If given the opportunity to have dinner with any artist, it would most certainly be a hard decision, but I would have to choose Claude Monet. However, instead of dinner we would get together for breakfast. Ideally we would meet in the summer on a early morning at a small cafe in Argenteuil, Paris. Rather than a large meal, the only thing we would share other than a few croissants or pastries, would be several cups of coffee. Although I would hope to have flowing conversation, I imagine the morning to be filled with Monet trying to explain what 19th and 20th century life in Paris was like. Later, we would discuss some of the inspirations for many of his works as well as the theme of using modernization as a subject for experimentation in art. After many hours of conversation and explaining the day-to-day scene, he would take me around Paris and Argenteuil and show me some of his favorite places to hang out with friends, or to get away from the city to find leisure.
I selected Carpets and Textiles in the Iranian World 1400-1700. It has an unassuming cover and binding, but after taking an introduction to Islamic art class last semester I was eager to see what gems lay inside. On page 146, there is an image of a painting from a Shahnama. The Shahnama is an Iranian epic about the kings of Iran throughout the ages. The third sentence reads, "While such cautions should be observed when studying the treatment of textiles in the great commissioned manuscripts, a change of direction occurred in the mid-16th century in painting, which made it possible to depict dress in greater detail." The rest of the page discusses the development in Iranian painting that lead to the change in convention. Shah Tahmasp disbanded has book atelier (the imperial book making workshop) because his theological attitude became more strict in regards to image making. Many of the artists he once employed found new jobs in Shiraz where they were free to exploring new forms of figural imagery. Some of these new compositions focused on one or two large figures, which allowed the artists to use more details such as textile embellishment.
The name of the book I picked is Unbuilt Roads: 107 Unrealized Projects. On page 46, there is a proposal for an installation and the third sentence reads, "I would like to challenge the hierarchical structure which is placed on the different orifices of the body, the upper orifices being considered more respectable than the lower ones and all the functions related to the lower ones being completely sreened-off and tabooed".
Dear Abstract Form by Peter Voulkos
Thanks for shaping my artistic desires at the beginning of my filmmaking adventures. It was by chance that we met several years ago. My peers rejected you as anything close to art but I believed there was something about you that others refused to see. I felt that something needed to be shown to other people. Because of you, I was stirred to create films that reflected that nature and truth of all things. Several years later this is still one of my guiding principles in everything I create.
I apologize and wish we could have done you good by creating a short that thoughtfully interpreted your meaning. Know that every time I pass you in the museum you have a special place in my heart as a work of art that inspired me to not settle for doing something easy and to always search for a deeper meaning.
There are so many artists I'd love to have dinner with, like Leonardo da Vinci or Hieronymus Bosch, Daumier or Delacroix, Toulouse Lautrec or Salvador Dali, or Joseph Beuys or Ai Wei Wei. But the romantic in me would love to go back in time to late 19th century Paris and meet Cezanne in a warm cafe in the winter to talk about art, Paris, and modern life. Paris at the turn of the century was a hub of political, artistic, and technical modernization and Cezanne, at least in my mind, would have had a rather grounded, but insightful perspective on what was happening. I also imagine him as being one of the first "modern" artists and ushering in a new way to see and paint that would eventually lead to abstract expressionism and the leaps that were made in art during his life time by him and by his friends and contemporaries is fascinating to me.
As I mentioned, I would want it to be winter and snowing. We would be eating coq au vin and drinking read wine and eventually vin chaud for hours next to a fireplace in a little cafe in Montmartre. Friends like Degas or Gauguin would pass through and the whole place, though not big, would be humming with Parisians coming in, running into each other, and grabbing a warm drink or dinner at this cozy neighborhood cafe to escape from the snowy night.
This is what I remember from a drawing I did when I was probably about 5 years old. It was an illustration in a book I wrote about a dog named Spot (inspired by the TV show) and I remember that on this particular page I had drawn Spot sleeping and wrote something along the lines of "Spot took his afternoon nap. When Spot woke up he was sad because it was raining and he couldn't go to the beach."
That may not be completely correct, but I know it went something like that.