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Monday, July 14, 2008

Submitted for Jen’s Approval

posted by on July 14 at 14:44 PM

I’m at gay family week in Saugatuck, Michigan, a little resort town on Lake Michigan about two and half hours from Chicago. Saugatuck has cultivated an artsy image—check out the sign at the entrance to town—and there’s lots of, um, medium-sized-sculpture-garden sculpture everywhere you go in this town. Since I don’t feel qualified to judge the art I’m seeing I’ve decided to post a picture a day and challenge our own Jen Graves—who doesn’t have nearly enough to do, you see—to offer her critical judgment. First up…


“Big Temptation,” enamel on aluminum, by Romero Britto.


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wait, I wanna be first: it's kicky! in a suck-ass kinda way.

Posted by Steven Miller | July 14, 2008 2:58 PM

I'd prefer to hear a 500 word Charles Mudede essay on its meaning.

Posted by dreamboatcaptain | July 14, 2008 3:06 PM

Wow, it's like a bad illustrator decided to be a sculptor.

Posted by boxofbirds | July 14, 2008 3:06 PM

OK normally this would be dismissed as too birght, shiny and representational.

But look.

It's political.
[spoiler alert:]

There's a U in that shape and an S and like red and white and blue....
we are tempted to be a devilish super power's what I see. Of course any other interpretation is equally 10,000% "valid."]

Posted by PC | July 14, 2008 3:06 PM

King Wormy looks PISSED. Beware the Demon King of the Worm nation!

Posted by Lobot | July 14, 2008 3:07 PM
6 reminds me of Mr Poe for some reason.


Damn him for leaving us for the bright lights of the big city and enduring fame on Gawker!

Posted by michael strangeways | July 14, 2008 3:08 PM

gay friendly and michigan don't belong in the same sentence. believe it or not, my home state is famous for having the highest concentration of white supremacists in the country. dan, if you must stay in michigan visit ann arbor. it's full of hippy yuppie yups but it's cute, they have a whole foods and if you get busted smoking the fine is only $50.

Posted by Josie | July 14, 2008 3:12 PM

Worm? It is clearly the snake from Eden, carrying the apple of original sin. The crown implies that Satan has won control for the world, and is represented most strongly in the parallel evils of the United States and Roy Lichtenstein.

Posted by MonkeyNose | July 14, 2008 3:14 PM

Call Michelle Malkin, the scribbles on the snake's belly seem to say "Death to America" in Arabic.

Posted by Sirkowski | July 14, 2008 3:17 PM

I remember many summer days way back when on the dunes (and beyond) in Saugatuck and dancing my ass off at the gay dance club (Douglas Dunes, I think?). I am from another Lake Michigan town north of Saugatuck.

Josie is right about the white supremicists concentration there - but, Dan, you should have a good time. Enjoy the beaches!

Posted by CommonKnowledge | July 14, 2008 3:21 PM

I wish I was in Saugatuck right now-Oval Beach is just gorgeous. Having lived in the surrounding area, I found people just as varied in their opinions and beliefs as other parts of the country. Dan-the artsy Saugatuck sign replaced one that said "Gentiles only" back in the day(I don't know this for a fact-someone told me this). The Jews went to South Haven. Also, Saugutuck is having its own Sonic-like battle with Aubrey McClendon over his development of a beautiful piece of lakeshore property. He is evil on so many fronts!

Posted by amatilda | July 14, 2008 4:12 PM

@9: The scribbles are his signature.

@all: how the fuck do you not know BRITTO? Too busy being hipster-obsessed with Warhol to notice the other pop artists?
Bonus follow up question: You do know who Keith Haring is, or are you that oblivious?

Posted by Dee in SF | July 14, 2008 4:13 PM

The only thing worse than a boss on vacation, is a boss trying to remotely control the workers back home while he's on vacation ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 14, 2008 4:31 PM

@12, OK, I'll bite -- albeit by cutting and pasting from Still Life With Food:

"The oft-sited description of Britto’s works is his distinctive use of bright color and bold outlines. He is said to be reminiscent of the cubists and inspired by Matisse, and claims to be a member of the Neo-Pop movement. But whereas Picasso and Matisse actually evolved in style and significance to the progression of modern art, Britto seems to be stuck in a hallucinogenic paint-by number nightmare. His paintings are a nauseating rerun of obnoxious color and lack evidence of any real talent. They are without depth, complexity or dynamism. The colors maybe loud, but the subject matter and medium are stale and boring, tired cartoons at best. Lately, Britto has started to produce shiny, ostentatious aluminum sculpture, which Miami is eager to slap on everything from hospitals to shopping centers. Several of which make for distracting eyesores on city highways.

"Comparing Romero Britto’s Sharpie outlined Hello Kitty canvases to Matisse’s modernist flattening and revolutionary use of black line is a joke. Listing him as a successor to Warhol, Lichtenstein and Haring is even more laughable. To manufacture ‘art’ without the slightest bit of irony is certainly absurd. But to continually churn out these sparkly contrived bundles of joy for some of the largest corporations in the world, while simultaneously proclaiming oneself THE Pop Artist of our time, is inherently paradoxical. Pop art is founded on just that—Pop—the popular, mass culture, the imagery behind hooking the masses and feeding them with low-cost, sexy, kitschy gimmicks. Pop art was meant to be an ironic appropriation of the system and its manipulated consumers, not a perpetual bubblegum wrapper posing as meaningful art."

So there ya go. And yeah, I know who Keith Haring was. I danced with him and his boyfriend a couple times at Paradise Garage in NYC back in 1994. Nice guy. And a much more substantive artist.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 14, 2008 4:34 PM


Lyin' about my age again...

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 14, 2008 4:34 PM

I was about to ask what it's like to dance with a corpse. Haring died in 1990!

Posted by Fnarf | July 14, 2008 4:50 PM

Put on your capezio's and come over for a quick two-step fnarf -- I'm sure i'll find out exactly what dancing with a corpse is like.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 14, 2008 4:53 PM


That's the most plagiaristical thing I've ever read.

Posted by The Great Prose Robber | July 14, 2008 4:55 PM


That's the most retroactively deceptive thing I've ever read.

Posted by The Incredible Snark | July 14, 2008 5:06 PM

I'm sorry, I was busy checking out Zipcar rental rates in Michigan ... what did you say, @18 and @19?

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 14, 2008 5:10 PM


Nice job being pompous. I have a few Harings, and have never heard of this Brillo person, other than as one who scrubs my pots and pans.

Nor would I consider this Brillo person even remotely in the same league as Haring.

Bonus follow up question: You do know how idiotic you've made yourself sound, yes?

Posted by ArtGeek | July 14, 2008 5:24 PM

This looks like art Fnarf would love. Highly competent finishes, none of that gloppy glazing he despises so.

This guy Britto is huge, just ask him. "A modern day pop culture icon, Romero Britto is one of the premiere artists of our time," says his website. "His original artwork, dubbed the art of healing..." etc. I got a glossy packet in the mail some weeks ago. He did the costumes for the preshow for a Super Bowl, or something. Most pictures of his work had him posed with it, which is the sign of a great artist.

Posted by Eric F | July 14, 2008 6:11 PM

Josie's right about Ann Arbor. The art fair starts tomorrow, which is worth seeing if you don't actually live here. (It's sort of a pain if you do live here, but whatever.)

I'd recommend Royal Oak or Ferndale myself. Not a whole lot to do, but they're generally nice cities.

Posted by the Impaler | July 15, 2008 12:35 PM

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