Scarabs and War Cuts

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Scarab Saturday

Even before I got the press release, I was excited about this one. Scarab, an art exhibit about heavy metal, opens July 10 at Project Room. Opening party is 7-11 pm and includes (drumroll) dry ice. And the artists taking turns dj’ing metal music. Show runs to Aug 13, and concludes with a metal panel discussion moderated by artist and metal afficionado, Jeremiah Misfeldt.

Kait Midgett, Project Room den mother, told me the artists, Chris Bors, Scott Cassidy, Robert Chaney, Drew Eliott, A. Ho, Thom Lessner, Justin Matherly, Paul Swenbeck and Clint Takeda, had been meeting on a regular basis to plan the show and to talk about the literary, social and artistic underpinnings of the metal movement, which apparently gripped them all as teens. Or something. Chaney’s the curator here and Ho contributed an essay defining heaviness.

There’s something oddly satisfying about the idea of a heavy metal discussion group and all this scholarly framing.

Besides, these artists, several of them natural collaborators whose group efforts helped produce Grubstake at Basekamp (see post), have a track record for delivering interesting, albeit sometimes complicatedly creepy work.

As you might expect in a show paying homage to metal bands, there are no women on board. I mention this only because I’ve noticed this sizable hole in the rock-art category before.

Anyway, Saturday when Stella and I stopped by Space 1026 for Birds of Prey (more on that later), we ran into this nice poster for Scarab. I assume it’s a Space 1026 production. Love the green and purple.

Richter’s War Cuts

Today’s NY Times has a slide show and Q&A with Gerhard Richter that’s worth a few minutes of your time. (username lrrfartblog, password artblog)

Richter’s debuting a new book, War Cuts, a conceptual collage of extreme close-up photos taken by the artist of his abstract painting `No. 648-2,’1987, streamed with newspaper text from The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from March 20 and 21, 2003, the beginning days of the war in Iraq.

If I understood, there are 216 images from the painting in the book, which was laid out by the artist as a kind of absurdist link between art(beauty) and life.

It reminded me of James Hillman’s book “A Terrible Love of War,” in which Hillman talks about humankind’s eternal attraction to war. (link has some interesting thoughts on Hillman)

The interview’s long and I pulled out these two quotes by the German painter which I thought were the most interesting pieces.

Asked why he chose this particular painting to link to the theme of war, Richter, whose work is the most deadpan in existence today — if ever — said “It was close to being uncommunicative, which I don’t mean negatively.” In other words, the painting had a kind of ambiguity and neutrality he wanted to pair with the words.

And, in response to the suggestion by some that the book was a hodgepodge and at base merely a simulation of sympathetic interest in the subject, the artist said,

“How could one be in this world without feeling dismayed by it? Even if one paints flowers and gingerbread.”

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