Swimming Out...

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Posted by panch from pool0155.cvx24-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net ( on Thursday, September 12, 2002 at 8:18AM :

First I want to thank Andreas for posting the articles below...when he's good, he's good...the rest of the time he's a Kraut.

swimming out...I'm embarrassed to admit I still can't believe someone wants to display Assyrian sculptures in an art gallery. I know, I know...what does this say about all this vaunted pride and faith and stuff. I guess I can be as brainwashed as anyone else. In some ways it's a major victory just to have someone want to do such a thing.

I fall back on other stereotypes...the gallery owner happens to be Jewish, and you KNOW how good they are in business...how no Jewish run business EVER fails etc. Either the guy is loonier than most, or he's a visionary. If he just wanted to make money..."and what Jew wants anything else"...he could have stuck with the tried and true...with cowboys and Indians...which sell like mad in the Southwest.

Years ago in New York, the owner of Roman Bronze Foundry, the oldest foundry in the United States, said to me..."Fredric...make fucking cowboys and indians...they buy that fucking stuff like fucking crazy in Japan." Now a Jew opens a gallery in Tucson, a serious investment, and he doesn't WANT fucking cowboys...he wants fucking Assyrians!

For the life of me I still can't visualize someone walking in and saying..."Ah'll taik that thar Sar-gone the second...over thar...YeeeHaaa!"

I know it's something new...and people crave novelty...and also that the cutting edge in Art has been dull for some time now...but still, Assyrian???

I never expected there to be ANY market for these pieces...and my reception among our own people confirmed that. I went to people who never bought Art...never thought about buying any...never WANTED to buy any...and had to convince them to buy their own Art of all things. I have no idea what it must be like to have people come to YOU, who buy Art and want to buy Art. I had to create a desire for my product, then create the product, THEN make the sale.

I don't know what I was thinking all those years I was making them...what did I plan to do with them? Helen's collection died with her...Narsai has one...a couple in a University...one in public...it was never intended to be an actual collection that would be offered for sale anywhere.

But now I find myself thinking more and more oaboutthe Epic of Gilgamesh...of what a remarkable legend that is...what it tells us about the beliefs of our ancestors and their explanation for things we still can't put to rest. There are excellent characters in it for sculpture...and it's story is known by many. Maybe...?

In a thousand years I never would have dreamed of approaching an art gallery with photos of my Assyrian sculpture...never. Even though I sat with the curator for Public Art in Chicago and watched her stare in amazement at photos of the same pieces Nimrod has thrown into his basement. I guess I haven't much more faith than he does. That's a tough thing to admit.

The owner asked me if I have descriptions and anecdotes...and in light of a comment I received last week that my "Sargon the Great" was wearing a Viking helmet...I toyed with the delicious idea of telling the story of Homer Simpson and Nimrod...convincing Helen I was crazy for putting a "Viking" helmet on an Assyrian king...and how I agreed to remove the horns, and how recent research has revealed that Vikings NEVER had horns...it was an Assyrian design all the way...that some designer probably saw the Stele of Naram-Sin at the Louvre...the same one I used for inspiration...and concocted the whole thing because he thought horns looked good on helmets...and no Fat lady back then EVER had horns on her helmet...but not yet. I want to tell that story in court.

Just thought I'd venture this before the event...before they actually go on display. My reaction to someone who wanted to buy one would be, "you DO???"

Lord, lord...how did we get from there... to here?

-- panch
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