Merry Xmas, with Extra Bits

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My christmas present showed up today.  Yay!  Totally not sarcastic for once!  Genuine yay!

When I was in Austin earlier this month, the charming Diane von Austinburg led me to a small gallery we both like called Yard Dog.  Totally cool.  If you’re in Austin, you should drop in there on South Congress.  I was very struck by, and then bought,  a constructed piece called Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?  Photo below:

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As we stood there arranging for it be shipped halfway across the country, Diane remarked that it was never going to make it all the way out here in one piece.  Or words to that effect.  Diane is never snarkey and I can never imitate her measured tones.

Proof of Diane’s prescience:

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I think the frame holding the components might have started out life as a really big wall clock (although it seems too shallow for that) or possibly a whatnot shelf.  It’s mahogany and the little feet allowed us to stand it up in the gallery since I was thinking of displaying it that way rather than hanging it.   All those little bits ‘n bobs there on the left are the pieces I found in the bottom of the shipping box.  I only found the legs that had busted off by sifting through the peanuts. All of these pieces seem like what you could have found in the back of any good grandfather’s garage when I was a kid.  Even the eight ball.  Now it’s art.

God knows, the very nice guy who owns Yard Dog did the best he could in packing it.  There was enough styrofoam peanuts to account for a small slip in global warming.  The padding also included some scraps of bubble wrap taped together in a way that suspiciously implied they may have at one point provided the basis for a wacky Halloween costume.

Still, in the end, it was not enough.  Looking it over closely now, I am pretty sure no human effort would have sufficed.  I’m not convinced this baby could have made it from the gallery to the car without at least one piece falling off.

The artist’s attitude towards construction seems to have leaned towards the lassiez faire, with a fair amount of glue and possibly spit.  He also seems to have depended on gravity with somethings apparently just resting on top of others.  “It’s art,” it implies “How much are you really going to be moving this around?”  Good point.

And to be honest, this brings up the interesting idea of how closely do I have to hew to the artist’s original when reassembling all this?  In the picture of the piece before its shipping trauma, you can see a big semi-petrified handball on the top right corner.  I thought at the time that it threw the proportion off and didn’t really work.  And now it’s fallen off!  Do I have to put dutifully back in place?  If you think the answer is yes, you just don’t know me well enough.  My theory is, if I have to put it back, I get to put it where I please.

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Art.  Plein air art, in fact

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My theory is, if I have to put it back, I get to put it where I please.

9 responses »

  1. When Marcel Duchamp shipped The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors to the Philadelphia Art Museum it broke in transit. His response, more or less, was works for me. Go with what you did.

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  2. It looks like the original artist relied on Elmer’s School Glue to hold everything together. Go ask the nice lesbians at Homo Depot which adhesives will really work. In case the lesbians cannot help, buy a can of spray adhesive, lots of lace trim, and a pound or two of glitter, then let Super Agent Fred go wild!

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  3. I suppose it’s a good job you had the presence of mind to take a photo of it before you shipped it – just in case you do want to put it back together as the artist intended. Although, I agree that you should put it together however you like – you’re the one that spent your money on it, after all.
    Is that someone’s rib, btw?

    Happy New Year!

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