A Warped Weave
Gallery 340 from April to July 2010
Venezuelan, born 1960
Giorgio , 1990
Ink on fabric
Courtesy of the artist and Sonnabend Gallery, New York
At first glance, Meyer Vaisman’s Giorgio is a fitting companion to the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century tapestries in this corridor. The intricate details of the natural environment, fanciful animals, and limited color scheme link it in spirit to Allegorical Millefleurs Tapestry with Animals, to the left. Vaisman’s work also features cartoon bubbles, racy humor, and a playful puppy, all of which place it firmly within the realm of contemporary popular culture.
Against the lofty backdrop of Latin verse from the ancient Roman poet Horace, the text reads:
“Wife: Giorgio, I inform you that soon there will be three of us.
Giorgio: Are you going to have a son?
Wife: “No… a lover.”
The overzealous puppy barks with excitement, and three bunnies, age-old symbols of fertility, frolic around the couple.
A former gallery owner, Vaisman addresses the idea of art as a commodity.
For centuries, tapestries were among the most expensive and highly sought artworks in the courts of Europe. These large wall hangings were prized above all other art forms not only for the sheer cost of the materials and labor required to create them, but also for their ability to celebrate histories, families, and unions in grand style.
Vaisman’s lowbrow lady and gentleman wittily poke fun at the idealized portraits of Europe’s finest and the high-minded topics of Renaissance art. The cartoons in the finished work may well be an art historical joke, as the word “cartoon” denotes the large-scale preliminary drawings for tapestries.
Interloper – or Illuminator? You Tell Us.
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