I was lucky enough to go see Gauguin at the S.A.M. on Saturday.  I never make a point of going to these art shows myself, but after invitations to go see last year’s Picasso exhibit and this year’s Gauguin, I will make sure to get my ass there in the future.  Such inspiration!  I have left both shows an artist with more artistic gold than I walked in with.  (Artistic gold will not buy you a sandwich.)

So all I heard about Gauguin before I went to this show was that he liked to nail 14 year old girls.  And apparently he did.  Some of his most famous paintings are of these 14 year old Polynesian girls nude.  What else is there to say about that?  He’s an artist.  Artists often disregard societal norms to ensure the freedom needed to be a decent artist.  It was a while ago… and none of my business… I’m gonna let it slide this time.

Plus, he died of complications from syphilis and a prison sentence at 54.  Things have a way of working themselves out.

The art!  The S.A.M. rocked it.  I have really only been to a handful of art shows and it doesn’t take you very long to realize that the presentation is key to the success of the show.  S.A.M. created a fabulous experience that not only chronologically took you through Gauguin’s works, but also incorporated Polynesian art that revealed his influences.

Now everyone will talk about Gauguin’s colors.  Sure, he used interesting colors.  But I like his little alien men.

Arii Matamoe

If you look closely, in the upper right hand corner there is an alien man.  These guys are awesome!!!  I say alien.  Art critic would say Polynesian tiki influenced.  I would say Polynesan Tiki’s are influenced by aliens!  Look at these guys.

There’s tons of these at the Gauguin show.  Some big, some small, and they’re all real tiki’s from the Polynesian region (and one from New Zealand).  Along with the Polynesian swag there are dance clubs, warrior clubs, headdresses, information on tattoos.

Extra info real quick…

the dance club had a penis (i’m not joking)

The warrior club was so intimidating that if I saw a man holding it I would run in the opposite direction.

The headdress was made from a shiny shell and a carved turtle shell that had been roasted and reformed over a fire.

Tattoos used to be your scout badges and i.d.  Certain people could only get into certain events etc. if they had the tattoo.  Lots of good stuff.

So Gauguin, was a Frenchman born in Peru, spent time in Paris, went to Polynesia, he was always traveling.  He was a wood carver, a writer… and a painter we still talk about.  He captured the sad ladies of Polynesia.  Women (real women just like you) obviously unfulfilled and confused yet content with boredom.  That’s like trying to paint a hotel heater and making the viewer feel something.  It’s just an interesting subject to focus on.  Which makes me think he could’ve painted anything and communicated something.

To Gauguin!

After the show, I was talking with Molly, and the 14 year old girl thing came up.  I said, “Yea… kinda weird that he nailed 14 year olds.  And she said, “if you wouldn’t have known that, would some of the paintings on the nude girls be different.  wouldn’t they just be… beautiful?”  I had to agree.