Friday, June 13, 2008

A walk with death



End Game - British Contemporary Art from the Chaney Family Collection was the perfect Friday the 13th walk through. Curator Alison de Lima Greene called it the "iconography of demise." Walking past an item that looks like a kitchen implement, only much larger and called Marble Slicer, Greene mentions that a small version would be used to slice, say, tomatoes or a hard boiled egg, but that this device's cradle looks like the size of a child. A print journalist in the crowd, an older women, shudders.
The various pieces on display on the main floor of the MFA Houston's Law Building fall into the category of the Young British Artist movement and feature works from the last decade. Of particular stunning interest is the macabre tone of many of the items.
Nothing would better illustrate the grotesque nature of art than The Model Village of the Damned by Jake and Dinos Chapman. Mixed Media may be its genre but deliriously twisted is its calling. The scene consists of plastic toy figures in various scenes of brutal violence surrounded by shrubs with vultures on telephone poles. There are massive amounts of severed heads and even a few humanoids with multiple heads taking part in the carnage. All of this is sealed in a glass case and you have to walk around each side to fully take in its regal sense of slaughter.
Speaking of carnage, that term is the title of another striking series from the artist Damien Hirst. Walking across the expansive floor on the raised first level at the MFA one is able to slowly adjust their gaze and focus on large works. From ten yards the Hirst piece, The Card Players - The City looks like a beautiful large stained glass window. When I got close the panes of glass were actually butterfly and moth wings. Next to that is Carnage, an assemblage of flies and resin on canvas. Carnage, from across the room, looks like a huge chunk of asphalt. There are 22 works of art on display in this exhibition and all of them will leave their mark on your psyche. But in a grinning skeleton kind of way; a wry smile on your way to transcendence.
Another Hirst piece catches my eye. It's a bull heart with a dagger though it, held in a Perspex box with a five percent solution of formaldehyde, and titled Sacred IX. Start the tongue (in cheek) wagging now.
- Michael Bergeron

1 Comments:

At June 18, 2008 3:32 PM , Blogger William said...

Well this was all I was asking for. Just a little art talk is that really such a big deal?
BTW funny story when there, a kid is constantly smudging smearing etc. a damien hirst cabinet, his mom once confronted replies "you mean this isn't something from ikea?"

 

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