The 'Scream' Scheme

Money and masses munch on Munch at MOMA

Norwegian distress signal
Copyright 2012 The Munch Museum/The Munch-Ellingsen Group/Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
Norwegian distress signal

If artworks could talk, or, in this case, scream, Munch's painting would yell its little bald head off. But surrounded by some 11, mostly minor works by the artist inside MOMA's dark, battleship-gray galleries, The Scream barely manages a whimper. A picture whose essential artistic purpose was once to communicate the despairing correspondences between man and nature (it was initially titled The Scream of Nature), its blunt blue figures and squiggly orange skies today retain none of their old shock value. Instead, Munch's artworks at MOMA are upended by a much bigger cliché than modern alienation: the lure of big money—a far older temptation found illustrated in Herodotus and the Old Testament. A record of an institutionally endorsed gazillionaire's triumph, MOMA's The Scream and its lesser-known cohorts will no doubt prove a massive letdown for the hordes that will arrive, not to see the famous picture, but to say they have seen it. To them, a word of advice: Forget the $120 million—understanding how this art-hating con was contrived is what's truly priceless.

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3 comments
martkawaii
martkawaii

You may be fixed it here but in the printed edition from this week it says that Mona Lisa is "Michelangelo's canvas".... Lol for the pretentiously written article with the worst mistake ever and hip hurray to the great author HA! Dude, learn who painted the most famous art in the world and then call yourself an "art critic". Seriously. The Munch's exhibition is very decent, I went to see it yesterday and I certainly don't see why he's bitching.

GeorgeW
GeorgeW

Viveros-Faune releases his inner Gombrowicz. Hurrah!!!

 
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