Well, who among us hasn't imagined modernism as a form of melodrama, a parade of monsters, a B-movie showing of minds, egos, talents grown out of control? After all, we were taught it was such, in countless Life magazine spreads, memoirs and biographies, cast with the heroic brutes of art - Picasso! Pollock! Rothko! - omnivorously laying waste, with fixed stares, to everything in their path.
Show me a hero and I will write you a horror movie, one in which he plays, not the good scientist defending the planet and his girl, but the Thing itself. A monster, after all, is merely a model of comportment and conduct who has become metastasized, his qualities exaggerated until they take on a freakish cast. To prove as much, one need look no further than these works by Matt Marello. Was it not the case that their terrible fiends were once themselves cast as the possible saviours of a corrupt and dying world. German Expressionists indeed.
Funny what a difference a few decades makes. I mean, it's funny. Here are some modern attitudes towards history: That it's the story we tell ourselves to explain and justify our current position; that it's ideology, that it's bunk; that it's a nightmare from which we're trying to awake. Here's another, rather newer take it or leave it: History is a joke.
© Jim Lewis (New York, 1996)
Matt Marello, The Amazing Colossal Minimalist, video, 30 seconds.