I’ve written previously about critics’ complex motives for writing—often very obscurely—about art, but pity the poor PR rep who must describe artists’ work in a manner that (a) accurately communicates what it looks or feels like, (b) situates it in the art world, and (c) describes why your reader, the proverbial Little Old Lady From Dubuque (or, as the case may be, Highland Park) might care about it.
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L.A. painter-turned-sculptor Jess von der Ahe is showing her three-dimensional work in Europe for the first time, and re-title.com, the London-based site that serves as sort of an mnartists.org for the international contemporary art scene, has a write-up on the show in its latest e-mail newsletter. The newsletter features a photo of one of von der Ahe’s pieces (above), but what do the rest look like? Well, here’s one of them:
The phrase bird’s eye view usually explains the (bird’s) view from above, yet in von der Ahe’s Bird’s Eye View (2009) it is the bird peering upwards. Sitting incongruously on the erect penis of a sullen looking, bald man, this bird is looking up towards a thin tree trunk, which is sprouting several short branches as well as a couple of leafs, and which is growing out of the man’s shoulder. Again the walnut male is impeded further in that he has no arms and no legs, though his facial expression seems one of endless patience with the bird and his odd situation.
How very British.
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