Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Egon Schiele- when you hate there is a personal connection

Egon Schiele, I remember my mom really hated him. Not didn't like him, but really, really hated him. I admit, Egon Schiele is a very intense- possibly vulgar artist, if there is such a definition for an visual artist. I saw his works in a museum for the first time, when I was only 8 or 9 years old and they left a lasting impression on me. It was his series of prostitutes/ ladies of the night.
Not to like something is common, I don't like sausage or raw onions (unless they are on a hamburger). To hate is much more personal. Like a joke, it's only funny when it's actually very serious.
When I had purple hair, most people responded relatively indifferent to it. One nurse I worked with was loud, mean and really angry about it. It took me a couple of weeks before I understood why. "So what colored hair does your daughter have?" I asked. "It's green", she said, "and she has such beautiful natural blond hair". There it was.
Personal- very personal.
So why would my mom hate Egon Schiele? "Why would anyone paint such ugly people- such vulgarity?" she would say. Why would people hate other peoples decisions, preferences- art? I mean, if you don't like it- don't look, right?
My grandfather was a painter, relatively successful but very poor. Maybe she was angry that she grew up poor, angry that such "ugly art" was hanging in a museum?
My mom has died, I'll never know- and hey, even if I could ask her, I am sure she would not have been able to answer me that question. People that hate usually don't know that there is a very personal link that makes them hate. Just like the nurse that actually didn't hate my hair- but the hair color her daughter had.

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