It's About Me
Drawings, Photos, Macquette, Painting
IN RESPONSE TO GLOBAL WARMING
IT'S ALL ABOUT ME SERIES
A Site-Specific Installation: Operation Moses, #1
To create an interior sculptural installation at a museum which addresses with gallows humor our environmental plight, as well as individualism, the relevance of art, and any lone contemporary artist's career, in relation to the potential for environmental apocalypse: a single painting which, in the event of floods due to global warming, ejects upward into a hermetically sealed capsule atop a boat capable of preserving the painting for time immemorial.
A painting from my body of work will be chosen by a museum, perhaps from my Vessel Series, and, together with an engineer, I will craft a wooden boat which, on top, hosts a plastic safe-house capsule for the painting.
The painting will be available for viewing, suspended between the boat below and the capsule on top. When and if the museum begins to flood, it will trigger off a sensitive mechanism which will, in turn, drop the capsule around the painting, latch the capsule, thereby freeing the painting and boat to float away. A hatch in the ceiling would allow the boat to escape. Should that not be possible, an alert docent who could hold a door open would be appreciated.
The diagrams of the boat's functioning as well as doctored photographs of the boat making its way around the flooded spots of the world, using recognizable landmarks: e.g., alongside the pyramids of Egypt, streets of Florence, floating icebergs and so on. These diagrams and doctored photographs can be crafted to also withstand floods or earthquakes.
In a time when every day brings us new reports regarding imminent demise -- of our sustainability, our atmosphere, our forests and cities, our multiple species -- and the evidence of our plundering of the earth only continues to rise, with effects ranging from the melting of the polar caps to the rising seas to unbreathable air, an artist has ample chance to consider what his act of painting means. Is painting in such a time an anachronism? Does it contribute to a better world? Can painting, in all the senses, survive? It's All About Me is a series which will unfold in various museums and sites around the world; each site will present its own environmental challenge, and in each case, the permanent storage of a specific artwork will be the goal. E.g., in Iceland, the goal might be to keep the capsule (in whatever form) perpetually climate-controlled, whereas in Brazil, the goal might be to keep the capsule dry and safe from the jungle rot arising from the clear-cutting of the rainforest.
In Oakland, the environmental disasters we confront, perhaps far off in the future but still foreseeable, are both flooding and earthquakes. As such, Operation Moses #1, the first in the It's All About Me series, will be designed to withstand P and S waves from an earthquake with a reading on the Richter scale of 7.0 magnitude or less, and will be hydraulically sealed, waterproof and seaworthy.
Born in New York, this project had it’s seeds while living in Brooklyn in the 90’s, then traveling to Venice Italy, this notions really took hold once I moved to the California coast. Living on the Mendocino Coast where one is aware of earthquakes, erosion, tsunamis (one every five hundred years) and all kinds of disasters, one’s sense of imminent danger to life, limb and one’s art is tangible.
At the same time, the sadness which confronts me when I contemplate what my act of painting and sculpture does for the greater environment was what impelled me to use humor in this series, to provoke the viewer into asking greater questions about the uses of art in an apocalyptic time.
Heir to the underground bomb shelter of the 1950s, in which a nuclear family was encouraged to seek safety from a nuclear bomb in their own private, and often lavishly furbished, world, It's All About Me is hyperbolic in its exploration of individualism and survival, and hence covertly requests the viewer to place himself or herself on a moral continuum, despite the whimsy of the survival contraption.
Operation Moses #1 will be a chance for a Museum to make sure that, in the event of a dire emergency, at least one of its artworks has a fail-safe parachute.