When Anne and I were visiting the Getty art museum, in LA last month, we became separated in the maze of art galleries. It was getting late in the day and we needed to leave. We had another commitment that evening. I had texted Anne, “wru”, our shorthand for where are you? After a minute, she texted me back a picture of van Gogh’s Irises and the message, “I’m Here!” I then knew exactly where to find her. The following is the Getty’s write-up on this painting:
Van Gogh painted Irises in the garden of the asylum at Saint-Rémy, where he was recuperating from a severe attack of mental illness. Although he considered it more a study than a finished picture, it was exhibited at the Salon des Indepéndants in 1889. Irises exemplifies van Gogh’s practice of working directly from life. Its energy and theme – the regenerative powers of the earth – express the artist’s deeply personal belief in the divinity of art and nature.
While writing this post, I’ve been listening to an NPR news article on Michael Heizer’s new 340 ton art work called, Levitated Mass. It is scheduled to open to the public this weekend, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The description of it reminded me of our Dan’s thesis project, a piece entitled, The Allegory for Irresistible Force Confronts the Metaphor of the Immovable Object. Both works include a big rock. Heizer’s weighs-in at 340 tons and Dan’s is nowhere as big. He is able to pickup his rock, but within the scale of his artwork, they are both big rocks.
My comparison of these two works naturally begs the question, is Dan’s piece derivative? As Dan has said, all art is derivative. Even that statement is derivative. Most famously, Pablo Picasso exclaimed upon viewing Neolithic cave drawings, “We have learned nothing.” Whether Dan knew of Heizer’s project or not is something that I’ll have to ask him about. One thing that Heizer did not include in his art was squirrels, the irresistible force in Dan’s work. One thousand squirrels to be exact.
This difference between the two art works could be reconciled. Once installed on the grounds of the LA County Museum of Art, Levitated Mass will be open to the public, but also open to the elements. By the elements, I include all of nature, both natural and perverted. I am suggesting a guerrilla art project. The cost of this project will not be peanuts, even though that is what is required. Under the moniker, if you buy it, they will come, what if, a person or persons were to feed local squirrels. How many peanuts would it take to garner 1000 squirrels?
We have a copy of Van Gogh’s “Irises” in our living room!!! One of several prints that we got some years back at Jim’s insistence (along with a couple other Van Goghs and some Monet works) 🙂
I love van gogh & i love this painting!