Tim Hawkinson: Zoopsia
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  • Los Angeles
  • United States
  • 2007-05-07

Zoopsia, a visual hallucination of animals, is often something attributed to the fantasy of a child. With this in mind, you’ll find little shock in the form of the work Hawkinson is exhibiting at the Getty Center. It’s slightly humorous, but more silly, and for the most part it’s simple. However, this isn’t to say that the work is all out poor.

…this is a comparison with the human body’s aesthetic in the free market

Let’s start with the lesser of the works. Octopus, a conglomeration of photographs taken by Hawkinson, is of course a collage forming the great Mollusc itself: the Octopus. The photographs are of organs, and notably from Hawkinson’s own body. The suckers are his lips, and the flesh is an amalgamation of his fingers and hands. Bat is a hardly excessive part of this repertoire: a small sculpture formed by Radio Shack bags, suspended from the ceiling. Octopus is apparently an observation of the problematic nature of the Octopus’s beauty, when in fact it is a scandalous and ocean harvesting creature. I’m assuming this is a comparison with the human body’s aesthetic in the free market. Wonderfully disruptive for those seeking something that’s as deep as the Pacific trenches themselves — Hawkinson’s work here is not as conceptually texturing as the Getty has suggested in its press release.

…which like most ‘blown up’ eccentricities, looks good

What’s enjoyable is what Hawkinson put in the grand lobby of the Getty. The Überorgan, a giant mess of reservoir balloons resonating a periodic hash of bellowing low notes, is the main attraction. The extremely low exaltations are due to the feed created by a gigantic player piano, which like most ‘blown up’ eccentricities, looks good. It’s something you could expect to see on the bottom floor of the Tate Modern Factory, but strangely in one of the most draconian art institutions in America.

When you visit, make sure you check out the exhibit of John Humble’s photography, ironically an LA artist too. His work is a wonderful documentation of Los Angeles’ architecture and suburbia. Humble is not Bill Owens, but he’s halfway there: there’s some sharp footage of the prevalence of a Latin population, and also the gluttonous exploration of 1950s architecture.

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