Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Getting away with it

I hate myself for my last entry at the Gallery Project. The theme of the show was “American Dream” and for a while, I struggled with what to submit for this rather open call for art.
But is it art?

In the end, I punted and dusted off a piece that has hung in our laundry room for years. It’s a washboard from my grandmother with a vintage photo of a strapping young man from a long time ago attached to it by a magnet. He’s in shape and you can see most of this ribs as well as his abdomen. I loved the photo, don’t remember where I got it, but he’s been hanging by a magnet on the board for about a decade.
I have called it “Washboard Abs” in my mind, never really considering it a piece of serious art, rather a thematic decoration for our laundry room. I photographed it and submitted it to the curators of the show and they decided it was okay for the show.
I sheepishly took it down and spent more time cleaning the piece than I ever did actually creating it. But I felt it did speak to our desire as a society to have a perfectly flat belly and washboard abs. Turn on the TV any morning and you’ll see countless devices and diets helping you towards that goal. The show was a critical success once again, receiving several reviews from the local press.

I decided to not get all serious with my artist’s statement for the show, instead opting for a more art history approach:
Washboard Abs
Thomas McMillen-Oakley
An obsession that has spanned the millennia.

To quote Uncle Andy: Art is what you can get away with. Word.