“I don’t know anything about Art, but I know what I like.” How many times have you said that? If you are like me, you’ve probably uttered it plenty of times. There’s nothing like a good cliché to help people connect. Well, I am here to report that that is one old chestnut that no longer works for me. Here’s why: for twenty-eight years if anyone asked me what type of art I liked I would respond with that old cliché, adding “but I know I don’t like modern art.” What I should have said — but actually didn’t know it — was ” We don’t like modern art.” For all those years I was filtering my opinions through the sieve of ‘what I thought we could agree on.’ Turns out that ‘sieve’ was more like a solid sheet of plate glass when it came to art. Consequently, our shared taste leaned more to photography.
Earlier this year I was fortunate to sail from LA to Sydney on the Queen Mary 2. Those of you who have sailed on Cunard or Princess ships know that they have rather interesting art auctions on board. I had anticipated that I just might be interested in purchasing a painting for my bedroom. If I could find something I liked. Hahahahahaha. I started out assuming that the old notions about art still obtained, even though my husband had died a couple years ago, leaving the choice up to me alone. Well, I’m here to tell you, folks, that the first viewing of the paintings on display were an epiphany for me. All the ones I had once thought would be something we could agree on struck me as . . . well, bland, or boring. They had probably struck Nigel that way too, which is no doubt why we could never agree on those either. Anyway, can you guess what paintings I found myself gravitating to? Of course you can. And you don’t get extra points for saying modern art; it’s too obvious.
Minty Green Morning and Tunes Inside All of Us
Etchings by Alexandra Nechita
It would be a pathetic understatement to say I was hooked — indeed, addicted — to the art auctions, which is why I can now offer myself up as a bit of an expert. An expert in much the same way that Donald Trump is an expert in men’s hair fashion. If he ever feels a need for reassurance that his hair looks smart, I’m sure he receives enthusiastic validation from those around him. Let’s face it, who — amongst his family (future heirs), his friends (who enjoy schmoozing with the Big Man), or even his employees — are going to say to him “Hee hee! you look like you’ve got a dry cow pat on your head.” So he is left believing that those around him are admiring his do.
But in my own situation, I did not have to rely on biased comments for validation of my choices. I had a real expert; someone who knew a lot more than I did, and who was more than willing to help me: my new-best-friend, Jay, the Art Director cum Auctioneer. Jay wasn’t biased; I mean, why would he have preferred I buy this painting instead of that one? It was all the same to him. But do you know, the amazing thing was, he liked the very same paintings that I did! So you can see why I feel just a bit like an expert myself. MM
Friendly Plant, and Isabella
by David Schluss