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INVOLVEMENT SHOW STATEMENT
By STANLEY FISHER (1961)
Published in: Lurie, Boris; Krim, Seymour: NO!art, Cologne 1988
Involvement hits below the belt. And at the private parts above, too. It deals a lethal blow to the ideology of dog eat dog. There is no escape here. Even your deodorants will sweat. No ivory tower of dribbling design or cocktail color.
You will never be the same , nor will you want to be after viewing this show which is galvanizing art into a modern crisis.
The new March Gallery is a citadel for the idealistic, and bastion for those who would like to make a last stand against the commercial depredation of uptown galleries. We stand on the threshold of a new art, and art committed to speak out, an art involved with issues. We are not afraid of confronting the Hiroshima Hells and Buchenwalds of a world in trouble. We offer no tranquilizers. We face the truth. But to become the truth is blasphemous, and we have become the truth.
Anti-art uses all the groping varicose brains of science fiction and the Pin-up cheesecake of the calendar magazines and the gloss of Life and Times and the plush-slush comic strips and the byzantine Boweries of Lower Broadway and the balling Off-Broadway and Buchenwald and H-bombs bopping and the colored condoms of that detention-dimension, Hollywood, and its vomitorium of video.
Anti-art is the art in which men are blue, monsters are framed-up and beasts leap from stool pigeon penthouses of pink-mink. It is the art in which meeting the ground at 100000 miles an hour becomes glamorous and tires are made from the belly button. Mickey Mouse travels to Laos with Saint Dulles and is murdered by a snowball that has been blown from Tibet by a forty-five millimetre monk. He decides that Doom is more sporting in Los Angeles where plate windows make bad wings of blood on their victims. Mad Magazine undersells a brassiere factory and all chic's in NYC wear shirts stuffed with Alfred E. Neuman and he tickles too like crazy. What a scene on subways, automate, laundromat, ladies room, powder room, blue room, and Hawaiian room! Marilyn Monroe is found with an ash tray filled with my shirt sleeves and I am accused of unsightly littering. They stretch my skin over a light bulb in Alcatreaz and the motes of murder shine in Shanghai when they press that switch. A menstrual flow against gravity stuns scientists. The March Gallery is lynched.
This is the stuff of which anti-art is made.
Art cannot be measured or defined any more than love. The depths of a kiss cannot be fathomed, nor can art. Both are inscrutable. Love, the most transitory of acts meets art, the most accidental of loves. Both are meaningful only insofar as the involvement is passion. And passion leads to what is unmastered in the beyond. In the death of all things is our world of uncommitted shallowness, the need for passion and involvement become a death and life struggle. And violence becomes the parody of futility. I believe in a new art of committed violence. I believe art should destroy all things before they become utilitarian symbols of useless longevity; before they become fuses to our own high-priced destruction. As most art galleries are padlocked behind their sinister commercial dreams, I search for this new art in the comic strip and the tabloid sheet. Here you see the catastrophe, the avalanche, the flood, the tidal hurricanes, the carnal holocausts and the inadvertent so actual that planes meet above Staten Island in hectic rendezvous with two boroughs, plowing snow with blood in one, and razing garnished steeples and serene funeral parlors in the other. Smoke terror flames crawling like schizophrenic lightening in beauty parlors and garages, into the starch of Chinese laundries, into the fuming wax of imitation begonias, into the detergents of dusky groceries. Here momentarily life is renewed and the fear of affirmation vanquished. This is the new art, the shock art, the anti-art that is preparing us for the H-bomb sodomy and the seasickness of a violent death.
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Stanley Fisher was a part of the New York "No Art" Movement of the late 1950's-early 1960's. He was an agitator and a beatnik publisher at this time. His art work is mainly crudely collagistic in form, containing many newspaper clippings and iconic features: either of Marilyn Monroe or other celebs amidst lurid tabloid headlines. Invariably his work focussed on social issues of the time: civil rights, the rights of African-Americans, women and the growing perniciousness of American materialism. His work is privately owned, although there is one large scale collage in the Rockefeller Gallery. ►MORE