Thursday, August 9, 2007

involuntary memory #1

Bill Butt's "WAMBA" was a scandal in Detroit in 1973 when it was removed from the 59th Exhibition for Michigan Artists at the Detroit Institute of Arts. If there hadn't been a scandal I might not have ever been aware of it, & w/o remembering exact circumstances I know I saw it as it had what seemed a disturbing effect on me: not knowing what it meant exactly I knew that whatever it might be I would want to see more. I was 13 at the time. In the dullness of my life I became aware of "something more" although it was unclear what that might entail & that something more seemed to generate from my body. This was a scary but an altogether new consciousness. In retrospect I could say that becoming aware of sexuality was also a way of aware of my own autonomy. I had probably seen the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers with its cover by Andy Warhol which visually is reminiscent of the work, but I don't recall any connection to it, but the relative explicitness of WAMBA was altogether of a much different impact. It was as if I had learned a secret. Susanne Hilberry showed the work again in 2003 in an exhibit entitled Detroit, Detroit - if by chance I hadn't seen it on line then, I would probably not have recalled the name or title.

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