One of the biggest shocks of my life and one of my biggest disappointments occurred when I went to France for the first time in 1993. France! home of great artists–David, Delacroix, the angelic Ingres, Manet, Monet, and many others.
Writers? Balzac, of course. The master. I made a pilgrimage to his home which is now a museum. Situated on a slope, it’s the perfect house for an artist. When creditors knock on the front door, you can escape out the back to the alley and into the Parisian streets. Perfect, like I said.
I wasn’t prepared for the thick layer of American pop culture covering the city and distorting the culture for which I’d come searching. In the cafes, I heard the same pop songs I heard back in New Jersey.
What the hell happened? Paris overpowered by American pop culture? Yes, and now it’s obvious. Who visits Paris in 2021 expecting to find, well, Paris?
This is a bad thing. Culture in America now is Jimmy Kimmel and the fifteenth remake of a movie based on a comic book. Oh, and naked power, of course.
Painting is irrelevant in the face of those mighty achievements, amirite? In fact, painting has been irrelevant during my entire lifetime