In a few months, Art Basel will swoop into town, and critics will oohh and ahhh over the latest and greatest contemporary art. But in the other 50 weeks of the year, not only do we have a lively Wynwood art scene, Miami has as abundant resource of what the New York Times is calling "vernacular painting" AKA bad art. As in so bad, it's good.
In this morning's Times, 30 Rock star Judah Friedlander shows off his private collection of low brow art, found online and in places like Miami Beach (i.e. cities full of old people). Friedlander seems to be a lot like his TV character, wearing pizza stains with the flare of rhinestone brooches and with hair that we imagine smells like a combo of B.O. and ranch dressing. He also curates a museum of bad art in his Queens apartment.
"Some people want to save the world or shed light on starvation," he said. "But you give a junior high kid paint and canvas, and he'll paint someone getting kicked in the face. No political connotations, just a guy kicking another guy in the face. I like simplistic testosterone passion."
Last February, our art critic noted that some sought-after art can be
scored at the Salvation Army, particularly the one in Wynwood on 23rd
Street. But forget Thomas McKnight. Keep an eye out for landscapes
where the trees have breasts, rockstar Jesuses melting into hilltops,
and cross-eyed portraits. And if you see a chunky guy in a foamy
trucker's hat that reads "Mom Expert," have your friends distract him
while you scoop up all the framed badness and run for the cashier.
There's actually a Museum of Bad Art near Boston, but shouldn't we have
one in Miami? If we have to contend with old people driving and movie
theaters that smell like Depends, we should at least get to enjoy the
spoils of their estate sales when they're gone.
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In the meantime, browse Friedlander's online gallery of thirfted paintings of "U.F.O.'s, suicidal clowns, and smiling genitals." Maybe you'll recognize something from your abuelos own living room.
Another of Friedlander's finds, possibly nabbed at a thrift store near you.