Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pop Art Wars: Gucci, Fantastic Beasts and Gender Norms in Louisiana in 1978

Returning after a winter hiatus, Andy Warhol was very busy on April 6, 1978, but he was focused on shallow pursuits, very few art-related.  He had lunch with Mark Littman (Queen Elizabeth II’s attorney) and his wife Marguerite as well as Regine and Diana Vreeland.  The talk focused on the need for the world’s largest discotheque.  Later Gianni Agnelli (Chairman of Fiat) also came by. 

Interestingly enough, I, too, was returning from a hiatus on this particular date in 1978.  Whether my hiatus was self-imposed or not, I couldn’t say.  All I know is my seven year-old mind was focused on creation of a fantastic beast which I named ButterBearGirlLion.    I am unsure of the instructions for the assignment as it was not titled and I usually titled all my work in order to establish provenance.  This aside, the depth of understanding of vague instructions, my preternatural grasp of future trends in gender fluidity and the foresight to anticipate the color scheme showcased in the 2016 Gucci GG Bloom collection is astonishing. 

Even though I referred to the animal as “he”, I gave “him” the head of a girl, which is a departure from the concrete gender norms I had been taught at home and church.  What was I trying to say?  What was my motivation?  

What about these colors inspired me?  Why this combination of animals?  Why so many animals converged into one?  Was my muse anticipating the excess of the 1980s due to my experiences in the recession of the late 1970s?   Not to mention the artistic license I took with proportions which may have dampened my intended impact.  I mean, a butterfly with a pterodactyl-esque wingspan was one thing, but to add a superfluous lion’s tail was simply an adolescent disregard of Coco Chanel’s advice on accessorizing, “take off the last thing you put on”.  And the art is poorer for it. 

                Initially, I felt, like Icarus, my Butter-bear-girl-lion flew too close to the sun and was destroyed.  However, upon reflection, as I actually created art and Andy simply had Tom Sullivan urinate on one of his Piss Paintings, I feel the point goes to me.  I think we can all agree, including my readers who stopped reading at the mention of urine in the previous sentence. 

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