I recently came across Velvet Buzzsaw on Netflix, and being a fan of anything to do with art and the art world, decided to watch it. For those considering it, here is a quick review.
Horror is a strange beast. When done poorly – which it often is – it is one of films worst genres. When done well – a rare occurrence indeed – it is one of the smartest. Velvet Buzzsaw falls somewhere in between. It’s not as bad as most horror films, but it’s a little too clunky, and well…artsy to be a good fit for everyone.
The film certainly has it out for the art world. This is, at times funny, but is also kinda like making fun of Nickleback – it’s an easy target. Being an outsider, I’m not really sure how accurate it is in its depiction, although I imagine there’s at least a tiny bit of truth somewhere within it.
No one in the film is likable, so when things get gory, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for them. This is fairly common in the genre, but the best horror films manage to humanize their subjects while pulling on the viewers heartstrings.
As for the gore itself, some of it is kind of cool; some of it is kind of silly. It is possible to strike a balance between the two, but this films struggles to do so. Not all its scenes are created equal.
All of this is not to say I disliked the film – I actually liked it. That said, if I were to recommend it, it would only be to my fellow art nerds, or die-hard horror fans. If you’re one of the two, perhaps you should give Velvet Buzzsaw a shot. If not, there are probably better things to watch.
As much as I love them, it’s been awhile since I posted some artist quotes. As such, here are some of my favorites, from some of my favorite impressionists.
Édouard Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (English: The Luncheon on the Grass), 1863, oil on canvas, 81.9 × 104.1 inches
“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” Claude Monet
“It is not enough to know your craft – you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more.” Édouard Manet
“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” Edgar Degas
“A work of art that did not begin in emotion is not art.” Paul Cézanne
“I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things.” Henri Matisse
“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” Paul Gauguin
“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There enough unpleasant things in the world.” Pierre-Auguste Renior
“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing.” Camille Pissaro
Although 2019 is well underway, I have only written a couple posts in the past month. So, although a bit late, here are a few art stories from 2018 that I found interesting.
ABOVE: Maurizio Cattelan, America, gold sculpture
The Golden Bowl
Last fall, the White House asked the Guggenheim Museum if it could borrow Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 painting ‘Landscape with Snow’ to display in the living area of the President and First Lady. Nancy Spector, the deputy director of the museum declined because the painting was heading the Guggenheim in Bilbao. She did however, offer up Maurizio Cattelan’s 18-karat gold toilet ‘America.’ The White House declined her offer.
Art and the Opioid Crisis
In March, famed photographer Nan Goldin – herself, a former addict – lead a protest against Purdue Pharmaceuticals, which is owned by some members of the Sackler family, and is the maker of OxyCotin. The first protest took place in the Sackler Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A second protest took place the following month at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The protestors claimed that the Sackler’s are in part responsible for the opioid crisis in America.
It Pays to Take the Bus
In 2009, ‘Les Choristes,’ a pastel by Edgar Degas was stolen from a museum in the South of France. In February of 2018, it was found in the luggage department of a bus stopped at a gas station outside Paris. The artwork, which is worth an estimated $904,000, is set to go on display at the Musée d’Orsay sometime in 2019.
Although not always possible, time is an artists best friend. If you can spare it, put any sketches/plans for your next project away, and revisit them a few months later.
Above, are some rough designs. After putting them away, and moving onto another phase of the project, I recently took another look at them, and will likely make a few small changes. After that, I’ll put them away again, and repeat the process in a couple months. I find this helps a lot.