Thank you Lena for these beautiful paintings to show!
Eager buyer, I shall wrap it up with the greatest care in a box you will save as a conscientious example of all future packaging to come.
So, that’s two works of art for the price of one, although the latter is industrial art and not at all mantel pretty. Bring it to the office and show colleagues how to mail an order out, and then invite a colleague or several to dinner and show off the Ulanova you recently purchased because life is worth living, and we do it one time, and spending on beauty is your right practiced without the threat of military police and search dogs.
To avoid a bidding war, please contact me immediately to expedite this painting to your favorite room’s wall. Shipping and handling domestic (USA) will be about $30. If you’re local, I will drive it to you wrapped in paper blessed by an aristocrat of the spirit.
Take the “million” out of “aire”, and we will all be free again to feel. Paintings by the living are and should be as affordable as aperitif and dinner for two, maybe an Uber and foursome if the painting is larger than a picture window.
We can do this. We can decorate and sip our coffee and look up each morning to the genius on the wall and re-recognize the corporitos as the toilet paper providers they have always been. Dealers on the TP market. They can hide away in private planes until tomorrow’s tomorrow as long as we never run out of toilet paper. But they are forbidden to bid on our humanity and set the thinking price of an artist’s gift of expression. Ignore them and they go away. I’ve seen it happen.
And they leave aisles upon aisles of toilet paper stacked to the ceiling six rows back.
Stick to the ca-ca exchange Christies®, while the enlightened denizens of the new age express their taste with an Ulanova painting. We’ll call you when we need you. “Ah, damn! Honey, bring me a roll of toilet paper please!”
Our suppliers are filthy rich, yes, but necessary for our daily hygiene. Give them their $1.29 for another roll. Let them keep their private planes and stupid trips to an ugly Dubai. But never give up your art. It’s what separates you from the serfs of the supply line.
I have written some imaginative work on Picasso. A few years ago I was getting ready for two exhibitions during the same week, and felt like I was actually working. Expecting substantial financial loss (as usual), I questioned art’s role for the working man or woman in a society bent on Netflix originals. There is hope for the individual. Picasso is alive, making paintings in Saint Petersburg Russia, and stepping out for a river stroll before the Finn winds bring the lake effect snows.
Art is Work
Actually, in this case, painting is work. I have never considered myself to be an artist, really. I don’t even like “art”, the way my art-lover friend Dan does, one to leap at the chance to visit a gallery or a museum. I love painting though, any kind, and at an art show, I will make a bee line past all other forms of expression to see work of painters, more to learn and compare than to enjoy. Some times professional jealousy creeps in, especially when I see rendering that has a special hair shirt quality, when each stroke of the brush belies both a practical and encyclopedic knowledge of control or constipation—hard to tell which for sure until I meet the painter for beer and oysters. Unfortunately so many masters are either dead or practically inaccessible, and from my viewpoint in Oswego at least, painting is tolerated as a form of yoga, just another hobby distraction to the despair of the modern age. Thank God for family and friendship, and the blessings of the narcissist Internet. Otherwise by now I’d be eating my toenails at a local mental health spa.
In Providence Rhode Island I looked at my first van Gogh through a painter’s eyes. It was a religious experience. The great and powerful Vincent was a failure. Hurray! Another human being. It was a 14 x 17″ landscape entitled View of Auvers-sur-Oise, a day’s work in a village north of Paris in the year he took his life. I read into that painting like any tome of art writing could instruct. The great Vincent van Gogh was nothing much really. Just another proud working man, driven day after day, year after year with an obsession to perfect his limitations. I saw the human hand laying it on thick, always at the right place at the wrong time, a failure at night, hopeful idiot by morning. One life to live, and if he was determined to be a painter, to Hell with the greatest of art critics, Mssrs. Degradation and Poverty.
It worked! A few hours coloring a French village from a field, and he succeeded to live another day pretending to be a painter. It was the billionaires who got rich though. They took the dignity of pride in pretend and made a killing for themselves. Endowments all over the world buy up van Gogh’s paintings to prove unwittingly their dislocation to humanity. They “get” the history, but fear the present moment like a pathogen. I could count all the struggling van Gogh’s living today. But it would take a lifetime and more assistants in my employ than those pretending to be artists at a Jeff Koons factory.
