Appraising the Brady Bunch Art Collection
March 9, 2017 5:31 AM   Subscribe

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce: Appraising the Brady Bunch’s Art Collection. A very comprehensive examination of the art on the Brady Bunch home, and of mass produced mid-century modern art.
posted by Capt. Renault (83 comments total) 95 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is TRULY Best Of The Web.
posted by hippybear at 5:45 AM on March 9 [23 favorites]


I said the same thing, hippybear. That, and "Holy shit, this is bonkers!"
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:48 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: does a great job of quietly existing
posted by Wolfdog at 5:59 AM on March 9


The wall space in the office vestibule suffered three different paintings in five years. This had a disorienting effect on the kids and may explain why Greg once abducted a goat.

Another example of youth crime caused by poor parenting. You can't just go changing things around all willy-nilly!
posted by jenny76 at 6:05 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


This is good. The hobo/clown art always made me furrow my brow.
posted by davidmsc at 6:16 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


This was super interesting, and made me really realize how my parents were influenced by their era - in, like, a classy "we don't even own a television" way, of course.

So for instance, we had a set of four big Piranesi prints of Roman ruins at our house - framed by my grandfather, who was a skilled woodworker. I love them, actually.

We also had a print of a minor Monet portrait.

My parents actually framed a lot of museum prints when they were young and broke - my grandfather did the framing because he loved doing little projects like that, so it was virtually free. We have an enormous Brueghel the Younger winter scene which hung above the sofa and which just fascinated me as a kid.

My feeling is that the trajectory was this: post-war boom and the GI bill mean that a lot more people are going to college and some more people have the money to go to Europe. (My parents went to England once on their honeymoon, and that was it.) Because of these things, Western European stuff becomes better known in the US and more chic, and because more people are going to college, there's more exposure to high culture.

So when my parents were young and modern, French, Italian, Spanish and Greek cooking were what college-educated classy young people were into, ditto for European art movies. And that's what they like best, even now. Also fondue. (Modulated by being near Chicago, so really good Greek and Italian food was extra accessible.) Similarly with the Piranesis and the art prints and so on.

To be honest, I think all that mass produced art stuff with the vaguely European influence is nice. It says that people are aware of a wider world and have bigger dreams. Maybe not "I went to Harvard and then did my graduate work at the Sorbonne before coming home to take on a professorship in California" dreams, but certainly "I can look at paintings and appreciate them, I can know something about the world beyond my home town".

When you consider how people's horizons were so forcibly contracted by the Depression and the war (I mean, unless you were actually away fighting in it), that's pretty good.
posted by Frowner at 6:18 AM on March 9 [36 favorites]


> This is the work of Gerda Christoffersen, a Danish-born artist who produced a multitude of prints that usually feature Native American kids. The illustration foreshadows “The Brady Braves” episode in which the family is adopted into an Arizonian tribe after Bobby and Cindy fed a lost boy chili from the battery compartment of a flashlight.

what
posted by ardgedee at 6:21 AM on March 9 [24 favorites]


Beautiful.

Apparently that horse statue in the living room occupies quite a large cupboard in my mind.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:27 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


My work is sure to be a treat for anyone who loves art, or The Brady Bunch, or tedious overanalysis.

Yes, yes, and yes please!
posted by Mchelly at 6:31 AM on March 9 [9 favorites]


The apocalyptic Piranesi rip off is a nice touch, and one I hadn't noticed before - "Look on my works, Jan and Greg, and despair!"
posted by ryanshepard at 6:38 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


Love the Butterfly of Love poster in the girls' room. Now I need to listen to this gem from the late '80s.
posted by NoMich at 6:39 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


The illustration foreshadows “The Brady Braves” episode in which the family is adopted into an Arizonian tribe after Bobby and Cindy fed a lost boy chili from the battery compartment of a flashlight.

