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Meet Liz Craft: Psychedelic Mementoes of What Almost Was
by Andrew Berardini

It’s leftover memories hauled off in a battered boxed, thin with water damage, to the local thrift store and dropped at the backdoor. An abandoned baby, lovingly clad in taffeta and enshrouded in a knit blanket, with nary a note. What, if anything, can be found in the kitsch of capitalism, the leftover detritus of a disposable culture, a transient society? What initial hopefulness and final dejection can be located in their battered bodies? Liz Craft’s excavation of what can be found in the lost-in-the-thrift-store of American abandonment and repurposing resolves to uncover the fantastical. While Mike Kelley with trenchant, underground intellect tended toward the scummy end of abjection, Craft’s work heads to the opposite end of grandma’s goodwill, though of course it helps in understanding Craft's aesthetic if grandma had done a stint as an acid dealer.

Craft’s world is composed of the fantastical aspects of these lost underclass crafts and imagery, as well as the simple hopes of their owners. Whether skeletal bikers or candy colored clowns, the growly V8 engine that hums beneath the hood here is that of fantasy, and though bent on hope, still got stuck in abandonment. While Kelley might have pointed out how fascinatingly fucked up it all is, Craft might hone in on the dream of kitsch, its sentimental hope, its bad taste less as a punk gesture against haute-culture and more a somewhat psychedelic affirmation of what capitalism almost brought, but didn’t, to average Americans. These things she makes of bronze and yarn, however denatured and dismantled still believe that tchotchkes can be art, even if mementos are never quite the same as memories.
Her work will be on view in the upcoming Venice Beach Biennale, July 13-15. 

Andrew Berardini

(Image on top right: Liz Craft, Nicole Couch (Pink, Fuchsia, Orange), 2010; © Fredrik Nilsen / Courtesy of the Artist)

Posted by Andrew Berardini on 7/1/12 | tags: mixed-media

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