I had me a great Wednesday before Thanksgiving. School is becoming lax wit’ the holidays and gave the kids the day off. I called it “Museum-Field Trip-Day” and took off of work myself. At 9 AM we jumped on the bus and headed downtown and into UT campus. We started off at the Harry Ransom Center, took the shuttle bus ‘cross campus and visited our favorite dino museum in Austin, the Texas Memorial Museum, then had lunch. We went home and after a nice long nap, we headed back out to the Austin Children’s Museum.
Even after separating the fun family time out of the day, the visit to the HRC provided a fun, coincidental energy to my whole week. The exhibit Dress Up provided more substance/ perspective to my analysis of costuming in Lombardi’s Pokey show. The whole time I contemplated the show, I noticed the different “collaging” of elements. Darla Teagarden’s work especially made me think of Volitant’s last show, Femme Fantastique. But I described the whole show to someone as “fashionable”. That is to say I felt a sense of “hipness” or “yeah, I’m cool” to the works. That was helped by the presence of Hope Perkins, but I think the recurring presence of costumes describing identity gave the show its entertaining spin.
I wish I would’ve seen Dress Up first. There were some real nice portraits and the staged images really hit a chord. Some of the “actors” had a haughty look. Like the kind of “yeah, I’m cool” presence found on the MySpace profile photos. Its fun to think about the excitement of all the youngstas taking pouty photos every other day, just to play with this new technology called “social media”. That sounds familiar. Familiar like the press release for Dress Up describing the photos as evidence of Victorian era citizens posing and playing for their new technology, photography. Now I called the correlation between Dress Up and Pokey a coincidental energy because just the day before, I picked up the latest issue of Rare Magazine. (You can download issue 10) In the letter from the publisher, Austin’s fashion identity is somewhat described. I found it supplemented my thoughts on Pokey.
And the coincidences continued throughout the week…
If you’ve followed along for a while, you’ll know that I have a vested interest in the world of comics and heroes. From futuristic sci-fi to ancient fantasy, from clean cut boy scouts to scruffy vigilantes, from mystical creatures to sentient machines, it all grabs my attention.
In my review of Art Palace’s the Book of Lenny, I reason that the 80’s toys promotional machine was the source of young artists conjuring elaborate worlds. What I was really thinking of was comic books and the art economic market. But I thought blaming comic books was too general of an accusation and I really don’t know the intricacies of the art market to confidently make assumptions. So I went with something that even if the artist denied reading comics, I would be sure he experienced the magic of marketing. Kids, go ask mom and dad for yours today!
After turning in my review, I listened to Bad At Sports’ latest podcast. Wouldn’t ya know, its ’bout comics and their influence. I go home and watch, yep, Heroes. I started second guessing my choice. I mean, Trenton Doyle Hancock is the original “make my own comic book universe within the Art World” artist. He draws, paints, makes sculpture and installations. Hell, he’s even working on a ballet! All of the young artists mentioned utilize the comic book format in one way or another. I should have gone with comics, right? I mean, even Friday’s episode of Numb3rs is ’bout comics. But then I try to add Jason Villegas. His work has a similar energy, but between his videos and handmade constructions, they point directly to the “escape” offered by all of this media. Toys, comics, cartoons, video games and movies: they let us pretend.
Its that pretending and fantasizing that I’ve been tracking in Austin recently. Mimeographic Spectrum, Femme Fantastique, (maybe Mike’s World,) Impish Animal, Pokey and now The Book of Lenny. I find out, last minute, but I find out ’bout the artist talk at Art Palace. Jonathan Marshall reveals his sources of Joseph Campbell and Sergio Leone, his interest in exploring vast spaces such as ocean, desert and space, American heroes; the cowboy and the astronaut, and being the hero of your own adventure: your life. All of these fantasy worlds and wanting to be a hero brought to mind Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Again on Wednesday, I make a pleasant discovery [via]. Thanks to the references in my review and this awesome event, I decide to watch my DVDs. Watching the Fellowship of the Rings, I realize that all of the main characters fulfill a heroic role in this grand epic. Were it not for Gollum, Frodo would not have destroyed the ring, were it not for Sam, Frodo wouldn’t have made it to Mordor, were it not for Merry & Pippin, the Ents wouldn’t have intervened, etc., etc.
And I’m still kicking myself for this, but…
The opening lines to the review is an attempt to cleverly mock the Star Wars intro. When I was writing it, I thought it would be even more cleverer-er to include narration from the Lord of the Rings. But I couldn’t think of any choice phrases. I wish I wasn’t so lazy as to not pop in the movie and watch it. When I did start my movie marathon this past weekend, I started kicking myself when I heard Cate Blanchett’s voice! Can you imagine how badass my review could’ve been had I used this intro instead?
The world is changed.
I feel it in the water.
I feel it in the earth.
I smell it, in the air.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.