15 May 2008

Reflections on Food [and drink] In Art #2

One of the things I love about this Johns sculpture is that the subject matter is not just cans of beer. It's cans of really lousy, nearly undrinkable-unless-the-only-other-option-were-hairspray beer.

I remember years ago -- in the days of my impressionable youth -- going to the Johns retrospective at MoMA. I remember three things about that show. First, it was being protested because the sponsor was Phillip Morris. Go figure. Second, I liked that so many of the pictures seemed to me like psychological games. That gave me something to latch onto. Third was these beer cans. Upon returning home, I immediately shellac'ed a bottle of british ale and called it art.

I like this sculpture because in its way it does this faux-autobiography thing. But I also like how it's more real than most sculpture because it is so obviously useless. And I think sculpture should be useless. Useless in the sense that it won't do anything you want it to. It's just there. There and beautiful and there.

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