Sadly, there is no part of that sentence that I need explained.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:49 AM on March 9 [22 favorites]


Holy shit I thought that was some kind of tipoff that this is a deconstructionist goof on pop culture scholarship where the reader is gaslighted into a parallel universe of transgressive culture but "The Brady Braves" was really made by people who thought this was a good idea. And now I don't know what truth is any more.
posted by ardgedee at 6:56 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


That horse statue was also a major plot point in the sequel to The Brady Bunch movie. And if you haven't seen those movies, at least the first one, you really need to. It's the most brilliant movie based on a TV show ever made.
posted by bondcliff at 6:58 AM on March 9 [6 favorites]


This is like a sequel to "Report on Probability A," with lots more art.
posted by chavenet at 6:58 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


Among the cheap prints in my childhood home was Evening On Karl Johan Street, which was kind of traumatic for me. Imagine being about 3 years old and staring at that thing. Therapists should distribute them, to drum up future business.
posted by thelonius at 6:58 AM on March 9 [9 favorites]


So when my parents were young and modern, French, Italian, Spanish and Greek cooking were what college-educated classy young people were into

My dad liked to tell the story of how, when he and my mom were dating, ca. 1960, they visited mom's parents in a little town way down near the Georgia/Florida border—possibly it was his first visit—I don't remember now. Once they're down there they're a little bored but it would rude to leave so soon and so for kicks they decide to make a pizza. "Do you have a pizza pie pan?" dad asks his future MIL. "No, what's a pizza pie pan? Maybe they sell them in town." So the kids get in the car, drive to the nearest slightly larger town and spend the afternoon looking for a pizza pie pan, everywhere encountering the question "What's a pizza pie pan?"

And that's the story of my parents, the south Georgia pizza hipsters.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:06 AM on March 9 [24 favorites]


Suspiciously missing a certain bust of Mike Brady
posted by Mchelly at 7:10 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


My work is sure to be a treat for anyone who loves art, or The Brady Bunch, or tedious overanalysis.
What luck! I love all three!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:17 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Judging by the abstract painting behind the main staircase, it looks like the Bradys were into CoBrA.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:29 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


I favorited this before I even read it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:34 AM on March 9 [9 favorites]


I loved this. What's interesting to me is the change from really provincial and conservative decoration to more mod style all at once. My partner and I are going through Bewitched (because....I don't know) and the same thing happens right after Season 1. It starts being a kind of Colonial-style home with lots of Olde Tyme decor, and then all of a sudden, it's Danish Modern everything and totally rad.
posted by xingcat at 7:51 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


The illustration foreshadows “The Brady Braves” episode in which the family is adopted into an Arizonian tribe after Bobby and Cindy fed a lost boy chili from the battery compartment of a flashlight.

I'd say it's a nod to the entire three-episode arc (S03E01-03), and I think the flashlight actually contained "franks and beans", not chili.

Also, this is awesome.
posted by achrise at 7:53 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


What a fantastic article. I appreciate the author's straight-up explanation of the art. I mean there's a certain ironic awareness suffused in it, but it's not some cheap snarky piece.

I grew up watching Brady Bunch reruns in the 80s but I never really understood what an odd cultural place the show inhabited between straight and groovy. All the 60s/70s stuff seemed so dated to me I didn't understand the cultural tension so gently presented through the lens of low impact sitcom.
posted by Nelson at 7:57 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


I never really understood what an odd cultural place the show inhabited between straight and groovy

The show itself transitions from straight to groovy. Watch a Season 1 episode and then chase it with a Season 5. Your mind will be blown wide (along with Mike's lapels).

I'm blown away by this thing. I also can physically feel my GenX childhood finally coming to a close as I read this as a (cough cough) much older adult. Thanks for posting this.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:04 AM on March 9 [6 favorites]


Brady Bunch pedantry is tasty pedantry indeed.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:09 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Best post of the millennium.
posted by xammerboy at 8:12 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


My partner and I are going through Bewitched (because....I don't know)

Because why wouldn't you?
posted by dnash at 8:22 AM on March 9 [11 favorites]


During the first season, the family room walls are dominated by imposing scenes of duck-filled marshlands, one of them featured in the hotel in the pilot episode, which seems to suggest that the Bradys stole it.

OMG I love the internet so much right now.
posted by Melismata at 8:29 AM on March 9 [31 favorites]


I was excited when I got to the kids' posters, because I thought they might have some of the same ones as David Collins. The orange cat in the girls' room is similar to one of his - same artist, maybe?

