Sunday, February 1, 2009

F-ing Brilliant

I need to ask this guy to write my artist statements.

A gem in today's Los Angeles Times:

The artist as a young boy

Everyone’s an art critic. And some critics, when they answer to Dad, are also big fans.
By Jordan Rau
February 1 2009

To: Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Re: Potential exhibition

I am writing to renew my offer to let you exhibit recent artistic compositions by my 3-year-old son, Zachary Rau (2006- ). As I previously detailed, Zachary's creativity at Hansel-Gretel Pre-Kindergarten has received lavish praise not just from his teacher, Ms. Jandy, but also from our relatives, friends and neighbors.

Employing the most rudimentary tools, including Q-tips for brushes and paper silhouettes of animals, rockets and choo-choo trains, Zachary has distinguished himself as a pioneering talent of his generation.

Because I have not heard back from you despite repeated e-mails, telephone calls, registered letters and unannounced visits to your office and home, I have taken the liberty of providing, below, interpretive text to help your curators better understand Zachary's inimitable takes on teddy bears, fire engines and the human condition.

"Cosmos" (2007)

In this typically irreverent handiwork from Zachary's early period, colorful plastic gems affixed to a spaceship celebrate earthly pleasures. The artist's deliberate placement of several luxurious jewels in an upside-down position represents an implicit critique of materialism. The inclusion of ample epoxy, uncommitted to bonding any material, invites us along on this uplifting voyage through contemporary existence.

-- Elmer's glue, sequin and putty on construction paper. (On loan from the Rau Family refrigerator door.)

"Untitled #24" (2009)

Through prodigious use of red glitter, the color of deficits, the artist appraises the economic devastation wrought by the modern Gilded Age. The abandoned Q-tip satirizes the establishment's failure to clean up Wall Street. On a subtler level, this archetypal, inadequate instrument of the country's dysfunctional healthcare system lampoons the shortcomings of government bailout efforts, particularly with regard to the auto industry, of which the artist has been a zealous advocate since the acquisition of his first Hot Wheels.

-- Tinsel, swab and drool on manila folder. (On loan from the Hansel-Gretel Pre-Kindergarten wall.)

"Extinction" (2007)

The vulnerability of childhood is a recurring theme in the artist's work, nowhere more so than in this melancholy depiction of a green dinosaur. A cogent metaphor for annihilation, the beast's emotional palette decries youth's inevitable passage. The red scrawl conjures blood, the purple embodies bruises and the yellow evokes the flame of existential pain. An ominous black cookie crumb completes this apprehensive self-portrait of the artist as fragile thunder lizard.

-- Crayon and Oreo on reverse side of interoffice memo. (On loan from Grandpa's bottom desk drawer.)

"Bell" (2008)

During the Bush years, the artist ardently condemned not only the "war on terror" but also anything remotely frightening, including Halloween masks, monsters under beds and "Disney on Ice." In this passionate censure of the Patriot Act, the outline of the bell -- that inviolate national symbol -- is traced unsteadily, suggesting the irreparable distortion of our civil liberties. Red, white and blue star stickers, strewn as if by random, represent the desecration of the American flag. But there is hope as well. Splotches of purple paint and a discarded Band-Aid allude to the artist's heartfelt belief that the country may yet transcend the ideological divide of red and blue states. And the signature motifs of kitty cats and smiley faces beseech the citizenry to resist despair in these bleak times.

-- Decal, washable finger paint and frayed bandage on day-care tuition bill. (On loan from the estate of Great-Grandma Rau.)

Your curators are welcome to install these interpretive passages alongside Zachary's collection. I would write more, but Lena, my 5-year-old daughter, has offered a compelling exegesis of "Little Red Riding Hood" as a vegan manifesto, and I must determine when UCLA's literature department has its next open tenure-track position.

Jordan Rau is a reporter in The Times' Sacramento bureau.


Unknown said...

brilliant indeed

Aline said...


Anonymous said...