Art Criticism: Baker On A UnicyclePosted: December 9, 2013
The other day I woke up hungry. I wasn’t thinking about the blog, or my extensive work as a critic of visual art. I was focused on fixing the hunger problem
As I sat down in a Panera Bread shop with a plate of not-hungry-anymore, I started considering that I’ve struggled in my search for topics recently. I stared off into space and then it hit me that the answer to my problem was right in front of me. I’ve found three other works of art that needed criticism while I was in restaurants – here was the fourth!
Good readers, allow me to introduce today’s work of art.
Good Day, Mr. Baker
The subject of today’s criticism is an unsigned painting of a baker. He is traditionally dressed – chef’s toque and jacket, with a matching white apron. Quite non-traditionally, he is juggling the fruit of his labor; three baguettes, a boule and a demi-baguette are in a cascade around him. To further complicate things, our juggling baker is riding a unicycle.
It is hard to decide what would motivate the baker to juggle his loaves. When he drops those loaves, which he inevitably will, they become unsaleable. Yet there he is, flinging his product to amuse some unseen audience. C’est la vie, Mr. Baker.
Wait, Where Am I? Where Is He?
“Perhaps you’re being hasty”, I thought to myself. “Perhaps he is not really a baker, he is a juggler on stage.”
I chuckled quietly to myself, even though when I think things like that I crack myself up. If you’re alone and you crack yourself up, it is best to quietly enjoy the laugh. That’s what I did as I thought “that’s silly, I’m never hasty”.
While examining the painting, I found that I truly wasn’t hasty and that this man was not a juggler on stage. The red surface behind him is solid. It doesn’t pleat like a curtain would, so I believe that the artist intended for us to see a wall.
I suppose it could be an unnaturally taut curtain, but that’s unlikely. I’m staying with a wall.
The flaw in the setting, assuming the painter was commissioned to paint this for Panera Bread, is that the wall behind Mr. Baker is plain. There are no plain walls at Panera Bread.
I’m certain that the artist intended us to see that the gentleman in the painting is riding a unicycle as he juggles his bread. I don’t see that. Mr. Baker is not on a unicycle.
The only part of the “unicycle” the artist painted was the wheel. We don’t see the pedals, forks that connect the wheels to the seat tube, nor the seat. Mr. Baker is somehow magically astride a wheel, with no means of support. Hovering with his feet on either side of a bicycle wheel, he juggles five loaves of bread. That is impressive.
The painting is not.
Note – This is the 800th post on Blurt. My thanks to all who keep coming by to read!
My entire art criticism series is here. I’m always looking for art that needs to be criticized. If you run across some, snap a photo and drop me a note!