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Popization #1

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: June 5, 2019

Artist Description: Make It Pop  

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Popization #1 is a clear precursor of what’s to come. Created early on in artist Eburgami’s career (minted on June 5th, 2019), Popization #1 possesses so much of the visual language that will come to characterize Eburgami’s later works, but more than that, it is almost like a declaration of purpose for the overt Pop Art styling which is to come later, a Pop Art inspired at times by the NBA, elsewhere by Looney Tunes. It’s actually quite fascinating, digging through Eburgami’s works. At times, you find him exploring realistically-textured 3D objects ala Arc4g, whereas elsewhere his explorations of geometry reminds me of a more structured Dmitri Cherniak. He displays an aptitude for animation and cartoon drawing. He reveals a wonder with pixels. His 3D renderings are really good. And we watch him go through entire artistic epochs simply by scrolling through his Superrare page. There is a multi-part Floating City series. There is a quick jaunt into generative art. There are a few dozen pixelated athletes and artists. And yet everything seems to point back to Popization #1, one of two works in Eburgami’s Popization series, and his exploration of the very most basic Pop-Art aspirations. Popization #1 is irreverent, of the moment, and flashy as all hell. As a work of pop art on its own, it's mighty impressive. As a functioning prescience within Eburgami’s artistic canon, it’s kind of unbelievable. 

As mentioned, the piece functions as both a declaration of artistic intent and a declaration of artistic ability. The central figure of exploration here is the marble-cut skull of a Greco-Roman sculpture. It might well be the David, but even scouring Google Images, I can’t find a way to be sure. Positioned huge and in the center of the frame, it remains stagnant while a series of shifting color and markings are superimposed on and around it. Sometimes this takes the form of graffiti-lines dancing in the background, as if a vandal has snuck into the Louvre and spray-painted the white walls behind the artworks. Elsewhere, a blue-and-red lightning bolt is painted directly onto the sculpture’s face, a clear homage to David Bowie. White marker marks outline the face, or green marker marks draw glasses and a mustache on it, like we’re dealing with a neer-do-well juvenile delinquent armed with a Sharpie. The colors are constantly changing. They come and go in time to an invisible rhythm. 

Clearly, there’s no sacrosanct respect for the sculpture showcased here. It is treated as a blank object itself, a blank slate upon which Eburgami can experiment, drowning it in his own whims and techniques. The artistry that Eburgami displays here isn’t exactly on the level of technical brilliance, but it borrows the Warhol-esque fascination with destruction and reinterpretation of otherwise “sacred” objects. In Warhol’s case, of course, that meant commercial items. Here, perhaps Eburgami is commenting on the commercialism of old-world art, how it’s all stuffed into expensive museums, and when historical analysis lifts up certain pieces as important, it justifies the exorbitant prices these museums charge, essentially turning things like The David and Venus de Milo and Winged Victory into tourist attractions, no different than some drive-thru suburban safari or the world’s largest rocking chair, something devoid of meaning other than that which is artificially pumped into it. For more reading on the subject, see Don Delillo’s White Noise, which features The World’s Most Photographed House.

The Greco-Roman sculpture here is given the same treatment that a picture of an elementary school teacher would when they leave the room for a moment, letting that aforementioned delinquent go to town on their likeness. It’s a sniveling, scowling kind of anarchism Eburgami employs here, one designed as much to make an observer smile as it is to comment on historical precedent or devotion to old-world art. Eburgami will spend much of his oeuvre exploring this same concept, taking sacred images from different spheres —religious, athletic, artistic— and poking fun at them, drawing mustaches on them with bright marker, if you will, but he always stops himself before climbing to the level of anything truly destructive or angry. I don’t detect any anger in this piece. I almost get the impression that the Greco-Roman sculpture is only the object of irreverence because it’s the thing closest to him. I can feel Eburgami’s surliness steaming off of the sculpture as if unattached to it, which makes me feel as if his emotions aren’t necessarily connected to the sculpture, but to whatever Eburgami can get his hands on. The other Popization work features the Christ the Redeemer statue that stands high above Rio de Janeiro. And there neither does Eburgami seem to be displaying any rage; not at religion, not at fanaticism, not at groupthink. Look through Eburgami’s works, and you’ll find a perpetual lack of bite, a lack of malice. He is not trying to tear things down or expose their inner hypocrisies. He is just, in many of these cases, a rabble-rouser, showcasing his anti-authoritarianism in the same spots where a lesser artist may not be able to effectively keep from falling into full-on, alienating disdain. Eburgami never reaches that point. He never pushes the audience away. Everything in his oeuvre is a joke, but the thing is, you and I are always in on it.

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