In college, I majored in Art History. I’m an art nerd. I spent many sleepless nights studying Mary Ellen Mark, Caspar David Friedrich, and my art beau, Jacques-Louis David. There’s no better feeling than spending countless hours finishing my final papers at the end of every semester, downing coffee and pulling all-nighters, and then being able to see the paintings in the flesh. While I trample through the crowds at the Louvre, I’ve asked my dearest friend Paul from The Captain’s Speech to pull a Sister Wendy and share his thoughts on a few art pieces I’ve selected for him.
Bonjour and hello! I thought I would start this post off in two languages because I don’t know about you, but when art speaks to me, it doesn’t just communicate in English. Oh no, mes amis!
I’d like to thank my friend, Jess, for selecting a few pieces of artwork for which I will provide my unique interpretations. Consider yourselves warned.
While I provide my commentary, I ask that you remain as quiet as possible. Art galleries are a place for pondering and placing your hand on your chin, not for talking.
Or did I just describe a library?
Regardless, I know art. Let’s get started. Silencio!
Pangaea Exhibit, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK – 2014
Ah yes. This one. Gives me the willies, if I’m being honest with you.
What we have here are huge ants on the wall. This is what happens when no one sweeps up for a long time. As you can see, the majority of the ants are huddled together in the corner. Why? They are cold. Do you see jackets on any of them? No!
The rest of the ants are scavengers. They have spread out like a search party to look for food, supplies, jackets, toys for the youth, and anything else to keep them alive on a wall.
Rumour has it that when the art gallery closes at night, the ants come down and sleep on the floor. Kind of like how the toys in Toy Story move around when humans aren’t around.
Seriously though, this piece of art is going to give me nightmares.
Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, Tate Modern (replica), London, UK – 1917
This, ladies and gentlemen, is an upside down urinal. And what do we call upside down urinals? Anyone? Anyone at all? We call them fountains!
Boys, never put your mouth to a urinal. But when you see it flipped upside down, you can. For it is no longer a urinal, it is a fountain! Instead of relieving yourself, you are filling yourself up.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? I think so.
If you’re wondering where the water comes out of, it’s a surprise. Approach with caution and don’t unzip your pants.
Black Square, Kazimir Malevich, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia – 1915
This is one of those pieces where it really helps if you tilt your head to the left. Trust me, try it. Do you see it? Do you see what I see? You should.
You know how sometimes your car can get so dirty on the outside, to the point where you can write, “Wash Me” on your back window with your index finger? That’s what this is.
It’s a dirty back window of a car that hasn’t seen soap and water in ages. Perhaps it’s been driving on unpaved roads on it’s way to and from work and this is the result. A lot of soot.
You can see that someone took their index finger and tried to draw some sort of pattern, but couldn’t quite get there. My best guess is they were drawing a tic-tac-toe board.
The square outline at the bottom is likely from the car owner’s lunch bag, which probably rubbed up against the back window. When I can track down their lunch bag and check for soot, I’ll let you know for sure.
The Scream, Edvard Munch, National Gallery, Oslo, Norway – 1893
Oh, this is a classic! What we have here is a person on a bridge, who unaware that they are being Punk’d. This person (Shocky McShockerton) is clearly shocked and screaming at whoever is standing at our point-of-view. We’ll call them a scoundrel. Why? Because the scoundrel just threw Shocky McShockerton’s cellphone over the bridge and into the water.
“Why did you do that!?” – Shocky McShockerton
Meanwhile, you can see two people in the background who are walking towards this distraught person. One of them is Ashton Kutcher – the host of Punk’d. The other is a camera man.
Don’t worry, their real phone is safe and dry. A fake one was thrown over the bridge.
Winged Victory of Samothrace, Louvre, Paris, France – c. 200-190 BC
And finally, this masterpiece!
If you have ever heard Elton John’s song, “I’m Still Standing”, you will know that it was inspired by this piece of art. Let’s analyze a lyric from that song, shall we?
“I’m still standing after all this time, picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind.”
Ah, just brilliant.
You see, this is a statue of a person who was betrayed by their lover. Love takes two wings to fly, this statue and their statuemate (soulmate) broke things off. And when they did, the other statue took their wing away.
It’s taken a while for this statue to get over it, but they finally did, even though they lost their mind, first. Hence the lyric, “without you on my mind”. This person can’t think about their former lover anymore because they don’t have a head to formulate such thoughts.
Love hurts, but you can still stand up after you fall, even if you only have one wing and no head.
Well, that sums up this edition of “I Know Art”. I’ve been Paul and you’ve been informed. Have a nice day and don’t forget to pick up any crumbs you drop. Those ants are big enough.