american kitsch

For this installation/tableau I was interested in continuing my thinking on nostalgia, but this time creating more of  emotional contrast in the juxtaposition of elements.  I found these wonderful Darth Vader cow skull robot things (circa 1980?) at a flea market–cracked, chipped, and basically garbage. I still can’t figure out what they are or what they were intended for. (decoration I assume– but for what occassion exactly?)

American Kitsch is an observation on Americana and domesticity, playing with the icons (kitsch) we hold sacred.  It is a question of American identity and what these iconic objects mean to us now in terms of how we subjectively recall the ‘good old days’ and incorporate these false memories into a national narrative and consciousness. The cow skulls are of course evocative of the romantic/macho American Wild West, simultaneously updated and distorted by the skull’s unusual robotic details around the mouth and the fact that they and the dinette set are both made of chipped and broken plastic.  The six skulls loom (absurdly) over the table-as-icon of idealized American home life and femininity, balancing and threatening its sanctity and femaleness. The piece functions within the realm of cliché while the objects’ individual kitschiness interact to arrive at a new question/perspective of contemporary life.


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