Commercial Record

Art Club tableau vivant blows by

By Scott Sullivan
A tableau vivant is a silent, motionless person or persons arranged to represent a scene or incident. In another translation: What could be more French?
Asked by Christa Wise last winter to pose as photographer for the Saugatuck-Douglas Art Club’s May 11 “You Ought to Be in Pictures” exercise, I said it sounds fun, why not?
Winter turned spring before I noticed; when it came time I couldn’t weasel out and didn’t want to. People posing as who they weren’t but would become still struck me as cool. Would air be on in the art room?
Retired Saugatuck High School art teacher Christa shared examples of what she’d subjected eager students to years ago: a throat slashing ala Caravaggio’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes” … two boys, one bearded, recreating Renoir’s “Two Sisters …” It was classic weirdness.
I turned up to find a coven — witches of “Which is?” —of creative women: Christa, Gem Petruzzelli, Theresa O’Brien, Lori Goshorn, Judy Anthrop, more who knew their stuff as much as they could but especially loved that they were still finding out.
Fork through Judy’s forehead ala Afarin Sajedi’s 2014 “Chef Offer 2”? No problem; a piece of tape over tines plus Photoshop Phobos Gem’ gerrymandering and voila! When I pointed out neither fork they’d brought (five and four tines) was a trident like in “Chef” they said stop being anal.
With this manTy women gathered a few males couldn’t help but pry and become victims of these spell casters. You’ve never lived till you’ve seen a burly 6’3” man pose on point as hairy-arm-pitted ballerina. Or me, beguiled into aping a subject with a neck a giraffe might replicate and black shirt I could: this by dashing out to my car and swapping my Hawaiian shirt for a still workout-sweaty t- turned inside out (“Now you’re getting the hang of it,” Christa said). Rudolpf Hausner’s 1955 (year I was born) original “Yellow Fool Hat” no longer stunk of ferment but this was re-creation after all.

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