Yesterday at Christie's auction house, John Currin's 1991 painting, "Bea Arthur Naked," sold for $1.9 million.
From the catalog copy, which dilates a bit on Currin's adolescent fixation on The Golden Girls sitcom:
Creating a bold statement, Currin chose to strip his unwilling sitter of her garb-in an act reminiscent of Francisco de Goya's La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. Causing a stir among the contemporary female community, Arthur herself surmised, "Maybe he was attracted to the feminist movement of the 1970s," Bea Arthur speculated regarding her portrait, "because of Maude, I was the Joan of Arc of feminism. He certainly couldn't have done anything with Marlo Thomas of That Girl"
Arthur, who died in 2009 at the age of 86, was very funny.
Hat tip: The Daily Beast (whose post on the painting got banned from Facebook).
Related: "Why Stuffed Sharks Cost So Damn Much: The driving formces behind the 'curious economics of contemporary art." (The short answer: "insecure rich people who want 'prove to the rest of the world that they really are rich.'")
For those of you who doubt just how transformative a change agent Bea Arthur could be, please read "The Golden Girls: How One TV Show Turned a Generation of Boys into Homosexuals."
Take a trip back to a time when Norman Lear ruled the airwaves and Maude was ruling the roost in Tuckahoe, New York, with one of the greatest theme songs in history: