She walked up to my booth, husband in tow. “We read your blog” she said with a little twinkle in her eye. As if some unspoken secrets had magically passed from my brain to hers. She and her husband had purchased a large piece from me the day before. They were adorable, and I remember them from years before. I didn’t know what to say… so I stumbled around and finally said “I am honored you read my blog!” …..So, I had to go back and look at my sadly neglected blog and review. What obnoxious things did I say?? I don’t get much in the way of comments on my blog, it seems most of the commenting happens on Facebook, so I am left to wonder sometimes if I am standing on my little soapbox proclaiming to no one but the bots in Latvia. Maybe not. Maybe people are content to read and then smile slyly when we meet.
I had been wanting to talk about my experiences in New York recently. Especially about the Rene Magritte exhibit at MoMA. I didn’t get any quick iPhone snaps as I was keeping an eye out for my Russian friend El. We had decided to meet up there at the last minute. I had given her my subway pass and said goodbye the night before as I had made the decision to sleep in and enjoy a little relaxation before my afternoon flight. Then, when I awoke that morning, I overheard the waiter at breakfast tell a couple how to get to Manhattan from the hotel. I thought I was nuts for being lazy. I talked to him, he handed me a subway pass from another traveler unable to use it and I contacted El and asked her to meet me there. Anyway…. there I was, top floor of MoMA, waiting for El and deliciously taking in the Magritte exhibit. You might know him from this work:
There were other more disturbing and fascinating pieces to be found in the collection, but I neglected to snap any iPhotos of them as I was worried about missing El.
I must admit, I like how he thought:
Hehe… okay, big deal. A little silliness on my part.
I was interested to find that he struggled to make a living at his art and did things like design wallpaper and started an ad agency with his brother in Belgium. The most intriguing detail was that he was reduced to forging Picassos, Braques and banknotes in order to pay the bills after his gallery contract ran out. That’s the way it is, isn’t it? Someone like Magritte, clearly on the edge, remembered by art historians as seminal and reduced to copying in order to eat. I won’t go see what price his last painting sold for at Sotheby’s because I think it might just make me sick.
I have no solution for the fine line between ripping off your teacher and being influenced by them. I always encourage finding their own voice, but honestly, some think changing the color is all they have to do. All things being said, food is a big motivator. We all like that tasty morsel. I admire the work of Magritte, even after finding out he was a bit of a scoundrel. Admire? Yes, in some respects. I am sad he was not heralded enough in his day to survive. This copying business does taint the water a bit.