Wine and Rafting

Posted by Wine Stained Lips | Posted on 8:22 AM

This weekend I attended my city's local Art Walk where all the downtown art galleries, studios and unique shops open their doors to display their collections and serve wine and hors d'oeuvres. Art and wine...I'm there. While ambling through one of the galleries, wine in hand, I gasped when I rounded the corner to see The Raft of the Medusa. I know this painting very well from my college days as an Art History minor, but Gericault’s French Romanticism is not at all what I expected to see in a contemporary gallery. I’m sure I made quite a fool of myself has I hurried over to get a closer look, spilling wine in the process. Upon inspection of the massive piece, I could see that The Raft was actually a photo instead of a painting. It was staged exactly as the original, with only a few slight changes. The French flag was replaced with the American flag, for example, and the barrel was replaced with an oil drum. The exhibition is entitled, Catalyst, and displayed Southern artists’ take on the Gulf Coast Oil Crisis. Gericault’s Raft also represents a crisis. The Medusa sank because of the incompetence of its captain. Due to a shortage of lifeboats, 149 people piled onto a raft that drifted for twelve days. Only fifteen survived the ensuing slaughter, madness, and cannibalism. Gericault displayed his painting two years after the actual sinking of the Medusa and the French people saw it as an indictment of their monarchy because the inept captain had been under its authority. Today’s political climate hasn’t changed much. A year after the Gulf Coast Oil Crisis and we are still reminded of the ineptness of our government. Our incompetent captain, BP, has tried very hard to tell us that everything is back to normal, but those who live here still see blood in the water. The rig workers and countless marine species and birds that died are not forgotten, just as the victims of the Medusa.

Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa

Generic Art Solutions' The Raft

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