Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gustave on Gustave at the 2008 Art Invitational


The public notices of the Nailed Seraphim Art Invitational are starting to roll in. The Art Patrol blog says it has a post on the show, though the page comes up empty when I take a look. Refusing to take that as the Art Patrol's judgment on our group show - that it was nada, blank, zero, a void - I'll visit again later.

Christopher Gustave, who contributed a sublime piece to the show, has switched hats from artist to critic to offer a breezy critique. Gustave says "the show was actually a lot better than I expected," which is a little difficult to rate, in terms of its praise value. Obviously, it's better than if the show had been "not as bad as (Gustave) expected," but since it's unknown just how high or low his expectations were to begin with, it's not possible to know whether he appreciated the work much or not.

But he sure did have fun! Gustave reports, "I had all kindsa fun yakkin' with old friends and making a few new ones." That is an important function of any art event, as we all know. I am sure there exists somewhere a painstaking piece of sociology that documents how much time people spend at an art opening "yakkin'" and drinkin', and how much time they spend actually looking closely at the artwork, and if this report were integrated into how we describe these events, we would stop calling them "art openings" and start calling them "happy hours".

It was indeed a happy hour, or happy series of hours, for Gustave! Too happy? he seems to fret. Gustave on Gustave: "I may have been a little mouthier and less dignified than I would've liked but, eh, I'll sweat that in the afterlife." Gustave, don't say it like that; those who sweat in the afterlife are going down, with the twin towers, not up, with the seraphim, if we are to follow one popular paradigm for judgment after death.

I am having fun with Gustave here. Without coming out and saying it, he almost says that he liked the show and that we did a good job with it. After describing the model of a Poetry Scores art invitational - artists respond to poem and title work from language in poem; curators hang show based on where in the poem the language used as the title appears - he reports, "It all makes for a very interesting room, ultimately."

A very interesting room, Gustave reports. Since the interior of Hoffman LaChance is itself bare, as one wants in an art space, the things that are very interesting must be the artwork in the show! There's the Art in America pull quote!

"Very interesting." - Christopher Gustave

Gustave also has praise for us yeoman and yeowoman organizers: "The whole thing came off without a hitch, it seemed. " Being a grown, complicated man, Gustave knows that nothing comes off without a hitch, certainly no group effort involving poetry, art, volunteer labor, and egos, so what he really is saying (employing, again, my "Gustave-breeziness to actual fact" translator) is that we hid our hitches from the public - even from this contributing artist.

That is the highest praise one can offer to an art committee, and on behalf of my fellow Poetry Scores board members - Robert Goetz, Stefene Russell, K. Curtis Lyle, Serra Bording-Jones, Charlois Lumpkin, Dianna Lucas, John Eiler, Matt Fernandes, and I hope I am not forgetting anybody - "Thanks, Gustave! And thanks for contributing to the show! Your piece was actually a lot better than we expected!"

Joke.

Actually, I had very high expectations for Gustave's piece. He had the best piece in the most recent group show I saw, which I have reproduced above (using his mediocre photo of a beautiful and profound work of art). And his contribution to the invitational sold for real money, as our bargain-basement prices go. I'll collect that money - and get his piece out of the trunk of my car - just as soon as I can get to The Shanti on a Tuesday night when Kim Vrooman, the buyer of Gustave, is on premise to host an open mic.

I think I'll even invite Gustave to join me on that Tuesday night, for some "all kindsa fun yakkin' with old friends and making a few new ones". He and I are somewhere between those two categories, and getting older all the time.

3 comments:

Stefene said...

Gustave told me - twice - that he was going to kick my ass! Then he apologized three or four times, and he brought out some pieces that were in HLc's back room - really amazing stuff. It was worth the threats of bodily harm to see the sublime pasta piece. You'll have to ask Gustave about that...

Stefene said...

PS, it was an honor to have Chris Gustave threaten to kick my ass. And I knew it was an idle threat. Just to clarify, I don't want to sound like I am trying to incite a street rumble!

Gustave said...

Right on, Kingy! (I'll kick your ass.)

Stefene - thanks for the nice words on the load-out work. Next time I see you out I'm gonna only say really, really sweet things to you. That'll be way scarier.