Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Ring around the Rosie" New Works by Tom Torluemke

Marie Antoinette

A pocket full of posies;
Hush! hush! hush! hush!
We’re all tumbled down.

“Though it seems at times as if nothing could rout him out of the inertia in which he is entrenched, it is quite possible that he may one day be shocked into a greater state of awareness.  Precept and example seem to have had little effect: basically the civilized man is little different from primitive man.  He has not accepted the world, neither has he shown any desire to partake of the reality which invests it.  He is still bound to myth and taboo, still the slave of the victim of history, still the enemy of his own brother.  The simple, obvious truth, that to accept the world is to transform it, seems utterly beyond his powers of comprehension.”
- Henry Miller, The Hour of Man

“So I’ll tell you what I would like.  I would like some bad-acting and wrong-thinking.  I would like to see some art that is courageously silly and frivolous, that cannot be construed as anything else.  I would like a bunch of twenty-three-old troublemakers to become so enthusiastic, so noisy, and so involved in some stupid, seductive, destructive brand of visual culture that I would feel called upon to rise up in righteous indignation, spewing vitriol, to bemoan the arrogance and self-indulgence of the younger generation and all of its artifacts.”
- Dave Hickey, Frivolity and Unction 

And so would I Mr. Hickey… 
Hickey and Miller what a pair!  A generation or so separates them at birth yet they arrive at the same elegant conclusion.  They beg us to awaken to the “obvious truth” that to live fully in this world as a Man or Woman we must, we are obligated, in fact condemned to “transform it.”  It is also a responsibility artists must share - otherwise, go out and get a fucking job.  You are after all, the perfect example of a contemporary peripatetic global artist.  You will survive.  Nonetheless, be it for better or worse, we cannot as “civilized man” or “twenty-something” woman continue to ignore this.  The result will inevitably be we’re all tumbled down or strip-searched.
I am concerned about this and so is Tom Torluemke it appears.  But Torluemke is an artist; society tells us he’s supposed to worry about these things: war, famine, death, and erections.  He is after all, the sensitive type.

The Greeks colored their statues, the Spaniards slaughtered their bulls, The Germans invented Hasenpfeffer, we dream and act impatient, hoping for fame without labor, admiration without a contract, sex with an erection.
- Larry Rivers and Frank O’Hara, excerpt from How to Proceed in the Arts

However, there are very few artists or memorable works that have actually succeeded in transforming the world if at all (it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try).  There are those however, like the cognoscenti and their pocketbooks, who will disagree.  Pay them no mind.  Those artists who have opened our eyes to the way the world is, and nowadays it ain’t pretty, do so by remaining relevant.  Their works mirror society, its culture and politics, and tell us something about its people.  An artist’s work is only a snapshot of a particular moment in the continuum, like a photograph, it can only tell us so much.  Could the French Revolution been what it was without Jean-Paul Marat and the painter Jacques-Louis David? 
Tom Torluemke has been making art for over thirty years and I don’t see him stopping anytime soon.  It coincides with his devout belief in the transformative and eye-opening (revelatory) power of art.  He does not produce snake-oil.  We should be grateful and excited for what he offers and thankful for showing us who we truly are - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Read more here

1 comment:

  1. This article did what good critics do. It made me want to see more work by this artist. You can do the same.