I have a very active imagination, driving me to the depths of insanity where color patterns and psychedelic scenarios exist. I have come to this condition after years of abusing my brain and spending some time in various states of intoxication. For this special Christmas piece I would like to summon art to envisage the worst festive dinner with the most unbecoming, loathsome, and abhorrent artists imaginable as guests. These artists are by coincidence some of the most well-known, creative and well respected figures in art history. Suitable for a dinner party of any sort however… they are not, especially one that celebrates this time of benevolent behaviour. So welcome to my fantasy Christmas, bah, humbug!
The doorbell rings, two hours early, and it can only be our ever neurotically precise friend Joan Miró. He is dressed immaculately and as usual does not say anything as he enters the house. He has always been quiet like this, saying as little as possible. In fact he was so reluctant to answer any questions put to him that the Surrealists sentenced him to death with Max Ernst grabbing a piece of rope, while others grabbed Miró’s arms and put a noose around his neck, all the while the artist said not a word. Man Ray later depicted Miró with a rope that plays on the incident in the Paris studio. The poet Michel Leiris said after the Artist’s death in 1983: “The joke about the hanging could not have happened with anybody else. Miro really was afraid that they would hang him.”
Clement Greenberg wrote about Miro’s visit to America in 1947: “Those who had the opportunity to meet Miro while he was here saw a short, compact rather dapper man in a dark blue business suit. He has a neat round head with closely trimmed dark hair, pale skin, small, regular features, quick eyes and movements. He is slightly nervous and at the same time imperson
al in the company of strangers, and his conversation and manner are non-committal to an extreme. One asked oneself what could have brought this bourgeois to modern painting, the Left Bank, and Surrealism?”
However, now the rest of the guests have arrived, and everyone hurrah a “Pablo” when Picasso walks into the door and finds the first girl that takes his fancy. He nonchalantly takes a drink from the table and walks up to the girl saying what he had said to win over Marie-Thérèse: “Mademoiselle, you’ve got an interesting face. I’d like to paint your portrait. I am Picasso”. This move is not welcomed by our old friends Gustav Klimt and Paul Gauguin who were planning to make their own move and win the heart of the barley legal girl with promises of fame and fortune through modeling.
In one corner a schizophrenic and a manic depressive are arguing the relevance of reality. Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch, both drunk on absinthe, smoking god knows what, are talking about the importance of expressive brushstrokes and using prime colours to produce paintings that question the idea of reality and produce a new way of seeing the world. Even though they seem to concur on most points, especially the significance of German Expressionism, they have difficulty when it comes to the question of religion. Our friend Vincent believes in rapture and salvation, whilst Munch takes a dimmer apocalyptic take on life and cannot help talking about his own encounter with death, yet both artists agree that for a painter it is ill-advised to shoot one’s hand rather than cut an ear.
In the other corner our Marxist comrade Diego Rivera is arguing with the Nazi sympathizer Salvador Dali who openly supported Spain’s General Franco and even featured Hitler in one of his paintings causing the Surrealists to expel him from the group. Dali who claims now that he did it out of concern for his nation and that it has all been over-hyped by the media, is bested by Rivera who points to the commercial work Dali did in America advertising various products for the Capitalist cause. All the bickering comes to a halt as Caravaggio challenges Jacques-Louis David to a sword fight, fortunately I manage to stop the situation from getting out of hand by pointing out that the doorbell has started ringing and everyone calm down to see who’s at the door.
When I open the door I see a sulking Damien Hirst who complains about his invitation being lost in the mail. I smile shaking my head at the artist saying: “My dear Damien, I’m afraid you were not invited. Make sure you close the gate on your way out.”
Happy Holidays Everyone.