Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Last year, I received an email from an artist in nearby Pittsburgh with a curious request.  In the final year of a three year MFA program at Carnegie-Mellon in sculpture, Jonathan Armistead wanted me (ME!) to sit on his graduate advisory committee.  How could I resist an offer to shape the final, indelible moments of a single artist's academic career?

As you might expect, Jonathan's work follows the sinewy, comedic contours of sexuality, masculinity, and creativity that shape my own interest.  His final thesis project re-imagines the conventional public fountain as a site of private satisfaction.  Jonathan privileges the mundane paraphernalia common to any typical online masturbation ritual-- the quotidian office chair (painted in flesh-like approximation), the Kleenex box (quivering, vaginal), the lotion bottle-- to corral us all a little closer to that discomforting triangulation of boredom, urgency, and alienation which often define articulations of pleasure.  That's my take at least, as his adviser.    

It was more fun than I expected to sit on the firing end of a critique.  It wasn't too long ago that I completed my own MFA.  I hope Jonathan appreciated it as much as I did.  Sometimes I think you learn more as a teacher than a student.  To see more of Jonathan's brilliant work, click HERE.    


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