Thursday, August 26, 2004

I Scream, You Scream...

By now, you've likely heard the Edvard Munch's famous painting, "The Scream", has been stolen, along with his "Madonna", from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. If this means nothing to you, here's a bit more background on this masterpiece and the late artist.

This latest crime has rekindled the debate over what constitutes a masterpiece, and why we value them so ridiculously anyway. I came across this well-written op-ed piece on the subject, and it made me smile. While reading it, I recalled being told by one particularly self-righteous "connoisseur" of art that real culture encompasses, and is limited to, looking at masterpieces hanging in world-famous museums. He then rhymed off the names of the masters he had seen at said museums, likely not understanding or appreciating any of the subtle genius that led up to their respective creation.

Of course, anything that did not fit his narrow definition of true art was, by definition, not worth discussing.


This begs the question, of course, of why anyone would steal a priceless painting in the first place, let alone an armload of 'em. It's like stealing a Rolls-Royce in that it's about as inconspicuous as P. Diddy at the opera. It's also not as if you're going to find a thriving parts market for the thing anyway. You've got to wonder about the criminal mind. Aside from being an incredibly wonderful song by Canada's own Lawrence Gowan (aka "Larry Gowan" or simply "Gowan"), there's little I understand about what makes a scofflaw tick. Thank goodness.

I guess I'll have to satisfy myself with staring at masterpieces on the web. And if I happen to stare at a non-masterpiece by a non-famous, non-dead, non-hanging-in-a-stuffy-museum artist, I guess it'll have to be our little secret.


птица (Ptiza) Odelay said...

Are they going to sell it on eBay?

carmilevy said...

If they do, I have an open spot beside a velvet Elvis "painting" above the fireplace mantle. Special art deserves a special place in the home.

Kate said...

Thefts like that probably are planned with the potential buyers beforehand, would be my uneducated guess.

Unfortunately lots of people consider art to be an elitist pursuit, both making and appreciating. This doesn't have to be the case, but it seems both extremes like it that way so they can call each other different kinds of wankers.

carmilevy said...

The best art has always driven polarized opinion. I think the debate that rages around art is often as much fun to experience as the art itself. Vive la difference, and pass the tabasco.

Rich Rosenthal II said...

Yeah but now is the time to start the office pool on what "masterpiece" (portable piece of with high montery value) will be stolen or at least atempted next. Lot of desperate people out there and a lot of poorly guarded museums / galleries.

Found your site by way of comments posted on Diva Drip's site if you keep track of that sort of thing.