Saturday, March 14, 2009

Art: Modern art is dead. Or is it the other way around?

Finally, a Beatles reunion! The above untitled 1968 group portrait comes from the brush of underground filmmaker Curt McDowell, the man behind such porn-tastic provocations as 1975's Thundercrack, 1974's Stinkybutt (billed somewhat cryptically as "The film that caused Sheri Milbradt to lose 40 pounds"), and the unforgettable 1972 classic Siamese Twin Pinheads. A long-time collaborator with rebel film icon George Kuchar, Mr. McDowell died of AIDS in 1987.

These two works are poster-sized obits of punk Svengali Malcolm McLaren and actress Nicole Kidman by the NYC-based artist Adam McEwen. Here's the artist discussing the fauxbituaries with Interview magazine:

I'm not really interested in celebrities so much-the works are more homages. But the person must be famous so the reader knows that the person is still alive. I'm interested in that brief second when you aren't sure whether Bill Clinton is alive or dead. I only need that moment in order to disorient them enough to sneak through to some other part of the brain-to achieve that split second of turning the world upside down. The obituaries aren't about celebrity. They are more mournful, more melancholy. In a way, they are accounts of certain people's actions taken in an attempt to make their lives better. My first more McEwen one was Malcolm McLaren. I still had a job writing obituaries for The Daily Telegraph then.

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