David Bruce: The Funniest People in Art —Problem-Solving


• Clementine Hunter was a self-taught African-American folk artist who sold her paintings to buy some of the necessities (and some of the luxuries) of life such as a stove, refrigerator, freezer, mobile home, secondhand car, radio, and television. Because of a lack of money, she sometimes thinned her paint with turpentine, and she often painted on pieces of board and on plastic milk jugs. Eventually, she became well known as an artist, and celebrity seekers started trying to visit her. She didn’t especially enjoy meeting strangers, and when a car of celebrity seekers came by, she would tell them, “Clementine Hunter? She lives just on down the road a piece.” After her death, one of her works of art — a window shade she had painted — sold for $60,000.

• Because Winslow Homer was a famous artist, lots of people wished to visit him in his studio. However, because Mr. Homer was a hard-working artist, he wished to be alone in his studio so he could paint. Therefore, to ward off unwelcome visitors, on the door of his studio he painted these words: “Coal Bin.” Of course, his friends were welcome to visit him. These friends used a code knock to gain entrance to his studio. When they knocked three times, Mr. Homer opened the door. A different number of knocks, and Mr. Homer kept the door closed. Of course, Mr. Homer couldn’t avoid all unwelcome visitors. When he could, he ran away and hid; when he couldn’t run and hide, he pretended to be not himself, but his servant.

• The very wealthy merchant Su once brought a large and valuable pearl to a skilled jeweler named Czu and asked him to drill a hole in it so that it could be made part of a necklace. However, Czu examined the pearl and said, “This pearl is much too valuable for me to risk ruining it.” Therefore, Su took the pearl to another skilled jeweler, Li-jo, and asked him to drill a hole in it. Li-jo examined the pearl, realized its great value, and called an apprentice over and told him to drill a hole in the pearl. The apprentice did so quickly and perfectly. Su asked Li-jo why he had entrusted such a valuable pearl to a mere apprentice. Li-jo replied, “He does not know how valuable the pearl is, and so his hands didn’t shake when he drilled a hole in it.”

• Sculptor Louise Nevelson once created a retrospective exhibition at New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art. Because it was a retrospective exhibition, it included some of her early work — including work she was no longer proud of. One piece that she especially disliked was a sculpture titled Earth Figure. A friend of hers was helping to move the works of art around the gallery, and as he was moving Earth Figure, she suddenly yelled, “Drop it!” Startled, he did drop it, and the sculpture shattered on the floor. Later, the friend — her biographer Arnold Glimcher — wrote, “She was now satisfied with the exhibition; she had edited out the weakest piece.”

• Late in life, after Leonardo da Vinci had become very famous and was working at the Vatican, uninvited visitors often interrupted his work. To get rid of unwanted visitors, he turned his pet lizard into a monster by gluing a horn to its head and bat-like wings to its back. He also created glittering spots on its back, perhaps by using fish scales. Leonardo asked unwanted visitors if they would like to see a curiosity, and when they replied yes, Leonardo let the lizard out of a box. The lizard scurried to the visitors, and the visitors scurried to the nearest exit.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: The Beths — Future Me Hates Me”


Music: “Future Me Hates Me” from the album FUTURE ME HATES ME

Artist: The Beths

Artist Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Info: “we’re a band we play songs” — the Beths

“The Beths occupy a warm, energetic sonic space between joyful hooks, sun-soaked harmonies, and acerbic lyrics. Their debut album FUTURE ME HATES ME […] delivers an astonishment of road trip-ready pleasures, each song hitting your ears with an exhilarating endorphin rush […]

“Front and center on these ten infectious tracks is lead singer and primary songwriter Elizabeth Stokes. Stokes has previously worked in other genres within Auckland’s rich and varied music scene, recently playing in a folk outfit, but it was in exploring the angst-ridden sounds of her youth that she found her place. ‘Fronting this kind of band was a new experience for me,’ says Stokes. ‘I never thought I had the right voice for it.’” 

Price: $1.29 (USD) for track; $9.99 (USD) for 10-track album.

Genre: Pop Punk. Guitar Pop.


The Beths on Bandcamp