Monday, March 30, 2015

"Big Eyes" (2014)

I have always liked Burton’s films. That said, I didn’t seek this one out. However, seeing it at a preview event I was pleasantly surprised. It is aesthetically not like Burton’s other works which usually scream out how uncanny and strange they are.

OK, maybe the art of Margaret Keane is a little Burton-esque (or vice-verse) in that it is so instantly recognizable and a little uncanny. However, I think what probably spoke to Burton here was the story of the artist and their art.

Margaret’s is a fascinating story. She thought she simply wanted to make art and see it out in the world. What she eventually discovered was that that was not enough. I suspect every artist would have to admit the same thing. They love their art, but what they love more is their voice. What is the point of being the most successful artist in the world if no one knows it is you doing the communicating? What is the point creating art if you can also provide commentary to go along with the statements? Perhaps some are content to—or prefer even—to remain anonymous, but what no one wants is for someone else to take credit for what is a part of the artist.

The flip-side of all of this story is the frustrating truth that the art world is more than a little bit about salesmanship over artistry. Keane would undoubtedly never have had quite the impact that she did without her husband’s salesmanship. The art establishment at the time saw her work as less than art, but the pop-culture saw otherwise, and that is a lot more about how it was sold and who was buying.

The struggle between creating art and selling it has got to be a terrible one.

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