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On late Tuesday, Pete Wentz, bassist for the rock ’n’ roll punk band Fall Out Boy, was at the Mary Boone Gallery in Chelsea examining “Two Napoleons Crossing the Alps,” a 2015 painting by Peter Saul. Mr. Saul, 81, is a father of the Pop Art movement, and for the gallery show, he copied old masters in his familiar Day-Glo style.

“Do you know what that means?” he asked, pointing to the painting, which depicts Napoleon seated on a horse.

“No,” a visitor replied. “Do you?”

“Let’s look it up,” he said, fishing his iPhone out of his pocket and pulling up an image of the 1801 painting by Jacques-Louis David, “Napoleon Crossing The Alps,” upon which the painting was based.

“The cape looks exactly the same,” Mr. Wentz said. But Mr. Saul’s Napoleon was accompanied by a woman in a lime green outfit, his hand tucked inside her blouse, seemingly caressing her ample bosom.

“Looks like it’s wandering a little bit,” Mr. Wentz said, smiling.


Mr. Wentz, 36, has admired Mr. Saul’s paintings ever since seeing a 1984 portrait of Ronald Reagan. Mr. Wentz is a painter himself who regularly visits museums in Los Angeles, where he lives. He recently visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where the “Rain Room,” a popular installation that uses motion detectors, is on display.

“It was so cool,” Mr. Wentz said. “You need to experience stuff or you grow up hating it.”

On this rainy afternoon, the gallery was mostly empty, except for a few stragglers who walked in, peered inside and quickly left. That was fine with Mr. Wentz. “I’m not good at connecting,” he said, his voice echoing against the concrete floor. “I always have too much anxiety.”

He turned to Mr. Saul’s “Louis XIV Feeds His Pets,” a reimagining of Hyacinthe Rigaud’s “Louis XIV,” and was struck by the artist’s vibrant colors. “Who wouldn’t want a couple of pink dogs?” he said. “I do have yellow sneakers,” added Mr. Wentz, who was otherwise dressed in a black coat and charcoal pants, in sharp contrast to the explosion of blue, yellow and crimson before him.

He paused, pointing at Louis XIV’s lemon-colored shoes. “Red and yellow, though, is tough,” he said. “There is a fine line between rocking it and having everyone call you ‘bananas.’”

Mr. Wentz is no stranger to fashion. In 2006, he started a street wear line, Clandestine Industries, which made hoodies and T-shirts with a bat heart logo. It lasted about six years. “I do think the world wants you to be one thing if you are good at it, especially if they don’t know you for anything else,” he said. “But my brain doesn’t work like that, with just one kind of idea.”

Indeed, he has dabbled in many creative areas. In 2005, he wrote a book about his recurring childhood nightmares, “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side.” He has appeared as a host of “Best Ink,” a reality TV show about tattoo artists. He is a co-owner of a nightclub.

And in 2008, he had his own art show at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles with his friend Travie McCoy, a rapper and singer-songwriter. The show, “Without You I’m Just Me,” suggested an affinity for street art. He experimented using spray paint over rubber cement, which he once burned.

As he ambled around the gallery, Mr. Wentz stared at each painting intently, pointing out the obvious differences but also finding the connection to his life experience. He gasped when he saw “Art and Money,” a montage of dollar bills, paint brushes and a gush of red and orange that flowed like spilled liquid across the canvas. “It looks like blood,” he said.

Artists are often asked to sacrifice something to stay commercially viable, he said. He has pondered this, especially now as he has two children and a home in the San Fernando Valley. “You get into music because it’s your passion,” Mr. Wentz said. “But then everyone grows up and has a mortgage.”

Mr. Wentz marveled that, despite Mr. Saul being an octogenarian, his work had the contemporary sensibilities of younger artists. “It’s hard not to get stuck,” he said.

And that’s the same quandary whether one is a painter or musician. “It’s like remixes,” he said of Mr. Saul’s “Birth of Venus,” which looked more like a dissembled Picasso than Alexandre Cabanel’s 1863 painting that it is based upon. “I feel like it’s an interesting way to have a new generation of people looking at something different.”

That may also explain why Fall Out Boy recently released a hip-hop version of its 2015 rock album, “American Beauty/American Psycho.” Called “Make America Psycho Again,” it has the original tracks remixed with different rap or hop-hop artists, including Azealia Banks and Wiz Khalifa.

As he left the gallery to grab coffee at the nearby Rail Line Diner, he marveled at how mainstream Fall Out Boy had become since its early bad-boy days. Indeed, he was headed to the White House in two days to play at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

“We are this crazy punk band and we are playing a Christmas show with Miss Piggy,” he said, shaking his head. “I love it.”

نوشته شده در دوشنبه 16 آذر 1394 ساعت 11:38 توسط : عنوان وبلاگ | دسته : | 136 بازدید
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