Five Decades of Madness
all the world is a studio
by Tim Nye
two year advance deposits on 10-figure gulf streams
tax dollars used to chauffeur the wives of government officials
couture dresses at a price
that would rid debt of medium size third world countries
the damien hirst factory.
and then there is george herms
now let’s travel to the cosmic antithesis of this corporate gluttony.
herms, the genetic mutation of a poet with sculptor dna became the father
and immaculate conceivee
of the art movement birthed in california called assemblage
arguably, the first completely homegrown cannabis of art practices.
don't fall into the francophile trap of accenting the final
his west coast tribe is:
the stone brothers
robert dean stockwell
then there was the wealthy cousin on the east coast
with the "povera" cousins in europe, mostly italy.
the consummate romantic
threw his hat in the ring with a love letter in the form of a door-sized collage in 1956.
all the world is a studio.
herms draws like a possessed genius
writes like a hybrid of t.s eliot and oscar wilde
uses these brushes to sculpt works of art that make the argument that there is a story in every discarded object.
the reclaimed object
often loaded with pathos
is much more often reanimated with humor and rhythms
that are usually reserved for musical composition.
jazz is always in his / their soul.
these objects are phrases in a visual poetry
stanzas in miles davis' bitches brew.
smell that 40-year-old burnt toast
as it’s black smoke stings your nostrils.
hear the sound of that rusted tin can
being kicked down an urban street.
the tenor from the drumstick rolled down that xylophone spine of bones.
the string quartet of rusted mattress springs.
the silence of a ghost ship drifting rudderlessly into the night.
in making selections for his exhibition at nyehaus, herms picked me up in a wrinkled toyota
the rear seating and trunk filled to the brim with drawings, prints, artist notes;
the brush strokes of his art.
the more astonishing fact was the fluidity with which he was able to know the precise placement of a napkin on which he had
sketched a note or the corner of the trunk
where an aging output from his love press was placed.
he did this with the ease of a typist
"t" to access a word from the thesaurus
and this command of his language was nothing compared to the oz-like
intuitiveness he commanded
over the six storage facilities all only affording the most squeezed entry to view the work
these were giant vessels of nostalgia
not infused in the objects that comprised the works as much as the five decades
five manic, beautiful decades of work.
as his work slowly decays over time,
the eroticism of death and decay
shed their skin
and from a cocoon springs a moth, a la petite mort-- the little death.
- Tim Nye, 2010
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