Saturday, August 25, 2007

Self Portraits

I love art, but I'm an idiot at art. To prove this wild statement as truth, I will relate a true story. I will not exaggerate, embellish, or in any way alter the facts as I remember them.

Many, many years ago, my sister Carolyn called me on the phone and said, "There is an art gallery on Westheimer Dr. that is selling paintings by Jackson Pollack. They have a few that you and I could afford. Do you want to drive over there, take a look at them, and maybe choose one and buy it together? We could go halvies?"

"Jackson Pollack? Isn't he that guy that throws paint and splashes it around and calls it motion art or some such garbage and they have monkeys that have duplicated his crap and one elephant that has done some doodling with his trunk that looks exactly like it?"

"Well, yes, some people can't appreciate it and have had some monkeys attempt to duplicate it, but his stuff is genuinely creative."

"How much does it cost?"

"Well, some of his large murals are probably ten or twenty thousand dollars. You and I would buy one of his smaller paintings, and it would only cost us four or five thousand. I don't know. In some ways it depends on the size of the painting."

"Five thousand dollars for monkey art? Do you think I'm stupid, Carolyn? Do you think I'm an idiot? Do you really think I'd spend thousands of dollars to buy monkey art? They got a monkey at the Lubbock Zoo that has already proven it's just monkey art."

"Are you sure? His art might be valuable some day, and it is really amazing in a lot of ways."

"Do you really think I'm that dumb? Don't you realize that them art critics are peddlin' junk and laughin' all the way to the bank? No thank you! I got more brains than that. Them art people are laughin' their asses off at all the idjuts that are buyin' that monkey art!"

"OK. I just thought I'd ask. It seemed like a good idea to me."

"No monkey art for me, thank you."
And now? After watching the lady who was a guest on David Letterman who found a Jackson Pollack painting in a garage sale and is fighting off wealthy, wallet-bearing art lovers who are throwing money at her to get their hands on one of his paintings? After stickin' my foot in my mouth and three-quarters o' the way down my esophagus?

I genuinely appreciate all art. Not because of the investment lost, but because of the lesson learned.

Here are some samples of my fourth graders' self portraits:

"The neck bone's attached to the....jaw bone.
The jaw bone's attached to the....arm bone"

"I have powerful upper body strength, Mr. R.!"

"I've never liked my doorknobs. One is bigger than the other."

"I am mesmerized by your charms."

"Gaze into my eyes. You are going deeper. And deeper."

"This caption confused the bejeebers out of my teacher.

I am cheering on Heatran, a Yu-Gi-Oh character."

"You'll never guess what I'm thinking."

"I am from the planet Zertron,

and I have come for your electric toasters."

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