My new headcanon is that Mike did a semester abroad in Paris, and Carol was a teenage show jumper.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:38 AM on March 9 [7 favorites]


This post is also the best because of the story of the south Georgia pizza hipsters.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:41 AM on March 9


Wow, I did piles of drugs in the 70'a and 80's, but not enough to deal with this. I got an art degree and perhaps that's part of my problem with this but wow, so incredibly awful. I'm including everything here, the art, the Brady Bunch, and the article. I may need to go lay down.
posted by evilDoug at 8:43 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


Pork Chops and Apple Sauce: Appraising the Brady Bunch’s Art Collection.

Well ain't that swell. My unironic love of this is big and real.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:53 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Y'all should read this David Gilbert short story.
posted by carmicha at 9:02 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


And be sure to read the Comments for more object d'art goodness and a side trip into Alice's room that seems like it could be the beginnings of a deeper analysis of her character's place in the Bradyverse.
posted by achrise at 9:09 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


"It’s stock art for a show with stock characters that include Sam the butcher, Tiger the dog, and Oliver the misfit. If one of the artists were ever portrayed on screen, he would likely wear a beret and goatee, and speak condescendingly in a wacky accent."

I'm ashamed to admit that, to this day, whenever I hear the words "famous artist" I will inevitably picture this exact caricature in my mind, if ever so fleetingly. I blame it on a childhood diet of endless Gilligan's Island re-runs.

I hereby dub this phenomenon the Sherwood Schwartz Effect.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:28 AM on March 9 [9 favorites]


side trip into Alice's room

again with the fan fiction
posted by thelonius at 9:46 AM on March 9 [9 favorites]


My partner and I are going through Bewitched (because....I don't know)

You know what is solid fucking gold? A few years back, McSweeney's did a DVD magazine series called Wholphin, I think it was. On one of the discs, there was an episode of the Japanese remake of Bewitched, with the entire story rewritten via new captions by Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket.) It was piss your pants funny and if there is any way you can find it, it would be such a lovely bookend to your Bewitched watching.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:47 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


> the Japanese remake of Bewitched

Hold up hold up, let's step back a moment. The what of what?
posted by ardgedee at 9:53 AM on March 9 [8 favorites]


Not the right time period or style, but my Grandmother had a room that was hermetically sealed, and was called "The Parlor". I guess, hypothetically, it was for entertaining guests, but she always just did that in her living room with all of the comfortable couches and the TV. The Parlor was the fancy furniture that had plastic on it, wasn't heated, and had the windows permanently shuttered. We only ever went in there very rarely to access the spare bedroom which she used as storage (typically when my dad was doing something handy around the house for her).

Anyway, the Parlor had this weird faux-Spanish theme about it. Matador paintings, a big Spanish Galleon relief painting that was done in wood or plastic, but made up to seem like bronze or gold. Plastic fruit in a bowl. Going through the Brady's art collection reminded me a bit of how very strange that decoration always seemed.
posted by codacorolla at 9:54 AM on March 9 [13 favorites]


That Spanish/Mediterranean décor was totally an American home interior thing in the early 1970s.

My childhood home had funky spanish tile, wrought iron everywhere, and funny woodwork on the cabinets when I was a kid.

Example home (not mine!)
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:01 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


I've mentioned here before the faux Spanish coat of arms (plastic or plaster) with swords stuck through it (probably aluminum) that graced our 70s home for a while. Also in every single house, you would find some representation of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, usually with a windmill nearby. My best friend's parents had it in brass sculpture, but most of the time it was a set of paintings, usually with lurid red or yellow skies. I believe using black wrought iron was also part of this aesthetic, and--for the bold--red carpeting.
posted by emjaybee at 10:36 AM on March 9 [6 favorites]


My feeling is that the trajectory was this: post-war boom and the GI bill mean that a lot more people are going to college and some more people have the money to go to Europe.

So when my parents were young and modern, French, Italian, Spanish and Greek cooking were what college-educated classy young people were into, ditto for European art movies. And that's what they like best, even now. Also fondue.


That's an interesting insight. It does fit my parents, born just before the war. Mastering the Art of French Cooking was one of the primary cookbooks in my mother's collection, I certainly remember the fondue, and cheese souffle was a regular in our dinner rotation. It was less art movies and more European art and opera, but same vein.

They only made it to Europe once as young adults, but now travel there regularly now that they are retired.
posted by tavella at 10:47 AM on March 9


A Very Brady Sequel, the second of the Shelley Long/Gary Cole postmodern grave robberies, is all about that living room horse statue.

It's pretty great.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:08 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


I believe using black wrought iron was also part of this aesthetic, and--for the bold--red carpeting.

Literally every split-level house ever built, right there.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:11 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


That Spanish/Mediterranean décor was totally an American home interior thing in the early 1970s.
...
Example home (not mine!)


That kitchen floor was the exact kitchen floor I grew up with! I am now in a very weird memory hole, as we moved when I was around 8 or 9 and I am suddenly re-feeling like a very small person.
posted by Mchelly at 11:18 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


I believe using black wrought iron was also part of this aesthetic, and--for the bold--red carpeting.

Oh, damn. One of the wall ornaments in Grandma's parlor was a Knight's helmet with crossed swords and an axe (which I found exceedingly badass as a fantasy minded kid), the carpet of the room vibrant blue (the couch was red), and the porch that it lead out to had wrought iron railings as an accent.
posted by codacorolla at 12:20 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]


My gut tells me that the one painting isn't of the Arc de Triomphe, but rather is of Porte Saint-Louis. The buildings are much closer there than at the Arc, and the street profile seems right -- but who can really tell from the screencap?
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:22 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


This is insane. Best post on the blue in MONTHS.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:37 PM on March 9 [5 favorites]


Ah, "family art!"

My parents for awhile had a few "tiki culture" artworks prominently displayed--theirs, like most, was produced by William Westenhaver's company Witco in the unlikely location of Mt. Vernon, Washington. My parents had a couple of wall "masks", but the pièce de résistance was a 4' tall tiki statue.

I hauled that thing around for a few years and eventually decided to find it a new home. Long story short, I posted about it on a tiki website, and the result was it finding a home with the author of a book on tiki culture and a pleasant afternoon spent chatting with him.

What I'm saying is thanks for the post!
posted by maxwelton at 12:37 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: "A Very Brady Sequel, the second of the Shelley Long/Gary Cole postmodern grave robberies"

You misspelled "loving homages."
posted by Chrysostom at 12:54 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]


I feel like I've linked this here before, but also apropos, the set (and all its art) was also dug out of mothballs for this Very Brady episode of Day By Day
posted by Mchelly at 12:57 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Also I just fell down a very Brady google well and if you're feeling shortchanged that they didn't include the art from Greg's mod swingin' bachelor room, it's here.
posted by Mchelly at 1:03 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]


It’s also worth noting that much of the art is repeatedly repositioned throughout the course of the show. It is unclear whether this is the result of less-than-vigilant set dressers or a class five haunting.

Or if it's just my MIL. When mr. epersonae and I were first dating, every time I went to his folks' house the whole thing was completely rearranged. As someone who grew up in a house where absolutely everything stayed in the same place for more than a decade, it was quite disorientating.

(They don't do it so much now, as they are getting pretty frail.)
posted by epersonae at 1:47 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


Great post! And surely a shoo-in for the 2017 Metacademy Awards [being a glitzy, MeFite-studded award show that takes place wholly within my own mind every year. The booze-drenched after-parties also take place in my own mind, and my own liver].

How you going, Cappy?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:03 PM on March 9 [5 favorites]


That Brady episode of Day by Day is one of sitcom TV's shining moments.
posted by COD at 2:12 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


"Flanking the papoose" has GOT to become one or more of the following:
A. a band name
2. A sex act
iii. a football play
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:52 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


These delightful posts of someone's magnificent obsession are a big part of why I've loved this place for fourteen years.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:01 PM on March 9 [7 favorites]


We never saw the fourth wall of their kitchen/dining room, so I'm going to assume that's where their giant wooden spoon and fork were hung.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:09 PM on March 9 [22 favorites]


I skimmed the article, and my eye was caught by the part about the flashlight full of beans, but I didn't read much further. Then I read the comments quoting the article: fed a lost boy chili from the battery compartment of a flashlight and one of you corrected it: not chili but franks and beans. So I went back to the original article, and it definitely says beans, not chili. Do we change reality by observing it? Is this a Berenstain Beans situation?
posted by moonmilk at 5:28 PM on March 9


Oh, I see that we do change reality by observing it
posted by moonmilk at 5:38 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]


Oh, I see that we do change reality by observing it

Metafilter: They’ve pointed out a couple things I need to change.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:42 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]


"My parents actually framed a lot of museum prints when they were young and broke - my grandfather did the framing because he loved doing little projects like that, so it was virtually free. We have an enormous Brueghel the Younger winter scene which hung above the sofa and which just fascinated me as a kid."

