Check it, Peons: Your CNN Humiliation Compartmentalized

Friday, May 23, 2008


There are a few paintings/pictures that you see over and over again in cheap Italian restaurants and nondescript cafes. They are meant to be benign enough that they will not disturb diners as they masticate their manicotti. They are rarely chosen for their artistic merit. They are often purchased because they:

A. match the booths
B. feature the country of the restaurant's cuisine

But they really piss me off.

The first is by photographer Ruth Orkin. It's called "American Girl in Italy, 1951". Now, the photo is excellent. It depicts a miserable girl walking through the streets of Rome. She is surrounded by clusters of leering men who are making her deeply uncomfortable. But what gets me is how people seem to overlook the point of the photo, and just think it captures the charm of "the old country". They sit there, eating their crappy Italian food, thinking that photo is a quaint view of 1950's Rome. I've even heard one woman say to her husband "Isn't that cute John? We really need to visit Italy one of these days."

Fuck those spaghetti munching idiots.

The second is a colorful painting by John Vettriano called "The Singing Butler". It depicts an obviously wealthy couple dancing in the rain. They are impeccably dressed, and in their own world. The butler and the maid are holding umbrellas, trying to shield the couple. However it seems that the couple is unaffected by the weather. The elements only seem to be battling the underclass. Naturally, the rich couple don't give a shit. This just shows how rich mother fuckers get every stupid whim indulged while the peons just have to suck it up. Brings me back to my CNN VJ days.

Fuck those rich assholes.

Now, while my next target isn't seen in restaurants or cafes, I'm throwing her in there too: anything by Anne Geddes. Fortunately, she has gone out of favor. But back in the late 1990's and early 2000's, you couldn't go anywhere without seeing one of her creepy babies trapped in an unfortunate, often foliage-related scenario. The worst was the one with Celine Dion holding a baby in a pair of pantyhose. Why is this adorable? The poor baby is trapped in a pair of fucking pantyhose. Worse, that pair of pantyhose is being held by Celine Dion. What does that even mean?

Fuck those pantyhose.

And while I'm fairly certain it is an Anne Geddes knock off and not the real deal, there is a kitchen supplies store near me with a huge picture of a fat little baby in a saucepan. The baby looks both horrified and gaseous. (This was my first clue that it was a knock off and not an actual Geddes.)
But the point is:
Reminds me of that old beef industry ad campaign:
"Baby. It's what's for dinner."

Anyone else want to bitch about mass produced art that pisses you off?


Thomas Kinkade said...

Painter of Light?
More like Painter of Shit.

Anonymous said...

Bob Talbot and his fucking ocean life photos.

Simon LeBon said...

Why are there no Nagel prints anymore? Isn't it time for a Nagel revival?

Anonymous said...

Any fake Moan-ay or Ansel Adams reproduction you'd find in a Peon's apartment, as if trying to convince the masses how fucking cultured they are.