Artist Filled with Hate : And Something to Know about Galleries
The askart.com website with the image noted above has a discussion board which lit up when news came out that von Brunn was the suspect. Apparently like attracts like. I was going to share a snippet of the vile discussion there, but actually some of it is so repulsive, I would hate for searches of quotes posted here to attract the sort of folks who offered it there.
Von Brunn applied to have his art shown at the Troika Gallery in Easton, Md., around the time the gallery opened about 12 years ago, two of the owners, Laura Era and Jennifer Wharton, told The Associated Press. They said they turned him down because it was not up to their quality and that made Von Brunn angry.
"He stomped out," Wharton said. "You don't normally get that reaction from artists."
They say his work was not strange or violent, but the artists they show have many years of professional experience.
Era and Wharton said they had heard that Von Brunn had been in jail because of his political beliefs and knew that he had prejudices. They did not feel comfortable around him, but said they didn't want to make him an enemy.
One time Von Brunn arrived at the gallery livid because he had just seen a mixed race couple getting married at the garden of the historical society nearby, Era and Wharton said.
Von Brunn was not around for years, but turned up a year or two ago. He did not spend as much time at their gallery as before and they did not encourage him to, the women said.
They said Von Brunn's work depicted images such as horses and buffalo in the American West or an eagle with the U.S. flag.
The one art-world-related quote from the thread I will post, though, was this:
From his painting, evidently Von Brunn is an accomplished artist. His work is good enough to be shown in art galleries.From the one example linked to above (admittedly a poorly shot image), I would personally say that Von Brunn is slightly above adequate at representation (even if the composition shouts "Cuckoo for Coco Puffs" IMHO), which might pass for "accomplished" in some people's books, but that is actually somewhat besides the point, with regards to the conclusion this writer draws from his/her assessment of it. The apparently widespread belief that gallery shows (and the implication seems to be that one gallery is as good as another here) are somehow the birthright of any adequate artists is very frustrating as a dealer. We often encounter it in explaining why we don't wish to work with an artist. "But this is good work...why don't you want to show it?"
First and foremost, there is nothing that obligates a gallery to work with an artist just because they can paint or draw or whatever. Let me make this really clear (and note that I assume 90% of the readership here knows this already, but our discusssions do prompt the occasional email from folks who don't seem to): whether someone should be shown in a given art gallery is far more complicated than whether they're adequate illustrators. The desire on the part of a gallery to work with an artist has two components: their belief that the artist is a good match for their gallery (in terms of quality, dialog, and personality) and their belief that their clientele should purchase this artist's work. It's not a birthright on any account. Approaching getting a gallery as if it were a birthright is doomed to fail.
When artists ask me what they need to do to get a gallery I always answer "make amazing art" and "network." With regards to the second bit of advice, it's important to know that this is a business of relationships, and the sort of things that make a relationship work well are common interests and mutual respect. We all know of "difficult" artists whose work is so good that galleries tolerate their "passionate" behaviors, but the notion that such behavior is the birthright of anyone who can render a convincing likeness is simply wrong. To get away with exhibiting the level of disrespect shown by stomping out of a gallery, you had better be the next Jackson Pollock. And I don't just mean in your own mind.
Even then, and actually more importantly, the most amazing artist of this generation will NOT be a good match for probably 80% of the galleries out there. Most contemporary galleries take a point of view or focus on a particular dialog or aspect of the total art world. They are not one-size-fits-all.
To be fair, the implication of the assertion "His work is good enough to be shown in art galleries" might be more along the lines of "I've seen plenty of work at that level or worse in galleries" and nothing more. Still, coupled with the way Von Brunn stomped out of the Maryland gallery who turned him down, I thought it made sense to take advantage of this example to flesh out the subtlties of how this works in real life.
As for Von Brunn, if he's guilty, I trust he'll join another failed, evil artist better known for his hatred in a very special place in Hell.