Monday, March 6, 2017

An Art Project

Carrie Brownstein (Sleater Kinney)
16 x 12 inches, oil on canvas paper.
Carrie, played by Carrie Brownstein, gets her purse ripped away from her on the streets of Portland. Her attacker, resembling the artist Ai Wei Wei, explains that the act is work of performance art exploring and challenging ideas of ownership. The scene is the first in a chain of events in which Carrie and co-star Fred (played by Fred Armison) are confronted by ever increasingly nightmarish works of performance art. The final work of performance art shown is when Carrie’s mother tells her that she was conceived as art, a collaboration between her mother and father. A label on the wall reads: “Carrie, penis and vagina, 1974.” Two Asian characters walk in the room. They have just purchased this art work, Carrie screams and runs. The scene is from the third season of Portlandia, a series on IFC (Independent Film Channel).

The scene, combining stereotypes with a profound knowledge of art, is a hilarious parody portraying contemporary performance art. Portlandia is aimed at a well educated urban audience. The effect however, witnessing from the many comments made by viewers on different social media outlets, is that it deepens the schism between art and (the general) audience. The artist stereotypes in the scene, dubbed “It’s an art project,” are reinforced by the audience, who believe the parody is exactly how it is for real.

Carrie Brownstein (b. 1974, Seattle) is a musician, writer and actress known for her groundbreaking work in riot grrrl rock band Sleater Kinney. Co-star in Portlandia Fred Armison (b. 1966, Harrisburg, MS), best known as cast member of Saturday Night Live, also has a history in punk rock. He was drummer for Trenchmouth (1988-1996, Chicago).

No comments:

Post a Comment