Sylvester Stallone’s paintings are touring Russia, and they’re glorious

A collection of artwork by Sylvester Stallone has gone on display at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, and not since George W. Bush painting dogs have I been this captivated by the idea of a public figure’s heretofore unknown artistic predilections. Apparently art is Sly’s first love, even before acting, and the 36 works on display span 40 years. But screw that, let’s hear Sly explain it himself:

“I love art more than anything in the world except for my family, and I can’t imagine a more artistic environment than I’m in right now. I try to combine in my paintings cinematic feeling, emotional feeling, and sometimes actually writing on the page to combine all the different elements of communication.” [TheGuardian]

Stallone movies are great, but there’s nothing in the world I love as much as hearing Stallone meditate on the nature of things, or explain why he did something.

Ahh, but what was it he said about writing on the paintings? I’ll leave it to CNN’s wonderfully-titled “Rocky’s Horrible Picture Show?” article to explain that one:

Beyond the recurrent self-portraits of himself as his legendary “Rocky” character bleeding in a boxing ring, there are also more whimsical paintings, including one in which Stallone scrawled phrases like “Time, Billy Bob,” “The Arts Endure You” and “Whores.”

“Whimsical Paintings of Whores” should be the title of the coffee table book. (Which I would buy in a heartbeat).

Oh, and did I mention that the exhibit is being protested by Communists?

A statement from officials at Leningrad’s Communist Party reads: “For those who were born and raised in the Soviet Union, Rambo/Stallone will always be an embodiment of Cold War and the US military machine, someone who kills countless Soviet soldiers and our Vietnamese comrades, a maniacal fighter against the so-called ‘red threat’.”

And leading St. Petersburg communist Sergei Malinkovich adds, “Stallone referred to our country as an evil empire, he was a soldier of (Ronald) Reagan. Renowned artists and characters of their paintings wouldn’t want to be placed next to daub by a Cold War relic, filled with hatred.” []

Yeah, well, to quote a favorite Stallone painting of mine, “arts endure, you whores.” (I like my interpretation better). Thank God we here in the United States of Freedom have the invisible hand of the market to flex its huge guns whenever Sly Stallone challenges it to arm wrestle, and not some shadowy cabal of beatniks making the art decisions (“daub?” How dare you use words I have to look up!). Sometimes I’m glad Stallone and Ronny Reagan killed all those Russians in Vietnam.