Theodore Harris on Artblog Radio
Jennifer Zarro interviews artist Theodore Harris about his recent pieces, which juxtapose art historical quotes with a classic Rembrandt painting, and the role poetry plays in his works.

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Since the mid-1980s, Philadelphia artist Theodore A. Harris has been joining together a bricolage of visual imagery—advertisements, book covers, military propaganda, architectural pictures—into works of art that heighten our awareness of disjointed logic, racist and oppressive laws, or the hidden costs of blind nationalism.

Click to listen to our Feb. 7 interview:

Theodore Harris, On the Throne of Fire After Someone Blew Up America, for Amiri Baraka Collection of the Lasalle University Art Museum
Theodore A. Harris, “On the Throne of Fire After Someone Blew Up America, for Amiri Baraka”. Collection of the Lasalle University Art Museum.
Theodore Harris, Postcard from Conquest, 2008, mixed media collage on board, collection of Beatrice Jauregui and Anand Rao
Theodore A. Harris, “Postcard from Conquest” (2008), mixed media collage on board, collection of Beatrice Jauregui and Anand Rao.

Harris is not afraid to investigate and offer in his collages and other artworks a new version of our national and cultural history, one which often illustrates a confounding unfairness we have all inherited. Take the mixed media collage “Postcards From Conquest” (2008). This triptych incorporates images of credit cards, modern warfare, the landing of Columbus, and prison. The entirety of the work appears to be shot through with bullet holes from which red paint drips and splatters. What are these connections between capitalism, colonial conquest, violence, and incarceration? What are these fresh, dripping wounds? Harris’ works ask big questions.

New series: Conscientious Objector to Formalism

Theodore A. Harris, Ken Johnson's Stop and Frisk Art Criticism (Conscientious Objector to Formalism series), digital print on paper, 2015. Collection of the Artist and with image assistance by Stephen Paulmier
Theodore A. Harris, “Ken Johnson’s Stop and Frisk Art Criticism (Conscientious Objector to Formalism series)” (2015), digital print on paper. Collection of the artist and with image assistance by Stephen Paulmier.
Theodore A. Harris, Greenberg's Forked Tongue ghost (Conscientious Objector to Formalism series), digital print on paper, 2015. Collection of the artist and with image assistance by Stephen Paulmier
Theodore A. Harris, “Greenberg’s Forked Tongue ghost (Conscientious Objector to Formalism series)” (2015), digital print on paper. Collection of the artist and with image assistance by Stephen Paulmier.

In 2015, Theodore Harris had two important exhibitions in Philadelphia, and his work was purchased for the permanent collections of the LaSalle Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In this installment of Artblog Radio, Harris discusses his past year, his collages, and his more recent body of work: large prints featuring a painting by Rembrandt juxtaposed with quotes from art historical texts printed in attention-grabbing, red letters. He also shares with us ideas about poetry and poets, his exhibition history, and his firsthand accounts from his long history within the Philadelphia art world.

Theodore Harris, After Fanon and Shozawa, digital print of paper, 2014
Theodore A. Harris, “After Fanon and Shozawa” (2014), digital print on paper.

Theodore Harris has worked with the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, has taught visual arts and poetry, and continues to practice as a visual artist, poet, curator, and writer in Philadelphia. Our interview took place on Feb. 7, 2016.

Tags

clement greenberg, collage, criticism, ken johnson, philadelphia, theodore a. harris

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