Monday, November 30, 2009

Art Lies

by Drew Martin
Art lies...Art lies when it does not stand upright with self-assurance or sit in contemplation. To lie down is an ambivalent position in art. What is vertical is generally full of life; and, seated figures usually express mental activity. But when something is lying down or laid down the symbolism may represent sleep as much as death; or, procreation (at least the pleasures of the act). Imagine what the first standing sculptures meant for the naive observers, drawn by intrigue and repelled by fear because they understood that a standing person or tree required a life force. The early Greek statues placed in temples were manifestations of gods and must have been awe-some to encounter. We now view art with reason and purpose. Perhaps it can be said that objective art is always dependent on its conceptual orientation. A monument toppled is the very opposite of honor. A car turned over is dead. When my flat screen television was defeated by my toddler, it literally's electronic nervous system shut down and now it sits as a coffee table. It is still. It is a sarcophagus for all the faces that flashed upon its screen. It recalls a time when media was furniture, like the old wooden turntable unit I used to sit on and watch the world go by outside our picture window.

Pictured here, top to bottom: A reclining Buddha in Sri Lanka, one of Magdalena Abakanowicz's Sarcophagi In Glass Houses at the Storm King Art Center and my deceased LCD television.