little assemblies REPORT
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Little Assemblies, Anthony Graves

One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals. -Michael Korda


The conceptual strategy of these Little Assemblies engages the public through a visual gesture that incorporates intentionally asthenic display trees redolent of a tripartite family structure: From where I am standing, the ‘parents’ are on stage left, and the child is set out alone on the right platform armed with a ponzi-looking book that will instruct on attaining success. The psycho-political manifestation of the child extends as, first; priapic author portrait (Michael Korda), prioritized here as the cover is turned inward, revealing a tumid boner and emblazoned with the word, ‘MACHT’, -‘MAKE’ (After which one might insert multiple exclamation points). This child is adorned by a sad, empty-vessaled fake-folk dog. Dog wears sunglasses and strums an acoustic guitar (the ultimate revolutionary tool of ‘folk’, which has become a fixed tchotchke). The dog-child masks its weaning-complex pathos by the thin veil of market-euphoria. Meaning, like its decanter, has been drained.


The scholarly ancestry of the parent figures coupled stage left reflect a genetic conflation of external striving and the subsequent trappings of success with more internal considerations of freedom (which here may be construed as an outmoded definition of success). Their progeny: birth of the new artist/thinker in the after-Reagan marketplace.

The reflective plates interlock minimal, visual compositional terms with a collaged, mirror-mounted text that situates the role of the philosophic [artist] as something of a work-force participant ; his Life of the Mind in direct contact with the ‘realities’ of capital. The literal reflectivity of the plates throws the esoteric text into the world, but the plane is shifted upward at a divine angle, capturing the blankness of the heavens. Strength of practice and market strategy –for a moment- meet faith, but in so doing, shut out the participation of the spectator here. What is more, voids derived from the antecedent text plate are accented as interruptions to the moment of uplifted reflection. The blackened voids are shadowy margins behaving with a sudden tangible presence: The residual gaps of thoughtful efforts are the agents of ‘the everyday’; at once absent of internal life and pushing back against illusory ecstasy.


The architecture of the family on display also carries a certain resemblance to two other common structural forms: easels and lecterns, the furniture of expression and articulation. Little Assemblies is an installation as much about the display itself as it is about the phenomena of the displayed.   -IR


                           All images by Anthony Graves, 2010