Amongst the Remnants of Contemporary Culture
This is the final week we will feature a work of art derived from or inspired by the written word in conjunction with the special exhibition R. B. Kitaj: Don’t Listen to the Fools. Rachel Harrison (American, born 1966) has a multi-faceted practice, with a wide range of influences and materials that result in intentionally “un-monumental” sculptures.
Harrison’s works, made with everyday materials, are humorous, absurd, and, at times, a perplexing critique on contemporary culture. Vampire Wannabes, 2010, takes its title from a poem called “Wannabe” by the Pulitzer-prize winning poet Rae Armantrout (American, born 1947). The artist’s appropriation of the title, as well as her use of Readymades, is characteristic of her working practice. Composed of non-traditional materials—Styrofoam, paint, and cement coupled with an orange safety vest and a Mac Airport Extreme—this work is a perfect storm of abstract and Pop art sensibilities. Like the poem it takes its name from, Vampire Wannabes is a reflection of contemporary culture, teetering on the periphery of a desire for the past, yet relishing in modern-day clichés borrowed from technology and the media. It leaves the viewer with questions—lots of them. Just who are we, anyway?
Image courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles. © Rachel Harrison.