The perfectly imperfect thing

Of all possible virtues, the finest is the perfection of imperfection. The title Rhinoceros Horn Fan refers to a case in the Blue Cliff Record, a famous collection of Zen koans, in which a master and his attendant have a conversation:
One day Yanguan called to his attendant, "Bring me the rhinoceros horn fan."

The attendant said, "The fan is broken."

Yanguan said, "Then bring me the rhinoceros!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Serra

The brilliant and beautiful Rebekah McComb (that was once her name, anyway) pointed out the Mark Simmons interview with Serra that appeared in Coagula. Serra makes my point in his own words.

RS: Look, I'm not precious about my work. If you get it out into the urban field it's going to be used or misused but it'll also probably provide a way of people acknowledging what the aesthetic is about because people have to confront it every day. If you go into a museum you have to enter into a place that's already said "this is art" you have to view it as art. I think when you put it in the public it has to survive on its own and if it's going to be seen as art that's one thing if it's going to be seen as an extension of a graffiti wall or a kid's playground that's another but neither of those offend me in that I think eventually young people will come to understand that this differentiates itself from architecture, it'll become part of things they know in the world and it'll make the possibility of other people doing things that enter the world more accessible.

At first it may startle some people because it's finally off the pedestal, people can walk around it, they can walk into it, they can do what they want with it. And certainly the history of public sculpture has been disastrous but that doesn't mean it ought not to continue and the only way it even has a chance to continue is if the work gets out into the public. If it doesn't there's no chance at all. I would rather have the voice heard even if misused or fucked with than not have a voice at all.

Some of you have seen my maquette of a urinal in Cor-Ten steel, signed "R. Mutt Serra." Thank you, Marcel Duchamp, thank you very much. It has a lovely patina fashioned with water, sodium chloride, urea, uric acid, and mineral salts.

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