Any Exhibition Worth Its Salt Needs Decent Signage

Lenasign2

Lena Ulanova is an aristocrat of the spirit.

I copied her stance in self portrait from a painting she made a couple years ago, and placed it in a Saint Petersburg vista I saw in dreamland. There is also a mute swan late to migrate, and autumn leaves swirling.

The mute swan was brought to America to ornament the gardens of grand estates. I invited Lena to send her work over here to teach my countrymen, especially those immersed in the arts and art professions, how to dream again, like they did before treading water for a lifetime in a sea of art bureaucracy, which is an enormous oxymoron pool that no one thinks beautiful. Like an atomic sea, or an ocean in hell.

Dear private galleries and museums… You don’t need us now, but you will one day. Like van Gogh, we do this for free, and we also take van Gogh in a direction he desired, of this I am certain. Communion among fellow artists! For art for the masses to survive to the next century, I advise all and sundry to take another look—perhaps to do a Timothy Leary— “turn on, tune in, and drop out” now to save your souls, or just to make yourselves more deserving of a better time, like you had when you were young and hoping foolishly.

The thought of art in your 20’s was like the anticipation of a wine buzz on a night out with friends, (in)complete with all the unknowns and surprise that could happen without cars and money. Art in your 40’s, 50’s, and beyond is like a bottle of wine for coping—a kind of temporary medication to the constant duress underpinning every sought after good time.

Established galleries and museums are missing the point. They cannot represent art. Living artists, (and I don’t mean the image-makers with polished dot coms and paid for Brooklyn studios), but the ones turning old man and old woman wine drunks into born again songwriters, the aristocrats of the spirit—they are the artists worth seeking and promoting, else you’ve learned nothing at all from van Gogh. Nothing art anyway, above rich endowment and $75,000 advertising budgets. Your end of the art spectrum is so necessary to art and artist, however you worship a bottom line declaring that the only path to art’s survival is more money.

In America, an aristocrat like Paul Allen, owns a football team and attempts to buy art. And therein lies the rub. Art cannot be bought, or sold. One can share it for a price, in order to keep moving artistically. No one pays a plumber to dig and install an old ceramic French drain (even one his great grandfather might have lovingly fired in a plumber’s kiln). Paul Allen must be an idiot to think he can pay a million times more than what a French painting costs a dead painter, and move an art world toward a gargantuan tax write-off. No. He is a dead product pusher, a little rich boy with no depth, an aristocrat of avarice and emptiness, with the spirit of a greedy flea.

And he boasts of a 10,000 bottle wine cellar for his hopeless admirers and wannabes.

There has always been an easy greed to spot in art, even of the 19th century, when any cough around the corner could spray blood, and a cool drink of water on a hot day spread the cholera to babies. Vincent van Gogh was an artist. Jeff Koons is not. Any person who speaks of the latter in art does not know art. He or she knows image, like Paul Allen. And the three of them can go figuratively hang themselves on a Seahawk’s goalpost for all I care of their loud mouths. I’m gonna put up this sign I made for Lena, quieter than most swans, and show her paintings to the world, expressively like an angry goose.

Lena Ulanova is an aristocrat of the spirit. In any age she could fall and complete a painting to uplift and inspire. There is an easy marker to tell art from artifice. Would a painter have the determination to magically land and express in any century, or is she just another contemporary middle or late age wine drunk dreaming about owning a football team?

Wake up galleries and museums. Stop selling your stuff like losers.