May 27, 2016

5/24/2016 – Objects of Import with Anthony Marcellini

Artist: Anthony Marcellini

Location: Rose’s Fine Food


AM – Coffee (black), On Fleek Platter

SRS – Coffee (black), Chi-Chi Rice

It’s always great to get a chance to talk to Anthony Marcellini, because that’s when you get to hear about the detailed effort and research he has put into his process. Marcellini is crossing the streams of art historical consciousness and painstaking general history research. He’s a bit of a nerd, is what I’m saying (takes one to know one). It’s interesting to discover an artist who makes work from a conceptually similar foundation to your own, that looks utterly different on the surface. Anthony’s current show, City of Restless Objects, deals directly with Detroit, and takes a kind of forensic approach to its history. This is similar to an installation he did in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he lived prior to Detroit – Even a Perfect Crime Leaves a Trace was exhibited at the Gothenburg Konsthall, and sought to investigate the institution’s 100 year history. As Anthony was talking about Gothenburg artist Nils Olof Bonnier, and a honeycomb motif employed in that exhibit which coincides with a systems theory Bonnier developed suggesting a non-hierarchical approach to order, it occurred to me that we have quite a lot of crossover in terms of our relationship with objects as evidence of process and history.

I think one of the main points of divergence in Anthony’s investigation of objects, versus my own, is that he is into object-oriented ontology, which kind of looks at objects as very dispassionate observers that have a life beyond their relationship with humans. I think of objects as being vehicles for human energy, that we are capable of leaving an imprint on objects through familiarity and use – something palpable that affects the feel of a place. It’s why I hate suburban developments – the whole thing was made and implemented as one piece, so there is no diversity to the objects or the energy. Indeed, homogeneity is the goal.

We talked a lot about race, which is unavoidable in the context of Detroit history. At its worst, racism is fear and hatred, but there is a different, even more insidious kind of racism that is really just laziness. I mentioned the excellent blog, Yo, is This Racist, which is a great way to lowkey inform yourself and learn to deal with institutionalized racism on a case-by-case basis. You can send in your own questions, and the incomparable Andrew Ti will tell you if it’s racist (spoiler alert: yes, it is). He’s also the only person in the world who thinks “DEEZ NUTS” is funnier than I do, and for that I will always love him.

I’m wrapping things up here, because we’re running up on a holiday weekend, and why are you even looking at your computer right now. Stop it. Go outside. If you need a destination, it’s the last weekend to see “Cities of Restless Objects” and the group exhibition “Grammars of Place” at Simone DeSousa Gallery, which runs through Sunday, May 29. If you are far from Detroit and would like a virtual walkthrough of the show, he’ll be giving them via Skype, WhatsApp or FaceTime on Sunday. You can let him know if you would like a tour:


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