Oct 18, 2011

TREND | Spoof Art | Hey Da Vinci, The Jokes on You!

The modern Vitruvian man: Homer Simpson
In our lifetime we are faced time and time again, with what many may consider the cannon of art. The ancient Caves of Lascaux, Starry Night by Van Gogh, Mona Lisa by De Vinci, Relativity by Escher, Water Lilies by Monet, The Scream by Munch, and countless others. They are the measuring stick upon which their contemporaries were judged, and our contemporaries are compared. This being true we have ceased to see them, they are so ingrained into our minds that we no long attempt to look at them unless we are faced with them in a museum. We simplify the iconic works in our minds, in their most basic forms for easy regurgitation. Imagine our shock when they change.
With the advent of Photoshop and the internet, spoofing has become a large part of our American culture. In example: Homer Simpson from the Simpsons posed as Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci. While most of these spoofs are informal, some art has taken the idea of parody into the fine arts. Informal parodies often employ humor something unexpected, often irreverent, and many times rude. However, some artists recreate an iconic work of art through more serious methods. In another sense they put their own spin on it.

Parody/spoof art is known as a street art, or shall I say an Internet Phenomenon. The artists are untrained humorists, with nothing more than an idea to execute. They are most likely unknown, and for those who are known is not usually for their deep thought. Spoofs are not necessarily the artist true work, but it’s merely entertainment for them. To repeat another’s work of art, is almost as though an artist is saying “anything you can do, I can do better”, or probably more accurately, “I can do cooler”. They are inherently shallow with thin or pointed meanings.

              Drawing Hands, M.C. Escher, Hand Fixing Hand, Shane Willis
On the opposing side you can have parody and spoof art that obviously draws from the source material in a non-satirical manner. Where would we be without these works of art, how do we get away with making fun of them? In this instance artists mean no disrespect to the original artist or piece, in their mind they have latched upon a “What if”. There are numerous possibilities of how to recreate ones work, and they are just trying to entertain that very thought. In the process they entertain their audience at the same time, yet possibly offending highly conservative art historians, who ask who this artist is, for stealing the thunder of their betters.

If you took a time machine and compared the works to any artist, it’s hard to tell how they would feel or what they would think about the parody pieces. I believe they would wonder what the changed meaning means to us, and why we found any change necessary. What is more important? The original meaning of a work, the meaning it came to possess over time, or the meaning we give it through change?

-Megan McAnelly

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it is not a parody or spoof but a flattery of past work? The artists took inspiration from past artists and applied their own imagination?

    -Diana Babson