los-angeles

Terry Allen

L.A. Louver

As bronze sculptures go, a male bust being whacked in the back of the head with a baseball bat is pretty appealing. This image becomes all the more pleasurable in the context of a gallery, where violence is usually kept safely at arm’s length—denounced as political atrocity, or repressed through earnest yammerings about gender and politics. Consider all the figures who have achieved the status of bronze or plaster bustdom and try and restrain yourself from taking a baseball bat to the back of at least one esteemed cortex. The striking of a skull also speaks of the need for art that takes viewers metaphorically outside their everyday heads, not via textbook didacticism but with unexpected imagery and language. The male figure in Terry Allen’s National Pastime I, 1991, dressed in a suit and tie, is less disturbed than one might expect by the impact of the bat. Though his flying tie is frozen

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