Monday, July 14, 2008

Chuck Connelly (Edited 7/18/08)

Dandelions Forever, 2008, Oil on Panel, 9x9

Last night Doug and I watched this documentary about Chuck Connelly. I had learned about it a few weeks ago from a post at Edward Winkleman's blog and also Doug knew Chuck Connelly in college, they were at Tyler at the same time. So we were really looking forward to seeing it.

While nearly all the criticism I have read about the actual documentary was valid, we were engrossed by it and stayed up talking about Chuck, his art and art in general until midnight. It was sad to see a man so messed up, but yet, even though his career has been in the toilet for almost 20 years (it has been revived lately) what I found to be so awesome is that despite his alcoholism, anger, hatred towards the art world/dealers/other artists and well just about everyone and everything, he kept painting. It didn't matter that he wasn't selling them, or that he had lost all of the momentum he had had, or that he was a wreck, poor and destitute, he still painted. He made thousands of paintings because he wanted to, or maybe it's all he could do. But whatever the reason I admire him for continuing on. I am not so sure I would have had the same resolve and probably would have moved on to something else.

And while he clearly did not handle his gallery relations well at all, I have to say that I don't exactly disagree with many of his opinions about the NY art scene. I would not be happy with a dealer buying a painting of mine for $500 and then turning around and selling it for $10,000 and keeping the profit either. Not that I am even close to THAT art world though.

Anyway, I totally loved seeing a profile on a true painter and even though Chuck Connelly is NOT a person I would like to be around, I truly respect his work and his determination.

Since we do like to buy art now and then, and after seeing the show I rally liked his work even more, I visited DFN Gallery's website to see what was available. He currently has a solo show on display, which just so happens to coincide with the documentary. I emailed to ask the prices on the three paintings that we liked and they were all in the $35,000 dollar range. Oops! Not good for us, quite a bit out of our range, but good for Chuck Connelly. That is, if they sell more than just a few....


Ann K. said...

After seeing the documentary reviewed in the Phila Inquirer, I made a point of seeing it. It was painful to watch his despair and anger. But, as you also noted, I marveled at how he went on painting. I have complete respect for that creative drive.

Susan Carlin said...

I'm completely rivetted by this painting. I'm going to have to come back and stare some more later on and see if I can figure out why.

Casey Klahn said...

Connelly was the guy portrayed by the Nick Nolte character in Life Lessons? Woah, that guy was a powerful and sort of mythological artist in the film New York Stories.

The art (apparently actually Connelly's) was large format abstract expressionism, but Connelly (in the film as the typically-named artist "Lionel Dobey")was a checked-out, messed-up, but not antagonistic fellow.

I think it's funny how the documentary sets Connelly up as the scare-quote "traditional" artist who believes in expression and craft. Aren't we all just foolish, we artists who pursue our muse, apply technique and believe in an aesthetic? We are such worms, you know.

At first, I was leery of this whole thing as a publicity spin, but the movie-hook caught me.

Speaking of aesthetic, the ultramarine sky in this work of yours is brilliant.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Since February 2006, living artists in the UK are entitled to receive a resale royalty each time their work is resold by or to an art market professional. The law was introduced in the UK following a European Directive. However the royalty is very far from huge!

It's a right which also now applies in a huge number of countries although interestingly not the USA.

It makes me wonder whether the 'powers that be' in the USA that decided to make US citizens jump through hoops re copyright (rights which are automatically granted elsewhere without registration) also want to deny you the benefit of resale royalties! ;)

Tracy said...

Hi Ann, yeah, pretty nice to see such drive, in spite of everything.

Thanks Susan, this is a small piece, one of four paintings of mine that was sold at the Affordable Art Fair in June. This sky kind of accidentally became that color-it was blue at first and then I added a coat of magenta cause I was sick of so many blue skies. And it turned into a really good color, blue but not exactly.

Casey, yes, I recall that and I didn't like that guy much either:) But I do remember liking those paintings. I am very consistent! There was definitely some misleading pr for this documentary, but in watching it, I really appreciated Connelly's story.Interestingly, Doug has not always been able to pursue art since he was at Tyler and despite Connelly's emotional and addiction problems, he is still a bit envious-Chuck has been making art all this time!

Katherine, I do wish there was some sort of royalty system in place in the US, but am not sure it will happen in our life time. Seems really complicated to set up and enforce.

Chris Rywalt said...

If Chuck is living in north Philadelphia, he's not just crazy, he's braver than I am.