Not too long ago, I visited the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, and it was well worth it. This amazing and highly acclaimed artist not only did water color, oil painting, ink drawings, hot wax painting, ceramics, and sculpturing, he also built his home and gallery using traditional adobe bricks crafted on-site. His work spanned the early 1900s through May of 1976.
On May 12, 1976, he took 100 of his paintings (valued at $250K) up into the Superstition Mountains and burned them in protest of the inheritance taxes on art work. At the time, an artist could only deduct the supplies used in producing their art while alive, but if the finished product was inherited after the artist’s death, the heirs would have to pay tax on the full market value of the artwork.
After the protest burning, he would not produce anything more. While he was highly criticized for his act of protest, he brought national and international attention to his cause.
I could write more about DeGrazia, but I’m no expert in fine art, and it would sound rather “brochurish.” (Yeah, I made that word up.) I’m probably not an expert in anything for that matter. But I was impressed by his work, and I pose the question, could you destroy such beautiful work, that labor of love guided from your heart through your hands, to take a stance on some form of societal injustice?
Could you be that strong?
To learn more about DeGrazia, you can visit the webpage for his gallery.
Here are some samples of his work. The photos were taken in the Gallery in the Sun. The challenge in galleries and museums is avoiding reflections from the lighting, weird angles, other people – well you get the idea. Some pics were cropped, not all will be perfectly straight . . .
The feature photo of DeGrazia, is a photo of a photo from a framed newspaper article that was in the gallery. The publication was “The Plain Dealer,” and the article was dated December 17, 1978. The photo credit is to John Hemmer.