PrimAtive Abstractionism

Brent is 37 years old. He is a merry fellow, a prankster known for his hearty laughter. He is gentle soul and takes care of Grandma. Brent is an accomplished painter. He paints with his tongue and, thus far, produced some amazing pieces of art. The painting below won him $10,000 and the 1st place in a contest where paintings of many artists, just  like Brent, competed to earn the most of  public votes.

Brent's Award Winning Painting

Brent’s Award Winning Painting

More than 27,000 public votes were tallied to come up with the winner of this year Chimpanzee Art Contest.  Here is the Portrait of the painter, humbled by his artistic triumph and visibly pleased (I hope) with a prize. Brent resides at Chimp Haven, Keithville, LA. The aforementioned much beloved by Brent Grandma is the Chimp Haven’s oldest resident.

Portrait of the Artist. Brent

Portrait of the Artist. Brent

The Humane Society of the United States was pleased to announce the 2nd place ( $5,000) winner. He is the artist formerly known as Cheetah. The Humane Society does not immediately inform us under what name Cheetah is known now. Here is his painting.
Painting by Cheetah

Notice the fierce bursts of yellow, orange and red.  These are the colors of pain, agony and perseverance… The faint smidgen of turquoise-blue — isn’t it the color of hope? The whiff of yearning? And the timid sprouting of green?

I’m sure, if the artist formerly known as Cheetah was human, his tragic life might have become a formidable “value added” in promotion and marketing of his artwork — take Frida Kahlo or Arshile Gorky, for instance.  According to the Humane Society’s webpage, Cheetah was born sometime in the 1970’s and for 19 years lead a solitary life of suffering in a research laboratory (not specified where). He endured over 400 biopsies before being  rescued by Save the Chimps  (Ft. Pierce, FL) in 2002. He is passionate about his art and wanted to look pretty for his portrait.

A tragic Artist. Cheetah.

A tragic Artist. Cheetah.

The grant money won by chimps would be used to help care for chimpanzees retired from research, entertainment and the pet trade at their respective facilities. The original chimp-masterpieces will be auctioned off on eBay, proceeds going to the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. To visit the Humane Society’s page for more paintings, names and tragic stories of chimp-artists, click on the unfortunately named  The votes are in, so let the pant hooting begin!

And no, I won’t be comparing the artistic styles and color palettes of the talented chimp-champs of the Chimpanzee Art Contest and some renown abstractionist painters of our time. I’ll be strong and squash the urge… If I can do it — anyone can.

Smile!

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5 comments on “PrimAtive Abstractionism

    • Does it make it any less deserving of a prize, all thing considering? In 1961, in the New York Museum of Modern Art was exhibited Henri Matisse’s The Boat. Only after 47 days, someone noticed that the painting is hanging upside down. The canvas depicts 10 purple lines and two blue sails on a white background. The second sail is a reflection of the first in the water. The larger sail has to be at the top of the picture, and the peak of the sail should be directed to the upper right corner. Go and figure… Paraphrasing Samuel Butler, any chimp can paint an abstract picture, but it takes a genius to figure out what side is up…

  1. My first reaction (before reading about artists) was indeed, to draw a comparison in terms of creative style, expressive power et al, along the lines of well established Rothko-Kandinsky school.
    I’d be curious to see critics and connoisseurs of modern arts (e.g. Peter Schjeldahl of New Yorker) being asked to asses the creative power (style, originality) of these new pieces.

    • Cannot agree with you more, particularly on the account of venerable Peter Schjeldahl. I can very well imagine him, not knowing the “origins” of the artist, to comment on Brent or Cheetah like this: “[The] work comprehends all manner of things about previous art except, crucially, why it was created. It smacks less of museums than of art-school textbooks…” (That’s what Schjeldahl said about Damien Hirst but the sentiment can easily be applied to the entire collection of MOMA).

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