"Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?"
A Galvanizing Art Challenge
From Pen to Palette
Arts writer Bondo Wyszpolski threw down the gauntlet and 45 local artists stepped up to create work that differs from their usual style or technique
See the results of this "art challenge" on our Gallery page
See the Live Art Exhibit at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center
More information on Muckenthaler Exhibition
“Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?”
A Galvanizing Art Challenge based on titles inside Fortune Cookies.
This show was conceived in 2019 when arts writer Bondo Wyszpolski surveyed a group of paintings on display and noted that most of them had fairly standard subject matter rendered in fairly standard style--pets, piers, tidepools and sunsets. He commented that if one pulled on the tails of these and other artists by urging them to try something out of their comfort zone, then perhaps something exciting or unusual would emerge. But how could this happen? By giving them unusual titles which would become the basis of their paintings.
In January of 2020, 35 visual artists gathered at La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes Estates, courtesy of Karen Wharton, to spin a wheel of fortune, upon which were attached a constantly replenished supply of fortune cookies. The usual fortune (romance, travel, an unexpected inheritance) had been removed from each cookie and replaced with a random title (created by Bondo). Spinning the wheel to find out which fortune cookie was theirs was like combining Chance and Fate. The title in each cookie was to be the title of their work.
There were two requests: that the artist not veer into the abstract and that the completed masterpiece vary from what the artist was known for. Throw the public a curve, in other words. Most of the artists willingly complied.
The idea was to attract a wide range of artists, without regard to their level of accomplishment, who were game for trying something new. That was the primary consideration. If Thomas Kinkade had wanted to paint like Vermeer, and Vermeer had wanted to paint like Thomas Kinkade, both might have been invited. Who knows?
After the original dates of the exhibition were postponed, Palos Verdes resident Brad Webster suggested to Bondo that they extend the “challenge” a step further with songs based on the artworks. Bondo wrote lyrics, Brad composed music. Today, most of the pictures have been “set” to music, and this is one more aspect that distinguishes “Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?” from the typical art show. And you’re here to enjoy both the art and the music. What could be better?
This exhibition is evolving from its original showing at the Palos Verdes Art Center in 2021 and the Malaga Cove Library Gallery in 2022.
Bernard Fallon, Bondo Wyszpolski, Curators
Debbie Giese, Coordinator
Brad Webster, Music and Song Composer
A Special Thank You to Bridget Duffy (A Muckenthaler Descendant)
Further Thanks to Joy Gonzalez and Karen Wharton (Communications)
Fei Alexander and Robin Cowels (Website)
And a Special Tribute to all the Artists who created the Artworks for “Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?”