Friday, May 05, 2006
Clutch is an art collective, consisting of Clare Brennan (who thought up the whole Clutch idea), Alain Brunet, Jim Kohan, Michael Zavacky (Zeke) and myself. We've been having shows on a common theme at various venues (mostly places with good food) over the last five years. You can view work from our shows on the official Clutch website.
The work shown above is a piece I created for the Fish show at the Shanghai Restaurant. I started with an octopus engraving from an old Victorian textbook on zoology (xeroxed at different sizes), added bits from an old Chinese martial arts comic book, some random bits of text (also from the zoology textbook), plus tracing paper to make some areas softer. Then I spent quite a lot of time cutting, moving things around, and pasting. One of the things I was interested in with this particular work was contasting the natural yellowed colour of the comic book with the bright white of the xerox paper and background watercolour paper. I drew the little rice bowl (a running theme through all of my pieces for the Shanghai show) on tracing paper so it would float over the background elements.
The Louvre has a beautifully designed website, with a really elegant use of Flash. The interior photos look odd if you've ever visited, though, as they're devoid of people. Visiting there two years ago, Andrew and I found it crowded. This was to be expected, but what we didn't expect was the scene in the Mona Lisa room, which contained a mob armed with technology. With the continual whirr and click of camera shutters, flashes going off, and the cell phone cameras waving above the sea of heads, all jostling and fighting each other to get close enough to the surprisingly small painting in the bullet proof box, we didn't even get close. The security staff seemed both resigned and depressed, as we eventually did after seeing such madness. After that experience (and a similar one in the Musée D'Orsay in the Impressionist Room), I think cameras should be strictly banned from museums. Until that beautiful day, enjoy viewing the art without getting elbowed in the ribs.
On a related note to the Don Quixote story, here's an excellent article examining the impact of classic literature on working class readers in England and Wales in the early 20th century, and how the classics continue to be relevant to others in similar situations today.