Saturday, March 31, 2012

Itsa Small, Small World

by Drew Martin
I finally finished my dog sculpture this morning and then decided to drop it off at Family Business, which is Maurizio Cattelan and Massimiliano Gioni's tiny contemporary art space in Chelsea. It is part of Hennessey Youngman's (Jayson Musson) show Itsa Small, Small World.

I turned over the creature in a bit of a rush. Musson was there with a young lady. She looked at my sculpture and said to him "We'll take this, right?" (I heard them discussing they were not going to take any more pieces). Musson nodded and then said, "Wait a minute. What does it smell like?" My dog sculpture is made with metal coat hangers, air-drying clay, layers of papier-mâché and cotton. I dusted it with curry powder to dirty the white coat, so it has a strong odor. I explained, "It's a New York City dog!" and Musson complained a bit, "I know but it is a small space." I quickly filled out the paper work and left it in their hands. The working title for the sculpture was Howl but in a hurried moment, I wrote NY Shitty. The inspiration for this work was reiterated while approaching the gallery: numerous little dogs squatting and pooping on the sidewalks. Howl is the perpetually shitting dog. My walk to work every morning involves dodging these little K-9s. Their business is often just smeared into the concrete. I created Howl as a way to come to terms with this part of my city environment and crack-of-dawn experience. I had not intended him to be pungent but now that I think about it, it really adds to the piece. That is what dogs do...they stink up places. I also like that it is a sculpture with something that affects the olfactory sense. Most works of art have a default smell of the materials that comprise them, i.e. oil paint. I used a process that has been with me since my childhood: papier-mâché from all the piñatas we made for our parties, and cotton, which was used as my fur for my werewolf costume that was the theme for a few of my most memorable Halloweens. The starting point was the miserable little dog in Albert Camus' The Stranger.

Opening Reception: Tuesday, April 3rd at 6pm (I hope to see you there!)

Itsa Small, Small World
@ Family Business
520 W. 21st St.