"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, May 28, 2010

Terry Allen

The University of Texas Press publishes a book on Terry Allen's life in art, with commentary by David Hickey, Marcia Tucker and Michale Ventura...

But, as Hickey notes, Terry Allen is not your average art book.

It begins with an essay, written by David Hickey in 1992, called "Born In A Trailer: Borne Forth Upon the Perfect Ship" which considers Allen's Juarez project. A project that began as a suite of drawings and "constructions" in the 1960s, morphed into a song cycle and back into art through water colors, poems, photographs, a screenplay, lithographs, etc. Constantly evolving and never ending.

As Hickey puts it (quite abstractly, I might add):

"Consider the persona of the "artist" as subsequent to the work, terminal, really. In the beginning, history, culture, geography, family, and accident conspire to make a man who, as a consequence of these circumstances, marries a woman, has a family, and makes a work that projects (onto the image of its beholders) an "artist" who, by virtue of his (or her or its) status is, literally, an afterthought, who constitutes a world backwards from the outside in, inscribing an inner world with dynamics of the outer: a vast, contingent weather system, always rewriting and never repeating itself--relegating race, gender, and "personality" to the status of "local color" (determined from the inside out), thus reconstituting consciousness (or something like it) as motion--as an atmosphere of perpetual turbulence through which, on the wings of desire, lie flocks of birds, wishes make their buffeted and unrequited way, and from which they rarely escape into the reflection of their imagination--and then only to precipitate disaster. So, the wish and the world are mirrors facing. There is nothing behind them, or inside them, only a multiplicity of worlds and wishes infinitely reflected, inscribed, and interfaced--and absolutely distinct, walled off from one another by the skins of everything--animals, humans, nations, the earth itself--a library of palimpsests and nothing more."

A glorious run-on sentence that attempts to describe what Allen did with with ever-shifting concept of Juarez.

Inside the book are reproductions of Allen's work, from script, photographs, paintings, etc. I can't even begin to describe the contents. It's just too detailed and immense to summarize. Check it out.

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