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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Gao Bros.

The Gao Brothers have a bunch of stuff on display in the big exhibit hall at my favorite little museum, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

I had to go. I think these two (I treat them here as a unit because as far as I know they always collaborate) as the single most important voice in contemporary art. Survivors of the Cultural Revolution, their work seems to be a form of therapy (after all, their father wasn't so lucky, sent off for re-education and promptly murdered, for which the People's Republic was eventually badgered into compensating the family less than $300).

And there are so many dimensions to their work. They are, of course, all about the ideas, but their Miss Mao sculptures provide levity, mocking the tyrant, which balances out things like The Execution of Christ, a sculpture staged to ape Manet's The Execution of Maximillian.

This last sculpture is one of the most viscerally shocking things I've ever seen. And it rings of truth, though failing to find the real Christ, Mao settled for shooting a few million stand-ins.

Another more somber piece, Mao's Guilt, was leavened not by Mao with tits, but by Mo's mocking his pose.

It was a little bit interesting seeing the reaction on Em's friend who was along. The friend is actually from China, been in the states three or four years I think. Her family owns the Chinese takeout here in town. She thought the Gao Brother stuff was cool until we got to the naked man standing on a TV and the Mao with chrome boobies, then she and Em decided this was all Awkward Turtle and went to see what else the gallery had on offer.

Mo was un-phased by the nudity, she just wanted to pose for pictures in front of everything.

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