Art by Natalie Merchant
November 16, 2002 9:49 PM   Subscribe

Artwork by Natalie Merchant. [Really nice site also.]
posted by JohnR (21 comments total)
Gee, I wish *I* saved my first-year Art Students League work. Then I could put it on the web, too.

Seriously, this is some hack stuff.
posted by Ayn Marx at 10:57 PM on November 16, 2002

yeah, her art looks... pretty bad
posted by cadastral at 11:26 PM on November 16, 2002

Yes, her art is child-like and primitive. I responded more on the level of seeing someone trying to figure out her "mysteries" by more than one venue. It does give some interesting insights into her song writing. She should definitely keep her day job.
posted by JohnR at 11:52 PM on November 16, 2002

/me spews everywhere.

What a joke.
posted by xmutex at 12:43 AM on November 17, 2002

if only her music were as *cough* good as this "art".

posted by notsnot at 12:56 AM on November 17, 2002

The really funny thing is how full of herself she obviously is, and even my cursory knowledge of her lyrics would indicate she always has been. Full to overflowing. What's that one song that's unabashedly messianic? Quick search found these lyrics:

"Doctors have come
from distant cities
just to see me
stand over my bed
disbelieving what they're seeing

they say I must be one of the wonders
of god's own creation
and as far as they can see they can offer
no explanation."

The rest of the song, here, is even more sickening. And no one will ever be able to convince me she's speaking allegorically about anything or anyone other than her own too precious self.

For fuck's sake.

And that crap in her gallery looks like the puerile shit you'd find hanging up in the less successful coffee houses near the less successful art schools of the world.
posted by KiloHeavy at 1:26 AM on November 17, 2002

KiloHeavy.......YOU are the expert regarding full to overflowing.
posted by JohnR at 1:53 AM on November 17, 2002

but hey, she also does haiku. ouch.
posted by taz at 2:07 AM on November 17, 2002

How very meta.
posted by iamck at 4:00 AM on November 17, 2002

I used to like 10,000 Maniacs, but I've always found NM to be amazingly into herself, and now she's posted to proof of it. Here's just one nugget of wisdom I'd like to take issue with:

Most artists were not born members of a privileged class, and through their ascendancy to wealth and power they might tend to have had more exposure to poverty or injustice than other members of privileged society. They tend to naturally be sensitive people and trained to be acute observers. That might contribute to a strong sense of empathy...maybe not.

This was in a letter on her site defending a prominant link to The Nation to a right-leaning visitor. I'm fairly left on most things, but this portrait of the 'artist as leftist' and, worse yet, 'artist as he who has struggled up from poverty' is rubbish. Any knowledge of artists in any field over the past few centuries would show you how all over the map they are politically (compare, say, T.S. Eliot to Steinbeck or Mondrian to Diego Rivera). And a bit of checking will show you that the privilaged classes occupy quite a few places of importance in the hierarchy (they, afterall, are generally the ones who have time for it).

In fact, one of the problems with the study of art as art (as opposed to art as history) is that it focusses so much on the monied classes and so little on the vast majority of people. That's one of the things that sickened me about it when I was more involved in it.

To think that you can be as old as NM and still buy into this freshman artist view of the world would be sad if it were not so infuriating.
posted by wheat at 4:58 AM on November 17, 2002

Maybe it is all a part of her image and branding. I think that her target audience these days is maybe freshman girls in art school, or else high-schoolers dreaming of going to art school but unfortunately suffering the same lack of actual talent that poor NM is. So this take on life would be quite appealing to them. Perhaps she is fully aware of it all and is doing it on purpose.
posted by donkeymon at 5:59 AM on November 17, 2002

Her bad art and all of your reactions made my morning. I bet she is surrounded by nothing but ass kissers.

posted by zenhues at 6:25 AM on November 17, 2002

I go to art school, and if that's her demographic, she's doing pretty badly. I don't know anyone who listens to her.
posted by atom128 at 7:07 AM on November 17, 2002

KiloHeavy: And no one will ever be able to convince me she's speaking allegorically about anything or anyone other than her own too precious self.

And Michael Stipe really thinks he's Superman, too?

We could really have some fun with this.
posted by Vidiot at 10:18 AM on November 17, 2002

Hmm. I read the letter concerning her link to the Nation, and Merchant makes it quite clear that she doesn't believe all artists are leftists, or that the worlds of art and entertainment are necessarily cozy bastions of liberalism. The right-leaning letter writer specifically asked why the arts and entertainment worlds leaned "uniformly" to the left, by the way. I don't think it's wrong or unfair, though, to say that the arts and entertainment draw a larger proportion of left-leaning people than other fields.
posted by raysmj at 12:14 PM on November 17, 2002

um. I thought some of it looked pretty neat. I wonder how much of the slighting in this thread is a knee jerk reaction on account of her politics, music, simply being famous, etc.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:21 PM on November 17, 2002

knee jerk reaction on account of her politics

Not really, but now that you mention it, a link to 'the Nation' is pretty blatant.

However there was a good picture with some vintage flower prints collaged with a female nude called something like "the U.S.A. problem", which begins to get the swing of something or other. Not bad.
posted by hama7 at 2:40 AM on November 18, 2002

I've always been convinced that when Natalie Merchant sits down to write a song, she draws a slip of paper from a hat containing many slips of paper, each with some sort of political issue written on it. There's no other way to account for some of topics she's covered--"Hateful Hate" is a great song, but who the hell writes songs about imperialism?

Despite La Merchant, 10,000 Maniacs is one of my favorite bands; I think the songs she wrote while with them are superior to her solo stuff--the band seems to have curbed some of her more extreme tendencies.

And, you know, the woman is a disgrace to the name Natalie, too. Hmph.
posted by eilatan at 3:47 AM on November 18, 2002

What's that one song that's unabashedly messianic?

I heard when it was released that "Wonder" was written from the viewpoint of a retarded or learning-disabled child. Not that I'm defending any of Miss M's output.
posted by teenydreams at 1:38 PM on November 18, 2002

you know, I just hope none of you ever try to publish some of your own creative works, and then look through your website referrer logs, only to find pages like this, tearing your heart apart.
posted by crunchland at 2:37 PM on November 18, 2002 [1 favorite]

I didn't have a problem with the paintings themselves, crunchland, some of the collage stuff from September 2001 is okay (Soldier in a Box, Munch on Your Own Fist). And I like Yellow Head (November 2001). The sketches didn't do anything for me. But what bugs me about NM isn't her painting, nor even her music (some of which I like), it's her condecending attitude.
posted by wheat at 3:23 PM on November 18, 2002

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