Why We Chose To Hang This "Shocking" Painting In Our Home

By Susan "Honey" Good

Art, in the form of a painting or a sculpture, speaks to us. It is a visual expression appreciated for its beauty and emotional power. It expresses our thoughts and desires. It is an extension of one’s personality. 

Such is what happened to my ultimate concierge and me when we laid eyes on the painting pictured above called "Natural Camels," by Larry Rivers. We immediately looked at one another and one of us said, “Natural Camels communicates love.” 

After all, love makes the world go around. The lyrics by Cole Porter express this beautifully, “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it…”

So, naturally, after a brief discussion, we turned to one another and said, “Let’s do it!” And we did!

We bought Natural Camels and hung the ‘lovers’ in our formal living room, front and center, for family and friends to enjoy. 

We met Larry Rivers when he was speaking at the Art Institute in Chicago. He was so hilarious. We wound up having dinner with him and had the pleasure of telling him we owned his Natural Camels.

I remember one of our little Grands asked, “Honey, why is the camel sitting on top of the other camel? Doesn’t that hurt the camel?”  

I don’t think anyone walks into our living room without feeling some type of emotion. There is usual and unusual conversation. 

We ask our friends, “What do you think of the artist’s message?”

Here are a few of their answers…

“To shock humorously, I have never seen a painting like this hanging in any of our friend’s homes.”

“I wonder if Larry River’s message is, ‘I’d love to smoke a camel, but smoking will screw up my health.’”

“I think he is saying that love comes in all forms. It is pop art.”

“Love making should be natural.”

“I know what I am going to do tonight...”

 As for my feelings: 

There has never been a day I have not felt a combination of emotions: joy, disbelief of the models he chose, memories of our travels through the Middle East, gratitude to Larry Rivers for making me so happy and to my ultimate concierge for buying this conversation starter! 

My ultimate concierge told me: “I find his work fascinating because he took the camel’s image from the cigarette pack and turned it into great pop art.”

I prefer love, after all, love makes the world go round… and so do opinions. What do you think of my camels, dear readers? 

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If you have something to say about this story… let’s talk! I want so much to hear your opinions + feelings. I also want you to speak up so that women our age remain visible. I think we have a responsibility to share our wisdom, don’t you? Share yours either in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.