Monday, August 17, 2015

Art and Oranges

A baseball is exactly like an orange except one gets crushed and the other squeezed and one is filled with cork and the other with pulp but otherwise they are identical in size and shape and every other way except for the rind in the orange and the yarn in the other covered in cowhide and stitched and if you threw the orange to a batter you’d get juiced and pulped and pitted and I don’t imagine the orange would curve or sink or flutter like a knuckleball but otherwise they are indistinguishable, in the dusk with the light behind them.

If you stuck a Band-Aid on an orange it might fetch triple figures and become a museum piece as a decontextualized construction demonstrating the use of two disparate objects in juxtaposition, causing a shift in our way of seeing and our conception of space.

The distinction between Art and Life has been closed. Pause is music. Sitting in a chair can be dance and a clothesline, sculpture.  Baseballs and oranges have a kind of beauty but beautiful is no longer the operative word in Art. We are suspicious of prettified images. Poetry is criticized for being too poetic. The pendulum has swung away from ornamental, classical forms. Museums might as well remove their walls. Chris Burden's installation of Urban Lights adorn the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and in the rear is a 340 ton boulder, Levitated Mass.

It is enough to have our perceptions rattled. A bandaged orange forces us to see the imagined wound, the confluence of round and rectangle shapes and the natural and man-made incongruities. After being saturated with objects on-line, in magazines and on our tables every waking hour the effect is to grab us at the collar and say LOOK but look with different eyes. The art is in the experience of looking. For a brief moment the orange and viewer may be transformed.

Better yet, consider a blue orange and red Band-Aid. Or if the orange were a rectangle and the Band-Aid round it might alter our senses even further. If you showed a straw coming out of an orange-colored baseball as a source of Vitamin C it could also take its place on a gallery wall in exhibition and shift our perceptions and maybe that’s the name of the game.  


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