Friday, July 25, 2008

come back to the museum

Here's the next part of Jeff and my epic new collaborative writing piece, 'museum.' If you like this, please subscribe to our newsletter, "Hey, what's up Austin?" It's a favorite thing on Santa's list, also, it doesn't exist. Also, awesome reading at Book People, Dan Boehl. Also, I love your last name. Also, how's do you make it seem so easy? Alright, enough questions. Now some time for some serious farce.


Next up on our tour – if you’ll just follow me this way; ah ah ah, watch out for that mike, ha ha ha – we come to an exquisite piece of summer flare. The artist’s name is Bob Biderson, and he hails from northeast Ohio. The summers there are particularly hot, but also, in the snap of a week or two, not hot at all. Bob’s piece here focuses on the aspects of summer that have been associated with barbecue grills and what not.

A bar b q grill sits near the left half of a white oval room. The grill

is marked with only a smudge of soot. It has three legs and a red round

head. A bag of charcoal briquettes rests alongside and remains un-

opened. Plastic knives are strewn around the piece in a circle. Plastic forks

are stuck standing up, jabbed into the floor. Beer cans hang from strings

from the ceiling and a huge slab of burger is nailed to a white wall. It

is fervent yet yields no scent.

Bob was interested in the visceral poetry of a summer barbecue. He wanted to show what family gatherings could conceal. The circular position of knives and forks suggests something of the occult – tools of the occult, as I kid from time to time – and might even suggest further a demonic rite of passage come summer grilling time. He obviously reinforces this iconography with the burger nailed to the wall. It is hung there like a tiny savior, not allowed to roast in its purpose, but to float forever above the housing of the grill, away from the flames that could prepare it into something edible and desirable. The unopened charcoal bag suggests the un-ripened fruit of sexual bliss the summer might prolong – it is hot after all, isn’t it folks? And the beer cans, daintily held aloft by the tiniest of strings, foretells the doom ever-present in the traditional barbecue gathering. They speak to the lust of the drunken escape – abandon, even – in spite of more harmonious roles of familial belonging and brotherhood.

As for Bob himself – what was the artist like? – well, he was a peculiar, fascinating sort. He was rumored to have shot soft-tipped arrows from his balcony at night and to have once chased his wife down – she driving in a car – across seven city blocks in the buff. He was educated at the New Lowman School of Art and Design, but dropped out in his final year to pursue cattle ranching. It remains to be seen what these eccentricities have added to his work; he is still an active artist and has plans to unveil his mysteriously titled, “Ox Head Bridge,” for us in the coming year. It is top-secret – as are all current commissions by Biderson – but is said to create a hunger so great that it can only be matched by the disgust it generates.

Yes, yes, really great, I know. Go ahead, peruse. Mind the plastic ware: some say it has a life of its own. Please, inspect the burger – oh especially the burger – and feel free to read the wording of the charcoal bag. Bob – being ever present-minded – wrote and decorated it himself.

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