Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stuffed Watercolor of the Past--"Squeeze My Muscle"

This is treated muslin, painted in watercolor and trapuntoed from the back to make it three-dimensional. There is a squeak toy in the bicep and, when you squeeze it, it makes that sound that only squeak toys can (think dog toy). When it was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, a museum guard told me someone laughed so hard, she wet her pants in front of it and they had to get a custodian. True or not, it's a great story.

I have always been interested in popular culture--especially since I grew up an outsider in my born-again (hypocritical) family. Muscle men back in the day were really a part of the underworld. There were also homosexual overtones, I think, in some quarters.

The attraction for me was this idea that you could shape and form your own body, like an artist might in her studio. Body culture as we know it today, did not exist. So the idea of body-building, tattoos and scarification were of interest. Piercing had not yet caught my radar, and it still creeps me out a bit, because I can't take my eyes off the piercing and move to other parts of the face. I get stuck. So these are the meandering thoughts of the day...

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