One more point before my plea:
Kurt Vonnegut: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”.
Last month I checked out from the library a photo book about Picasso. Pictures taken of him at leisure and work in 1956. A mess of canvases and sculptures in every room, painting on the walls, dripped paint on the floor. His mansion had twenty foot ceilings and huge doors at the end of one studio opening out onto a balcony of palm trees. “La Californie” was the name of his hermitage in Southern France.
There is a brief passage in the book referencing his time in Montmartre, when he lived in poverty, painting. Somehow still able to acquire materials without the financial support of credit cards and/or a well-endowed sugar mama. I think poverty in 1905 was a world of difference from what we call it today. He must have made modern starving artists look like rich dandys sacrificing a week of television and a bowl of chocolates for art. Or, God forbid, cell phone service! The photos of him as a rich millionaire painting in a mansion, juxtaposed with my imagination of a poor Parisian painter holed up in some cold January flat over a hundred years ago, instruct and educate like nobody’s business. His wealthy genius in 1956 appears unchanged over 50 years time. He looks just as poor to me, but rich in determination and singleness of purpose. He eats, sleeps, voids excrement, laughs and paints. There is no stopping him. The art crazy old man.
I mention Picasso’s sameness to my wife the other morning over coffee. I asked her how differently would we live if suddenly Jeff Koons got cast inside one of his poodles, and Ron Throop went viral throughout the acquisition dreams of bored billionaires. “Our coffee and climate would get better. Other than that,” she admitted, “nothing”.
A few months ago I helped hang a show at our local art association. One of the helpers, a member my age, asked me what I do for a living. “Paint,” I said. “I am a painter”. It was more difficult for me to get that truism past my lips than if I told him I was an untouchable scouring latrines with my socks.
Picasso’s Picasso. Throop is Throop. We have nothing in
common, besides a heightened desire to perfect our limitations. My path for the rest of this life is to pretend like Picasso. It won’t hurt anybody. It won’t even help. Maybe, if I just work harder and dream longer, Rose will taste a better sip of coffee with her next husband, from the Florida room of her beach condo in Boca Raton.
Now finally, an explanation.
I found out last winter that I am a Stuckist, more or less. Their manifesto is available here at the show. Take a look. The strongest statement, #4, Artists who don’t paint aren’t artists, if not cryptic, is flat out silly wrong. I know nothing about ceramics, but I know a man, a teaching artist who would take his class to Chimney Bluffs along Lake Ontario to gather clay to be used for glazing. Ho boy! Show me a Stuckist in London who longs to extract cadmium from zinc ore. Or, take my friend the marble sculptor, who travels out of state to steal marble from parking lots. He approaches his stone like I do any canvas. As an ignoramus. I wish I had the knowledge (and time) to make my own paint and weave my own canvas. I’d rather paint on a log with berry juice, but the berry juice will never put out like my sweetheart dioxizine purple. And dioxizine sounds like painful chemical death to workers in that industry. So I just hold my breath while I paint.
Anyway, Stuckism. Good medicine. We are painter-workers. We get up in the morning to paint. We are international brothers and sisters in pretend. Yet we all need to get paid. Here is how I dream to be paid. Milton Glaser has the phrase “Art is Work” painted on the transom of his company door. Another tome of knowledge garnered from just three precious words. Art is work. The big painting I finished this week took exactly 40 hours—from surface, image, and finally to frame. At $13 dollars an hour (what I was making at my last job as “cook in the great north woods”, plus materials, and “element-X” fee (30%), I value it at $832.00.
So, any takers? I’ll have to add $100.00 for shipping.
There you have it! The first Oswego Stuckist to admit the truth. Art is work. So is toenail chewing if one can pretend really hard. I promise to play this game out to the end. My dreams tell me that buying up my work now, will secure some legacy to leave your children. Buy a signed book. Put it in the attic. Buy a painting to hang in the parlor. Its story will not die.
I apologize about the lack of framing for many of these paintings. The truth is I have another show going on at the Dyer Arts Center at R.I.T. in Rochester. Unlike Zink, I would be banished from furthering that avenue of pretend if I didn’t deliver framed work. We’re out of money now, and I blame myself for scheduling two shows in the same month. The gallerists at the Rochester venue must keep up appearances. R.I.T. needs to pretend too. And I need to pretend that I have a chance to break into a world that will provide me a line cook’s salary to paint. Please, if you find my art not practical enough for your tastes, patronize Zink Shirts® in any way you can. Glenn has offered this space to local color. Come here for holiday shopping. His work is sublime and corporate killing at the same time. Wear one of his shirts and flip a tall bird at the bottom-line world of men who care not a bean about your day to day. Glenn and I do. Look, we invited you all here. Open your wallets and pick out a record album to play. But first, open your wallets!
Just to wrap up then with a series of photos from Wednesday’s gallery jaunt throughout Manhattan. Fuel Gallery had its rehearsal too. Positivity needs practice and more practice, so that after time and many falls (and getting up), no smile ever needs to be painted on again. The autumn arrived to our small city bringing a crisp Alberta breeze. There is a reason art is exhibited with such abundant enthusiasm in the fall. The intellectual season begs for a prop to look at throughout the winter. I think people are deciduous, and art is a reminder of leaves.
I’ll be heading down to New York City this week to galleries, museums, and many public places to promote the one and only Lena Ulanova! I went to the Guggenheim a couple years ago brandishing enthusiasm for an exhibition of Lena’s work with three other painters working in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It was a funny place. Funny sad. I wrote about it in the exhibition book.
I Went To The Guggenheim and All I Brought Back was Gnostic Insanity
I just returned from New York after a couple days in the city that should go to sleep. A warm February afternoon in New York stepping off the E train eager to take a stroll through the park with my family. Crossing the street to look at a map and immediately accosted by a thug pushing a ride in a soiled pedicab. For three dollars a minute one of his desperate coolies will pull human flesh and bone a few hundred yards to give the feeling of what it was like to be an English snob of Calcutta a hundred years ago. The company does not take good care of the cabs and drivers. They look already chewed, broken, miserable. No dignity or devotion. Each might have been happy as a little boy licking snow. Now they survive on the street like starving pigeons with arms and their hands held out.
A walk through the park, past the Metropolitan Museum of Art where one can purchase from street vendors what appears to be art, but leave you suspecting that it’s resale of anonymous stuff that’s been passed around for years. The sellers look so damn unhappy. It can’t be joy they’re exhibiting. Must be impostors.
Then on to The Guggenheim where you believe high art will liberate you, and help build a trust again in human potential. $68.00 for the family of three to enter. By this time we’ll give whatever we got just to use a New York toilet.
Relieved and excited to see the work of painters past the army of dead-eyed ushers. Besides a small room hanging paintings from a few French and one Spanish master, and a special exhibit of five Kandinskys, that you cannot get close to for all the uninspired children huddled on the floor, there is nothing but work that looks like it could be showing right now at ANY local art association across America. I would add that it might even be worse. I have never been angry at a museum before, until this day.
Ha ha ha. They’re not really cleaning supplies. Gotcha! It’s formed plastic that’s been painted to look just like the thing that it was. Wow!
Dear young people of earth, with remarkable patience birthed from the boredom of tacit slavery, (which is school), you too can achieve this milestone. Find an over-educated, non art-maker to authenticate your clever genius. Make sure she has access to money. A ton of it. An overrated architect got enough to design and hire coolies to construct teeny tiny bathrooms that barely fit a person’s knees between the toilet and the wall. He too is on display in the basement of the Guggenheim. Here the back-scratching descends in a self-congratulating staircase all the way down to hell.
Seekers of fine art, my subjective brilliance shall not be humiliated by a Guggenheim ever again. A pretty building with barely workable bathrooms. Perfect to house an army of unwashed pedicabbers and their shredded, stained vehicles. Both they and the Guggenheim offer imaginary crap for pay. I just feel like kicking the juice out of them for accosting my wife and child in the park on such a beautiful false spring day.
But all is not lost of your legacy multi-millionaire Guggenheims of no taste. The Internet has been invented. For free you can come see on my blog what living artists are producing on any day of the week. And I’ll never charge you to squeeze your knees into a poorly designed toilet room.