Art Lessons (1997 & 2003)

Art Lessons satirizes painting – especially painting exemplified by commercialized TV celebrities like Bob Ross in The Joy Of Painting.  Bernhard Huwiler and I first questioned the proposition that anyone, faithfully following the instructions of Bob Ross, could create a painting replicating the one Mr. Ross paints during his half hour instructional demonstration.  Bernhard earnestly tries and fails.  Our critique of painting broadens through an on-screen mouth voicing vitriolic criticism of painting as an anachronistic and pointless medium trafficking in bad faith in today’s art world.  This critical voice dislikes especially Bob Ross and his folksy personalization of what art and painting mean.  I am instructed to disrupt Bernhard’s frantic efforts and to eliminate The Joy Of Painting and Bob Ross!

Art Lessons was first performed by Gerald Smith and Bernhard Huwiler in 1997 at the Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis as part of a series of new works entitled “Works In Progress”.  In 1998, I collaborated with writer and director Bob Beverage to re-stage this work with different actors following the same Bob Ross presentation for the series “Independent Acts – also at the Red Eye Theater” 

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