Bill Powers

Bill discusses why Young's work was so successful (and tells us the correct way to pronounce Kymia's name).

on Oct 26, 2011

I called Kymia's installation an example of product displacement. It shined a light -- quite literally -- on issues of environmentalism and consumerism without reading like an AdBusters cover. The fluorescent lights recalled Jeff Koons' pre-new work, and I agree with The Sucklord that her decision to go topless here surprised me. On a side note, I confess that for the first couple of episodes I had trouble pronouncing Kymia's name until someone explained that phonetically it sounds like leukemia without the "leu." Terrible comparison, but hey, it worked.

Young's Prop 8 billboard reminds us that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and Lola dismissing it as political art you see everywhere in California was a disappointment. Street art at its best has the ability to make real change. Does anyone doubt that Shepard Fairey's Obama poster helped him get elected president? The other aspect of Young's piece, which didn't fully read on TV, was how much of a hub it became in the gallery with people writing messages on the back. The participatory quality made everyone a stakeholder in Young's artwork. Rob Pruitt wrote "Will You Marry Me?" in Sharpie and I accepted. (Please don't tell his boyfriend Jonathan Horowitz, another great conceptual artist.)

My problem with Dusty's garbage can was that his message came off like someone wagging a finger in your face and not the call to arms we need in a country full of couch potatoes.