Thursday, December 14, 2006
I have always picked on Thomas Eakins. He is a local hero, but I gotta throw in my two cents over the furor to keep his picture, the Gross Clinic from 1875, which I have never even felt the need to see. It is being described in the local and national press as America’s best 19th century painting. What art history book are they quoting there? I thought it was a Thomas Cole picture for sure or something by the amazing Fitz Hugh Lane or Albert Pinkham Ryder! Fine, ok. But, why is it so important to keep the work. We knock down bits of history and trample on it all the time. We are becoming cyborgs and no one cares. So what is the beef? Is Philadelphia so insecure? This of course follows the Rocky (horror) Statue furor which I declined to comment on until now. I must maintain some dignity and both sides being full of shit, it is not what I want to get involved with, making the choice to align schlock with real high art for the cheesesteak and tourist crowd. Yet that is what the Fairmount Park folks do against there better judgment. They compromise by placing it near the bottom of the Rocky steps. (I do refer to them as the Rocky Steps without irony) The stuffiness of these parochial attitudes makes me think I might get some more hip thinking in the midwest, not that I am planning on moving. I have concluded that any media situation in Philadelphia always bring together the heads of organizations who really aren’t experts of anything at all, the Barnes conflagration etc... WHYY is expert at this pointless round-tabling of nincompoops. Conclusion: The art and auction markets are booming, so sell the damn thing to Wal-Mart for 68 million. How American can you get?