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Cavity Creep 2

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: January 4, 2020

Artist Description: We know a place in Fukuoka where you can get a thick and chewy pie like this... just watch out for the pizaageist! [2152 x 2987 pixels]  

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

The art style may have changed, but the sensibility has remained intact through five years, across five blockchains, and for many hundreds of pieces. Of course, that sensibility is as sprawling and irreverent as the internet itself, but that’s the thing about Obxium’s work: It screams internet, it embodies internet culture, and no matter what the subject of Obxium’s interest is, it feels like the artist’s exploration of that concept is uniquely internet adept. This is an artist who sings in the language of the internet, not just in literal art style, but in the meme-like intonation and mood of their pieces. The art styles themselves, however, speak equally to an internet obsessive sensibility. Obxium’s Superrare oeuvre is almost evenly split into two sections; chronologically speaking, the modern Obxium uses 3D modeling and texture as the basis of their work, whereas the historical Obxium prefers flat surfaces, paper shapes, and a presentation in the style of a poster. It is the work of this historical Obxium that made its way into MOCA’s Genesis Collection, and it’s this kind of work we have before us today. Cavity Creep 2, the piece in question, is odd. Hyper-colorful, zany, full of bizarre detail, and somewhat unknowable, it encapsulates so much of frantic online culture, and it does so without overwhelming us with visual information. I’m not sure there will be thinkpieces written on it and its merits, but it nevertheless achieves an extremely rare feat: It introduces us to its artist fully and immediately. It brings us quite a few steps further into Obxium’s hyper-colorful, zany, and somewhat unknowable brain. 

I say unknowable because the images that are present here obviously have some relationship, some ulterior meaning, that is not necessarily captured or reflected in the piece itself. Perhaps it has something to do with the Artisti Description, which reads, “We know a place in Fukuoka where you can get a thick and chewy pie like this... just watch out for the pizaageist!” I can assume the pizzageist is the pizza-skinned ghost that, yes, makes an appearance here, one of its eyes a swirling vortex of saltwater taffy colors, the other a black spacey sky filled with a few blue, twinkling stars. It is the proposed mascot of the fake company which this piece is a poster for: Pizza-Haunt, written in big blocky red letters along the bottom edge of the image, a parody of Pizza Hut’s logo. Above the pizzageist is a giant tooth, cracked in the center, wearing a multicolored hat which features two anthropomorphized cherries. All of this sits upon a seafoam-green background checkered in graph-paper lines. In the bottom right corner, there’s a little icon of an old-fashioned camera, not too far off from what the Instagram logo once looked like.

And if you’re confused about how all these disparate images originally came to be placed next to one another, I’m not sure there’s an answer there. This is collage in a sense, although collage with a clear purpose; a random construction this is not. The various allusions to pizza, the tooth itself and its relation to the act of eating, the appearance of cherries, the title of the piece itself, Cavity Creep 2. This is the second of four pieces in the Cavity Creep series, where in each one the selfsame white tooth occupies the central part of the image, while a parodic business name spreads out horizontally beneath it. The tooth always wears a hat (what a lovely sentence). The tooth is always damaged in one certain spot. But colors change, backgrounds change, and secondary detail change. Ours is the only to feature the pizzageist. Ours is one of two to directly reference food. 

I think the lack of clear connection between the images in each Cavity Creep iteration is actually a tremendous strength. I think it so clearly reflects and exposes meme culture, if not Twitter culture, and the way we are often presented with information sans context, removed from an in-joke because of either a lack of paying attention or a too-late arrival.

Because I have to believe that there is underlying logic to this piece’s composition, and that it’s on me for not understanding it. Obxium has been making crypto art for five years, much longer than I (or most) have been in the space. Whatever facets of crypto art history are referenced here are perhaps beyond me. They are perhaps beyond my knowledge and my ability ever to know. That makes a piece like Cavity Creep 2 an encapsulation of a very specific moment in time, perhaps using the visual language of that moment as the glue which holds these varied images and aspects together. That’s one of crypto art’s great strengths, its ability to reflect hyper-specific epochs and emotions. What was the crypto art world like on January 4, 2020 when Cavity Creep 2 was minted? There may be no way of knowing other than Obxium’s pieces and those in their vein. Cavity Creep 2 could well be a historical record. That it features a Pizza ghost is just bonus. It’s extra cheese, so to speak. 

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