Not sure if Ms. Oland was being sarcastic by stating this about the Rockwell exhibit, but I got a kick out of it;

“To have work by an artist of this stature displayed at the Washington Pavilion is wonderful for our community,” Oland said. “It will be a great opportunity to expose a new audience to artwork that many will find relatable and unintimidating.

Relatable to what? An America that doesn’t exist? Sure, the photos in the exhibit are real and very relatable, but Rockwell was a illustrator/cartoonist. Norman’s work is like asking Caravaggio to illustrate an episode of Scooby Doo. While very good and entertaining, not what you would call ‘high art.’ And don’t get me wrong, I am a gigantic fan of low-brow and outsider art, I just chuckle a bit when people refer to artists like Rockwell as some freaking European Master. Not even close.

Calling the show ‘unintimidating’ is right on the mark, and sadly funny at the same time. Art should challenge us, not bottle feed us. Maybe that’s why they had to charge for the show, to create some kind of buzz where it doesn’t exist. “Gee, if I have to pay to get into the exhibit, it must be good!”

Shows at the Visual Arts Center’s six galleries usually are free, and this exhibit’s admission fee doesn’t sit well with some art patrons.

“It is unfortunate that the Washington Pavilion is charging for the Rockwell exhibit, considering there has been more significant shows in the past that they did not charge for, like Rodin,” said Scott Ehrisman, a Sioux Falls artist, referring to the May 2009 exhibit for French sculptor Auguste Rodin, who sculpted “The Thinker.”

A condition of the sponsoring foundation was that the Rodin exhibit be free, said David Merhib, director of the Visual Arts Center.

Why do you think that is David? I’ll let you figure out the answer to that question on your own.

“I also have concerns that this may become a trend at the Visual Arts Center,” Ehrisman said. “I have always felt the best part of the Pavilion is its free art museum. That is why I have donated to Arts Night in the past. It is truly an asset to our community.”

And I stand by that statement. That was part of the agreement with the community when the Pavilion was built, the VAC would remain free to the public, and now, we can’t even depend on that?

“But without a rental fee, the Rockwell exhibit would not be here,” Merhib said. “We just wanted to recoup some of the cost, but also wanted to keep the price low enough so that people in the community and surrounding region can come in and see the exhibition.”

What a load of crap. The Pavilion and VAC receive city subsidies, grants and private donations for a reason, so the community can enjoy at least a few things for FREE at the Pavilion. Are times tough? Sure. But just admit it, the rental fee is way to high for the caliber of this show, and you were suckered. Well guess what? Suck it up. I don’t know about you, but if the Pavilion is going to start charging for mediocre exhibits it’s time to cut the purse strings. Then let them charge whatever they want.

By l3wis

5 thoughts on “Norman Rockwell “relatable and unintimidating.””
  1. A little guessing game for you from these two photoshoots.

    Notice in the David Merhib shot he is wearing gloves and in the other photos of the girls hanging the show they are not. Which way do you think is the correct way to handle art?

    I’ll give you a clue, one of the photos is obviously staged.

  2. I also see from yesterday’s AL online poll that 61% of people WOULD not pay $6 to see the Rockwell exhibit.

  3. While I do think the Pavilion has its share of issues, like having people on its Visual Arts Board who directly profit from the sale of art, i.e. Tove Bormes, and other local artists. I think it is a little short sighted to attack Ms. Oland’s comments about the Rockwell exhibit being “relatable an unintimidating”.  While you and I may have no problem going to a Mapplethorpe exhibition with a bull whip sticking out of some guys ass, most people around here wouldn’t go near it let alone pay $6 to see it. Hell I’d pay $12, but the real point is that people will go see the Rockwell exhibit because it is something that they can relate to, and that really is the first step in getting people interested in art. We live in an area of the country where most art work is fur or feathers, so Rockwell is a giant step up from mass produced Redlin and Crane prints, that people pay a whole lot more money to look at in their homes. By just exhibiting just challenging art it creates the same elitist environment you fear, and lets face it you and I know nobody in Sioux Falls should feel elite when it comes to the art world. 
    Also, as far as view Rockwell being  just and illustrator and not a true fine artist, it is a little outdated.(He also has fetched over $15 million at auction) Yes he may have created an “America that didn’t exist” but he gave the America that did and does exist something to aspire to.
    Best wishes.

  4. Oh, I wasn’t attacking Ivy’s comments at all, I just thought it was funny how obvious they were. And I’m sorry Justin, but I’m a person that thinks art should always be challenging, rip that fucking bandaid off, don’t ease me into it. Just because Rockwell’s art has brought in millions doesn’t mean it is good (think Monet & Rothko).

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