On October 30th, Spoke Art, a gallery and publishing house located in San Francisco, held an opening reception for the second-annual Bad Dads exhibition, which features artwork paying tribute to the films of Wes Anderson. Building upon the success of last year’s exhibition, Bad Dads showcases the work of over 60 young, emerging artists including Julian Callos, Max Dalton, and Isaac Bidwell, and includes paintings, drawings, screen prints, and street art inspired by both the themes underlying Anderson’s films, as well as the characters populating the director’s irreal filmic worlds.
While many of the pieces focus on the ‘father issues’ of many of those characters, and while images of Bill Murray (as Mr. Blume from Rushmore and Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic) and Gene Hackman (as Royal Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums) predominate, each work is faithful to the ‘Andersonian’ aesthetic in its use of anachronisms, emphasis on primary colors, and appropriation of popular culture. After all, considering many of Anderson’s films, especially The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic, intentionally emphasize the ‘fictionality’ of the cinematic medium, and considering nearly every frame from each of the director’s films is painstakingly constructed as to mimic portraiture, Anderson’s work seems a natural fit for artistic interpretation.
Still, although it may not be as satisfying as seeing a 12-foot tall painting of Steve Zissou or a sculpture of Rushmore‘s Max Fischer, you don’t need to travel to California to enjoy the exhibition. Currently, Spoke Art is featuring many of the pieces on both its Facebook page, as well as its website. So, if, like me, you are a fan of Anderson’s work, or, if you enjoy contemporary art, then you should check out the Bad Dads exhibition!!