My thesis show was inspired by an e. e. cummings poem Buffalo Bill’s defunct. From it come the shows title and much of the recurring iconography.
A Game of a Man Called Horse
The installation “A Game of a Man Called Horse” was by inspired the cummings poem, the Richard Harris movie, snakes and fish, and my concurrent fixations on male rites of a passage, Buddhist iconography and basketball. In my game, the initiate would be pierced though the pectoral muscles with barbells at the end of a 5’ 9” rubber, double-forked snake tongue hanging over the foul line of a regulation-size half basketball court. He would then be required to shoot 5 baskets, one from each of the cardinal points and the foul line indicated by 5 circles color-coded according to the 5 “meditation” Buddhas .
Large format inkjet prints, some reworked with paint, water and collage, comprised the wall pieces. Stretched between two wooden columns was an 8 x 16 foot canvas I worked on the entire time I was in school. I left it with the guy who owned a little restaurant across the street from the venue.
Continuing with the themes of masculinity/emasculation I included the documentary photographs and ephemera (hair, razor, towel) from shaving my chest. At the time I was considering the Hindu attribution of hair as a fertility symbol.
A two-channel video wall piece, each monitor playing synchronized variations of a documentary about snakes through circles cut in a white vinyl scrim.
The night before the show opened, my mother arrived in town to help set up. She pointed out that there were holes from old duct and electrical work and other various hazards that people could trip and hurt themselves on. I handed her a can of warning orange spraypaint and a white vinyl circle (from “snake eyes”) and suggested she mark them. These were some of the best works in the show.
old blue eyes
“old blue eyes” included many of the threads in the show: blue, blueeyed drunks, games, machoism, addiction. In the street-level window I held my weekly poker game, documented by a stationary video camera, while “The Man with the Golden Arm”, Sinatra’s comeback film about a heroin addicted poker dealer with jazz musician’s dreams, played on a monitor in the background.