August 16, 2012

Matisse Bound and Down

In a gambit to bring in more cultured fans, the Royals have sacrificed some of the team's budget to appeal to a higher brow audience this season. Rather than pay for a decent starting pitcher, David Glass and Dayton Moore chose to spend a significant portion of their Jackson County tax income on a new wing at Kauffman Stadium dedicated to artwork. Yes, once again it's time to open up the doors of the Royals Museum of Art to look at one of the fabulous pieces contained within.

As we've seen this season, it's a hell of a lot more engaging to look at drawings and paintings than the shit on the field. One exception has been Billy Ray Butler.  Call it kismet, call it coincidence, call it a completely planned post on our part, but Butler also happens to be the subject for today's piece of artwork.

First, a little about the artist. Gustave Chevrotin is little known outside of his native Quebec, but the French-Canadian is highly regarded in his native province. As a boy, young Gustave was an avid fan of the AAA-Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate the Montreal Royals, greatly admiring the play of a young pitcher named Tom Lasorda. But his favorite ballclub soon abandoned him. All on the same day, September 7, 1960, an 18-year-old Gustave enrolled in art school, engaged in his first homosexual experience, and watched the final game the Royals would play in Montreal before they moved to Syracuse. By 1969, Gustave was on the faculty at the art school and had taken many lovers, both male and female, but there was a gaping hole in his life that could only be filled with baseball. He was overjoyed that Montreal was getting a professional team, the Expos, that year, but he instead chose to follow the expansion team in Kansas City because they would be known as the Royals.  He remained a loyal fan, one of the biggest Royals fans in the Great White North, and it was he who contacted the team to see if he could create a piece for the new art museum at Kauffman Stadium.

Having suffered a series of strokes and in deteriorating health, the 70-year-old Chevrotin requested that the team fly his favorite player, Billy Butler, up to the artist's home to model for the piece. As it turned out, this was all a clever ruse to fill Billy with wine, get him to pose nude, and try to put the moves on him. The ballplayer, of course, rebuffed the carnal advances of the artist, who then begged Butler to kill him. Confused, Billy ran out of the house sobbing. The next morning, Butler returned to apologize, but nobody would answer the door. He snuck around back and stumbled upon Chevrotin's nude bloated corpse floating in his swimming pool.

Later, the police found a drawing, the drawing just below these words, lying on Gustave's kitchen table, with a note reading "To Billy -- Friend?"

All right, we'll be honest. Other than Gustave Chevrotin's name, location, and age, the above story is bullshit. All the stuff about his attempted sexual encounter with Billy and suicide was ripped off from the film Gods and Monsters. Uh, spoiler alert, if you haven't seen that. Sorry.

Despite knowing little about the artist, we really do admire this piece, titled DH Reclining. It's a wonderful line drawing that exhibits fluid draftsmanship. There's a serene beauty and simplicity to Chevrotin's pure, expressive line. The piece conveys much about the essential character of the subject despite the economy of the marks. There's a sense of immediacy, of spontaneity, in the elegant, unshaded lines.

Also, check out Billy's nipple.  C'est très magnifique!

Go Culture! You're the Best!

1 comment:

  1. Just what my morning needed, a Billy Butler nip-slip.


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