I will never fucking apologize for my life-size poster of Song of the Lark that has hung in every room that has been mine since I was 16 and paid AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF MINIMUM WAGE PAYCHECK to acquire a poster-print pre-internet, and next time I move I am buying the best poster for $30 and getting that fucker framed for $300 and framing it in my living room. Because if I stole the ACTUAL one I probably couldn't display it or I'd have to go to jail and that'd be awkward and probably in jail you can't hang your Song of the Lark poster.

(Bill Murray's on my side, Song of the Lark lifted him out of a suicidal depression.)

I love my original art and all, but there's worse shit than living in a time when you can get high-quality reproductions of pieces of art that have moved and uplifted millions of people, and hang them in your home.

All that said, I object to the Degas print. WTF with that framing, Bradys?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:04 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Of course you know that if the commonality has original art, they have the wrong kind of art - it's not expensive enough, it's not transgressive enough, it's just something they like instead of something intellectually respectable.

Or if it's intellectually respectable - and frankly Piranesi reproductions, particularly the etchings of Rome, are intensely intellectually respectable - it's still wrong, somehow. Even though Piranesi is famous for etchings, not paintings, so unless you're printing them out on a laser printer or something, you actually can have a very fine reproduction.

There's got to be a word for the American double bind about class - one is supposed to be, like, creative and intellectually curious and so on, but unless one is creative and intellectually curious in a way that is unique without being too unique, expensive without being obviously expensive, etc, one is doing it wrong.

I mean, what the fuck is wrong with Tang dynasty horse reproductions? Do you think that Tang dynasty artisans weren't cranking those things out by the metric ton?

There's just something really weird about the way we think of art in this country. One should not have reproductions - tacky! - but bare walls also indicate intellectual poverty. So, since acceptable art is expensive, take care not to be poor, I guess.
posted by Frowner at 8:57 PM on March 9 [5 favorites]


Also, in the 19th and early twentieth centuries, when photographs of art and other kinds of good-quality reproduction were mostly very expensive and often something you'd bring back from a visit to Europe, reproductions were intellectually respectable. They only became embarrassing when ordinary people could afford them.
posted by Frowner at 9:01 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


This post is also the best because of the story of the south Georgia pizza hipsters.

*bows*

Several of these clown prints hung in my childhood bedroom. I distinctly remember the hobo clown and I have vague memories of the others. I didn't like them. I thought they were creepy. They probably primed my dislike of clowns to this day.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:18 AM on March 10


Also, We Are The Mutants is great. The whole blog is a walk through my childhood and teen years. The piece on Jerry Ahern's Survivalist series is, uh ... interesting in the light of current events. I remember when those books littered every used paperback exchange I entered.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:24 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


How you going, Cappy?

I'm good, quiddy. I'm good. Thank you for your kind quiddy words.

posted by Capt. Renault at 7:18 AM on March 10


They should do this for the Partridge Family, too, although I don't remember any art in their house but the Mondrian themed bus should count for something.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


It just popped into my head that they missed Greg's bedroom in the attic, but a quick google search shows that there doesn't seem to have been anything other than the dart board.

They should do this for the Partridge Family, too, although I don't remember any art in their house

I think it would be fun to see a comparison of the art in tv shows. There is art in the Partridge home but there aren't a lot of screen caps to choose from.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:39 AM on March 10


I wonder if they got any of their paintings through the Vincent Price Fine Art Collection at Sears.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:40 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Some people obsessively comb stills of “Westworld” for visual clues about the show’s deeper meaning. Others painstakingly catalog and analyze the art that adorns the walls of “The Brady Bunch.” This is a link for those interested in the latter. [We Are the Mutants via Metafilter] (emphasis added)
This thread made the NYT!
posted by fedward at 12:03 PM on March 10 [9 favorites]


In the BB universe, Vincent Price was mostly interested in wearable tiki statues.
posted by soelo at 12:16 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Regarding the header image on that website: that is from the 1970s coffee table book Spacewreck! I owned it and loved it. And I am thinking David Bowie must have owned that book too, based on his Blackstar video.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:51 PM on March 10


Thanks, Meatbomb, I've been wondering about that. It reminded me of Darrel K. Sweet's cover of Inherit the Stars quite a bit.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:27 PM on March 10


Several of these clown prints hung in my childhood bedroom. I distinctly remember the hobo clown and I have vague memories of the others. I didn't like them.

