2.23.2009

screaming "Don't Eat It! It's People!" in the middle of the Double Meat Palace and other temples of aesthetic revelation.


an image in my recent installation "A White Hunter, a white hunter is nearly crazy"





"The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar’, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important.

I personally feel that defamiliarization is found almost everywhere form is found… An image is not a permanent referent for those mutable complexities of life which are revealed through it, its purpose is not to make us perceive meaning, but to create a special perception of the object - it creates a vision of the object instead of serving as a means for knowing it…" 
–Viktor Shklovsky, "Art as Technique"



You can expect this passage to be the basis of much of what proceeds in my writing for different venues in the months to come. Presently I am gathering my ideas for an exhibition I will be curating for the month of May at semantics gallery that centers around the 'politics of abstraction,' as i am presently dubbing it in my notes.


One personal anecdote comes to mind. I live in Brighton, an urban industrial neighborhood and share the blocks surrounding my building with, among other things, a meat processing facility. I was only vaguely aware of this until one morning while I was brushing my teeth. From the third floor, my bathroom window looks down toward our street. On this particular day, I looked out in time to see a truck moving down the street, with what initially appeared to me as a giant, red Lee Krasner painting. Like this:




I looked down at the sinewy marks, the range of red to white through pink, and appreciated it for its spontaneous arrangement, and the radicality of this moving field of color and texture, glinting wet and juicy in a hot burst of daylight. In a word, I was seduced by what I saw.

Until I saw that it was ankles and necks and other leftover pieces of animal. Even then, I was drawn to what were the basic formal qualities of the things I saw, almost totally able to set aside the connotations of such a macabre sight (I am probably one of those shameful carnivores who can't conceptually reconcile my meat eating to my broader belief systems). 

Briefly, I'll bring up a photographer who lived in Cincinnati several years ago and now lives in Las Vegas. Because, as it happens, my serendipitous experience strikes upon a very intentional aspect of her artmaking:




Cara Cole creates these conjoined, diptych like images that involve the pieces of dissected animal, seen from up close so as to isolate some of the physical qualities of these materials. The viewer gets drawn in, usually unable to resist the exacting, lush beauty of the images Cole presents.




What Cole and what the meat truck managed to do to me aesthetically has become more and more a practice in seeing that can initially or indefinitely divorce form from function, exploding visual possibility beyond what a thing is said to be

This is where I want to reside. This is it for me!





postscript: the title of this entry is a clue into how  my experience of television as art is integrated into many of my other aesthetic judgements. i believe that other people will catch these references, but am reluctant to explain them much more than Lorelai Gilmore might. i hope that, if you do get the references, you enjoy them!






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