So there's a point in the course of a binge-viewing of a series when you've probably lost your place. You were trucking-along, right there with the drama and the action at 2 or 3 in the morning when your insomniac monkey-brain wake-up-call ends abruptly and lets you drop back into the REM sleep where you belong. It was after this experience where I found myself fast-forwarding through a few episodes of the most recent season of AMC's Mad Men looking for the point where I dozed- off.
It was during one of these fast-forward sessions that I started to see the scenes differently. Items in the background seemed to pop forward. Whether it was the lack of sound, the rapid movements of the people (in scenes where the camera doesn't even pan), or the late hour, something drew my attention toward the artwork hanging on the walls.
This article collects some of these observations. I hope the DMCA overlords who own the images/characters/likenesses attached to the program see that this is a small attempt to make sense of (just) one level of the visuals in Mad Men. I'm a fan and this is a work of appreciation. It's also in this spirit of "trying to understand" that led me to seek background info on some of the pieces and artists featured in this season's episodes. I'll try to focus on the art without dropping any spoilers, but holler if I mess anything up and I'll redact.
Most of the Mad Men action consists of interior shots, so there's plenty of opportunity to drop paintings and prints into the background. It was a scene in Lou Avery's office that caught my attention. The way the scene was framed, the painting appeared as important as the actors; it seemed like the blue abstract oil painting in the background was a third role in the scene.
This particular painting was pretty important to feeding my interest (read: obsession) with this topic because of what I found when I tossed it into Google Image Search. It looks like this painting which got a heck-of-a-lotta airtime was purchased on Etsy from an artist named Pamela Munger. I bet she knows that her work has been featured this way, but I haven't heard back from her yet. Her paintings are still available, handsome, and decently priced! Go buy one.
Lou has another abstract painting on an adjacent office wall and some print outside his door. I wasn't able to find any info on these pieces.
Over the next few days, I'll post a few notes about each of the offices (and a few other spots) and the artwork that seems worth our attention.