Thursday, November 14, 2013

Art Prices Too High or Too Low?

Recent auctions for artworks have set record high prices, bringing out again a debate about the real value of Art.

Some $58 million for Jeff Koons' "Balloon Dog (Orange)" and over $142 million for Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" are prompting talk of "obscene wealth" and "paintings my 5 year old could make".

As someone who works in the Arts in America, these prices are not the norm - most people balk at paying more than $200 for any painting, sculpture, photo, or even a story. Lots of Art experts emerge to opine on what is or isn't Art. But these debates seldom increase the value in our society of Art or artists.

"Some have tried to put things into perspective, lamenting that the Bacon price almost equaled the $154 million that President Obama requested for the National Endowment for the Arts for fiscal year 2013 — and more than the $138 million that the endowment actually received, with cuts.

Others have pointed out that the price would have paid, twice, for the renovated Queens Museum, which cost a modest $69 million. It has been noted once more that such figures make it impossible to see the art for the money, that works costing this much are, at least temporarily, damaged goods."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Why I Stopped Blogging

Note I said stopped not quit in my Google Trend grabbing headline. I've been absent here because all work for some weeks was directing the play "Red Velvet Cake War" for the Morristown Theatre Guild.

Above is a pic of a scene of the three heroines, Gaynelle, Peaches and Jimmie Wyvette, caught by the law after digging up and stealing a time capsule from the courthouse lawn ... for a cake recipe inside. The show is pretty much all like that - somewhat crazy but mighty funny. It's a family reunion crammed with sharp jokes written  by the trio of Jones, Hope and Wooten.

Directing and designing a show pulls me seat from writing daily here, the Art goes on the stage. Yes, otherwise the Art goes here, the Art of Blogging. More on that later - more pics from the play, which runs for only 3 more performances on Nov 15 and 16 at 8 pm and Nov 17 at 2 pm at Rose Center in Morristown. Tickets: 423-586-9260.

Peaches, Newt and Dr. Dowdall wrestle with love and destiny.

Gaynelle, wearing her "Gospel Beehive Wig Number 603", and Peaches don't really like Cousin Purvis's crushing affection.

The cast us truly stellar too, not just saying that because it's my show but because they make it their show, stuffed with hilarious fun. They are:
Cee Cee Windham .... Carli Rick
Gaynelle Verdeen Bodeen ... Sherri Jacobs
LaMerle Verdeen Minshew ... Sharon Seals
Aubrey Verdeen ... Darryl Frith
Jimmie Wyvette Verdeen ... Keela Phillips
Peaches Verdeen Belrose ... Kellie Ward
Bitsy Hargis ... Mitzi Akins
Newt Blaylock ... Alex Michael
Deputy Grover Lout ... Doyle Whitmill
Elsa Dowdall ... Lisa Frith
Mama Doll Hargis .... Sue Wisniewski
Purvis Verdeen ... Doyle Whitmill

Recent Carson-Newman grad Jessica Whitmill is the stage manager, also one of the best I've worked with. 

As for the Art of Blogging? It is a solo performance. The Art of the Stage is defined by collaboration, that seemingly elusive quality in the world today. 

One of the things the cast and I talked about was the powerful influence of creating spontaneous laughter for two hours - audiences will not leave the show with answers to life's Big Questions, but they will leave Happy. Another quality that can change the world. Theatre is an ancient Art, a fundamental layer of Community and Civilization, 

Come see the show - we've had folks from Virginia to Las Vegas attend and roar with laughter. Do yourself a great favor and laugh for a couple of hours.