Spiritual America…

Stop the presses! Cool Kieth (a.k.a. Dr. Octagon) has spoken out for the world’s defenseless!

“Trees are Dying.”

Spread the word.

*note* The dull repetition that is the cataloging of my daily meatless consumption shall cease. I, however, remain a veg-head.


Saturday I went up to the Guggenheim to see the Richard Prince retrospective, Spiritual America.

I thought it was a bit of a mixed bag. As someone who’s been a fan of Prince’s work for about 10 years or so, I sort-of expected a little more out of the show – maybe too much. For me, Prince embodies someone who has successfully carried his conceptual interests out in three distinct mediums, excelling at each.

The photographs of printed advertisements start off the show and are exactly what you would expect if you’ve ever seen them in reproduction (which is sort of an irony in itself, I suppose). They are poignant in their appropriation of fashion, advertising and cigarette ads and how they question authorship and embody an American ethos. At the same time, they leave me wanting what they cannot give – the aesthetic payoff of the object (image). They are, after all, reproductions of reproductions. They expose the grain of the printing process and distress the image from its original flawless context. This is essential for them and yet obviously changes their aesthetic. Only some of the Marlboro series seem to hold up on their own against the grain. I know this is problematic – they’re obviously not supposed to be perfect. They’re conceptual pieces, but almost hold the balance aesthetically. The upstate photos, on the other hand, I thought were pretty fantastic and that’s all I need to say about them.

The sculptures were dope. From the full chassis of a muscle car mounted into a block to the car hood paintings and sculptures – awesome. These are my personal favorites of Prince’s work. A good friend of mine once said (in a grad school crit) that we’re all just making speedboats here. It’s the thought that artists are often producers of useless objects for the rich. This seems to be both epitomized and used as a social critique in these pieces. Prince fetishizes the already fetishized objects (American muscle cars) and I think it works completely. The sculptures have an immediate, strong presence and seem to exude a modernist confidence in their simplicity. They reflect the American hubris and industry – along with all the failings that come with an over-weight consumer-driven car culture. I want one.

gotta run…more tomorrow…


1 Comment

Filed under Art

One response to “Spiritual America…

  1. Beth

    This is a great review of the show!

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