Thursday, May 3, 2012

Parodies of Munch's "Scream"

Edvard Munch's 1895 pastel "The Scream" sold last night at Sotheby's in New York for $120 million, setting a record for the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction. The sale eclipsed the previous record of $106 million for Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust."

Like the Mona Lisa, American Gothic, or any other iconic image, The Scream has spawned countless parodies. The ones above are by Arvid Andreassen, Erro, Mad Minerva , and Ihansen

Read more....
13 Coolest Mona Lisa Parodies
American Gothic Parody Blog
BBC report on sale of Munch's Scream


17 comments:

Andy said...

The best thing about The Scream is that it proves you don't have to be good at art for some people to think you're great at it.

Novice Naturalist said...

Andy, The Scream works for me--color, movement, focus, and impact--
Good at Art? Lots of subjective evaluation in that concept.

etc, etc said...

The deeper I delve into my own aesthetic consciousness, the less iconic works like Scream, Mona Lisa, and Gothic mean to me. There is, by comparison to the great works of art, very little inherent aesthetic value in them. They represent either something neutral enough for the general populace to project cultural significance and identification upon (the Kardashians of the art world), or they illustrate the power of indoctrination (they are great because we have been told so); either way, I'll pass.

BK said...

This pastel is perhaps, together with the one in tempera, the least favorite of the several versions Munch made of The Scream. This oil version, at the National Gallery of Oslo, works much better in my view as a whole: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f4/The_Scream.jpg

Greg Newbold said...

120 mil-really? And this isn't even the best version of the piece. I think this one looks like he broke out with a new box of Crayolas, so I am still baffled at how something like this can be deemed worthy of that kind of money. Not that I would cry if my work fetched a hundredth as much...as long as I am not dead yet.

Andy said...

I'm sorry, I see nothing of artistic merit in these at all.

Even the title confuses me.

Who screams with their eyes wide open and their mouth in an elongated "ooo" shape?

Clearly the main figure is either shouting to friends out of frame or has just put on an untested cologne.

Andy said...

Sorry, when I say I see nothing of merit in "these", I'm referring to the various originals, not the parodies.

BK said...

Andy: the "confusion" in the title, and the uncertainty as to who screams are not unintentional. Here is the entry Munch wrote in his diary at the time: "I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature."

Now, rather than dismiss the painting's "artistic qualities" on the grounds that it does not fit our standards of naturalist realism (for this is certainly not the only kind of realism, just as there are many conceptions of "reality" out there), why not try to understand the artistic choices made, and only then, after an effort in leaving our comfort zones, perhaps, dismiss it? After all, Munch was also an accomplished draftsmanship in the naturalist-realist sense of the word, as can be seen in the following examples:

http://www.wikigallery.org/paintings/259501-260000/259694/painting1.jpg ; http://www.vincentvangoghgallery.org/upload1/file-admin/images/new11/Edvard%20Munch-872779.jpg .

So a more interesting question in my view is: what leads an accomplish draftsman in the traditional sense of the word to attempt a different kind of representation, to make another type of statement? What is he trying to represent, and why? And once one steps away from naturalism, from objective reality, not by ignorance or lack of skill but by deliberate choice, where is one stepping into? and what are the standards available to measure how successful or unsuccessful one is? Should it be gut reaction? Compliance with aesthetic principles? (which ones? those received from tradition, and if so, which? or ones dictated by resemblance to an objective reality one is deliberately stepping away from? What is the yardstick, in other words, by which novelty and experiment can be judged? by definition, the more daring the novelty is, the more hostile will the existing yardsticks, which are being challenged, be towards it...) Can we really say that the compositional scheme in Munch's The Scream is a poor one? That the color harmony (or calculated disharmony?) does not work? Or are we simply dismissing it because it does not really look like-- what we expected, whatever it is? And if this is the case, wasn't it perhaps precisely the point? To break with our expectations, to challenge us away from our preconceptions and comfort zones? Isn't it this challenge, this unexpected confrontation with the unfamiliar - that might, perhaps, explain the almost metaphysical scream that gives title to the picture? It would be interesting to hear what people think, and on what grounds they base their reactions.

Moish said...

" When accounting for inflation, the highest price paid for art at an auction is still held by Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet, which sold for $82.5 million in 1990, or about $147 million 2012 dollars." -Wikepedia

Erik Bongers said...

The real value of art is not in the money it seduces but the parodies it induces.

One has to admin the Scream scores high on that scale.

James Gurney said...

...and the calendars it produces and the discourse it reduces.

James Gurney said...

Though I hasten to say, this discourse is at a high level, and you've all raised really thought-provoking points.

Julia Kelly said...

Just introduced my elementary art class to "the Scream" last week and a huge amount of them said "I saw that on the Simpsons!" Will have to share your post and tell them what the real one sold for!

etc, etc said...

So a more interesting question in my view is: what leads an accomplish draftsman in the traditional sense of the word to attempt a different kind of representation, to make another type of statement?

BK,
He was the beneficiary of the most efficient realist training curriculum ever devised, one that churned out "accomplished draftsmen" by the thousands, frankly of which he was by no means in the top flight; therein lies a good place to begin the exploration of your question.

Andy said...

Thanks BK. I wasn't going to enter into a discussion about it but I do appreciate people who force me to think :)

I suspect there are many reasons why someone with a skill set doesn't apply it in some instances - not least of which are drunkenness, drugs, mental illness or laziness.

But I'm not pushing solely for natural realism. I can appreciate the skills required for a vast range of artistic styles from various cultures. Even if the works are not to my personal taste, I can still appreciate the skills - I'm just not seeing them applied here. And while I know some argue that child-like naivete makes art greater, I'm not among them.

Gregory Lee said...

The Smithsonian magazine had an article on Munch: Munch article. Not a very happy man, I gather.

mrussoart said...

while there is some controversy about the Jackson's Pollock number 5 being sold at a private sale or auction, the inflation adjusted price makes it the second most expensive painting ever sold. It would take then, the 8th place of Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.
I've made a post about it a month ago with images http://mrusso.com/2012/03/10-most-expensive-paintings-ever-sold/ I guess I need to update it now.