Pictures from a Pandemic: Mike Bidlo

 

Mike Bidlo, Not Franz Marc (The Tower of Blue Horses, 1913), 2020, 6' x 7"x 4' x 3"
 

By ANTHONY HADEN-GUEST, June 2020

In 1983 Mike Bidlo repainted Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, launching himself into his brilliant subversive and controversial Masterpiece project. This series of replications of paintings, sculptures, events and art situations has included NOT Cezannes, NOT Brancusis, NOT Matisses, a NOT Leger, a number of NOT Pollocks, a set based on Warhol's Campbell Soup Cans, and a recreation of the Warhol Silver Factory in his own studio, which he had sheafed with tinfoil for the single evening event. 

Duchamps to get the Bidlo treatment were Fountain, Bicycle Wheel and Bottle Rack and such Duchampian preoccupations as an artwork’s “aura”, and how durable that might be, are in your face. Bidlo has referenced both the artists and artworks he remakes as “ready-mades” and he constantly re-shuffles his pack of images, as here, where both his faux Franz Marc wildlife and his text fit nicely into the doleful yearnings of our time of Covid-19. 

from Mike Bidlo: 

"During the early nationwide shut-down and insanity of the pandemic I felt attracted to Franc Marc’s (1) animals. I defied sheltering in place and took daily excursions from Manhattan to the studio in Jersey City. Marc’s magical menagerie has kept me centered and focused throughout the crisis, so far. Marc’s philosophic attraction to animals, which he rendered between 1905 and 1914, lyrically synthesized the seminal movements of Symbolism, Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism.

In and of itself, his was an extraordinary contribution to the development of art in the 20th century. His associations with Kandinsky (2) and der Blaue Reiter (3) group in Munich, and Delaunay in Paris, created a new collaborative spirituality. Through his images of the animal kingdom, he sought to represent nature and its healing and mysterious qualities". WM

Notes: 

  1. Franz Marc, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Marc 
  2. Concerning the Spiritual in Art
  3. Der Bale Reiter, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Blaue_Reiter 

Anthony Haden-Guest

 

Anthony Haden-Guest (born 2 February 1937) is a British-American writer, reporter, cartoonist, art critic, poet, and socialite who lives in New York City and London. He is a frequent contributor to major magazines and has had several books published including TRUE COLORS: The Real Life of the Art World and The Last Party, Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night.

 

 

 

view all articles from this author