Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Meryl Streep has nothing to do with this post, but she was just on the Daily Show and I was reminded how much I would like to get to know her, have coffee, become emotionally intimate, join our souls as one, paint the guest bedroom together...and, of course, have lots of sex. That is all.

Art is not just for show.
Two artists I've recently discovered--meaning I've come to know them, after a good portion of the world (the "art world" especially) have known about them for years. Because I've been busy reading the last of the Sandman decology (that's the '10' version of a trilogy, right?) and getting hepped up on the newest news in healthcare policy, the better to defend my liberal commie positions when it comes time to discuss healthcare reform in my medical school interviews (it's coming, man. I know it's coming. I may or may not be straightforward with my opinions--depending, perhaps, on the quality of the interviewer's tie, or whether they have a "I love Bush--the president, not the innuendo" lapel pin). Strangely, the little bit of time I spend watching the news on the treadmill at the gym has gotten me up to speed on Lindsay Lohan's rehab shenanigans and Britney Spears' access (or lack thereof) to her children, but not on the Blackwater torture scandal or whether Bob Jones University's invite to Mitt Romney indicates they're pulling their support from the McCain candidacy. Priorities, eh?

Chris Jordan's work is a look at American consumerism, and the effects that has on the world at large. A field of toothpicks representing the trees felled to make US junk mailings every month; the number of plastic bottles we discard every minute; cigarettes representing the number of teens who start smoking every month. And all that aside, his work is hauntingly beautiful--especially his pictures of the post-Katrina New Orleans.

Edward Burtynsky is affiliated with a movie called "Manufactured Landscapes" that mirrors his work: he does large-scale pictures of quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and all the rest of the gorgeously ugly necessities that keep modern life humming along. Unfortunately, the factories that give us light bulbs and batteries, the mines that give us coal for power and gold for jewelry--chew up the landscape of other countries, poison the ground, drive the local populace into poverty or servitude to the factory bosses (or both). The man can make tailings (the streams of detritus--aka, crap--left behind after a mineral or metal has been refined) look beautiful. I'd include an image of his "Nickel Tailings" here if I didn't think I'd immediately get an email from his lawyers.

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