Monday, June 29, 2009


I just can't resist doing a Michael Jackson post. As I mentioned earlier, this blog is meant to not only describe the happenings in the Cannon household, but also to reflect the times we live in. Pop superstar Michael Jackson died last week on Thursday, June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. He was just over a year older than I am, and I have memories of him as far back as 4th grade when he was part of the Jackson 5

I thought since I've done several posts on various forms of weird, wild, and wacky contemporary art lately, it would be appropriate to share a few artistic renderings of The Gloved One. It is in the art world that calling him a "Pop Icon" takes on a literal meaning. After all, an icon is defined by as "a representation of sacred personage, such as a saint or an angel, usually painted on a wood surface and venerated itself as sacred." Some of these "representations" may make you snicker--until you learn their selling prices. We live in a strange, strange world.

The first two images depict Jackson, quite literally, as "The King of Pop":
Borrowing from a Russian art form, here is Michael Jackson as a matryoshka doll, or a set of wooden nesting figures:

The promotional poster below depicts some OTHER historical icons posing in Jackson's signature shades and rhinestone-encrusted glove:
The two paintings below (by none other than the consummate pop artist Andy Warhol) were created in 1984, the year that "Thriller" topped the charts and won eight Grammy awards:
This second Warhol graced the cover of Time magazine on March 19, 1984. It now hangs NOT in some Hollywood art gallery, but in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian:
However, my favorite Michael Jackson "art" piece has to be this one by Jeff Koons entitled Michael Jackson and Bubbles. I've seen it with my own eyes at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA). This porcelain sculpture looks almost like some kitschy thing your grandma might have in her china cupboard, except for the fact that it's six-feet long and was purchased for $5.6 million:
I did love what Scott Tennent, a writer and editor for LACMA, had to say about this sculpture. He said that when he heard the news about Michael Jackson's death, he took the BCAM elevator up to the gallery that houses this work and stood before it. He writes on the LACMA blog: "Koons's sculpture has all of a sudden become a kind of monument. It's still a funny work of art, but as of today, a little less funny. Michael, outfitted in a suit of gold, reclines on a bed of golden flowers holding his golden monkey. It encapsulates everything I feel about the star--it's garish, ridiculous, frankly a little creepy and hilarious, and fun. If Michael were only an artist--if his music were his only legacy--then Koons's scultpure wouldn't resonate anew. But Michael was so much more: a global phenomenon, possibly the first modern tabloid trainwreck, and untouchable pop culture royalty. What king doesn't have his monument in gold? I stood in front of Koons's sculpture for five or ten minutes, considering Jackson's legacy in a way that simply playing an album can't really evoke."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BANKSY: THE FINE ART SATIRIST? defines satire as "the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule,
or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

A few weeks ago I highlighted some of Banksy's "street art." The paintings in this post are what Banksy calls "inside art." They are painted on canvases and can be moved around (meaning they can be sold to earn the artist a great deal of money). Each is a parody of a well-known piece. See if you recognize any of them. Click on the image to make it larger for a more in-depth examination.

NOTE: In 2006, Angelina Jolie paid $75,000 for
this bust, and also paid $226,000 for a Banksy drawing
of a family
having a picnic on the beach with
15 starving Africans
looking on.
In 2007 she and Brad Pitt bought another one of Banksy's works for a cool $2 million.

The next two pieces are "outside art," but I thought they fit in with this post because they too parody very famous art pieces:

So what do you think? Is Banksy a true satirist? Is he really trying to say something, or is he simply taking advantage of his viewers? (I won't even get into what your opinion of Brad and Angelina might be.) Which do you like more--his "inside art" or his "outside art"?

Monday, June 22, 2009


I've been working at cleaning out cupboards, closets, boxes, and the like, and I ran across some pictures I haven't seen in a while. I guess that is one of the joys of cleaning: you find thngs you didn't even know you had!

In 1999 our family took a trip to Monterey Bay over one of the three-day weekends. Sam had just gotten his first surfboard (which he still has), and was pushing as only Sam could push to try it out in some real surf, so part of our trip had to be to go to the beach, even though it was freezing cold. We also rented kayaks and paddled around the Bay, seeing all kinds of fun animals.
Rachael was 18 and graduating in a few months, Sam was 14 and in 8th grade, and Andrew was about to turn 11 and in 5th grade. Good times. It is hard to believe it has been ten years.

Monday, June 8, 2009


In a previous post entitled March Serendipity: But Is It Art? I highlighted an improbable art show that opened in the bowels of the New York City Subway. June's serendipitous art moment has to do with my interest in an infamous British street artist (read: tagger or graffiti-ist) named, simply, "Banksy."

Banksy's graffiti first appeared around 1993 on trains and walls around Bristol, England. During the next decade, his work cropped up all over the United Kingdom, as well as in places as diverse as Vienna, San Francisco, New York, Barcelona, Paris, and even Israel.

No one seems to be sure exactly who Banksy is, but his work is very distinctive. He combines some freehand painting with stenciling and uses jarring satire of present culture or politics as subject matter. In typical tagger fashion, his works appear suddenly, unwitnessed until completed. Banksy himself is reported to have said, "I am unable to comment on who may or may not by banksy, but anyone described as 'being good at drawing' doesn't sound like banksy to me."

Here, for your viewing enjoyment, is some of Banksy's work. Let me know if you think it is art or not.

More recently, Banksy has satirized some famous paintings, but that's the subject for another post.

For more information on Banksky, see his website.