Media / Visual Art
So I'm Facing Off With This 200-Year-Old Emaciated Guy on the Front Page of This Morning's Paper
by Jen Graves
on Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 1:12 PM
Courtesy of the British Museum, London
your picture on the front page of the local section of the times nice work
This was the text message from a friend that I received at 7:25 this morning. I loved this text message, because my picture in the paper is just the sort of thing that makes my Mom happy, and I love every single thing that makes my Mom happy.
The picture in the Times is by the great photojournalist Alan Berner. He caught me unwittingly mirroring the early/mid-19th-century cadaverous male figure on display at Seattle Art Museum. He is the first piece of Polynesian art you see in the big new show Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise, and he bends you down to him—at which point his shocking visage smacks you, and keeps you riveted there. He is seriously fierce.
He's carved out of wood, and the gaping pupils of his eyes are made of obsidian. His irises are formed from shark bone. He was found on Rapa Nui (later called Easter Island), and taken into the British Museum in London, where he still resides. Back on the island, he would have been carried around rather than standing on any kind of pedestal; hunched, he can't stand on his own.
This is the picture I was taking while Alan Berner was taking his picture of me.