Sunday, January 4, 2015

Absurdist Pop

Icon, 2011, from Will Ryman, is located near the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park during Prospect.3. The thirty foot tall sculpture features five red roses, one of them climbing straight up to the sky and the gigantic red flowers are looking odd, profiled on a Southern autumnal background. The work meets all the definitions of Pop art with its monochrome meaty red industrial paint covering petals, stems and thorns made of stainless steel. The shorter version of the 2011 installation on the Park Avenue Mall in Manhattan is surrounded by a black fence which obscures the bottom of the sculpture- to prevent lovers from scribbling their initials?
Red roses are about love, but these roses, made to be eternal, are cold, harsh and threatening, with their thorns color of blood which means death. In one of his statements, Ryman, influenced by absurdist philosophy, alludes to a twist of humor in the piece. In the process, he transforms the symbol of the rose and its romantic undertone into a cruel and commercial cliche.
Another work from Will Ryman, part of the permanent collection at the NOMA,  America, 2013, is a massive gold log cabin containing all the country's historical attributes: shackles, coal, computer keys, car parts, candies, ... embedded in the walls. The superficial reflection on American history is ready for consumption by the viewers with its hodgepodge of cliches. 
Ryman requires a lot of space and material to produce works light in content. Pop art seems to be a treacherous mean of introducing philosophical hints. 

"Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose",...Gertrude Stein and Pop art is Pop art is Pop art.

No comments: