Senin, 05 Desember 2011

The Touch Of Art

Famed ad exec and art collector Charles Saatchi lambasted the present hideousness of the art market on the UK Guardian's commentary pages on the art market."Art critics mainly see the shows they are assigned to cover by their editors, and have limited interest in looking at much else. Art dealers very rarely see the exhibitions at other dealers' galleries. I've heard that almost all the people crowding around the big art openings barely look at the work on display and are just there to hobnob. Nothing wrong with that, except that none of them ever come back to look at the art – but they will tell everyone, and actually believe, that they have seen the exhibition."http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/02/saatchi-hideousness-art-worldThere is nothing with not looking at Art.Back in the early 80s I was living in Paris. My nights-off from the Bains-Douches were spent at Le Studio, a Tex-Mex Restaurant in a courtyard off Rue Du Temple. The clientele consisted of American ex-patriots and stunning models from the covers of VOGUE and ELLE. The long-haired bartender was a southern boy from Lower Alabama. Tony Bowers traded free margharitas for persona grata status at the Bains-Douches. It was a good deal for both of us and I cooked BBQ on Monday nights to earn a little more money. Living in a small Marais hotel wasn't cheap.Tony was more into Lynard Skynard than opera and we loved twisting the volume dial to 10 to play YOUR DADDY IS RICH and SWEET HOME ALABAMA at the night's end. The few neighbors hated us, but we placated their anger with free drinks and a little Johnny Halliday. It was a good time to be in Paris and we traipsed across the city like soldiers from a conquering army. The French economy was recovering from the 70s recession. We were above the lingering crisis. Both of us were paid in cash. Barmen and waiters treated us with respect. They loved Le Studio and Le Bains-Douches. A smile and a little extra cognac in our glass bought free entrance into the Bains and an top-off of marghartia at the Studio.Once a month Tony and I visited the Louvre to expand our art acumen. The former home of the Bourbon suffered from institutional neglect and the galleries were devoid of tourists. Tony and I conducted various walks through the long dusty halls; fastest trip, Orientalism only, but our favorite was the Art-No-Art hike. "We'll walk through the museum without looking at any paintings, tapestries, or statues." I suggested this approach to art appreciation after we had memorized the paintings in one of long galleries from floor to ceiling. "Let the art look at us." Tony pronounced in his Mobile accent. He was a cracker with all his teeth."Got it." We strolled through the museum talking about women, music, and fast cars. Our peregrination ended before the MONA LISA. We lifted our eyes to Leonardo's classic portrait of another man's wife and after visually confirming its presence we spent the usual fifteen seconds staring at the enigmatic smile before turning to view the state of a herma hermaphrodite endormi, a Roman copy of Greek statue. The guards were only interested in protecting La Jocunde, which had been stolen in 1911 and subject to vandalism attacks twice in the last century. No one cared about the statue with of a man who was also a woman. Tony and I would bring young models on occasion and have them touch the marble with trembling hands. It really turned them on.To look and sometimes to touch.That is how the senses work.Both then and now and in the future.

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