Screenshot of WSJ.
The Las Vegas kitsch cartel fumed when reality TV took away 24 hour diner abstraction during a makeover. It's back, as reported by Alexandra Berzon for the Wall Street Journal.
The face of Clint Eastwood from "The Outlaw Josey Wales" . . . wearing a John Travolta "Pulp Fiction" haircut, was painted over an already completed landscape and became an accidental landmark work. It's now known as 'That Painting' that "hung for a decade and serves as an important reminder for a certain circle here of a less-refined era, when the city was a hub of lowbrow art and entertainment."
Some of the Big Art Guns of Las Vegas were brought for dignified discourse.
The diner painting is also a taste test. Do locals find affection for "That Painting" since it is a jumping point for Las Vegas cheap chic?
“It’s so random,” said Paco Alvarez in the March 14 story. “I think it’s just become a sacred oracle. It’s not something I would want to hang on my wall.”
The online post has inspired other deep thoughts.
"The painting, whatever its painterly derivation . . . is actually a fine imaginative rendering of Josey's quest to return to his pastoral beginnings at the film's beginning with his wife and children, all slaughtered by 'Redlegs' Terrell of the North," writes John Simons with Media Studies earnestness. "By film's end it concretizes in the image of the ragtag band of pilgrim outsiders Josey leads to the beautiful Crooked River ranch (thus the flowing stream in the painting)."
A Samuel Fiechter uses the art for political perspective. "The idyllic scene represents the vision of Obama's Hope and Change before we found out he was lying about it. The man with the guns is The Donald, channeling all of that pent up anger of the electorate, ready for revenge," he says, before adding. "I know, it's deep; wear your hi boots."
There's more to see in the art hash. The face of Wales commits to blending with the branches of the wooded landscape. Yet, what solidifies the work is the unexplained triangle cut from the cloth revealing more backwoods, reminding a viewer of works in the current The Met exhibition, "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible." The delivery man who painted Wales at the diner is also having us study non finito in artistic practice.
A pure link is not just with the indecision by the Masters seen at The Met, or Las Vegas cultural marking of beloved tacky. "That Painting" also reflects David Irvine's "Re-Directed Paintings", where retrieved discarded thrift store works are restored by embedding pop media characters in the composition.
Exhibition of "That Painting" at Vickie’s Diner is indefinite.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.