Purple Squirt

I was several days into working on my current painting, a duplicate of a Claude Monet seascape, an exercise which was intended to provide hands-on experience with that artist’s application technique.

Professor Blackburn quietly slipped behind and observed me for several moments.  He broke the silence by talking to me about my recent work and some artists that would be great for me to know better.

Each of the names he rattled off were completely unfamiliar to me, and I admitted so.  Professor Blackburn iterated that if I cared to be a serious professional artist, I needed to know more about contemporary artists and their works.  His advice was to visit the library and devour as many art magazines I could.

Later that week, I took his advice and went to the Willis Library.  Downstairs, amongst the looming stacks of periodicals, I grabbed one issue at random: Art in America, from October 1995.  Just as randomly, I popped it ppen to a page near the end.  It was then I first learned of artist Keith Boadwee.

An excerpt from the article, which contains an opening sentence that’s better that anything in my own blog:

It’s difficult to imagine any situation in “polite company” where talk of anal secretions is appropriate. But for Keith Boadwee, his derriere is the realm of art, or, more accurately, it is the means of fabrication of his art.

My interest was piqued. Continuing:

Boadwee makes “butthole paintings”: using enema bags, he injects himself full of egg tempera paint. Then he aims his body so that the paint goes where he wants it. Sometimes he sits down alongside a horizontal canvas; at other times he stands the canvas, climbs a ladder and, perched atop the stretcher, allows the paint to run down.

Then accompanying the article was a shot of Kurt in the midst of composing the word “Untited (Purple Squirt)”.  I attempted to find an image of Purple Squirt online, but it appears that The Internets are far too good for such exposure (update: I found it!).  But this and a later work properly capture his essence.

The end of the article summed up my amusement:

Freud might have something to say about the artist’s good-natured butt love, but I don’t know what.

I finished the article, then read the rest of the issue from cover to cover.  But from that point on, I would have a hard time objectively judging any work of art without first wondering if it had a comparable measure of pretentiousness.