Friday, January 28, 2011

Taking to art in the movies

One of the great art-at-the-movies moments is in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman. Joker (Jack Nicholson) invites his goons to trash the Gotham Museum art collection, “Gentlemen, let’s broaden our minds,” only to stop them when they attempt to destroy a Francis Bacon (Figure with Meat 1954 from The Art Institute of Chicago). “I kinda like that one,” says Joker Jack. You can see the full sequence here.

Any of you who are MTV followers might have seen a tribute to this sequence by the Utah-based Indie band Neon Trees for the track Animals off their Habits CD. In this tribute the masterpieces are generic modern, copycats of Rothko, Pollock, Stella and Ryman. As in the Batman sequence, the gassed gallery patrons hit the floor and the NTs slouch in to do the business. And this time it is a ‘Pollock’ that is saved from a wetting.

Finally, and rather weirdly, the art patrons rise up after the rampage now sporting 3D animal masks including a Hammond-like bird person (see for yourself).

Images: Top four images, left the Joker and his boys damage everything but the Bacon while Neon Trees spare the ‘Pollock’. Bottom four images, two times ‘Rothko’ (the generic art prop favourite), lookalike abstracts and a copycat Flavin.