Last Father’s Day I ventured out to an art auction at Material Culture, a large enterprise that sells ersatz antiques, furnishings and decorative arts for appointing houses with an exotic touch. I call it Freak-Chic. You can buy a cast bronze Buddha, Persian rugs or a weathered wardrobe once-owned by a Pasha. Everything is high priced so I wasn’t hopeful I’d be picking up any bargains for my skinny art collection. Had I known how good the quality and how inexpensive the art, I would have brought a checkbook. There was a mix of unknown modernists (long dead) and lots of curious outsider art. This made for interesting pickings for the audience of amateur collectors. The small paintings of the ‘unknown’ Javior Mayoral were particularly fetching. Some were bid up on-line to a couple hundred dollars but several were left unsold around fifty dollars. I kicked myself! They resembled mini-Magritte or pre-pin-up Picabia. Definetly like Philly’s, Jim Houser. Mayoral’s work was well painted full of semi-surreal and comic sayings. My Googlie research could not turn up much on the artist except that he’s Latino and lives in Miami! I imagine him to be fairly young, judging from the low price points. Had he applied, he would have been accepted into the Woodmere Museum’s Open Show up at the moment, creatively curated by our own Dufala brothers. That is another story.
There were more authentic outsider artists like Jim Bloom (not Jim Nutt) that could pass for low quality Basquiat. They looked swell on the Power Point display but were lacking a little something up close on actual walls. These seemed to some stir interest in the crowd. I almost bought one accidently when I scratched my right ear. Tabletops and glass cabinets featured packs of drawings and watercolors of all sorts, all inexpensive. There were even a few Japanese 100 year old prints for a snip. I always wanted a real Japanese print especially a scene depicting the Battle of Tsushima, 1905! As for current neo-Outsiders; in decades past, I used to deride them as mere skateboard painters. That was snobbish! Next time I‘m bringing some cash.