Pictured: Scene from Moby Dick, by Bert Schuck, hanging crooked in grouping, and As Strange as it Seems, by Daniel Johnston.
Owned by Elizabeth Karp, Head Museum Registrar / Collections Manager, Tang Teaching Museum
About Scene from Moby Dick
EK: Bert Schuck, one of my dearest friends, gave this to me when my husband and I moved into our home, and said ‘Now you have a sofa, so you can have a painting to hang over it.’ He knew I was a longtime Simpson’s fan, and he noticed that in the intro to the show, when the family goes to sit down, there is always this painting behind the couch, the same painting, but sometimes it’s crooked and sometimes it’s straight…. I own other paintings by him, and he paints like an old master - I mean, he grinds his own paint – and his work doesn’t look anything like this. So this is a painting of a painting in an animated cartoon that he has done with the highest quality materials, and with such meticulous care, to make it look like an object that you see in a cartoon – and it’s just hilarious to me. And I love the fact that he wired it so it can hang straight or crooked on the wall. As a museum professional, a crooked piece is the last thing you want to see, but it’s always funny when people come over my house and say, ‘You know that painting is crooked.’
RS: So you do hang it crooked?
EK: Oh yeah. It’s quite satisfying.
About As Strange as it Seems
EK: I went to see Daniel Johnston perform at CBGB’s, and he had all these drawings up on the wall, selling for something like $25 a piece. The whole show sold out, so I was lucky to get that one. I chose it because it’s got a lot of his recurring characters in it.… Probably more people know him for his music, but I think of the drawing and the music as the same - the drawing was something he always did alongside his music making. His concert had a profound affect on me, so the piece, even though it’s an odd little surreal comic sketch, brings back that memory.
Elizabeth Karp, in conversation with Rebecca Shepard.