Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Portland Art Museum, impromptu painting, a visit to the Mark Building, & "Geezer Gallery" (vote!)

Today I visited the Portland Art Museum. I haven't been in awhile and I loved the new wall colors in the permanent collection rooms. Additionally impressive were the information labels next to the paintings ... the same color as the wall. Classy.

I joined my plein air painting friend Brooks Hickerson painting the statue in front of the museum (Theodore Roosevelt on horseback). I used acrylics and my aim was to paint with few strokes.

I visited the Mark Building where there was a trade show of sorts for Elders-in-Action and the new "Geezer Gallery". I disapprove of the name "Geezer Gallery".  Do you describe yourself as a tall artist, a Hispanic artist, a female artist, a young artist? Shouldn't we let the work speak for itself? I find the name "Geezer Gallery" ageist and disrespectful. Am I sensitive because I qualify as a "Geezer"? (I am nearly 60 and proud of it). Visual Artists generally improve with time.

The "Geezer Gallery" claims they have chosen the name to intentionally annoy in order to create dialog. Many of the people I know think the name is fine. What do you think of it? I have put a poll in the side bar on the top/left. The Geezer Gallery apparently plans to help older people get involved in the arts. I approve of THAT. The lighting in the Mark Building was horrible for the art on display, but there were many happy faces there. Please vote in the poll at the top/left of this page and/or leave a comment. I am interested to know how other people feel about the Geezer Gallery name.

(Edited 5/24/10 to clarify: Geezer Gallery is a non-profit, with tax exempt status, seeking public funds).
(Edited 8/16/13: The poll has been closed. Results indicated most respondents were not in favor of the name Geezer Gallery). 






Top Painting: Celeste Bergin, Theodore Roosevelt Statue, Acrylic on canvas panel, 11 x 14 inches. ©2010.
Marc Chagall; "Upside down artist"
Woman in Black Hat (a favorite painting of mine in the Art Museum), New colors on the walls in the permanent collection rooms, Matching labels, Impromptu painting in the park blocks.

27 comments:

hwfarber said...

Real horseman or sculpture--he's fantastic. He jumped out of my sidebar.

Creative Carmelina said...

oh what fun! i love trips to the museum! wish I was there in 'plein air' too.....well done...!!

and i don't like 'geezer'....

ciao bella
creative carmelina

Kathy said...

Great painting, Celeste!! Your use of the simplest brushstrokes was a perfect solution. I had to think awhile about the "geezer" label and then decided that since it was self-imposed that it was fun. I wouldn't mind be included. Of course, it's more fun to label oneself than to have others provide the label, but I figure that since aging is such an awful process that it's best to find some humor in it.

Art with Liz said...

A really great painting Celeste! And as for the 'geezer' thing, it made me cringe! Like you, I hate labels because they put you in boxes - old, young, fat, thin - we are ourselves, individuals. Geezer is a very American term and I've always seen it as slightly derogatory - so you got my 'no' vote!

AutumnLeaves said...

Ah, Celeste. I love your painting! By having this in silhouette, it looks as though it could be a rancher on his way in to his ranch. Of course, when you mentioned who the original art work subject is, I was immediately brought to the movie "Night in the Museum" with Ben Stiller! LOL My comment to you was because you seem to have a great sense of humor and we've teased a bit back and forth (at least I hope you know I've been teasing), about our age a bit, about old tv shows, about who we look like (including each other)...Which I've always enjoyed. You take the time to be a bit more personal in your comments and they always make my day.

I have to agree with you on the name of the gallery. I think it is downright disrespectful and perpetuates the stigma of getting older. Goodness knows I can do that enough to myself without having an organization that I personally feel is a bit more prestigious stooping to that level. Are the famous older artists represented in that gallery as well? I wonder what they would think (those artists)?

Dean H. said...

Love the Teddy R. painting! I like the strong color in selected spots...elbow and foliage.

I'm with you. "Geezer" and terms like it can be demeaning and hurtful. A joke is funny only if it draws a laugh from the intended target.
The tag is easier to take when one pins it on one's self. I should know...'cause I'm a geezer.

PAMO said...

Celeste- you inspire me EVERY DAY. I love your latest painting and I so appreciate what you said about labels. I couldn't agree more.
My new blog URL is http://pamoblog.blogspot.com/ so please come by when you can. I did have an acquaintance who had become quite intrusive on my last blog- and it is part of what did me in- she was actually calling me at home and at work and emailing me personally on a several time a day basis. If it starts up again- I'll have to handle it in a more mature way. Live and learn. Now- to fill out your poll....

Pam Holnback said...

I love this statue of Roosevelt! The dark, but many colored, silhouette against the sky!

Dan Kent said...

No to Geezer, yes to your painting! Love the broad strokes of color!

Suzanne said...

Beautiful painting of the horse! You captured the form so perfectly with the simplified lines/shapes.

I don't care for the Geezer connotion, I'm reminded,How does the average man on the street respond to such terms. Some may laugh but...

Caio Fernandes one more Lord's lamb said...

i adore to see hpotos of you in action !!
makes me feel like to do it as well , to start to paint .
yes , the walls of the museun are really beautiful . i like so much to see art in enviroments where the walls aren't the boring burocratic white of ever .....

June said...

Liked Teddy a lot. Sorry I couldn't make the event.

I am ambivalent about "Geezer" -- it trivializes a group that is already seen as sort of useless (you know -- "we're traveling on our children's inheritance" sort of thing).

Groups like labels -- they signify belonging (the Portland Plein Air group, for example ) But this geezer label begs for dismissal rather than serious attentiveness to the art. "Oh well, what would you expect from a bunch of old geezers?"

It's being patronized that drives me a bit mad, and belonging to an organization with that name insists that patting on the head is a good substitute for substantial attentiveness and review.

And the lighting of the exhibit was bad -- Ouch -- in an art museum (albeit, the money-making adjunct to PAM).

That's a disgrace, for PAM, not necessarily for the Geezers who probably weren't in control of those conditions.

The Art of Scott L Hendrie said...

The "geezer gallery", if the title creates something you would receive a lot of questions about and have to expalin it at every turn, then it's purpose as a title would become time consuming.

If you want the questions then it serves a purpose.

Love all the colors in the horseman.

scott
scottlhendrie.com

Melody Cleary said...

Ok - well, when I first heard of the Geezer Gallery I thought it was humorous. I've been a part of a sect, 'disabled', forever and wouldn't like the title Gimp Gallery. Would you prefer Senior Gallery? I prefer no age, race, etc. connotation now.

I like your painting....the figure and horse shapes are spot on. Nice loose strokes....backlighting gives it drama.

G. Lindwood said...

An addendum to my previous comment regarding Geezer Gallery: I am reminded of the origin of Americans referred to as Yankees. It was originally meant as a British slur but the Colonialists took it on as their own. So maybe the "mature" members, or elders, of our society can embrace the term geezer and come to use it and love it. Maybe.

Thomas Kitts said...

Celeste:

I understand how you could be offended by the Geezer label but it seems too be a bit of wrong focus. You (or I or anyone) really can't control what others do in the world of art so pouring our personal energy into the kind of work we want to do seems more productive.

There is always something out there to offend us so if we go down that road too far we'll never get to the end of it.

Just my humble opinion, though. And please take it as such.

I'm back in town this week and may make by for coffee. We'll see. Got some catching up to do.

T

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

The Urban Dictionary defines the word Geezer: In the U.K.: A guy, a bloke, a person in general. The British equivalent of the American slang word "dude". In the U.S.: An old man, particularly one who is either cranky or eccentric. Rather derogatory term.
If I had planned on being in an art show and they decided to title the show anything with that word in it, I'd pull out. There is nothing positive about it.

Pam Flanders said...

Great job on Teddy! (and horse) As for the vote I agree with you. We both share a great sense of humor but in the context of the PAM I haven't know them to make light of much else. They take art and their world quite seriously. Now something like "old dog, new tricks" sounds deameaning too but certainly adds a positive spin. I have seen so many examples of wonderful new insights into art as we age (nursing homes, assisted living centers, etc) I'm sure we could have helped them out with titling their gallery more appropriately...where was the naming contest?

hwfarber said...

I commented on your wonderful painting last night before you had written the blog.

I'm not sure about "geezer." I would visit any museum, though, that offered shorter walks to bathrooms, better lighting, and valet parking. In the book Freakonomics the authors said older people are the most discriminated against. Maybe "moneyed" would be a better word--everyone could aspire to that.

Donna Sanson said...

When I hear the term "geezer," I picture a Gabby Hayes-like character - plaid shirt, suspenders, full unkept gray beard, dusty cowboy hat, protruding chin with missing teeth, in need of serious personal hygiene and sitting around the camp fire stirring a kettle of rabbit stew. My take on a geezer certainly puts him (definitely a him) into his senior years.

I don't personally know any artist who fits this description, so for me the term geezer is inappropriate for the name of an art group. I don't find it offensive however - just a term that does a bad job of describing its members.

Those artists who are part of the Geezer Gallery must think its okay, or at least catchy. Perhaps they never really considered the image they were projecting to the public. Donna

Linda Popple said...

Geezer Gallery??!!! Are you kidding me? It sounds stupid and immature. Very unclassy (I know that's not a word, but hey!) . I think this not because I am ..... "mature" because I wouldn't like it when I was younger!

Nice painting, Celeste!

Kitty Wallis said...

Picasso lived past ninety. Would he, at any time, be motivated to join a geezer gallery? We could name many painters that lived a long time, still painting and not feel the need to set up any kind of 'special needs group' for them. I'm 71 and don't want to join it although I've been courted. Just like I don't want to join a tall girls club (I'm 6'4") or a spinster club or any organization that seeks to make lemons out of lemonade.

Dan Gliubizzi said...

Nice Painting, I live, walking distance to the Mus. of Natural History NYC, and I often chuckle at that statue's lack of current PC!
Geezer Gallery seems to add an obstacle in an already, young based art world. My image of a geezer would be narrow minded, intolerant, hard of hearing, dim of sight, have I covered all the negatives! Inspiring interest in seeing the work of mature artists that either have had long careers and/or more life experience seems to be something worth selling.

annette2000 said...

After reading the noble goals and lofty mission of the Geezer Gallery, I can see that they are able to not only identify themselves readily but also show a humorous side. As a recent geezer of 57, I believe that a sense of humor is necessary as we age gracefully.

-Don said...

Just because you're age challenged doesn't mean you should have to put up with such terms as geezer... ;-P

Your acrylic painting is fantastic! If you had not described it as acrylic I would never have assumed it should be 'labeled' as such. It looks like fine art to me...

-Don

Carolyn said...

It causes us to think about the impact of words--"geezer" has got a lot of negative connotations.

Alyson Stanfield said...

No, I don't care for "Geezer Gallery." I mostly think it's just a dumb name--kind of like the Pirate Gallery in Denver (does that mean pirates show there? no). It's also a dumb marketing move--nonprofit or not.

BUT, I'm not going to waste a lot of energy on it. If people identify themselves as geezers and want to show there, fine.

In general, I'm opposed to galleries that show specific demographics. This means galleries for women only, blacks only, American Indians only, etc. It separates people from a larger purpose and pigeonholes them as well.