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Humorous illustration depicting a variety of people at an art show.  Some are staring at paintings trying to figure out what they are supposed to represent, some pretending to know what they are talking about, while others are making fun of the ones pretending to be art aficionados.
**click illustration to enlarge**
(watercolor illustration on paper, 9X11, 2005)

"At the art show"

Whether people admit it or not, the majority of us have one thing in common - the desire to be liked. Especially strong among the young, this desire makes us want to impress others, which is great when it pushes us to become better people. Peacocks have their feathers, zebras have their stripes, humans have their intellect and verbal communication. When both are highly functioning we have better chances of attracting friends and mates. However, when intellect is dormant or absent all together in some human specimens, verbal communication can be utilized to mask its absence. Unfortunately, in our society we oftentimes mistake eloquence for brilliance. I understand that people want to appear intellectual and sophisticated, but being able to appear knowledgeable about something without actually knowing the subject is not something to strive for.

When you have no idea what you're talking about and you're just talking for the sake of talking - PLEASE give it a rest. You don't need to have an opinion and understanding of something at all times. It's OK to say that you don't get something. Especially when it comes to art. It's OK to say that you wonder why some particular piece of art is considered 'art' on the first place. It's even OK to say that your 85-year-old suffering from cataract in both of her eyes grandmother who recently started taking a watercolor class from a retired football player who's never held a brush in his hand until 6-months ago teacher is a better artist than the one who painted a picture in front of you. It's also OK to call something crap!

In truth, no matter what you say, would still be better than if you pretend to appreciate a painting you don't get. I've seen way too many people like that at art shows. Walking around with half-squinted eyes, shaking their heads methodically with exaggerated euphoria written on their faces. People like that usually pause in front of a painting for a long time, talking about bold brushstrokes, and widely gesticulating in apparent effort to impress their companions with their artistic tastes. It's usually painful to watch, and it's even more painful to be a part of. If you're guilty of pretending to be an art aficionado please try to concentrate on things you actually understand. I know you might think that your pretentiousness doesn't hurt anybody and occasionally even gets you laid. Please rethink that, because in actuality your make-belief appreciation of bad art does have a real life consequence. It murders real art… There!

"An intellectual is someone who has found something more interesting than sex."
Edgar Wallace

"Pop art is the American Dream, optimistic, generous, and naive!"
Robert Indiana

"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."
Gilbert K. Chesterton

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Dr. Seuss