Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ultimately, it's all about me

Art, aside from being the first form of writing, is ultimately about the artist. Art say "Me me me!"

Now, as the first form of writing, art gave us two things: narratives, and lies. Prior to art as writing, or writing as art, we could all of us be bullshit artists like Donald Trump. Not worry about the truth, or lies, and not have to keep track of truth or lies we told to stay consistent. We just made shit up on the fly and eff you if you didn't buy into it.

But, long before man first put stone upon stone and called himself civilized, he drew shit on walls. And the minute that happened, canon was produced, an official story line, a baseline narrative from which all offset variants would be compared and measured. And so, official lies came into existence. We went from the Dreamtime, where everything goes, to a linear constraint of narrative. Any digression was suddenly suspect, no longer open to play.

So, art is a curse and a blessing. Art braids that peculiar rope of bullshit we call history.

And one of the most important aspects of history is being in it. Being memorable.

Which gets us back to "ME ME MEEEE!

I got into the Rockford Art Museum's Midwestern Biennial. Again. Third successive time. With two pieces in the show. I love Rockford Art Museum.

The two pieces are The Stockmen.
The Stockmen

and Runt of the Litter.
"Runt Of The Litter"

I also got The Smokemakers shipped back to me from the Disruption show at Grounds For Sculpture.
The Smokemakers

Imagine my surprise when, reading through the May issue of Sculpture Magazine, I find an article by Ilene Dube about the Disruption show, More importantly, at the very end of the article is a mention about my work! I'll quote it:
John Kurman (CSI) also explores the future in The Smokemakers, two figures who appear to be fending off chemical warfare with vacuum cleaners, oilcans, and plumber's tools. Though fighting futuristic forces, they are using very 20th-century weapons. their faces, covered with rectangular bronze blocks, look like they are ready to press something at the cleaner. Kurman's other works hint that the enemy might be a bug.
Thanks, Ilene, and I gladly accept the interpretation. It occurs to me that, on prior occasions, things I have made were physical manifestations of subconscious or unconscious themes or matters of import that my shallow little conscious self was not entirely aware of, or preferred to ignore or deny. All those angry kidney objects kind of presaged the kidney problems I had. And I don't like bugs, but I keep on making them,.. so there must be something there.

I think Ilene's take helped me solidify an ongoing worry of mine, and don't laugh because this is going to sound ardently very high school, but Global Warming.

Here we are, on our way to 4C degree warmer earth. People are in denial or apathetic about it. If things don't change, we end up that much warmer sooner rather than later as a result of something called the 2nd derivative. (Change accelerates). Well, folks, some will ask "What's wrong with a warmer earth? I wouldn't mind that!"

I'll tell you what's wrong with that. Bugs. Big and little bugs. Big bugs, as in arthropoda, in the form of pests and parasites, and things that dearly love to eat our crops. Crops that we will have a smaller and smaller area to grow in due to the coming Big Squeeze (not just flooding of coastlines, and that's on its way big time, but extreme weather, and latitudinal diminishment of living space and habitat). Also little bugs, germs that dearly love to get us sick and sickly. And the bugs in between, the parasitic blood worms and metazoans like malaria and chagas, elephantiasis and other grisly awful shit. Things that were deterred by deep freezes will no longer be deterred.

That's what a 4C warmer world promises. Not a tropical paradise. As an Englishman of my acquaintance once explained: "If you are not fortunate to be at a resort, the Tropics are pure hell". And the problem with combating this problem, is so far, we are using last century's weapons and methods, because we always end up fighting the wrong war. So, it's all coming, even if we fight it.

(Which is the definition of conservatism: a futile attempt to preserve the status quo).

Long before the 22nd Century, the signpost up ahead: Welcome to Pure Hell.

Time to rewrite my artist's statement.


  1. we are in the middle of and the cause of another extinction wave which will eventually come around to us. we are making the planet uninhabitable for ourselves.

  2. This whole blog is your fucking artist's statement. Think 4 dimensional baby bubble!