Monday, August 3, 2009

Jasper Johns on the Simpsons

Jasper Johns starred as himself in the Simpsons, episode 1019 in April of 1999. In the epidosde Homer becomes a conceptual artist, "Mom and Pop Art", see a clip here.
After Homer loses his temper building a BBQ he tries to throw it out when an art dealer tells him he has real art talent. He goes to school, decides he wants to create something truly groundbreaking so he floods Springfield, making it something like Venice. (sound familiar? Pearl district canal project, I swear someone mentioned that.) Everyone, including Jasper Johns, thinks his idea is a hit and all is well in Springfield.
The thought of Johns playing a part in The Simpsons is a happy one. Another happy moment of a day full of happy moments, like this morning on the radio I heard a snippet of Obama's recent speech about free education for service men and women. The bravest of our country have earned free education, he said, and it is more than just a benefit to them, it is a benefit to every one of us. Johns served two years in the army during the Korean war. He had very little education, three semesters at the University of South Carolina where his teachers told him to go to New York, perhaps the best thing his education did for him. After the war he didn't go back to college, he went to the Big Apple, fell in love, worked and became, according to Charlie Rose and Nan Rosenthal, the greatest living artist today.
I am all for free education, for everyone really. It seems like a no brainer. Otherwise we entertain the idea of Venice canals in Portland Oregon. We shouldn't be taking the Simpsons literally- it seems there is truth in every line, but you have to know it before you see it to really get it. Groening and Johns have a lot in common that way.

No comments: