I was doing a Google search for something – I don’t remember what, exactly – when I happened upon a science fiction image that struck me as extremely artistic. I wished I had saved the picture on the spot, but I didn’t – but the thought stuck with me: why can’t fantasy art, or science fiction art, be held in the same esteem as some art historical art works? If the artist’s talent is there, if the skill is impressive, why does a robot in the field become less “artsy” than a girl in the field?
Here’s our first example using exactly that argument: two boys and a robot in a field by Simon Stålenhag (below left) has a pretty similar feel to Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World,” below right, which hangs in the collection at MoMA. Are they really that different? Why is Wyeth’s work a world famous icon and Stålenhag’s image less well-known?
Here’s another side-by-side comparison: below left, some random fake photo of a UFO hovering over a field with dramatic dark skies; below left, a painting from April Gornik’s recent exhibition at Danese/Corey Gallery in New York City. One might be used to illustrate a segment on a science fiction tv show while the other hangs in a prestigious Chelsea art gallery.
As I was thinking about these comparisons, my thoughts shifted to the playful thought of mixing known art history paintings with a science fiction theme, so here’s a couple mash-ups I made using paintings by Vincent Van Gogh: