If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Todd Schorr: Pop Surrealism

A seminal figure in Lowbrow art, Todd Schorr paints cartoon iconography with the technical skill of an old master and the lens of a surrealist. His canvases are often crowded like an child's toy closet with images that fascinate the eye and imagination.

His Clash of Holidays(above) caused a bit of a controversy when exhibited in in several shows. It was taken down in Florida to avoid nasty phone calls, e-mails, and criticism from the City Commission. It raised debates about blasphemy and artistic freedom. The painting depicts a violent fight between Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny with baby Jesus in crown of thorns eating a chocolate bunny with Rudolph the red-nosed nearby. I'm wondering which is the greater controversy and blasphemy? Is it Schorr's depiction of a fight betwen Santa and the Easter bunny? Baby Jesus eating a chocolate bunny? Or is it our own culture's buying into the commercial creation of Santa and the Easter bunny to sell stuff that robs Easter and Christmas of it's sacredness? You decide. But, I think the painting raises issues about the holidays that most people are too blinded by commercialism to see!

I appreciate Schorr's lampooning of what we consider sacred and his amazing technical realism. Also I appreciate his paying homage to a shared childhood and youth with images of Ed Roth and monster cars, King Kong, monster movies,cartoons, and Salvador Dali.

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