Terre Haute, Indiana
Today I am pleased to bring you our first installation of The High/Low, a new feature in which we bring you high art found in conventionally low places. I decided to start with Craigslist, but struggled to choose a target market: New York seemed a little too daunting to begin with. Terre Haute, Indiana, however, caught my eye. Qualifications: I don't really know how to pronounce its name, I drove through it once, and a friend of mine from college grew up there. Seemed like as good a place as any to begin. After spending an inordinate amount of time browsing Terre Haute Craigslist's finest, and learning what m4w means, I curated my first High/Low collection:
1) "Untitled (Surrealist Tupac)" by Anon.
original post: http://terrehaute.craigslist.org/art/3121332148.html
Collectors, today is your lucky day. The Salvador Dali of Terre Haute is tight on cash, and is liquidating. Do not let the flashburn or buckets of hardware in the background fool you: this is a wholly original depiction of the game-changing rapper, actor, record producer, poet, screenwriter, activist, and writer (thanks, Wikipedia). As described by the artist, Tupac is featured "in a unique pose" and "in his prime". It can be yours for only $45.
2) "Untitled (Grand Canal in Venice)" by Anon.
Renaissance painter Giovani Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto, left behind a legacy of epic canal scenes such as the Grand Canal in Venice, attempted above. Born in 1697, his work was lauded for its precision and accuracy. The man's name was Canal for chrissakes.
I think it's fair to assume that our anonymous old master of Chambana, IL is probably not named Canal. This piece does, however, come from a smoke and pet free home, and for $75, you can have your own little slice of the City of Water.
3) "Original Art Piece" by P. Simon
This bog-scape is not only easy on the eyes, but also may be the handiwork of the multitalented Paul Simon. Though the seller does not claim outright that this piece is by Paul Simon, I think we all know what P. stands for. Like any proper merchant of the arts, he provides some compelling comparison shopping through listings of the illustrious P. Simon's work in the world's largest, if not most prestigious, auction house, eBay. Any verification of the piece's provenance is left to the savvy buyer. The seller highlights what a value this piece is for the aspiring collector ($50).
Also, this work of art is "very old". Well worth the drive to Bloomington? I'd say.
4) 2 WILD DUCK LITHO PRINTS
These are some handsome ducks. $8 for each, $10 for both. I'm not really sure what else to say, besides I really like the couch, and I am glad the half-chewed dog bone was left in frame to show scale.
5) "Art Deco 4-Piece Waterfall Bedroom Suite" by Unknown
When I first conceived of the High/Low in the Bowery Diner a few weeks ago with Refinery 29's Leila Brillson, this was kind of what I had in mind. It's totally unintentional, it's simple, and it's beautiful. Totally reminiscent of the accidental art of eBay, a prospective future target for the High/Low.
I'm not particularly interested in the "art deco" bedroom set they are peddling, nor could I tell from the photo, but I am charmed by the photo itself. This photo alone may have validated my time on Craigslist (phew). The haphazard composition of the tired furniture over the low resolution landscape is reassuring. The image is softened and obscured by a total lack of focus, yet intensified by a glaring mirror. I'm totally drawn to the image, I just want to keep looking at it. I can identify the function of each object in the frame, but I don't feel that need. The objects melt into the image and become simple, geometric forms. I think we have a winner.
Stay tuned for more of the High/Low in coming weeks.