Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Torturing Clowns...

...for Art!

In my continuing quest to get me some more culture, we (the lady and I) took a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago to check out the new modern art wing.

If I'm going to go see modern art, I prefer art that kind of looks like something. The modernest of modern art tends to look like lines and blobs of randomness, but I'm trying to teach myself how to appreciate it and not get angry that people presumably made money for making a giant finger painting.

One thing I do NOT have to teach myself to appreciate would be video of clowns.

I didn't think it would be my favorite piece at the time, but I keep thinking about a piece by Bruce Nauman called Clown Torture. It's an "art installation" featuring a bunch of videos of a clown performing various bizarre actions. From the Art Institute's intraweb explanation:

In "No, No, No, No (Walter)," the clown screams the word "no" over and over
while jumping, kicking, or lying down. In "Clown with Goldfish," he repeatedly
opens a door, which causes a bucket of water to fall on his head. And in "Pete
and Repeat," the clown becomes increasingly horrified as he repeats the nursery
rhyme: "Pete and Repeat are sitting on a fence. Pete falls off. Who’s left?
Repeat."

It was surprisingly entertaining. And I've thought about the piece quite a bit ever since. Not that it's inspired some sort of deep introspective reevaluation of my life - it hasn't - but the images were just very memorable.

Go check it out if you get the chance. And go check out the new wing of the Art Institute. Admission is free 5 - 9 pm Thursday and Friday nights I think through the end of summer.

2 comments:

Chris Othic said...

Sounds like a Kids Show scene: Clown Torture.

Nat Topping said...

Oh God, you're right. Do I have time...?