At the Gallery

Tomversation sent in by Ollie. As a CIDU? Didn’t say! Is the joke like those set at modern art galleries, where a frame surrounds a stain on the wall, here turned into a window mistaken for an art object? Or is it just a fond reminder that one can tire of any quality of indoor view and welcome a glance out a window?

Next mystery: Is it meant to be somewhat realistic? So these would be a collection of posters on paper, mounted on somebody’s wall? No? An actual touring exhibition of masterpieces unlikely to be loaned out and then exhibited together? Nah.

Does it remind you of one of those paintings that show other paintings, maybe in a gallery setting? Like this one by Samuel F. B. Morse:

And now, for something not quite completely different! Still in the realm of fine arts and popular suspicion, this OY from Cornered, sent by Olivier.

Wrong Hands can be cynical without being mean:

Oh, how those New Yorkers love themselves some art:

And The Far Side on “The Art of Conversation”. Sorry, just a link, not a copy.

And just be hush-hush about this, okay? —


  1. I think the Falco one is basically that yes, it is nice to get a view of the outside world from time to time while in an art gallery. (All the time if you don’t like art, I guess). Some of the best sights in Tate Modern in London are from a high-up cafe with a view over the Thames, the Wobbly Bridge (Millennium Bridge, which was wobbly when it first opened and had to be closed and re-engineered) and St Paul’s Cathedral.

    The John Atkinson reminded me of a History of Art T-shirt I was given 20+ years ago, almost exactly like this one:

  2. Ah, another of mine here. Not sure if it is an honor to be here because people don’t get the comic or not. I’ll take it as an honor.

    It is supposed to be the museum’s security guard who is surrounded by the world’s best art, but he wants to be outside instead, so he is daydreaming while looking outside the window, you know, the grass is always greener.

  3. Ah, I didn’t get he was a security guard type. I suppose a lanyard would have helped, but then that falls over the chest, not the back. Maybe including one of those high bar-type stools that such gallery staff sit on would have helped, but maybe not. I don’t know if they wear peaked caps, but I don’t think so.

  4. There have been Bliss / Martin collab cartoons for a while in the Bliss newsletter and GoComics publication, along with a little discussion about how it came about, etc. But the book was news to me when CIDU reader Arvy mentioned it along with a comics contribution, and a link to NYT review. These will be in an upcoming post. Thanks to Blinky also for this informative link!

  5. Even though we already have an authentic authoritative opinion, I’d like to chime in that the reason the first panel works is precisely because the paintings are so famous that a show combining all five of them would be virtually impossible to arrange, and therefore extremely monumental. The extreme irony of the man ignoring that art to look at a city skyline needs to be viewed in that context.
    P.S. Of course, one also has to suspend a little disbelief about a window to the outdoors existing in such a display room in the first place. Most museums rarely have any windows, both because they are occasionally an invitation for thieves to break in(†), but mostly because curators are never going to allow unfiltered sunlight get anywhere near sensitive masterpieces.
    P.P.S. † – In 2017, a solid gold coin weighing 220 pounds was stolen (through a window) from a museum in Berlin.

  6. P.P.P.S. “The Far Side on … just a link, not a copy…. And just be hush-hush about this, okay?
    I don’t understand why Larson should deserve any special treatment. In view of the images already floating all over the Internet, his new copyright requirement are patently ridiculous, and simply a belated attempt to close the barn doors after all of the animals have long since left the building.

  7. I thought artists were discouraged from explaining their work if it showed up here, being as they had their chance when they first published it…? 😉

    (I haven’t read the new FAQ recently — is that line still in it?)

  8. The new FAQ is still under construction. But I believe much the same position will be taken on that question; if any. (And I think the rationale for the reluctance was mostly along the line of thought that an authoritative answer would dampen discussion.) But in any case, it’s enough that we point that out, and don’t want to be ungracious and actually uninvite anybody! 🙂

  9. @ larK – I don’t think that Bill actively discouraged voluntary artist participation, he just didn’t want us (as CIDU readers) running off and asking them to provide an explanation back here. Bill did mention that he knew of a number of authors that lurked around CIDU, but he never identified them, and I can only recall one other author actually making a comment.

  10. I was going to comment that I like the wrong hands cartoon but that this cartoonist did it much better

    But then I realized…..

  11. Oh no!

    Moderation! (for an image with an https protocol probably) Am I going to be in here forever now?

    Forgive me for panicking but the last two times I ever ended up in moderation I ended up in moderation forever and it took comigeddon and the death of the blogger to get me out of! So seeing that Your comment is awaiting moderation gives me a waterboarding sense of panic.

  12. This one is certainly prettier!

    We have one of his Literary School of Fish coming up, I don’t recall exactly when. (As a sort of LOL-Cidu. The overall point is no mystery, but some identifications may take a moment, or the rationale for the symbol may need a moment.)

  13. I don’t have anything on my walls because I noticed years ago I didn’t see what was there anymore after a few weeks. I can relate to the security guy.

  14. BTW, the Picasso is ‘portrait de femme au béret orange et col de fourrure (Marie-Thérèse)’, 1937.

  15. Thank you, Olivier!

    I would want to retro-fit that back into the post, but it turns out a poll cannot be edited without tossing away all the results so far.

    (But certainly a peculiar-looking woman she must have been, eh? … Sorry, obligatory remark. 🙂 )

  16. Kilby: In general, if any artist asks that we not show their work here, we won’t show it, regardless of whether we have a legal right to.

