The other day I spent a nice afternoon in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Walking around, I noticed something. If you want to be a successful artist, you kind of have to figure out what your “deal” is going to be. I guess that’s kind of obvious, but it was pretty interesting to see that truth coming across in all the different work on display. For instance, in his early days, Mondrian did some really amazing illustrations of chrysanthemums and people and whatnot, but it wasn’t until he focused in on two or three colors and a bunch of lines that folks really started to pay attention. It’s nice to have a hook.
An early Mondrian painting that you don't know about because it's boring.
So, I devised a hook of my own. I’m pretty sure it’s a foolproof way to become a famous artist. The problem with it is that it kind of requires you devote your life to the cause. And I’m pretty sure I’m a little more suited to not doing that. But let me tell you about it just in case you want to take it on as a project. If so, let me know, and we’ll come to some sort of monetary agreement.
Here’s how it would work. First, you would start by having a showing of some paintings in a small art museum somewhere. It doesn’t really matter what gallery, just somewhere big enough to get listed in the local artsy magazines. I think it would be a nice touch to call the show “Bait.” Maybe it’s even abstract renderings of fishhooks or something. It really doesn’t matter. The paintings don’t have to even be very good. The point is that you want someone to write a bad review of your show. And then… you find that critic, and spend the rest of your life painting him, photographing him, making sculptures of him, etc. Not necessarily derogatory paintings. Just him, eating a sandwich. Or sitting on a park bench listening to his iPod. Or surfing. The point is that you would have tons and tons of pieces of him doing tons of things throughout his entire life.
I think, some 50 years later, it would be a must-see exhibit. “Some dude got one bad review and then spent his entire life making art and paintings about the critic who wrote the review. There was even a mobile of the critic making various faces while playing Nintendo.” You would go see it, right?
Anyway, it sounds hard. But kind of awesome. So do it for me, please. I’m fine if you just mention me in the description copy that goes on the wall of the museum. You know, the stuff that only really slow-going museum types will read.