Lovely readers, I am bone tired — and by that, I mean my butt bones are literally bruised from hours of sitting on hard floors while painting trim — so today I’m going to keep the writing short and the pictures sweet. Anytime I start a major decor shakedown, new art always tops the list of Things I Really Wish I Had to Complete My Fantasy Room. I’m pretty sure any of these paintings by Michael Zavros would be just fine.
Zavros’ statement from his recent Trophy Hunter exhibition at the Philip Bacon Galleries sums it up like so:
“In more physical than cerebral times, trophy hunting was a life or death journey requiring craft, cunning, timing and strength… This exhibition of new work by Michael Zavros describes trophy hunting as an end in its own right, with the trophy more likely a painting by an A-list artist, a coveted prestige vehicle, a strange or exotic orchid found only in the forests of northern Borneo, narwhal tusks or other natural curiosities, or creatures such as the Onogadori chicken, a bird bred for exhibition, which can barely move without human intervention.”
Chickens that can’t move without human intervention?! Huh, I never knew I liked roosters before.
Black Breasted Silver Onagadori Twins
As his statement implies, Zavros doesn’t restrict himself to animals as trophies, instead referencing iconographic fashion and even design.
Zavros critiques or pokes fun at the senseless acquisition of objects and trophies as vapid status symbols, yet he makes his comments from an interior point of view; as a child he rode horses competitively, bred chickens, and is currently an A-list artist himself. So either he has a mammoth ego or a silly sense of humor when he includes one of his own works (the tiny bronze horse head) alongside his own Corbusier lounge.
Or maybe he just has a very keen understanding of the status symbol/trophy as a smokescreen that diverts attention from insecurity and self doubt.
“The sensibility in all of these works is a discomforting glory in beauty, detail and objects, one that may be doomed to emptiness.” His debased faces of fashion revel in sheer technique while detailing the beauty and unattainability of fashion, but they also refer to that “emptiness” that comes from admiration of beauty for its own sake, or as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Beauty is its own excuse for being.”
As an artist, I always argued against that idea, yet it is easy to be seduced by the glamor of Zavros’ paintings.
I Heart Versailles
La Fontaine de Sang (The Fountain of Blood)
There is a melancholy air of sadness in the most beautiful of the paintings, and a sense of airless desire in other, more pointed images.
The title certainly reads as a stilted catalog for the affluent. Maybe I’m not so fond of those Starck status symbols, after all.
Reminiscent of Robert Longo’s stockbrokers series from the 80′s, Rush serves as a reminder that such a lifestyle does not come without a certain price. Wall Street may be coming to the same conclusion.
Milano Interior/ Moneti Emporium/ I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
One can only assume Zavros acknowledges that such excess is truly excessive. I wonder if men think the same thing when they see a closet full of women’s shoes? Surely there is nothing as uniform and interchangeable as a man’s suit? (can’t wait for someone to argue here…)
1820s Regency Leather Sofa/ Favela Chair/ Champion Dachsund “Windkiedach Wiggle”/ a Dale Frank
In the end I find myself a victim of my own desires and wants. I will never be able to afford this $20,000 painting or any of the contents found within it (although the taxidermied dachsund is certainly an object of lust!), but I like it. I admire its technical virtuosity and I enjoy its sense of humor. So when I close my eyes and imagine my finished fantasy room, there will be a Zavros on the wall.
But for now the only paint I can afford comes in a can. So it’s back on the old hands and knees for me, begging the gods of baseboard painting to bless me with a hand half as steady as Michael Zavros’.