Nearly 20 years ago, my sister gave me one of my absolute favorite possessions. It is a large picture of Bert from Sesame Street. This is not just any picture, however, it is a monoprint from an artist who lived in DC at the time named Jonathan Blum.
One of the more interesting things about this picture is that, although it is surely Bert, it is a picture of him from the nose upward. No mouth, no chin, just nose, eyes, unibrow and hair. The story goes, that Jonathan Blum had some sort of obsession with foreheads and intellectualism, so he only made pictures of people from the nose up – the rest of the face was unimportant to him. He chose Bert as one of his main subjects at that time because absolutely nobody has a better forehead than Bert. Or a better unibrow, for that matter.
This piece of art that hangs in our living room in Vermont is large and although it is clearly Bert, googly eyes and all, it usually takes people a couple of glances at it to see the Bert in it. It looks kind of abstract because Bert’s mouth isn’t visible, but then once people start to focus on the unibrow, within seconds they start to recognize the subject. They usually exclaim, “Wait a second…………………..is that BERT?” I would venture to guess that he has one of the most recognizable faces on the planet.
That’s why, when I was at the Louvre last week, looking at some great art, I stopped right in front of one of the giant Easter Island heads. I was trying to ignore Eamon as he kept saying, “ME WANT GUM GUM,” in direct reference to the Easter Island head scene in the movie Night at the Museum (hilarious, by the way). But because I am much too sophisticated for such sophomoric thought and behavior, rather than focus on the Night at the Museum reference, my mind went directly to Sesame Street and my favorite felt guy, Bert. I realized that this Easter Island guy has a really great forehead and a great brow ridge – much like Bert. So, in honor of Jonathan Blum, and as a shout out to Bert back in Vermont, I decided that the Easter Island guy should be Blumified. Personally, I think he looks great in this artistic rendering, what do you think?
Here is the real deal back in VT:
Thanks for the great gift, TT!
Side note: I have a friend in Vermont who so loved Bert, he went to Jonathan Blum’s studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn to score one of his own. Sadly for him, Bert is no longer a subject for Jonathan Blum – he has moved on to rabbis, goats, and animals with fruit on their heads.