There is certainly diversity when it comes to taste in Art. My own opinions may be relatively strong, but that’s not what this post is about. Okay, other than to say that the Birmingham Art Museum is my favorite, and Dallas is probably my least favorite. But that’s all I have to say about that. And there are forms of Art that I don’t even know about. One that was new to me, at least as a style or genre, is “Assemblage”. This is basically the obvious word meaning.
An example which is pertinent to today’s post is by artist Jimmy Descant, and it is called “Yah-Ta-Hey, Unusurped”. And while “assemblage” may perfectly describe the style, the name of this piece is, well, opposite of that. It is a swastika-like shape made from crutches screwed onto a small piece of plywood. Once the main shape was created during a live event, audience members placed scraps of cloth on the piece, representing problems they were releasing from their lives.
Unusurped, meaning something that has not been illegally seized or taken (yes, a bit of a double-negative), is an odd choice to include in the name of such a piece, but you might not notice that after the “Yah-Ta-Hey” part. In any case, I’ll post the URL to the video, if you want to watch the process/performance. My favorite part is when he begins by tossing the crutches up and they come down on his head. Perhaps he had not thought that out as thoroughly as he should have.
The idea of the scraps of cloth representing problems being released reminds me of some New Years’ Eve church services I’ve been to, where the problems/sins/struggles of the outgoing year are written on a paper and destroyed, so that they are not carried into the new year. It’s an excellent concept, no matter how it is represented. I’m a big fan of leaving last year’s troubles behind. Or yesterday’s. Having a separation between days (called “night”) is a great way to get a new start. Every new day is a second chance or, maybe a second ten thousandth chance. The point is to start over, but not at the beginning. Starting with pretty much all the good things, but leaving the bad ones behind. What is there not to love about that plan?
They say that art imitates life, and that life imitates art. And even though I said I wasn’t going to express more about my taste in art, I’m going to say that I would not want “Yah-Ta-Hey, Unusurped” in my house, or even make a trip to a museum to see it. But I like the way it ends: with a fresh start. Which is also odd, since it’s at the end.
Jimmy Descant Live Assemblage “Yah-Ta-Hey, Unusurped”