Wednesday 12 August 2009

morituri te salutant

It's a toga party! It's a water fight! It's AWESOME!

The New Yorkers get all the fun. Artist Duke Riley is staging a naval battle with ships crewed by staff from Queens Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and El Museo del Barrio as an artist in residence work for Queens Museum.

Those about to die salute you riffs off Roman Naumachia and Elizabethan England pageantry, with a soup├žon of conceptualism thrown in for good measure. I think the thing that appeals to me most - aside from the spectacle, and the absurdity, and the fact that I studied these things in third form Latin and goddamn it, that finally came in useful - is the competitive, trash-talking, silly side of the museum staff that it's bringing out and showing to people.

When I first started out in the visual art world (and before I departed on my current tangent) my mother was appalled. Why? she asked me. Why would I want to spend my time with those people? She'd seen museum and gallery people on the telly. They looked mean. They didn't look like they enjoyed their work. They didn't look like they liked other people. Maybe I should show her these photos.

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