As its title may imply, “Poodles & Pastries (and Other Important Matters)” isn’t the average art exhibition. For example, visitors are allowed to touch the paintings and not be scolded by security guards. That’s all part of the Texas-born artist’s intent.
“Franco Mondini-Ruiz embraces a fun, playful, witty look at contemporary art,” said Jennifer Klos, curator of record at Oklahoma City Museum of Art. “He has made a career of the idea that art is accessible. He wants people to feel like they can respond to and enjoy the artwork.”
Born in San Antonio, Mondini-Ruiz was an attorney by trade before ditching the courtroom for the canvas. He’s completely self-taught, which also goes against the norm, as does the sheer size of the exhibit now on display through Dec. 31: more than 1,000 small-scale paintings, depicting everything from chandeliers to cupcakes, cast in vibrant pinks and blues.
“He wants to bring people into a space and look around and feel as if art is understandable and not reserved to what he quotes as ‘an elitist point of view,’” Klos said. “He’s breaking taboos and breaking down barriers so that people feel like art is fun. And it truly has worked.”