Friday, August 04, 2006

Taking A Tuna to Mecca

NEW: Leave it to Coagula to say what people have been thinking about the circumstances of death, and calling out those quick to say they were chummy with the deceased: Editor's Life Unedited


Some specialists consider to Rhoades like one of the most influential artists of the moment. /ANTONIO ROOMS (You have to love the Google translation of this page)

More on Rhoades passing, but still no official word on cause of death.
The LA Weekly has the best, most thorough piece on the artist’s passing, his body of work and life in general.

First a quote describing the super-secret “Black Pussy Soiree Cabaret Macramé” that sounds pretty funny, awesome:
    “There were all kinds of people coming through there,” recalls art-world photographer and longtime Rhoades accomplice Josh White. “It was basically a 7,000-square-foot dream catcher that was supposed to capture the vibes of all the people that passed through. It was packed with these towering industrial-shelving units with thousands of dream catchers, and camel saddles, and something like 1,800 black-light neon signs spelling out different words for “pussy.” There was a bar in the front called the Johnny Cash Gallery, and food and a wall of macramé that everyone added to, and bands like the Chapin Sisters and Ariel Pink would play. Then he’d make you drink vegan yogurt from your shoe. He was at the top of his game. Where it would have gone from here we can only imagine.”
    ...
    “Black Pussy” was the culmination of a series of controversial Islam-flavored works that included an attempt to take a live tuna on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Drinking yogurt from your shoe and taking a tuna to Mecca sound like bits from the Onion article about Republicans and Dadaists declaring war on art. Of course all sense of the work is lost in a description versus the real thing. But the write ups of projects Rhoades had done and was planning all sound very Dada indeed. Or what the general public thinks Dada-Surealist art is like. It would be interesting to think of that being an aspect of the work. But that is all pure speculation. Not having been to Rhoades’ myriad installations in Europe, and judging only on reproduction in the Taschen series of Art Now books.

And addressing that in the LA Weekly, is an excellent quote from Paul McCarthy:
    “A lot of his enormous, really important pieces were never shown here,” observes McCarthy, who, along with cranky painter/rocket scientist Richard Jackson, mentored Rhoades at UCLA. “You’re making work in L.A., you live in L.A., you consider your fellow artists in L.A. as important, and yet you’re not showing here and there’s this vacant part. People would tell me what Jason’s work was and it would be all based on some photograph or an impression they had without ever seeing these installations that were done usually in Europe. I think the way he made work was misunderstood and not easy to get at. Did Europe understand it better? I don’t know — they were more willing to show it.”
If only Chicago had a weekly half as well written or thorough.
There is also more info on the planned event in Portland on the Willamette Week site.

1 comment:

Mark Staff Brandl said...

I too added to the list of obits about Jason here: http://sharkforum.org/archives/2006/08/obit_jason_rhoades.html
And, yes, I mention that I had a passing friendship with him. I think the speculation about the cause of death is probably accurate, but should wait a while, as a bit of respect for his wife Rachel.