Art in the Streets
From and exhibition a couple of summers ago at MOCA Los Angeles. I have to admit I am not too excited by graffiti. It usually appears so conformist, quite strange for a medium that is depressingly obsessed with authorship. There is a book of photographs by Jean Baudrillard (which I do not own, so the quotation is not exact) where he discusses graffiti artists as people who want to be heard but have nothing to say. I am also afraid I cannot remember the attribution for this piece, a set of exquisitely painted model railway cars (I imagine somewhere between 1:30 to 1:50 scale) that seems to touch on many of the difficulties of graffiti work.
Nat, this image reminds me of the absolute obsessive nature of model rail car enthusiasts. I have a friend who spends his lunch hour watching trains so he can get absolutely every detail correct on his HO (1/87) model cars – including paint scrapes and burn marks. Then he puts them on a shelf like this completely separate from context. That reminds me of the difficulty I had transitioning from set design to architecture school. In theatre we used fake components and painted them with gesso and gouache to create the illusion of reality. At school we tried to use real pieces of wood and steel for our models without really expressing their actual material. All that, of course takes me to your previous posts with the movie sets that are painted to look like another material, probably 3/4 scale and outside of an expected context. That connection between theatre and architecture is on my mind lately working for the RCAF where “theatre” is a common term and hangar doors move like scenic elements (even using the same mechanics) revealing a performance within. Interesting.