Wednesday, December 22, 2010

(Video) The Mona Lisa Curse

I caught this documentary earlier this morning and loved every moment of it. Sadly the version I watched was only an hour long. As it is on youtube it seems to have been extended. This is completely off topic from what I usually blog about but as it's winter I can't do much with Ants, Bees, Butterflies, or Nature besides talking about a winter scape and hibernation. The topic here is really how spectacle removes substance, and this can be applied to every medium. Weather it's movies, books, science or the news, hype distracts people from what it is. Even the horticultural industry with it's ever fancier varieties of cultivated roses, bulbs, assorted plants and even genetically modified crops (GMO's). I feel GMO's are sometimes ridiculed unfairly. People aren't always protesting the fact they're genetically modified so much as different than what they should be. And this is done until people eventually forget. Case and point, the original carrot was purple, not orange... but you can still find some varieties that are purple.

"Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" which sold for $135 Million.
I remember gasping in disgust at this painting when I saw it sold for that much. It's so flat in comparison to the "Mona Lisa." The Mona Lisa has such divine shading around the face and along the body. There's a background! She's not hanging in an otherworldly flat dimension of yellow. She's not wearing a dress of eyes either, an aspect I suspect is the only thing preventing her body from being lost with the background. I mean seriously look at the mustache on that one! 

"Mona Lisa"

These people are buying and selling art as if it's wine, as if it's value somehow grows over time. Listen to this interview with the son here. He isn't saying anything. He compares his art to the news paper and how repetitive it is.


  1. Thanks for posting this. Can't wait to view it all. The subject is of particular interest to me b/c my daughter, 26, is currently getting a master's at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York, an NYU graduate school affiliated with the Met. Between undergrad school and grad school she was the co-director of a small contemporary gallery in DC, so she knows the art world from the ground up. I love to tell people that being a gallery director is not what you'd call a glamorous job. It involves a lot of pure physical and manual labor (renting vans and hauling art around, packing it up for shipment, building scaffolding for new installations, painting walls, buying the wine for opening receptions, and then cleaning up after the guests have gone). She of course also met with artists, negotiated with them, sold art, and curated exhibitions. Now that she's in grad school she's meeting people like Phillipe de Montebello -- he's on the faculty and she has a seminar with him next semester. I'm sure there will be much in the documentary that interests me.... or disillusions me. Both probably.

  2. Philippe de Montebello is actually in the documentary. It sounds like your daughter is learning from the best.

    I used to be very interested in becoming an artiest. I think I like designing gardens more though.