Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Salon: A Continuing Investigation

spirit of the dead keep watch by paul gauguin
Paul Gauguin's Spirit of the Dead Watching shows his Tahitian wife, Tahura.

For several years, I've been following the activities of a cabal organization known as The Salon. It all started when I read the graphic novel The Salon, by Nick Bertozzi, which takes place in pre-War (World War I, that is) Paris and is about a group of people—Alice B. Toklas, Erik Satie, Picasso, Georges Braque, Guillaume Apollinaire, etc.—who drink a special absinthe that allows them to enter paintings. It's all fun and games until Paul Gauguin's fourteen-year-old Tahitian wife, Tehura, uses the absinthe to travel OUT of the paintings and into the real world, where she wreaks vengeance! against Gauguin and his asshole friends for sexually objectifying her. In response, The Salon develops Cubism, which relegates its subjects to two-dimensions.

I know you're probably thinking this is just fiction. That's what I thought, too, until a woman attacked Gauguin's painting Two Tahitian Women at the National Gallery, screaming, "This is evil!" and told police that Gauguin, "was evil and the painting should be burned," the exact method The Salon used to destroy the paintings with Tehura in them. Coincidence?! Add to that the fact that no one seemed to know who the woman was and the whole incident smacked definitively of The Salon.

grimm kiss of the muse
An artist's studio filled with portraits of the same woman.

Since then The Salon has been keeping a low profile, but last night on the TV show Grimm, they appeared again. The episode, titled "Kiss of the Muse," was about a woman who, because she's a magical Wesen creature (work with me here) naturally attracts artists. Only to drive them insane to the point that they start killing one another and themselves in order to be with her. It's revenge for objectification all over again.

But that's not all. During the episode we learn more about this Wesen creature, and it turns out SHE WAS THE REASON GAUGUIN AND VAN GOGH SPLIT UP AND VAN GOGH WENT CRAZY ZOO CRACKERS. You see, Van Gogh and Gauguin were hanging out in Arles, happy as one massively egotistical and narcissistic artist and one really sweet and sensitive artist could be, until Van Gogh saw this "musai," or muse, and started obsessively painting her. When Gauguin showed up, Van Gogh perceived him as a threat to his exclusive relationship with his muse and threatened Gauguin with a razor blade. After Gauguin left, Van Gogh's spiral continued, and he eventually cut off his own ear.

grimm kiss of the muse portrait
Massive portrait of the artist's muse. Crazy colors show he's on the edge!

I know what you're thinking—if that's true, where are the paintings of this muse of Van Gogh's? THE SALON DESTROYED THEM, obvs! The more interesting question is, why would The Salon reveal itself on a TV show like Grimm? Answer: I think The Salon is trying to tell us something. It wants us to beware of all representational art and sexual objectification, because muses are more dangerous than you think. Even with The Salon's promotion of abstract art, people still like to represent things.

Does The Salon know something we don't? Has another muse escaped her painting to cause death and destruction? I will post more details as they become available.

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