The Solid Body I Syntax

The Rocking Horse and Modern Life
Once, I recall commenting, that I used to give its large penis an affectionate tug as I passed by to pick up the morning paper. Nothing happens when I pull on its penis, I told John, paterfamilias of this work and so many others. Well, said John, "that is the difference between Life and Art!" I have thought a lot about this sentence, about the relationship between living forms and art. I have come to the conclusion that art is also a living form, but its modalities take their place in an invisible world. It is no less real, but engaging with it requires belief, an act of faith.

Dr. Karen Mulhallen

Understanding Caliban by John Bentley Mays

I do not understand John McEwen's installation at Mercer Union (29 Mercer), now on view until Sept. 20. But this is what's there: clamped on the west wall, three large iron slabs. Near the top of the left hand one, McEwen has gouged the word " mirror"; at the top of the middle one "veil"; and of the righthand one "ideal". At the bottom of each appears the phrase "of tears". Near the door of the exhibition space, there is a little shin-high iron platform supported by iron blocks. On the platform McEwen has gouged the outline of a skull. The cord from a mikestand leads into a box which in turn feeds a large TV set. Right across the middle of the screen a bright line wiggles and scrawls in response to the noise picked up by the mike. Between all these things there are gallons of empty space. I don't get it. So why try to talk about it? Because McEwen is not going to go away. He is sure to continue to show his enigmatic sculptures in galleries and museums throughout the country, and art critics will go on trying to snare them into the bear-trap of art-world meaningfulness. .

...read more

The Solid Body
Syntax

The Rocking Horse and Modern Life
Once, I recall commenting, that I used to give its large penis an affectionate tug as I passed by to pick up the morning paper. Nothing happens when I pull on its penis, I told John, paterfamilias of this work and so many others. Well, said John, "that is the difference between Life and Art!" I have thought a lot about this sentence, about the relationship between living forms and art. I have come to the conclusion that art is also a living form, but its modalities take their place in an invisible world. It is no less real, but engaging with it requires belief, an act of faith.

Dr. Karen Mulhallen

Rocking Horse 1977

Interior 1978

Model 1978 -79

Model (detail) 1978 -79

Interior 1978

Shunt 1980

Shunt 1980

Steel Dog 1983

In Sight 1995

2 Sinks with Fossils 1994

Understanding Caliban by John Bentley Mays

I do not understand John McEwen's installation at Mercer Union (29 Mercer), now on view until Sept. 20. But this is what's there: clamped on the west wall, three large iron slabs. Near the top of the left hand one, McEwen has gouged the word " mirror"; at the top of the middle one "veil"; and of the righthand one "ideal". At the bottom of each appears the phrase "of tears". Near the door of the exhibition space, there is a little shin-high iron platform supported by iron blocks. On the platform McEwen has gouged the outline of a skull. The cord from a mikestand leads into a box which in turn feeds a large TV set. Right across the middle of the screen a bright line wiggles and scrawls in response to the noise picked up by the mike. Between all these things there are gallons of empty space. I don't get it. So why try to talk about it? Because McEwen is not going to go away. He is sure to continue to show his enigmatic sculptures in galleries and museums throughout the country, and art critics will go on trying to snare them into the bear-trap of art-world meaningfulness.

...read more

Burn 1980