Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Hopper Rolls Over In His Grave
Have you all gotten this in the mail yet? AOL's embarassing (mis)appropriation of Edward Hopper's 1942 painting, "Nighthawks"?
I received the advertisement from AOL a few months ago, and put it aside, thinking I would one day use it as an example of the crass and inappropriate commericaliziation of a great work of art.
Mind you, I have no problem with the use of art to sell things -- make money while you can, I say (even if you're dead and your estate gets all the cash). But to so dramatically change the painting gives me the shivers (not to mention the fact that the loneliness of Hopper's original work runs counter to the idea of the constant connectedness that AOL represents).
Anyway, I have since been accumulating examples of similar parodies of "Nighthawks." and I decided to share; aren't I generous? Below you'll see some small reproductions of the parodies; just click them to see the larger images.
The original parody, with which many people are already familiar (the case has been made that more people know this version than the original), is a painting by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein. He substituted James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley for Hopper's isolated diner patrons.
Andreas von Baudissin is a German freelance graphic designer, and he created this barnyard interpretation of "Nighthawks" as part of his "Joe Haflinger & Chickenduck" series.
What Hopper enthusiast wouldn't be pleased to see the Dark Knight incorporated into "Nighthawks"? None that I know! This parody is from Fanzing, and is called "Knighthawks."
What is Cowboy Bebop? I don't know. Some cartoon, maybe? I don't even have enough interest to Google it.
Another fine find from Flickr; this parody turns the diner into a McDonald's. Obviously.
Steve Martin's movie "Pennies from Heaven" (which, incidentally, is awesome and you should go rent it) includes a number of scenes built on paintings and photographs from the Depression and post-war eras. This scene features Steve Martin (in the fedora) and Bernadette Peters (with her trademark hair).
Alexander Rinesch painted his "Nighthawks" with an elephant. To each his own, I suppose.
D'oh! Homer Simpson is eating donuts in "Yummy's Donuts" in this modern take on Hopper, while Chief Wiggum and Edna Crabapple munch nearby.
The "Nighthawks" diner becomes a truck stop in this obviously-named "Nighthawks at the Truck Stop." Note the butt cleavage on the trucker.
Michael Bedard painted this parody, with more animals. The recurring theme in his work is "sitting ducks," and I think the crocodile is supposed to be checkin out his next meal... hence the title, "Window Shopping."
Again, corporate giants take over the world of Edward Hopper (again, courtesy of Flickr); this one changes the diner into a Starbuck's, but to be more accurate it should probably have another Starbucks across the street.
I found more more Hopper homages and posted them here.