Awww. They're of Emmett Kelly! Well, technically his character of Weary Willie, but still.

I have a big soft spot in my heart for Emmett Kelly. He's the only clown I've ever really liked.
posted by MissySedai at 9:01 PM on March 10


It'll be interesting to see this sort of view applied to the kids' sitcoms of today, written by some middle-aged millenial combining criticism with personal nostalgia. I sometimes watch these shows while visiting my nieces. They're mostly dreadful, but the set dressing on some of them is interesting. A mix of upper middle class aspirations and the chaos of Pee Wee Herman's living room.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:08 PM on March 10


It'll be interesting to see this sort of view applied to the kids' sitcoms of today, written by some middle-aged millenial combining criticism with personal nostalgia.

Is it possible to assume that will even be doable, given the level of scrutiny inherent in TV production today? I can't fathom art being selected for a show or movie nowadays in the same bubble of non-self-awareness that accompanied The Brady Bunch. Knowing that observers like that article's author are out there watching, I'm sure every decision about set design and message-sending is dripping with so many self-referential layers, not to mention product placement, that such analysis will negate itself...
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:07 AM on March 11


It's always so disconcerting to me when reality shows blur out artwork. They're not logos or advertising; is there a copyright claim that didn't/doesn't apply to certain shows, like an ASCAP waiver?
posted by Room 641-A at 7:35 AM on March 11


I don't watch much reality tv so I don't know the phenomenon by experience, but I could see it being something as simple as "we haven't contacted this person for a waiver for their art to appear on the show, and we're blurring this out before it airs rather than having a lawsuit or other claim filed for showing it on air".
posted by hippybear at 7:42 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


So maybe it's a change in the law. They never used to blur out the logos on everything, either. Nevertheless, it's always a little strange to see.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:54 AM on March 11


Took me a while to get to this, but I'm glad I went back and looked for it. Now I know we had a Gerda Christoffersen and Paul Romier hanging on the wall when I was a little kid.

Speaking of art props, somewhere in Hollywood someone has a full-sized replica of Frederic Edwin Church's Twilight in the Wilderness. I know it shows up in one of the Patriot Games movies. I sure hope it shows up on eBay someday.
posted by lagomorphius at 2:24 PM on March 12


Not so much law as case law [Trib].
Clearing artwork in movies — the process of approving copyrighted paintings or sculptures through the artists, estates, galleries or libraries that own the images — has become ridiculously complicated over the past decade.
Cited: Mike Tyson's tattoo on Ed Helms in The Hangover Part II, and Ex Niholo sculpture reproduction in Devil's Advocate.

Wish I'd seen this sooner as this is one of my personal bugaboos, noticing artwork in the background of sets. I have two particular research to-dos. There are paintings in The Eyes of Laura Mars which are, to my eye, inspired by the work of my partial namesake Hans Hartung (especially in the hug shot four down here; probably the best art that I've seen in a film that isn't specifically about art), and that particularly distinct Mid-Century Modern metal wall sculpture that migrated around the sets of Star Trek TOS (including both on the Enterprise and in various alien locales, mostly offices). Apparently William Bowie did a lot of these, but I haven't identified the specific sculpture as his (they were all over the place in the sixties, though), but I am almost certain that I caught that exact piece in a recent production, so either it had a reproductive history or it's just another flea market find that bounced around prop departments.

Oh, and the best prop art I've ever seen were the paintings, attributed (though lacking onscreen credit) to John Decker, done for Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street. They really fit the period, characters, and story compared with any other fictional artist in any other film (there's a whole rabbit hole of Hollywood disdain for high art, connected to elite snobbery against the "low art" of the movies and TV, to explore here).
posted by dhartung at 3:06 PM on March 12


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