While one of the greatest cultural institutions in the United States is SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO, yesterday was the annual announcement of culturally significant films added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. One of the picks? TOP GUN. Hmm. That film is already preserved on millions of video cassettes taped from viewings on television, but then we do seem to love our war pilots. I hope the screening in DC happens to mention that at least one singer turned down an offer to contribute to the soundtrack because the film glorified war. When Top Gun came out, sales of hip "bomber" jackets jacked. I have no idea how many millions saw the film, but Seven million bought the LP. It all "Take(s) my Breath Away." The timing is suspect…are we about to enter another "Danger Zone?" I have never seen the film but was given no choice about the songs. The radio air was polluted with them for years. The film has also spawned a crap-load of war video games…it's the war gift which keep giving!
The REAL culturally significant films are the 2,500 films found and saved by the late Mike Vraney of Something Weird Video. If you don't know about the company, you should. In fact, of you don't know about Something Weird Video you simply haven't lived. God bless them, and God bless Mr. Vraney. Something Weird's idea of a war flick is, say, the Biker movie She Devils on Wheels where the only weapon is female fists and shivs.
Mr. Vraney did have a secret weapon. though she is hiding in plain sight. Mike's partner in exploitation cinema was the much loved painter Lisa Petrucci. A personal hero of mine and a progenitor of the "low-brow" art movement which just keeps moving along. Ms. Petrucci has considerable art world bonafides, such as a degree in Art History from Bradford college in Massachusetts. She was also director of the Pat Hearn Gallery and the Bess Cutler Gallery. Both at one time not only ground-breaking, but their influence remains today.
Lisa was a rebel then and now. She left the hoity-toity of the upward-nose Manhattan art world for the other coast, and was soon creating the paintings for which she is known. Lisa's enormous collection of kitsch is also admired, but it was her own paintings which took off like an F-14A Tomcat Jet. Since 1993, her Kickass Kuties have become the standard for, well…kickass cuties! It is the name of the 2009 book which collected many of her major works.
Like prominent painter Philip Pearlstein, who is famous for placing objects from his folk art collection behind his nudes, you will see some of Petrucci's shelf pieces in the background of her paintings once in a while. Others have described her work better than I ever could. Feminist with an extra cute twist. It is enough for me to simply show a few here with her permission.
Here, Lisa takes inspiration from an archival quality film clip of Aleene Dupree from the Something Weird inventory and pairs it with her rendering of same. Top Gun? Please. THESE are culturally uplifting Library of Congress.
You CAN enjoy Lisa's work at THE ART OF LISA PETRUCCI and send her best wishes.