  17. We’ll probably keep that line in the new FAQ, but it’s not like it’s a rule. And it’s not like it comes up that much anyway. Like Kilby said, I think the main point is to deter people from actively seeking information from the cartoonist.

  18. “Is the joke like those set at modern art galleries, where a frame surrounds a stain on the wall, here turned into a window mistaken for an art object?”

    Something like this actually happened to me in real life. I was at the L.A. MOCA with some friends and there was a sign saying that an artist’s exhibit was outside, with an arrow pointing in the general direction, but not giving very precise directions. As we wandered around outside, we kept pointing to various things – dumpsters, rocks, bicycle racks, etc. . . – saying “could this be the art?” Eventually we found an open spot, with the artist’s name next to it – but there was nothing in the open spot. We weren’t sure if the exhibit was over, and we had missed the piece, or if the open spot itself was the art. We looked it up later, but I don’t remember the resolution, only the puzzle.

  19. I actually did this once, some years ago — and the window was in a gallery, alongside the art, not in a café or hallway. I was at the Uffizi, surrounded by some of the greatest art of the Renaissance. I came across a window looking out over Florence. Red-tiled rooftops as far as I could see. It was as beautiful as the art inside.

  20. I don’t have anything on my walls because I noticed years ago I didn’t see what was there anymore after a few weeks. (Olivier) — That happens to me with all the paintings on my walls, but every now and then I DO notice them and admire them all over again.

    As for The Rule, I enjoy having an authoritative word now and then, as happens with a few of the GoComics comics, and it doesn’t have to stifle conversation. Besides, there are times when the way the artist meant it is not the way (some) people take it.

  21. There’s a cartoon I won’t drop in here, but you can find it if you search for “playboy cartoon taylor ffolkes window”. A Playboy cartoon from 1969 by Richard Taylor and Michael Ffolkes. Interior of a mansion with paintings of nudes on the walls. A typically saucer-eyed Taylor character in black tie is standing, staring at the scene by Ffolkes of three naked women in a lush landscape. The host, also in black tie, mixing drinks, says “No, that’s not a painting — it’s a window. Why?”

  22. @Olivier: “I don’t have anything on my walls because I noticed years ago I didn’t see what was there anymore after a few weeks.”

    Do you see if the walls themselves are still there? If not, might that explain the drafts you’ve been feeling lately, and why the neighbors seem to be pointing and laughing at you?

  23. @ WW – “…if any artist asks that we not show their work here, we won’t show it, regardless of whether we have a legal right…
    I’ve been reading “The Complete Far Side” with my son, and we have run into several cartoons that are true CIDUs. I would have liked to submit them here, but if Larson has lost his sense of humor, then I guess I won’t bother.

  24. @Shrug: as Chlovski said, the object is in front of us, we know it, but we don’t see it anymore. If I know I have walls, it doesn’t matter if I see them or not. In a way, I can even convince myself my walls are covered in famous paintings, and, like Boise Ed, but the other way round, by a conscious effort, I can see my walls as they are: bare. Unlike many people, I don’t have to regularly and really redecorate my walls: it’s all done in my head. Augmented reality is more accessible than one’d think.

  25. Olivier say: But are those people’s faves or the ones they’ve visited?

    You’re right, the doubt is because I chickened out when setting it up. The first time we tried a poll I thought the comments expressed a lot of anti-poll sentiment, so didn’t want to make this one provocative in any way. BTW, the comments from the first one did, I think, improve the setup used for this one: multiple choice instead of exclusive; and including a “just show me the results”. (Though that last got combined with the “None of above” as it was getting foolishly long.)

  26. P.S. There’s only one that I have visited in person, and that is just a couple miles from home, at the Art Institute of Chicago.

    If you note the dimensions given on that page [207.5 × 308.1 cm (81 3/4 × 121 1/4 in.)] which supplements the remarks about Tom Falco’s gallery wall, that such an exhibition would be fantastically difficult to put together (impossible, really), with the footnote that they could not fit or be mounted as shown. Which was why I spent a couple seconds on a theory that this was an exhibition of posters.

  27. I definitely like having the poll, but it does have to be worded unambiguously. In this case, I have seen one, maybe seen one or two others (not to my liking), and consider another as one of my “faves.”

  28. Woozy’s comment about the “other” version of the “Art School” reminded me that Wrong Hands had done a second version of it, but when I looked it up, I discovered that there were actually two more “Art Schools of Fish”, for a total of three:

  29. P.P.S. @ woozy – It would appear that WordPress does not like links to the Wrong Hands website. Both of my comments (even without the image link) were sent to moderation.

  30. Mitch4 NOVEMBER 13, 2020 AT 9:41 AM
    We have one of his *Literary* School of Fish coming up, I don’t recall exactly when.

    Kilby NOVEMBER 15, 2020 AT 7:53 AM
    P.S. For those who prefer words to pictures, he also did a “Literary School of Fish“.

  31. Danny, what’s your point? There is no rule, or even norm / expectation, that anybody posting needs to read all prior comments, memorize them, and scrupulously avoid restating anything already brought up.

    If that was even your “point”.

    Just be nice, okay?

  32. Decades ago (my dad showed it to me when I relatively young so maybe 4 or more decades ago) there was a cartoon, possibly also in the New Yorker of a man looking at the art in a museum with one of those museums guides sound tapes playing. The caption was along the lines of “You are now looking out the window, please move on.”

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