Among the artists representing the United States at the upcoming Venice Biennale is a man who embodies all that is true and noble about our fair country, a figure for whom the tenets put forth by the Founding Fathers are hallowed and guiding principles. That, and he enjoys a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon when getting a blowjob.
At least, that’s the rationale for Tony Matelli’s Ideal Woman (1998-99). Ideal, you say? Sure: The woman is the right height to perform fellatio without having to get on her knees; she has no teeth; and she possesses a flat skull upon which one can rest a bottle of beer. Matelli based the piece on a vaguely remembered cartoon from the pages of Hustler–which is, apparently, reason enough to realize it in three dimensions.
Oh, and the features of Ideal Woman were based on Matelli’s girlfriend of the time. Ah, love!
I don’t know if Ideal Woman will be appearing at the Biennale, but something similarly slick and sophomoric will; that is, after all, Matelli’s forté. In the meantime, there are pictures to be painted, laundry to be washed and international art fairs to be bemused by.
© 2011 Mario Naves