Logan Franklin Contemporary Art
Art that people dislike can raise their hackles. Maybe it’s not so explosive a subject as politics or religion. But it can get some people pretty worked up.
And, as you might guess, there are artists who relish the role of disturber and make it their mission to stir things up. I am not one of them. I want people to be happy when they see my work. So you can imagine my surprise when my paintings went up at a local golf course clubhouse and somebody got riled enough to complain to the management.
The painting that caused the stir is called Marin Ensemble. I was having a little fun with Henri Matisse's famous painting titled Music, which is shown above.
Somehow, the Matisse painting popped into my head while driving the back roads near where I live in Marin County, California. Dairy cows graze in the Marin hills and they gave me the idea that it would fun to replace three of his human figures with three Holsteins.
When I was invited to show paintings in the golf clubhouse, I included Marin Ensemble, thinking people might appreciate the humor. (That’s me with my dog, Steve, and Marin Ensemble.)
A few days later I received a call from the clubhouse manager. "Sorry, Logan," he said, "but someone from a service club that meets here complained about your painting of the cows. Would you mind replacing it with something less controversial?" Less controversial than -- cows? I still don't get it. Could it have been the exposed udders? (The human forms were asexual, by the way.)
Regardless of what it was that annoyed the complainer, the clubhouse wasn't my property, so I found something "less controversial."
Now when I tell the story, I add, tongue in cheek, that I should have gone to the media with accusations of censorship. That usually gets your name in the news, with the result being that people clamor to see the "controversial" art.
Remember when ceramics artist Robert Arneson was commissioned to do a bust of San Francisco's slain mayor, George Moscone? They wanted a serious tribute for the City Hall rotunda. Of course anyone who did his homework had to know Arneson's reputation for satire and wry humor, not serious tributes. They commissioned him anyway.