Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Van Gogh, 4 Other Artists Immortalized in Food in Art Fund Competition

Let me begin by saying that I used to be homeless.  Food was a sacred issue.  To find any was rapture and to waste any was an unforgivable sin.  You could play with your food -- but only if nothing was wasted and everything was eaten before it began to rot.

So forgive me if I cannot get into the food art fad, which got a huge shot of publicity in February when the prestigious Time magazine did a feature on 5 artistic masterpieces recreated with food, including Vincent Van Gogh's Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear turned into a vertical ploughman's lunch (pictured, left.) The frame is made up of sliced bead and French loaf, the eyes peppercorns, the coat button a pickle slice, the green bits lettuce and the bandage a smear of brie.  Somewhere there are gherkins, pickled onions and yellow cheese.

Another interesting creation was a Rice Crispie Treat splattered with icing to mimic a Jackson Pollack painting. Also there is a recreation of Damien Hurst's Skull which defies explanation, although apparently almonds played a part in it.  See even more on Art Fund's Instagram page, Facebook page or on Twitter using the #ediblemasterpieces.

These creations were done to raise money for the UK non-profit Art Fund as part of the Edible Masterpieces Project, a competition which goes in until 30 June, 2014. This uses all kinds of fundraising events to give money to UK's art galleries and museums so they will not close.  Now that I can sink my teeth into.

Image is from Slate, which got it from Art Fund. I'm not sure if the image is copyrighted. (Sorry!)

"Van Gogh: The Life" By Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith; The Review

I meant to write a review of Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith ages ago but couldn't because I still haven't finished the book.  Why haven't I?  It's over 1000 pages long in itty-bitty print.  It's the only time I was glad Vincent Van Gogh died at age 37 or who knows how long this monster would've turned out. Quite frankly, my life is too short to spend months reading just one damn book.

The Good

This is unquestionably the most thorough and best researched biography ever written of Van Gogh's entire life and legend. It also made headlines around the world back when it was first published in 2011 for it's theory that someone else shot Van Gogh instead of Van Gogh. Naifeh and Smith claim that two teenage boys that liked to bully Van Gogh accidentally shot the tormented artist. Van Gogh did not want them to get into trouble, so he told everyone that he shot himself. At that point I his life, Van Gogh was looking forward to death. It's a convincing argument, I have to admit.

The Bad

There are a couple hundred pages of notes. The notes are in even smaller print than the text or captions.  Now, granted, most people ignore the notes, but I'm one of those people who does not.  Perhaps I can blame Richard Dawkins for his very entertaining notes for that, but there you are. Hi -- my name is Rena Sherwood and I am a note reader. However, it's impossible to read the notes and match it up with the text because there are no note numbers in the text.  You have to read the book and then the notes or keep flipping to the chapter notes after reading a chapter.  No thanks.

The Downright Ugly

If Van Gogh is your hero, get ready to have your illusions completely shattered. Van Gogh may have been an artistic genius, but he had a boatload of problems. He would self-sabotage himself so much so that you can start predicting how he will lose friends and make powerful enemies before it happens. Van Gogh's paranoia and intensity makes his letters hard to interpret. He would constantly mention a great new friend in one letter and then never mention that person again, except to trash talk him or her. In some ways, you wish you could go back in time just to smack Van Gogh across the face and yell, "SNAP OUT OF IT!"