I did it myself. Now, how about you?

Inside me is a failed Mark Rothko, William De Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns.  I could go on and on.

But, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is an exhibit from a Mexican artist/sculptor, Damian Ortega, a former political cartoonist, who does not fail.

He takes real world objects, like a VW Bug (the most popular car by far in Mexico City) in its pre-painted gray shell (no trademark VW colors for this artist) and disassembles, then re-assembles it in  his own space saucer way.  It is hovering over the gallery floor in multiple suspended layers of nuts and bolts, tires and rims, engines and gears, fenders and rounded hood and headlights.  Your eyes recognize what it is but it is the artist’s genius to take that which is utterly commonplace on the streets, put it in an unlikely spot, and  just recreate the hell out of it, so you see it for the first time.

The name of the exhibit is “Do it Yourself”.

At a time when the artist had no money, he rearranged the chairs in his apartment into a sculpture of balance about six feet tall.

He made me marvel, think, and laugh.  Videos without narration, just the ambient sounds, of common earth objects, slabs of stones, set up like dominoes on a drab abandoned moonscape looking industrial backyard, and then one falls into another and they all, one by one, fall over until the very last stone falls over and into a puddle splat!

Splat right back to you, Damian Ortega, you are a gifted human being.

I took several photographs of common place, overlooked objects:  the huge tires of a stilled earth mover left at a construction site, the rims of the tires, and the macadam and sand that it was resting on.  And added a few rust spots from a trash can.

I have posted them all and they can be downloaded for the ‘Do It Yourself’ Challenge.  Forget about Christmas shopping, add this creative challenge to your To-Do list.  Here is the link where you can download the photos.

Join me, will you?  Make something from one of the photographs or all.  Do with them what you will: take them apart and put them back together again in a new way.

Do it yourself.

Then post it and let us know.

Until then, I am trying a balance sculpture with all the olive oil bottles I have (I was informed that I have more olive oil than Mario Batali) that I shall post on “The Bad Chef” in video form some day in the future, hopefully, right after I post the final episode of my sticky buns fiasco—which if I’d been on the ball I’d have taken all the failed buns, piled them high and recreated the hell out of them.  Trust me, they needed all the re-creation that the muses could muster.

©Pat Coakley 2009


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