“Velvet Buzzsaw”: An Average Painting in an Average Movie Does Not Equal Greatness

Art has the potential to be great but most of it is mediocre. That is why there are no great film satires about art— the unrelenting tedium of seeing cliches and recycled themes is just a bore. It is like watching an endless strip of recycled black and white frames with one color one, a vivid picture of life snuck into just one cell— it goes by so fast that it’s discarded as a dream, an illusion, a sparkler left after the eye has blinked. There you have my poem for the day dear faithful readers.

Art is so plentiful it has to be turned into a commodity to clear the glut.

Art dealers are always looking for the least awful piece in a dreadful lot. The one with the most repetition and recycling are often passed for good simply because every knows them and has been taught that universality, commonality is one of the great hallmarks of art, literature and the universe.

A film like Velvet Buzzsaw (on Netflix) recognizing the impossibility of art satire, settles for the next best thing— the arty horror film set in the world of art. The great cast (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, John Malkovich and Toni Collette are among its poseurs) and the recycled ideas make it seem like it might be something special, but it is just another part of the commercial glut looking for a space for its id.

When an art dealer tries to sell a patron a turd, the only response should be— don’t buy it— and just flush it down the toilet.

All photos courtesy of Netflix.

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