Day 136 Penises and Cupcakes

April 24, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

Out of Order art auction by Maryland Art Place

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. ~ Pablo Picasso

I marvel at how art intrudes on the way I see things. After seeing Edward Weston’s famous black and white photo of a green pepper years ago, I can never again look at a green pepper in the way same way. Perhaps the way the pepper photo shaped my mind helped me to see the special qualities in a piece of metal, which I photographed and exhibited in the Maryland Art Place’s Out of Order silent auction that took place tonight. My art sold, I was glad to help contribute to MAP and I had a good time at the party too. 

Tonight, my eyes kept straying to a large framed photograph, the torsos of two men facing one another with a penis showing through the legs of one. Just two art frames down the wall from this was a painting of cupcakes with glitter glue. When I met the cupcake artist, I couldn’t help thinking that the cupcakes should have been moved a little further away from the penis. The glitter cupcakes were the creation of a 4th grade girl, so excited about being a part of a big art show. Her mile-wide smile and enthusiasm were contagious but her mother reined in the enthusiasm. “I told her that she’s not a real artist until someone buys her art.” 

I don’t know if anyone bid on her painting by the time the bids had closed, but I’m not sure I agree with her mother. Artists are driven to create art because something has touched them and they want to express that feeling. It is the process that they go through, the process of creating, that makes them artists. If others like it or are inspired to look at life in a different way, that is good. However, if no one buys it, does that mean the person who created the art is not an artist? Do we value art only by the money it brings? Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans sold for $15 million but I am more likely to buy the cupcakes than the soup cans.  

The three pieces I’ve mentioned —the penis, the cupcakes and the soup cans—make me think and question. What was there about the juxtaposition of penis and body that made it so visceral? What was it about the cupcakes that made me want to smile? Why should a series of realistically painted soup cans be considered art? Whatever the answers, it is the questions that stretch perception. And that’s what I love about art—both the things I like and don’t like.  

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

My gift today is a mind stretch.

You can find links to my other posts on this project here:

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