My copy of Tolerance: The Art of Chris Mars arrived (thanks to the fine folks at Lee Joseph Publicity) yesterday. Let me tell you folks, it’s a beautiful book.
From page one, it’s awesome. I especially dug this disclaimer:This book was manufactured with respect for the environment, workers rights, and human rights. Let’s give it up for socially-responsible art and commerce. Seriously.
Those of you who are familiar with Mars’ art already know that it’s dark, dark, dark stuff. So the book is filled with that, but more than that (and my favorite part) are all kinds of, for lack of a better term, explanations about some of the paintings. I’ve never really been a fan of Mars’ paintings. The darkness kind of scares me and makes me uncomfortable. But, after spending a few days with the book, looking at the pictures and reading the passages, I’ve decided that it’s okay. Art is supposed to move us. It’s not always that giddy, joyful sort of experience. Sometimes it is dark and uncomfortable, and that’s okay too. Sometimes life is dark and uncomfortable.
I was surprised by the political backdrop and tone of some of the paintings. I knew the story of Mars’ brother and knew that a lot of his artistic inspiration sprung from that experience. There is a lot of that in this book, with explanations that will literally move you to tears. But, I think, the pieces that most affected me were the more politically-themed ones. The political was new to me, and because Mars’ and I seem to have the same political leanings, I really liked those portions of the book. For instance, he writes this about his piece called “State of the Union:”
The central figure is a disheartened, despondent Lady Liberty, who is being probed and prodded by shady practitioners who fail to comprehend her. She’s been reduced and dons a warhead dunce cap. Some smugly endorsement her belittlement; some turn away. Others are aware, but feel confused and powerless. All this creates chaos; there is infighting. . . “ it goes on, but you get the gist of it.
I cannot deny that I am surprised my how much I am enjoying this book. I think you might too.
Anyway, for those of you in the Culver City area there is a signing tomorrow September 13th. Anyway, here’s some information Annie A left in a comment on an earlier post for those of you who plan to attend:
Here is a preview link to Chris’ show.
He will be signing his new book in person at the gallery:
Billy Shire Fine Arts
5790 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Book Signing/ Saturday, September 13th, 6-7pm. Call to order a copy – specify that you would like it personalized and your name. Books are $40 + shipping/tax if applicable. Unfortunately, Chris won’t be signing Replacements stuff so leave that stuff safely at home. If you are in the Laguna Beach area, he’ll be signing books at the Museum there on Sunday, September 14 from 3 to 6pm. For more information contact the museum or call (949)494-8971, extension 207