~ALFREDO MARTINEZ .. I.E.D.
RE: BOSTON MARATHON BOMB BLAST – TERROR ATTACK, MON MAY 15, 2013
ALFREDO MARTINEZ, ‘REPLICATE WEAPONS’, hand-built from found parts. life-size. NYC. 2001.
‘QUIET, GUNS & QUILTS – JOSH HARRIS, ALFREDO MARTINEZ & NANCY SMITH’
JUNE 28-JULY 20, 2001
SILVERSTEIN GALLERY, 520 West 21st St, NYC
of course, the other reason ALFREDO MARTINEZ came to mind was in a word: I.E.D. or IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICE.
these are the deadly hand-made bombs that usually terrorize other parts of the world like Afghanistan and Pakistan . . and whose construction are detailed online filed under catchy titles like: HOW TO MAKE BOMBS FROM YOUR MOTHER’S KITCHEN . . and which were also just set off in BOSTON, using common household pressure cookers as the main housing.
of course the big diff is . . ALFREDO’S were art.
they were made to be displayed on your wall, not blown up in your face. period.
what I’m trying to say is . . though I’d rather just take the photos, post them, and leave it at that any day .. is what was so uncanny, auspicious, provocative, and so art-meaningful about Alfredo’s work was that was such a great & bonafide s-i-g-n-i-f-i-e-r . . for what was to come.
circa 2001 – 2013 and counting.
art pioneers and visionaries never strike twice the same way .. but just as surely as ANDY WARHOL delivered us up an advance ticket to the pop imagery and multi-media art forms to follow, and saturate our society, and just as JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT in turn foretold primal chaos and no holds-barred disturbo .. in the face of increasing mass computerism, facebook & digital photoshop . . . as they are fond of saying, “make no mistake” . . Alfredo served up the next decade, starting with the first fizzled-out World Trade Center bombing of 1993, and then the grand daddy, 9-11. going on to targeted mass destruction episodes in Europe and drenching the Mid-East in an on-going blood bath.
and now, Boston.
except in Alfredo’s case, for a number of personal reasons, as well as the collapse of the hard-core art scene into some kind of trust fund baby holding pattern .. and as well the very unconventional non-art, obviously edgy/aggressive content .. there was NO grand art world entry ($$) party. at least on the same upwardly mobile, ascent as followed Warhol and Basquiat.
in retrospect .. looks like extreme times, and its ‘unconventional’ army of extremist/individualistic radicalized warfare .. called out for extreme home-made ordinance. i.e. weapons, and Alfredo nailed it.
art. life. it’s a fine line . . . esp when you are walking on the edge.
in a nutshell: it’s an unknown but compulsive auto-response from the heart and the mind, the seer’s eye looking out .. that produces the bleeding, cutting .. edge.
maybe it’s part of our in-born shamanistic wiring, which in turn enables our ‘artists’ to prepare the tribe for the mind-set . . necessary to deal with, process .. events to come.
at any rate, Alfredo had an innate ability to build weapons. his earliest works were actual working replicas, i.e. guns that worked, that could be fired. they were (DIY) artisinal to the max. they took a long time to produce and as he revved up to fulfill the various gallery exhibits that trickled in, he had to cross quickly over into quicker production, and he started to produced cheaper, truly improvised non-working ‘weapons’ made more from, and for .. the imagination. hot glue held together pipes and tins .. culled from really found parts, as opposed to real .. ‘spare’ parts.
he also started drawing, and his work continued on a purely more poetic .. more formal, traditional art-like path.
he never really blew anything up, ok a small failed explosive device set off on a beach in the Hamptons one summer – singed his face for a while, and there was talk of a few bullets that bounced off target walls, but stopped just this .. short of doing any actual harm.
when the stupidity and elitism of the art world got to him, he turned to ‘art’, as opposed to weapons, to play out his frustration and .. pay the bills. He put out a couple of phony Basquiats .. turned out he was also pretty good at this, too. the ‘caper’ landed him in jail for a couple of years. but the worms did come out of the can, big time and haven’t stopped.
artist estates and letters of authenticity, ha.ha.ha.
ALFREDO MARTINEZ, ‘GUN’, JAN 2011. JOSH HARRIS STUDIO, WILLIAMSBURG. BROOKLYN, NYC.
approx 2 ft x 4-1/2 ft. chalk on canvas painted black.
some of his drawings are more technical. all have a primal ‘charm’. this one veers towards ‘caricature’, and is reminiscent of Keith Haring ‘subway’ chalk drawings.
ALFREDO MARTINEZ, ‘Ordinance’, JAN 2011. white drawing on an actual ironing board painted black.
JOSH HARRIS STUDIO, BROOKLYN, NYC.
actually the fuller title would be … ‘JOSH HARRIS-ordered ‘ordinance’ for Nancy, … cause you owe her . . big guy. big time’.
COLLECTION: NANCY SMITH
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH