Ceci n’est pas un poète de table urbaine
Envision this piece printed 8 foot by 8 foot on an aluminum panel. It has a polished, glossy finish. Some parts shine. You were previously just browsing and talking to your friend. But you enter a room, and this piece causes sensory arrest. It is large. Very unusual. You walk close. There you see the ”what is the what.” Take one, two, three, four, five…twelve steps back and it becomes the image above.
The photographs were taken while I balanced atop a stepladder. I shot straight down at the objects. It was May. I was in my backyard. It had rained that morning. The objects were placed on freshly tilled and damp soil (soil that would later grow eggplants). I left a bit of green grass apparent in the center photograph. Probably you’re in a museum. Probably the year is 2081. Probably I’m dead. And finally I’m famous.
The title is an ode to a fantastic one rolled out by the great Belgian surrealist Magritte. I saw a traveling show of his work at Chicago’s Art Institute somewhere around ’92 or ’93, while I attended Columbia College. Our class met there. I remember the visit. It was the first time I realized, as I studied Magritte’s work up close, that the actual pieces in an art museum show all of their construction marks. In person Magritte’s art wasn’t perfect like the glossy reproductions in a book. I saw where he had done his work. Now my favorite activity in museums is to look for errant brush strokes, pencil lines and painted over drafts. I’m always finding them. Seeing the “what is the what” in other artists’ work has made me more comfortable with my own work.
My title, a nod to Magritte’s famous pipe painting, translates to: “This is not an urban poet’s table”
The museums that have thus far rejected it: Museum of Really Great Contemporary Photography, New York; The Museum of Expensive Art Donated by Real Rich People, Baltimore; and The Museum of Difficult Work by Difficult Artists, Los Angeles. Check back often, as I’ve sent proposals to 19 other museums.