Friday, August 13, 2010

The Salon by Nick Bertozzi

Last week, before work I went to the MoMA with Amanda Well-Tailored. Besides the awesomeness of doing anything in person with AWT, I was struck by how weirdly the wander through mimicked my reading of last night--Nick Bertozzi’s The Salon.

The Salon focuses on the French Modernist art movement and the expats than ran in it. Bertozzi gives each a distinct (and funny) personality and look. I especially like Gertrude Stein’s balls-out Mama Bear and her sniveling brother, Leo, and the bottomless bravado pit of Bertozzi’s Picasso. The writing is such that the story works as a historically-glossed superhero story or a meditation on creation, greed and desire. It is both, and compelled me to consider picking up some bios on these previously uninteresting art idols.

The group not only makes and collects art, but also parties together and have found a drug that allows one to enter paintings—a seductive idea for this group. Unfortunately they are not the only ones drinking the blue stuff; an artist-murderer is pulling the heads off of Modernists and leaving their bodies with a tell-tale splash of blue. The mystery is a fun way to navigate the salons and backstreets of Paris. The art feels fluid and alive, perfectly conveying the vibrant world of paintings, in and out.

Though I had heard great things about the book from several outlets, but after reading the dismal Stuffed! last year, and seeing Bertozzi’s merely adequate art, I was a bit skeptical. I am so glad my library had a copy so I could try it. I am looking forward to checking out more work that he’s written and drawn.

*In additional The Salon news: the sad story of how Free Comic Book Day + Picasso's penis equaled big trouble for retailer Gordon Lee.


kenan said...

That Gordon Lee story infuriates me over and over again. Parents should pray their kids' first exposure to commercial nudity is as good-hearted, un-exploitative, and historically/literarily meritorious as The Salon. It's their fetishization of youth and innocence that's the real obscenity.

LOOKA said...

1+ to what Kenan said.

Well, I like that Bertozzi guy and his drawing stuff (including this book). AND you can sense I'm in one of my moods again.