Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Steven Arnold

In Search of Benvenuto Cellini

Mechanical Theatre

I only just discovered unfamous, long-gone California artist Steven Arnold (1943-1994), "one of the most prolific unsung forefathers of the burgeoning high art subculture of the '60s, '70s, and '80s." He was (until his early death) remarkably active in a dozen different genres, styles, modes. From what I have seen so far, the extensive series of black-and-white tableaux vivants sampled here represent the strand of Arnold's work that interests me the most.

The Sovereign Right of Self-Discovery

The Card Reading

Prayer for the Cure

Inseminating the Marvelous

Connecting to the Infinite

Apogee of the Idea

Wreaking with Inclinations

"Sometimes I’m not sure I like being nailed to the word tableaux, even though it’s the one I myself use most often in referring to these pieces.  I also think of them as magical Rorschach tonkas.  The word tonka implies a certain usefulness as an object for meditation.  I like that.  What the hell.  Call them tablonkas!  Or tongleaux!  Whatever they are, I’ve found a great happiness in this form.  It uses every part of me.” 

Images and quotes -- Steven Arnold Archive