Uncovering Beauty and Experiencing Wonder
I imagine myself, walking slowly past relics of 20th century post-modernism. The corridor is spaced perfectly; zigzagging up the pathway I catch a glimpse of each work drifting onward towards my fixation. To the left, Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Can, diagonally across the hallway David Salle’s Good Bye D is suspended. Further and further my eyes wander from left to right, each passing artifact as appealing as the last. With time I make it to the end of the hall. A rounded archway serves as a porter. Am I ready to pay the toll and pass on? Should I turn back around and take one more look at the hanging pieces in the hallway passed? Maybe I should. I don’t know if I’m ready to witness such a beast. Then again, I am here for a reason. Google Image’s thumbnails can only satisfy my curiosity for so long; I need to see this whale. As I move forward, taking a breath of cold, dry, air, the entire room is white as snow. Draped like a linen curtain, the leviathan comes into view. Thin cable wires are bolted to the top of the atrium, my eyes follow with gravity. The cables are fastened intricately to smooth, yellowed bone. My vision broadens. I am awe-struck. Each limb bigger than the next, I cannot even rationalize the size of it. The shadow cast on the floor makes the dimension contrast even more distinct. I’ve stood below such ocean-going mammals before. However, something about this carcass differs from those I’ve seen as a youth in the Natural History Museum, and the New York Aquarium. I look up and see comparable features; The complex fins, the grand rib cage, the broad tail. But, this inexplicable arrangement does not just instill childlike wonder but commands much deeper consideration. A complex crisscrossing of carbon-colored circles cloak the skeleton, protruding branches of rock-hard cartilage and marrow drip of fluidity and gesticulation. I stand beneath the corpse reveling at its magnitude, but the artist’s embellishments further carry my concentration into anonymity. Orozco brings to light the true beauty of such a being, and by incorporating graphite disks the Mobile Matrix provides a glimmer of fantasy amongst the norm. The artist shows his audience that a deceased whale can harbor childlike wonder. In that sense, beauty is universal and unlimited, rather than confined by preconceptions of the object. Orozco opens the eye’s to a world of infinite ingenuity in which all substances are capable of astonishing the viewer.
Gabriel Orozco was born into a very transitional time for Latin America. After a collaborative effort alongside the U.S. throughout the second world war, Mexico’s GDP rose significantly. Widespread good-feeling and financial growth attributed to the baby boom of the late 1950’s and early 60’s, hence, Gabriel Orozco was a product of youthful desire and ambition. Born in Jalapa, Veracruz to Cristina and Mario Orozco, a leftist painter and art professor at the local universidad, throughout his adolescence, Orozco was regularly exposed to artwork due to his father’s vigor and love for his profession. Following in his father’s footsteps Orozco eventually took his talents to Madrid, where he gained insight into varying international cultures and values. Through ethnic absorption, the artist began to figure out his likes and dislikes. Pulitzer Prize winner and art critic for the New York Times Holland Cotter described a shifting Orozco in his December ’09 article “Slicing a Car, Fusing Bicycles, and Turning Ideas Into Art”. The detractor wrote, “He was turned off by the big, expensive painting that defined a 1980’s market. He was attracted to the liberal-driven, Dada-inflicted art of older figures like John Cage, Joseph Beuys, and Piero Manzoni. ” (Cotter 2009). Basically, Cotter is saying that Orozco was interested particularly in the sculpture-driven artists of the post-war period. It is clear that Orozco fancies avante-garde art,...
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