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.

1 comment:

  1. Well, there's also the idea that you saw it and thought, *this is art.* Enough so that you put it up in that field.

    It always pisses me off when someone sees something and says, "my baby sister could create that" or something to that end. Context means a lot, and intent, and interpretation. So, no, she couldn't. Not really.