New year. New art.

It began with an innocent trip to find pizza on Ponce Inlet. A random conversation with Barry Kite on a sidewalk outside his gallery makes up the middle. The end is a wall in my home office.

Done - Barry Kite
Done – Barry Kite

He said the shark is eating Ophelia.

Group - Barry Kite
Group – Barry Kite
Desert Dance - Barry Kite
Desert Dance – Barry Kite

I bought because he entertained me – both as a person, and with his art. I bought because I have been looking for something that means more than a colored circle with a squiggle. I see a lot of lines and squiggles (coupled by vacation art here in Savannah), and this decorative sort of art just doesn’t do anything for me.

I have not forgotten the irritating “conversations” that we have had with gallery owners on Royal Street in New Orleans and in the River North Gallery District in Chicago either. For those of you who have never had the pleasure, those experiences both began by a visual sizing us up head to toe, followed by a pitch of why we should spend $30-$45k on a lithograph. Er, no way in hell. Ever. No, I don’t care that Chagall signed the print. Thanks for trying. Going to have coffee now!

I understand Kite’s style to be “re-positioning” or “re-contextualizing” select masterpieces that are in the public domain. The works have historically been done by hand, but I’ve read that he may be moving into digital.

If you look closely at my purchases, you can make out a great cast of characters:

  • The Girl with the Pearl Earring;
  • Vincent van Gogh;
  • One of Francis Bacon’s screaming popes;
  • Napoleon;
  • Mona Lisa; and
  • The Absinthe Drinker.

Some art snots might criticize and throw some shade, but I would just throw back a “Well, what is art for?” I buy to please myself, not to put on airs for guests.

Barry: I left space on my wall. If you start mixing Dali’s clocks and Magritte’s trains, you’ve got yourself another sale. I also like the bowler hat man in the sky with an umbrella sprinkled in for good measure.


Further reading: