Saturday, January 17, 2009

Art Blog: King of Psychedelia

Have you ever gone somewhere or done something for the simple reason you just wanted to say you did it? I do that all the time. Tonight was a perfect example. I got this postcard in the mail.

On the back it said:

I am of his era. In fact, I probably had a few Peter Max posters in my psychedelic bedroom as a teenager. I admired his work, but I was never ga-ga over it. I never wanted to paint like or be Peter Max. I respect his work. That is about it.

As I have mentioned many times before, I am not into the concept of celebrity. As far as I am concerned, we are all human. We all go to the bathroom. We are all going to die. Cut the crap about who is better than whom. Anyway, I decided to go to the reception tonight. I did it just to say “Oh yeah. I saw Peter Max!” LOL LOL

So I get to the gallery. It was jam packed. I was greeted by a huge sign “NO PHOTOGRAPHY”. Hmmm. That bummed me out because I wanted to take a pic for this blog post. So be it. I walk in and wandered through the elbows. You see, I am 4’8” tall. The entire world is a redwood forest to me. Actually, I am thankful for my slight stature. I can get through crowds as easily as a mouse running between furniture in the living room. After making my way to a clearing, I started to walk the perimeter of the gallery. I looked at the work. Yeah. OK. I looked at more work. A-huh. There were football helmets with Max squiggles. There were baseball bats with Max splashes. There were lots of hot colors on paper, canvas, and any other kind of substrate imaginable. Yep. Yep. Yeppers.

I wandered from room to room. Where is he? I made a turn into a new gallery space and looked up. I thought “No they didn’t!” I saw a bunch of poles connected by plastic chain. You know the kind. Have you ever been at the mall when Santa is in town? They cordon off Santa’s thrown and people stand in line to speak with him. As my eyes moved along the linear crowd, I noticed the faces on the people in line resembled those at an amusement. It looked like they were passing time waiting to go on the roller coaster. The only difference is the gallery didn’t have one of those time signs. “If you are here, you will be on the roller coaster in 20 minutes.” LOL LOL LOL

Actually there were two lines. The one in which you had to wait a long time. Then the guard would allow ten or so join the closer line as it shortened. I stood there next to the short line. I was about 5 feet away from Mr. Max. I stood there smiling at all the people stupid enough to stand and wait (for what? To shake his hand? To bow? To kiss his ring?) So what, is he the King of Psychedelia or something? LOL LOL LOL
I am sorry. I can’t help myself. I guess I just don’t belong in this world. I just don’t get it. Shoot, at least at the amusement park you get to go on the roller coaster after waiting!

So I don’t have a current picture of Peter Max to end this post. However, I remembered there is a picture of him on that postcard I showed you. Yes, here it is:

I am so sad they didn’t allow photos. This will have to do. Yes. This is Peter Max. You just have to add 40 years and lots of wrinkles, subtract hair, and thin the mustache considerably. Yep. Use your imagination. That’s him!
Oh. I can now say I have seen PETER MAX.
Big whoop!


namastenancy said...

That work was exciting and fresh 40 years ago. I loved Yellow Submarine but I'm sorry to say that the man hasn't had a new visual idea in 40 years. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Anonymous said...

I just love your "What You See Is What You Get" style. You make my day.

Sheree Rensel said...

You are so right. I was thinking that very thing as I walked the show. Every piece in the show was like a bad rehash of things he did 40 years ago. The difference now is his newer stuff looks like quicky assembly line junk. I don't think he has had any new ideas in a long time either. Maybe he does, but he knows those wouldn't sell for thousands and thousands. Who knows.

Sheree Rensel said...

I don't know how to be any other way. I just say what I mean and mean what I say. Of course, this has gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years. Oh well. At least, I am honest. Tee hee hee
Thanks for your feedback! :-)

Anonymous said...

I met him sometime in the 80s in NYC - at a similar event no doubt. "Meet the Artist!" He was nice, I remember that. And he had done this series of the Statue of Liberty, who was having a big birthday that year and had a major overhaul.