Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Russell V. Gran
The Merriam-Webster definition of a curmudgeon is "a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man."And Curmudgeon is the name Russell V. Gran has selected as the title of his upcoming art exhibition at Washington Gallery. The opening, featuring new paintings and commentary, will be this coming Friday evening from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

In honor of the event I ramdomly selected a handful of quotes from Jon Winokur's The Portable Curmudgeon.

On Democracy: “The bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Oscar Wilde

On Golf: “I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.”
G.K. Chesterton

On Love: “A temporary insanity curable by marriage.”
Ambrose Bierce

On Mankind: “I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand.”
Charles Schulz

On Optimism: “An optimist is a man who has never had much experience.”
Don Marquis

On Art: "Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable."
George Bernard Shaw

According to the announcement regarding this show, these are his "latest and possibly final paintings." Gran is 76, an age in which folks might more easily get away with being curmudgeonly.

The old man "has many opinions and strong judgments about the most basic aspects of being human. These basics, such as sickness, death, family, home, cats, communication and education, are what his work is about. Accompanying each painting will be a paragraph of commentary supporting the work."

"Gran's paintings are modest yet eye-catching, showing the artist's belief in the craft of art making. The work juxtaposes ordinary experience with rough-edged commentary and is not poetry in technicolor, but enquiry about the real. Gran was born in Duluth, educated at Irving, West Junior High, Denfeld and UMD."

Two years ago Ryan Tischer, who currently serves as Gallery Committee Chair at Washington Galleries, posted an article about Gran's 1974 summer show in the community blog Perfect Duluth Day. It's a nice "whet your appetite" type of read to perhaps help set up your visit to his show. If you can't make the opening, the exhibit will then be open each Saturday and Sunday, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. or by appointment through November 25th (723-1308).

And since it's Voting Day, we might as well include one more curmudgeonly comment, this one by H.L. Mencken: "Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."

Guess it's time to head to the polls.

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