Humans as Artworks: Pageant of the Masters Opens

It's every summer and has been for decades upon decades; it started way back in the early '30s, in fact. People have and do come from all over to see it. And here's the thing: nobody is talking on stage, or singing, or tap-dancing. Not a soul is moving. Well, not on purpose, anyway.

Pageant of the Masters, an institution within the larger institution of Laguna Beach's Festival of Arts, pays homage to great paintings and sculptures not simply by trotting someone out to speak upon them (although we like a good art speaker who trots, truly).

Nope. The culturally minded Pageant people round up a bunch of hardy, adventurous souls, paint them, head-to-toe sometimes, costume them to the nth degree, and then pose them before a huge backdrop, next to a 3D urn, or with a parasol, hands held high to the heavens.

And there the subjects of these living artworks wait, and wait, and wait, holding their breath, almost, standing as still as the Venus de Milo. Sneezes, itches, little globby things in the eye can vex, but these actors are professional through and through.

The theme in 2009 is "Muse" and the works of art recreated will pay homage to the ideal. Paul Gauguin and Maxfield Parrish are two of the artists who will receive tribute; we're particularly excited to see a Parrish come to life, as those works are so airy and ethereal.

Pageant of the Masters poses July 8th through August 31 in Laguna Beach.

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