold coin.
So the million dung heap feelers alive today are still dragging their feet over the old earth, carrying an immense chip on their shoulders. Because of the greatest Bible renderer of all time, all painters secretly in their hearts pine to be the success of this man, who no doubt in my mind was nothing more than a constipated middle-management aristocratic sissy who would have had his own mother drink the hemlock if the bankers told him to. Michelangelo was the greatest drawer and colorer available to Pope Julius II (Raphael was busy on another astounding commission). And the huge majority of real people on earth at the time were fearing for their lives a God who on a heavenly whim, would wipe away their hard-fought harvest. We know nothing about the people’s artists. Nothing because it would have been impossible for them to exist in an economy of “everybody shrink and starve except the golden circle of God’s chosen few.” Hence dungeons and the dung heap for all expressionists of the 1500’s. The Pope would probably have his soldiers run a blade through any peasant who dared attempt a sitting for service at the Sistine.
But the lowly artist did exist, even if no brush ever wiped egg paint on a flat stone.
Today we suffer the legacy of absolutist art. Forced to juxtapose the “inspiration” of a  16th century chosen workaholic with the bottom line profit of the thousand images we see in a single day. Our first private critique of a present-day piece is the ancient work of fear by a  sycophant (Michelangelo) to his God King. Then we wait with our mouths and wallets open for the great galleries and museums (non-creative MBA’s and Art History PhD’s) to tell us what the billionaires are buying today. Exactly who is emerging or has arrived as the new Michelangelos—Jeff Koons, Ai Weiwei, rich professor Kara Walker, or even some graduate painter in Brooklyn with a Smartphone contract and all the right connections.

Oh well. Back to the basement. At least my nightly bread is not moldy.