Friday, May 29, 2009

Mixed Feelings

I have a complicated relationship with kitsch. On one hand, as a general principle, I think a cheap laugh is better than no laugh. But that can leave you with a vague sense of guilt, like it's just so easy to ridicule some things that maybe the most honorable thing is to ignore them, and try not to stare. And then a hot-shot contemporary artist starts making work like chromed inflatable vinyl rabbits, and glossy ceramic Michael Jackson with Bubbles statues and such, and here we go with seeing things anew through the eyes of an artist. It gets into the whole conundrum of taste and tastelessness and - are you still awake? - just leaves me uneasy.

Anyway, I have this sculpture of the two dogs wearing berets, with their super-sized blue eyes and flowers and oh-come-on a THERMOMETER as if that somehow justifies its existence because it's useful. And yes, that's reflective silver OVER a coat of reflective gold and the details are hand-painted. It's probably the worst thing I own. Perverse, really. And I think it's just great.


  1. Did you buy this yourself or was it a gift?

    I have a friend who was given...a a gift. It's hideous. Probably even worse than kitsch. She hopes her eyes weren't bugging out when she opened it and said "uhhhhh, thank you" but she now stores it in her linen closet. She sees it behind the stacked sheets, but denies it any existence.

    If you like it, there you go. It served its purpose. Actually it's cute in a "If I buy this on vacation will I regret it when I get home" sort of way.

  2. I confess that I did buy it for myself, rationalizing that it was such a great example of badness. I didn't know that, like a stray dog, it would sort of compel me to adopt it.

  3. I suppose the important question is how big is it?

  4. It's a shelf-sitter (say that 3 times fast), maybe the length of your extended hand. But it's funny you asked, because last night I was privy to a spirited conversation between two artists about scale as it relates to an object like a painting. Which made me imagine this thing as HUGE, and that made it a whole new thing.

  5. Huge would make it, as they say, fabulous, even life-size could fall in the arty category (I work in a Chelsea gallery, I know of what I speak), eensy teensy would make it precious, hand-size is just sweet. I kind of like the little dog's messy eyes, keeps it from being Hallmarky.