For the uninitiated reader, the following review techniques might seem a tad over-zealous. Thus, let me forestall any confusion: I, Mona St. Westberg, Reviews of the Month art critic, eat every work of art I review. Why, you might ask? Because art is a delicious nutrient for both the body and the soul. Consuming it allows for the utmost absorption of the true essence of the piece. You can read all about my process here. Now, on to the review proper.
Luminary artist Robert Haggis is at it again! Hot on the heels of the critical success of his Dark Lines collection, Haggis has shifted genres and moved into the medium of modern-art sculpture. Given his publicly lauded brilliance, it comes as no surprise that his first construction is an utter masterpiece:
Four Bricks and a Stick
Robert Haggis, wood and fired clay on grass, 2013
Here’s what Haggis himself had to say about this piece:
“So the last couple times I’ve tried to paint or draw anything, that crazy lady from Reviews of the Month has eaten them. Like, actually shoved them into her mouth and swallowed. You understand it as much as I do. Anyway, apparently I have terrible lawyers, so I have no legal recourse to do anything about her. Thus, I have decided to move into a more… difficult medium. They’re pretty easy to swallow when they’re just pieces of paper, huh lady? Well now let’s see you try to eat a pile of bricks! Dig in!”
And “dig in” the art world has! With notes of social commentary and the crunchy undertones of Michelangelo’s David, Four Bricks and a Stick delights both the palate and the mind. It is a haunting look at the effects of industrialization on the beauty of nature. The man-made “bricks” have stripped the “stick” of all its natural charm. And although the stick still lies atop the bricks (symbolizing the inherent superiority of nature), its precarious position seems to indicate that the balance between man and nature is shifting. Clearly, Haggis is the thinking person’s sculptor. And thankfully, his genius has not stopped here.
Haggis’ next work, also a piece of staggering genius, was preceded by this public statement:
“Did you seriously eat all four of those bricks? Fine then! Round two, asshole!”
Eight More Bricks
Robert Haggis, fired clay on sidewalk, 2013
Haggis’ second work of modern sculpture art is far more somber than the first. The bricks have defeated the stick. Multiplied even! On the surface, this piece seems to be only an extension of the themes of his last work. But, as even a layman knows, Haggis’ work is more layered than the finest lasagna. Deeper than the deepest of deep-dish pizzas! Study the arrangement of the bricks. Even, disciplined lines, like soldiers in formation. Man has bred nature out of its very self, replacing it with rigid militaristic conformity. Here, Haggis has utilized the motif of man’s mechanical march of progress to show us the stark realities of the industrialization of war.
“I watched the playback on my security cameras, and I still don’t believe it. You snuck into my backyard and you ate every single one of those bricks. How is that even possible? How could you manage to walk out of there? This is insane! How drastic am I going to have to get before you get the message?”
A Lit Flare
Robert Haggis, conflagration on pavement, 2013
This transcendent piece of modern art offers a savory blend of charm and social criticism. Sure, it may look beautiful, but it also burns like hell. The work is a remark on the fleeting nature of life, and the burning passions of creativity that lie at the heart of every person. That message was certainly not lost on this reviewer! I had to be on the scene within minutes of the unveiling of A Lit Flare in order to scarf down a full understanding of this wonderful piece before it burned out forever. Now, with the taste of red phosphorus still on my lips, I can truly say that Haggis has created another masterpiece!
“Mona. Listen. I have no idea why your insides haven’t melted into blackened sludge after eating that flare. Nor why you’re doing any of this in the first place. All I wanted was for you to stop eating my art. I don’t know if you’re trying to prove a point or if you’re genuinely crazy, but this has to end. For your sake as much as mine. I am going to do one last modern art piece; if you’re stupid enough to take the bait on this one, then I have no more pity for you.
Walk away Mona. Just admit you were wrong, and leave me alone. Or, well, ‘dig in’ I guess.”
Mona St. Westberg’s Hand
Robert Haggis, Mona’s Hand on Silk, 2013
This work is the ultimate exploration of the personal nature of art. It provides the viewer a stark look into the fragility of flesh and what it really means to not have a hand anymore. Haggis does an excellent job of drawing us into this work, making us feel truly invested in it.
Some may say that I am a little biased here. They will profess that the reason I feel particularly attached to this piece is because it caused me to eat my own hand. But who are they to claim understanding of such a complex work of art when they have not truly experienced it as I have?
I must say this, however: although I never regret my choice of career, I do tend to find myself reflecting on the often melancholy nature of art itself. Art can make you pine for days long past, fret over the worries of the future, even wince from pain in the stump where your hand used to be. That is what Robert Haggis’ modern sculpture collection has taught me. Sometimes, art can take as much from you as it gives in return.