Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Military Entomology Holiday: TOYS-war-US

As Christmas approaches amidst a collapsing monetary empire, it seems appropriate to reflect upon the true meaning of the season: Toys. A recent court settlement given to Mattel calls for the seizure and destruction of millions of Bratz dolls, who in turn become victims of a thought crime perpetrated by their creator. The dolls are guilty only of being better looking and cooler than Barbie. The impending genocide must give us pause. Why on Earth would a toy company want to execute millions of dolls? Aside from the lost labor hours, materials and promotion costs, these are actual, usable dolls, and should be given to Toys for Tots or somehow otherwise distributed to children who will appreciate them. Obviously Mattel is more interested in money than kids. Humbug!
What has capitalism done to deserve such clout? When did money become more important than life? Can life exist without it? While we were enjoying the excesses that credit allowed, workers in China were toiling to fuel it, slaves for us all, hidden deep behind doors we would rather not open, like the animals in our stomachs and the gasoline in our tanks. The cold fact is, our lifestyles have been fed to us at the expense of many others, and in the end, even the customers at home are unimportant to these corporate bohemoths.
In Autumn 2006 I made a big bug from plastic toy soldiers, all hand-painted in China, which I purchased at a discount store in my Brooklyn neighborhood for 75 cents each. It was displayed during the Spring of 2007 in the front window of the Tacheles art center in Berlin's Mitte. I was struck at the time with the significance of putting a creature made from dismembered soldiers on the floor of a building that had been part of the Nazi government, and had been heavily bombed during the Allied invasion of Berlin. Real body parts from the past became plastic in the future as, phoenixlike, rose my MILIpede, 15 feet long, to greet hip young Berliners as they passed back and forth between the local purveyors of art and alcohol. Danke!
Today, two years later, I find myself revisiting the theme.
Two weeks ago, faced with the sudden loss of an already meager income, I found myself inventing a limited addition of Insects built from Army Men. Geared to sell before X-mas, they would all have catchy names to broaden their market appeal. The first would be "G. Fly Joe", the real American Hero.
The arms and legs were mounted as to maintain pose-ability, and the wings are made from machine guns.
I see these as a collaboration between myself and an unknown Chinese painter. Each is wholly unique and definitely handmade.
Next came "Beetle Bailey".
Two soldiers unite to form his underbelly.
Each has two poses, straddling the divide between insect and man as only art can.
Lastly, and most appropriately, I endeavored to create "Army Ants".
An edition of 6 was created for each "species".

Economic hardship pricing goes as follows:

Army Ant: $20

G. Fly Joe: $30

Beetle Bailey: $40

Act fast if interested. Orders beyond the current stock will be honored but may take several days for assembly. Please contact me regarding availability. Local pick-up/delivery in NYC, or can be shipped anywhere express. Happy Holidays!

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