A Lifetime Vs. A One Night Stand
Instructor: Ralph A. Parente Jr.
Art 121 B1: Contemporary Art
4 March, 2012
A Lifetime Versus A One Night Stand
H. C. Westermann’s life was a flashy collection of challenges, and his art is full of his life. “Every drawing I make is a portrait,” he said, and his imagination had the capability of populating a circus sideshow with his wicked pieces of work.
Over 26 years he produced several unique bodies of sculpture: totemic figures, houses, death ships, vitrines, boxes, tools, and a number of pieces so weird they defy classification. Each group is well represented at the Menil Collection, even though the 82 works on view are a major reduction from previous venues of this exhibition. Below is a great overview and comparison.
Persona and personal history aside, many of his best sculptures, like Homage to American Art (Dedicated to Elie Nadelman), Big Leaguer, and Antimobile, do not acknowledge, and are not symbolic at all. Instead, they produce the usefulness of tool forms into a respectfully absurd uselessness that Marcel Duchamp would have accepted. Donald Judd certainly did, stating in a review that “These are very much objects in their own right, direct though their meaning is recondite.”
As proud as he was of his woodworking abilities, Westermann was an active but indifferent printmaker. In his hands, lithography colors are always more loud, woodblock lines always more emotionless than his original. But See America First, the corresponding show at the Contemporary Arts Museum, provides the drawings that are so noticeably absent from the Menil. The twenty or so creative studies for print images, executed in the 1960s and 1970s, are landscapes inhabited with all manner of contemporary exotica. An Affair in the Islands recasts Westermann as a leading man who, having made land, invites a surprised native woman to tango while his colorfully lit ship lurks in the harbor (he met and married his first wife in Shanghai while on a USO acrobatic tour). So many eccentric narratives poured out of his hand with such wide-ranging associative freedom that comparisons with Saul Steinberg seem expected. Mainly stunning are the studies for the seven lithographs that constitute The Connecticut Ballroom, which expands Westermann’s interest in marine and aeronautical disasters to include alien menaces and eco-disasters.
The funky combination of life into ability that Westermann preached found few additional takers. Compare Westermann’s testament, stamped into brass and affixed to 30 Dust Pans (“I made each one of these by hand and by that I mean I did not sub-contract them to a factory or pay some guy to make them for me. Each handle was hand formed and not made on a lathe.”) with the designed to be fabricated approach of many contemporary artists, and you comprehend the different route the art world took. As the Menil show makes clear, Westermann’s aesthetic remains inseparable, his alone.
Performance art form pieces are for the most part performed once or in repetition. These pieces do not involve the interpretation or memorization of lines from the script, even though artisan may also use his/ her voice within the show. Performance art work components time and again include props that will or may possibly not have considerable social significance. Shows could perhaps be made up easily by being executed on a stage. Performance art work activity just isn’t restricted to European Union or National Art form traditions; notable practitioners are to be found in Asian countries and Latin America . Performance musicians and artists examine different ways of life and histories, ranging from ethnic to honorable and tradition or non worldly events. Our rates are out of control , our rates of use and routine treatments are increasing, the particular media loves to alarm us with stories of crisis situations and similar-overlooks, and many folks have little subjection to industry and delivery until we get to the release space our-selves.
Maybe you have heard that Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, James Franco and Lady Gaga are performance art musicians and artists, that their careers themselves are art work objects built up on the lifetime. You may also feel that irrelevant visual promotion is performance art form. And perhaps it is! Actually, it’s up to you, there is no swift and easy chart to contribute to what is performance art work and what isn’t. With that said, there are many courses of action to follow when defining performance art and what are performance artists, negative credit the actual work’s history in addition to its present practice. Regardless of what you’ve heard, you’ll find excellent reasons that getting carried in around in a crystal bubble at a rock concert or winning the music Grammy awards within an egg shell isn’t seriously an act of performance art work, it is just first-rate endorsement of the performance art form.
One of Westermann’s chief innovations, along with Joseph Beuys, was the vitrine format.
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The Critical Moment. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2012, from http://www.neh.gov/news/humanities/2008 – 07/duelingduo.html