Monday, July 9, 2007


On Saturday I went by Eyedrum to check out "Furious! The Angry Show" curated by Natacha Roussel. I was sort of expecting to see a completely trashed space, maybe a few belligerent artists ranting (or at least a video of them doing so), or maybe a TV screen with a bat sticking out of it. Instead, what I found wasn't so much a show exploring the idea of fury as a show of artist letting off steam or simply illustrating some of today's issues, such as the prison system, racism, and especially the war in Iraq.

Cara Pastore's "Cracker in the Box" Series. (UV Coated Digital Print, Laminated)

Apparently I am not the only one who felt this way about the success of the theme. Roussel acknowledged this is in the curatorial statement saying:
"Curating a show with fury as its theme seemed like an exciting endeavor when I first accepted the responsibility. I had visions of Eyedrum transformed into some kind of inferno, a place where visitors would leave feeling shocked, drained, yet exhilarated. I expected artists to present me with their most primal, gestural, out of control work. I have since come to realize that while an artist may be inspired in the midst of a bout with dark forces, the work of art produced, in most cases, will be created after the storm. This often leaves us with work that is extremely self-conscious, almost apologetic, vulnerable."

There was certainly an element of meditation in the show, such as Jonathan Feild's "Maxwell's Demon [New York Times 2003]". In his work, Feild's reproduces images from the NYT on the first day of each month in 2003 using steel pins on rubber. The materials created an interesting visual effect, forcing the viewer to move around the piece, looking at it in different lights trying to get a grasp on the imagery. There was an element of mystery and underlying danger. Maybe it was because the piece was included in a show called "Furious" but I kept expecting, almost hoping, for an act of violence to eventually be discerned from the pins. Instead the image never becomes too sensational or riveting. For me, like most of the "Furious" work, the piece is missing something- that shock of realization that out of the darkness a new understanding is found.

The highlight of the show for me was "Bomber Boy" by Dietrich Wegner. The sculpture of a small kid with dynamite strapped around his torso was grabbing. Wegner wrote about the piece:
"Bomber Boy is an attempt to understand the face behind the violence. He grew from the American media and general public's failure to acknowledge the humanity of the citizens of Iraq and Palestine. He also formed out of the realization that, should roles be reversed, any American could become a confused little boy loaded with dynamite, caught up in a world seemingly out of his control."

The sculpture haunted me for the remainder of the day, and I blame it largely on the socks. Something about those little kid socks, white with the grey toe, there was such an innocence and vulnerability. I found myself wanting to protect this little kid, feeling sick at the idea of children being used in war, feeling sicker at the thought of all those kids who are being used in war, and in a way, I became really furious.

The show runs through August 4th 2007. More info at

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