Friday, July 26, 2013

When art goes to the movies: TV edition

Before Jack Nicholson turned up in his purple suit and beret in 1989 to mangle a Degas with red paint in Batman there was the TV Joker in pink tails. That was back in March 1967, the very month The Velvet Underground & Nico (recorded in 1966 during Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable tour) was released. 

We slip this in because one of the characters in the TV version of the Joker vs art - Pop goes the Joker - is Baby Jane Towser, a cute reference to Baby Jane Holtzer one of Warhol’s super stars. In the 1989 movie the Joker gets a laugh by not defacing a Francis Bacon, “I kinda like this one, leave it”. In the TV version, along with paintballing some well-known images, the Joker lets loose and makes his own art. His blank canvas Death of a bat wins an art competition and this, in the logic of TV shows, entitles him to open his own art Academy as a front to skim (ok, steal) money off rich people. “We artists should not be judged by ordinary standards. We’re a very special breed.” 

You can see the Batman movie clip here and our previous post on it here. Sadly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp pulled the TV version off YouTube while we were writing this post.

Images: Top, the Joker acts tough on art. Middle left, the big competition and right, the Joker with Mary Jane Towser. Bottom, the Joker with his winning work.