Monday, June 1, 2009

Adam Parker Smith: "Bold As Love"

Stumbled across this little gem on my way back from an office supply run at Staples. It's the current display in the Broadway Windows organized by NYU on 10th & Broadway. Adam Parker Smith is the mastermind behind these three dozen brightly colored, felt heads impaled on wooden posts that shoot innocently creepy stares at the pedestrian pathway out front. It's little surprises like these lurking around many of the corners in this city that make me glad I live here. It's only up until June 7th so stop by soon if you want to get a peek at the real thing. Tried to snap off several pics of my favs...enjoy!
scroll down past the images for the full artist's statement

Three dozen brightly colored, felt heads impaled on wooden posts populate five windows on a bustling New York City intersection. Among the menagerie are imagined creatures, American icons, high school crushes, and self-portraits. The resulting spectacle unravels the invented and extant, the beautiful and the grotesque, what we desire and what we fear. Adam Parker Smith's Bold As Love, an installation inspired by an execution scene in Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, mischievously reveals how we perform, aestheticize, and consume violence.

We are no strangers to public displays of violence. Our histories and myths are crowded with tales of executions as sport or as warning, enacted for country or for love. In his novel set during the Spanish Civil War, Hemingway fictionalized the horrific real-life execution of fascist sympathizers in the town of Ronda in 1936. In a pivotal scene, accused fascists are gathered up by their neighbors, held captive, flayed, and herded off a cliff. With the protagonists as the perpetrators, we comprehend the celebration and horror of the act.

These contradictory emotions are conjured in Smith's installation. Passersby are arrested by the theatrics, beauty, and humor of the spectacle; only after closer inspection do they perceive the underlying horror of the scene. "That is the beauty of it," one of Hemingway's peasants explains, "there must be many blows."

Bold As Love was initiated through Smith's collaboration with Chicago-area high school students at the Blue Sky Project artists residency program. The series has been re-contextualized in Broadway Windows. The curators collaborated with Smith to construct a head, which is also on view.

Bold as Love is the final project for Curatorial Praxis, a graduate course offered by the Visual Arts Administration Program in the NYU Steinhardt School's Department of Art and Art Professions.

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