Crazy Little Thing Called Art

Too bad the word art is not synonymous with the word love, despite sometimes both usurping the same definition. Too bad that art and love will never be two rhyming words in the same poem, despite being often found in the same sentence. Fortunatels, artists—nonconformist alchemists by nature—rarely are concerned with definitions and rhymes when welding ideas and extracting poetry from the world around us.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you the artfully musical stylings of Annette Hollywood:

“The Glory Of Art” from The Art Song Collection by Annette Hollywood. Video: C. Phillips

If you listen closely to this cover of Billy Hill’s (but who Benny Goodman made famous) “The Glory Of Love,” you’ll discover something peculiar: Hollywood has not only rendered this classic love song in her own style, but has also cleverly substituted the word love for art. In “The Art Song Collection,” her current exhibition at Galerie Thore Krietemeyer, she’s done this with 79 other classic love songs.

A Crazy Little Thing Called Art

Once upon a time, when Annette was only a little girl, her father would incessantly collect and play music records—her mother, on the other hand, was a music teacher who apparently loved to drive her car (see image below).  It was this environment that first nurtured her love for both music and art. Having both parents—those who for many of us are our first honest encounter with love—being heavily invested in the musical arts, it's not difficult to see why the young Annette may have learned to understand love and art as interchangeable substances.

Annette Hollywood’s old photos with first childhood drawings. Photo: Chris Phillips

We encounter this bit of personal history in one of the rooms of the gallery where Hollywood has set up a glass vitrine containing nostalgic anecdotes, old newspaper cutouts, photographs, and even some of her very first childhood drawings. Staring at the glass vitrine on the table is like peeking into an incubator where the seeds of the artist’s sensibilities where first planted and engendered.

Art Is In The Air

Today when you visit gallery Thore Krietemeyer, you will find yourself entering half a gallery and half a record store. Hollywood’s physical record jackets—which she’s taken from original records and painstakingly erased the word love in their titles and replaced with art—adorn the walls while her melodies fill the air.

Annette Hollywood with her very own (literally) record collection. Photo: C. Phillips

Insert fifty cents into the jukebox and you may listen to one of the eighty exemplars from The Art Song Collection. Hit’s like “Art Hurts,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Art,” “Woman In Art,” and “Can You Feel The Art Tonight” are ready to play upon request. You’ll notice that some of the new lyrics fit perfectly with the content of the songs while others push the boundaries of the similarities between love and art.

I asked Annette what the main difference between love and art was. “Only love can break your heart,” was her quick response, quoting one of the titles of her covered hit singles.  From the collection, she tells me that “The Power Of Art” happens to be her favorite—I assume because it encapsulates her reasons and passions for doing what she does. 

"Woman In Art," an old record with a new twist by Annette Hollywood. Photo: C. Phillips