Urgent Art Issues

While we wait for the House vote on a budget that includes $1.8 million in funds stolen from the Oregon Cultural Trust -- with narry a word from the Trust itself -- a small diversion.

The Oregonian penned a curious editorial this morning, pointing out that Randy Leonard used campaign funds to purchase a $750 Gwenn Seemel portrait of himself. The narrative (by Mary Kitch, I believe) pours on the sarcasm, with phrases like:

Only a few grouchy old souls would be literal-minded enough to think that "campaign funds" should actually be spent on campaigns.
Popes do it. Kings do it. Presidents do it. Now, a city commissioner acquires a portrait.

But we love Gwenn Seemel portraits! Right, Mead? Right, RACC?

A couple Gwenn Seemel portraits

Anyway. THIS is what the editorial board writes about while the funds are being stolen from the Trust? I just don't get it.


Anonymous said...

excellent point.

Mead said...

When you sit for Gwenn, something she makes very clear is that the portrait will not be idealized. So Randy could hardly have been surprised by the end result. Now that it's in doubt as to who actually paid for that portrait, his avowed dislike for it seems a tad conVEnient (as the Church Lady used to say).

Ms. Seemel's eye for here subjects goes deeper that mere surfaces. With many of her paintings, including mine, she has a way of capturing something that the portrait sitter didn't necessarily know was there. I heart her art!

MightyToyCannon said...

Just what we need right now, a little mocking of the arts. I'd rather see excess campaign funds being used to buy art for the city than for dinners between movers and shakers at upscale steakhouses. There's something about an old-school steakhouse that smacks of dealmaking. Let's dig into a 16 oz. steak and a baked potato while we talk about how major league soccer will make Portland more sustainable.