A toast to artist Bryan Larsen
And to his painting Heroes
Given by Quent Cordair, May 19th, 2001
At a reception at the client’s home —
As a young boy growing up in Florida, I had the good fortune, on several nights, of looking to the horizon to watch a bright white light turn night into day and rise in a line toward the stars. A few years later, I would watch my first model rocket fly straight up into the sky and out of sight — never to reappear. My father would take us to airports and air shows, where we marveled at the wondrous machines, the men who built them, and those who flew them with such confidence, courage and daring. To this day I thrill at standing near enough to a jet engine to feel its vibrations through the core of my body, and at watching tons of metal lift off of the earth and travel gracefully skyward.
Some will not share my personal love for flight or for rocketry, but anyone who takes pride in the accomplishments of Man should readily recognize and appreciate the theme in Bryan Larsen’s Heroes — the admiration and hero-worship for men who create great and marvelous things, and for those who travel courageously beyond our known frontiers.
If art’s highest value is as a concretization of our most valued abstractions, as the vision completed, serving both to satisfy our need to experience the reality and to inspire us to travel onward to our goals of tomorrow, then a painting such as this is indeed a great painting, actualizing, as it does, the exalted theme which Bryan ambitiously set out to achieve. Heroes is one of the rare and precious artworks in the vanguard of our civilization, which rewards us, today, for who we are, for what we as Men have become, for what we’ve accomplished to date; it is this art, set in our time and looking forward, which provides the essential, critical beacons on the horizon, and the fuel and inspiration to reach that horizon. Looking upon Heroes, I can’t help but believe that Man’s future is glorious indeed.
Most people in the art world today think of its center as being somewhere in the nebulous collection of rarefied events in the galleries, museums and auction houses of New York and Europe, where hundreds of millions of dollars are readily spent on modern mediocrities and yesteryear’s news. But in my judgment, on this day in May, 2001, in this intimate gathering in a family’s home in California, where we’ve come to toast the creation of this painting: this, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of the art world today. There’s nowhere I’d rather be, and no other artwork I’d rather be raising my glass to cheer.
My thanks to