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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything


I like wandering around the online MFA. I like wandering around the actual MFA, too — don’t get me wrong– but it’s not exactly right down the street. Even if it was, I’m kinda busy here. 11:30 pm suits me fine.

Online archives are wonderful in this respect, because they don’t close and don’t sleep and don’t charge you, generally. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a fine online archive, filled with interesting things.

Now, my favorite painter is John Singer Sargent. I know you’re really not supposed to have a favorite painter, as this might lead to fantasy art leagues being formed, and paint spreads being published in the newspapers every week before the big exhibition.

I didn’t just write that, did I?

At any rate, old Sarge could daub, I’m tellin’ ya. And the MFA always has a bunch of him, as John Singer Sargent used to be their housepainter, sorta; and since the stuff is painted right on the walls, they can’t sell it when they’re hard up for money to buy pictures of blue broads with three ears and a nose on the side of their head. They’re stuck with it.

I don’t know why Sargent painted this picture of a 1950s wrestler. I think he’s Irish, what with the harp and all. The girls are wearing too many clothes, but they’re pretty all the same. It’s nice of one of them to hold that dish behind Gorgeous George like that. Looks heavy. It looks like there were half a dozen muses in Boston at the time of the painting, but only one hairdresser. Times have changed since then, I see. Now there are thousands of hairdressers in Boston, many of whom would be keenly interested in our wrestler, no doubt; and if not many muses, plenty of mousse. Thin lipped college girls with their stringy shoeblack dyed hair, skinny glasses, grim expressions, and Doc Martens and backpacks stand in for the muses today. They rarely dress in bedsheets like the picture, as they obscure their tattoos and ruin the general effect they’re driving at.

See, I don’t know much about that painting. Sargent just put it on the wall and said: Take that! He didn’t explain himself or nothing. What a dope.

Someone told me an artist isn’t an artist if he has to explain himself.

I bet that someone was… an agent.

7 Responses

  1. What a dope.

    I’ve been thinking (a dangerous habit, I know) about this post for a while and I finally decided (after much argument with myself) that I’m not so sure you are right.

    After all, as you say, he painted the things on the walls, virtually guaranteeing himself an eternal showing of his works. Artistic fashions come and go, but there hangs Sargent. They might drape him from time to time, but everyone knows he’s lurking behind there, and those who haven’t seen him (or noticed him when he was out in the open) won’t be able to resist taking “just a peek” at him. (Forbidden fruit, mystery lends enchantment, and all that.)

    Maybe not such a dope after all?

  2. You should consider the possibility, no matter how remote it might be, that from time to time I may not be entirely serious.

  3. I didn’t think you were and meant my comment to follow in what I thought was the spirit of your post. I’m truly sorry if it sounded otherwise.

  4. You should consider the possibility, no matter how remote, that my reply to your unserious reply was unserious.

  5. kmndneAmen. Sorry, force of an absolute necessary habit.

    I knew he had his tongue in his cheek(you had your tongue in your cheek) as soon as you mentioned that heavy dish the dancer was holding up behind Georgeous George. A dish???

    OK, so it took me a while…

    I like Franz Marc and all his heavy- a**ed horses, for real. The colours that man used are fantastic. Unfortunately, that ends my critique of art- and MFA. I used to get the catalogue :0)

  6. lol- do you see that gibberish on the front-end of my comment?(lol). It was my mystery code to print. Go figgure and ~Thank God It’s Friday!!!~

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