Remember that episode of Happy Days when Richie was going to run off with that beatnik chick? I think the show would have been a lot better if he would have gone. Maybe he could have talked Ralph and Fonzi into going along with him. I’m telling you, it would have been a hit. They all could have gone off to New York and Richie could have become a famous abstract painter. He could have gotten toasted, tore at his flesh and screamed about being a genius. It would also be funny to have Ralph and Fonzi become gay lovers and open an antique store in the East village. Sad that I missed out on my calling as a big time TV exec.

Not too many people paint in the abstract style anymore and unless you’ve been doing it for awhile it’s actually neo-abstract. Neo is a very postmodern idea. If you really want to have today’s fashion you have to revive the past. Postmodern architecture is all the rage. Look at the Summit and the new Brookwood village for real textbook examples of this style. It’s a shame that some of this stuff seems so poorly constructed. But, I guess these things are shopping malls and not cathedrals.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out This Web site has links to all the local art venues, if you pardon the pun. Actually the pun is really unavoidable.

A lot of flack has been made about Judge Roy Moore’s monument to YHWH in the State Court House. I’d like to be the first to criticize it aesthetically. This is no great sculpture. It looks like it belongs in a graveyard, literally and figuratively. Now the atheists have proposed a better sculpture by Bill Teague but it represents the atom rather than American Protestantism. The atom is pretty abstract. Even though I’m no great fan of abstract art or the Ten Commandments, I think it’s possible to make an abstract sculpture of the Ten Commandments that would be better than either one of these works of art. In fact it’s probably been done hundreds of times already.

Several exciting things are happening around town right now. The Museum has just made a major coup with the acquisition of a small horde of modern masterpieces. This bequeath by Susan Mabry and William Hansell Hulsey includes many of the major works by Marie Laurencin. Make it a point to go to the BMA soon and check it out. Also there was a good show out at the Thomas Project off Archadephia Road. Hopefully there will be another opening soon that will be open to the public. America will change as artists move into the ruins of the industrial age. This might be a great advantage for Birmingham as it grows into a major art center. We’ve definitely got some of the best American ruins. Both Sloss Furnaces and the Thomas Project at Roosevelt Steel have produced some really excellent work. A few days after that show at Roosevelt Steel two of the same artists, Ira Chaffin and Karen Cucinotto, had a show at the BAA. This was some really first class work. I’d love to see both these artists working on a larger scale.

Here on the Southside, the UAB student show by Laura Beth Isabella and Joel Seah once again proves my theory that the avant-garde is taught just as well at UAB as any famous art school in New York, Paris or Rome. The drawback being that you’re not in New York, Paris or Rome.

If you haven’t been to Nordy’s yet you’re totally L7, you know man, square. Nordy’s Gallery has proven to be a fun and titillating experience with crowded openings that have featured Jazz bands and lots of decorative paintings.

The Hawthorn Gallery was opened last January in Crestline Village by Keith Miller and has been bringing high quality work to Birmingham ever since. The gallery mostly shows original work by mid-career American artists. The latest show at Hawthorn, Michael Palmer is of museum quality. In fact he’s got lots of paintings in museums, including four in the Seattle Museum of Art. That’s why the work is museum quality. See, sometimes circular reasoning can make perfect sense.