Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh when the penguins.. oh when the penguins... go marchin' in... go marchin' in... oh when the penguins go marchin in...

Oh, yeah, baby!

It's time for the march of the penguins, those lovable little tuxedoed tricksters whose favorite song certainly must be Five For Fighting's "Superman."

But barring their similarity to bowling pins, and our ever growing fascination with them-- "Happy Feet," "Wallace and Gromit," "March of the Penguins," Opus, etc., they're good little soldiers.

Follow the leader is not a game to them, but a way of life.

They also take care of their own, huddling together for warmth and protection.

And this is just what artist Nicolas Touron uses them for in his fantastic exhibition, "Circus," at Virgil de Voldere Gallery.

Setting their obedient little bodies against a backdrop of jetliners crashing into military helicopters, Mr. Touron obviously has taken the cute factor out of the equation; note THEY HAVE NO EYES.

Much in the way of our current administration-- from BOTH parties-- and the complacency that is 2007 Americana, we are definitely marching together as one, but have no clue as to where we're going.

I couldn't help but think of this exhibit once more upon the beginning of my work week, as the L train's staircase at 8th Avenue deviates into two-- one portion going left, one right.

Both staircases end up in the same location on the next platform up.

But interestingly enough (it never fails) the crowd always continues to the left, as I take the road less traveled to the right.

Perhaps group mentality is impossible to overcome, but I find it humorous how the blind just follow so succinctly.

Throughout Touron's exhibit, the theme of his "circus" comes into play-- a three ring one, mind you-- with the exhibit split into three separate "rooms," if you will.

With all the animals locked into warplay here at left-- ("moose-uzi" anyone?)-- you have to wonder just what the artist was thinking when these subjects were grouped together.

I also like the visual monstrosity of the intestinal-like ribbons that run throughout his works, to say nothing of the captive audience of penguins, once again taking center stage.

There is a sculptural centerpiece that is quite eye-catching-- two deers, with antlers permanently interlocked, top-to-bottom, and never to have one triumph over the other.

In much the way we realize the current war we find ourselves in to be unwinnable, with media circuses left and right to provide our poor little soggy brains with feel-good distractions.

"Quick!!! Click on Andy Samberg's newest digital short once again!!! Shit man, it will totally make you forget your wife leaving you, your dad dying, that slipped disc in your herniated back, your third cousin twice removed getting his brains blown to bits on a Ramallah highway, your dog just dying, or the fact the earth is probably going to end in 20 years' time."

After all, this is what America is now currently all about-- a muddled mess of intersecting highways, brought about by "technology."

I love how Touron's so subtle in his references, but it really makes you think.

The exhibit is up until October 20th.

For more information, go to:


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