Thursday, July 22, 2004

Alexandra Gill on Lowbrow on the High Seas


All the while I've been trying to track down Roadworthy, other things have been happening. One of them is Ms. Gill's 1,815 word dismissal of what she calls "lowbrow art." Her most damning lines are:

Sure, it might be art. And yes, it's very popular, and even manages to fetch some shockingly high prices. But there's one crucial element missing from Pilon's Jetson-like hipster cartoons and Midnite's politically subversive Woody Woodpeckers that would launch them into the same stratosphere as Warhol: any sense of genius or forward-looking vision.
In order to prove her point she quotes the Vancouver Art Gallery's chief curator Daina Augaitis. It all seems to be based on and around the VAG's summer blockbuster show about Andy Warhol. My favorite line from the article "Augaitis crinkles her nose at the suggestion that these good-time artists have any right to align themselves with her summer blockbuster."

She goes as far as to describe one piece, "an $800 painting called Shipwrecked, a whimsical portrait inspired by the early 20th-century illustrator N.C. Wyeth, which depicts three sneering pirate faces swirling through the clouds in the sky above a lonesome young boy on a tropical beach." She mentions in passing two others.

But she disses 12 Midnite, Braineater (a.k.a. Jim Cummins), bill bissett, Big John Bates, Sue Lowe, Nicole Steen, Vicky M., Robert Rini, Mark (Atomos) Pilon, Mia Hansen, Luc Latulippe, Ryan Heska, Rod Filbrandt and Greg White.

Hmmm, 14 artists, 4 shows, one piece of art and they all suck? I think Ms. Gill's brush is just a little bit to broad.

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