Who is depicted in this portrait?
SFX: Nature show theme music. The rustle and snap of underbrush.
Good evening, and welcome to “Expedition Into Art.” Tonight we’re looking at: Camouflage. That fine layer of illusion that sometimes separates nature from artifice. Observer from object. We’re in Warhol Country here, folks.
SFX: A polaroid goes off. The scuttling in the brush stops, the subject frozen in his tracks.
Ooh, Andy’s captured a big one for us this time! Yes! It’s artist Joseph Beuys, respected both for his work, and for carefully constructing his own image, an image of a soldier turned sculptor that is equal parts fact and myth.
Beuys knows he’s trapped, in this moment — gazing at us like a feral creature, though the brush. (Making a pre-scripted joke) Heh. Or should we say, the brush-stroke?
SFX: The wind stirs the leaves.
Perhaps he feels protected by this heavy smokescreen of pattern and color. He can recede and disappear behind it. Soulful, plaintive eyes — but is he looking at us, or asking us to look at him? Wily creatures, artists.
SFX: Footsteps retreat through the grass
Please remember, folks, portraits can be tricky… and it looks like tonight’s subject is no exception. So ask yourselves: does portraiture reveal or hide the true self? And who is most exposed: the subject, the artist — or you, the viewer? Good night.
SFX: Nature show stinger.
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