Pick of the Day: A Brush With Genius

For my Monday pick-of-the-day, I featured Michelle Provost's show Selling Out at the Dunlop Art Gallery. With all the action figures, comic book covers, artist trading cards and sliding puzzles that she's assembled, there must be over 200 artists represented. Oddly, despite the vast catalogue of artists, which cover many of the most famous names in art history, there seems to be two curious ommissions.

Given that the show, at least on some level, critiques the way that the arts help sustain and even fuel consumer culture Salvador Dali is conspicuous by his absence. Truly, if you look up the word "whore" in an art dictionary, you will find his picture. Yet as far as I've been able to discern in two reasonably thorough visits to the show, he's not mentioned.

Neither did I detect any reference to Vincent van Gogh. That's surprising because among artists he is virtually universally revered as the antithesis of Dali-- an artist with impeccable integrity. The man, according to legend anyway, never sold a painting in his lifetime. Pretty hard to accuse him of selling out, isn't it? Which is perhaps why Provost seems to have elected not to include him.

If you're hungering for a van Gogh fix, though, you can always see this Imax flick which opens Feb. 5 at the Saskatchewan Science Centre. An admittedly unusual, but potentially intriguing, cinematic excercise, Brush With Genius retraces van Gogh's steps as he painted some of his most famous masterpieces -- first in his native Netherlands, where conditions are generally dark and gloomy; then later in sun-drenched Arles, Saint Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise.

Here's the trailer (YouTube). And for a bit of comic relief, here's the trailer for Vincent Minnelli's 1957 biopic Lust For Life which starred Kirk Douglas as van Gogh and Anthony Quinn as Paul Gaugin. (YouTube)

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