Monday, June 20, 2011

dArt Magazine and BQM Introduces The dArt Burger

Making a Meal Out of a Cubist Still Life

Steve Rockwell
Steve Rockwell, The Steve Rockwell Sandwich, 1989.
Photo credit: Skip Dean. Courtesy of the artist.
 “There has been nothing new in art since 1915” was something that I blurted out to an art professor 21 years ago at a party. It turned out to be an awkward conversation stopper, and obviously untrue in terms of art history. I was only trying to get across that the seeds of most of the art that followed had already been sown by then. Personally, the notion has proven to be a nugget of nutrients when it came to panning ideas. Collage elements in a typical Cubist still life from the year 1912, not only banished illusionism, but made it possible to view the painting and its components as concrete objects. By serving an actual sandwich as art, as I first did in 1989, the object was consumed and ingested as well as viewed.
In a recent show, I embedded Dutch Panter cigar tins, clear Cuban cigar tubes, food lids, and a wine cork into mahogany supports. My focus had been various forms of human consumption, in this case eating, drinking, and smoking. Frequent subjects of early Cubist works were pipes, wine bottles, playing cards, and fragments of daily newspapers. A popular inclusion was the word “journal,” which could be variously sliced into “jour” and “jou,” day and play respectively in English. “Journal” and “jou” happens to be other Cubist elements that I have “actualized” in my work. The journal is dArt International magazine, which I released in Los Angeles in 1998, and continues to be served. “Jou” refers to Color Match Game, which was created in 1987 and continues to be played in tournaments across North America. One could say that the bulk of my work may be apprehended through reading, eating, and playing. 
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