The Road to Parodies (Or Dancing with the Stars): The Carnivalesque Paintings of Michael Griesgraber

by Jeff Grygny PhD

Given their lighthearted spirit, Michael Griesgraber’s parody paintings started auspiciously—by mistake. In 2004, Griesgraber was selling his small landscapes at the local Starbucks; when he put a reproduction of Vermeer’s Girl in the Red Hat on display, he hadn’t intended it for sale, but he forgot to tell the baristas, and the next morning, when he dropped by for his customary latte and muffin — it was gone!

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Griesgraber has produced a series of pastiche paintings that humorously transpose gures from famous works: Botticelli’s Venus into Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, or Iron Man into The Wizard of Oz. Probably the clearest sight gag puts one of Keith Haring’s famous human outlines on van Gogh’s bedroom floor, crossed with police security tape. The story is yours to make up, but the gag is self-explanatory.