Mungo Thomson

Working knowledge of current trends in conceptual art is not a strong point for me.  I know it can be good, bad and ugly.  The good part seems best exemplified by Los Angeles-based artist Mungo Thomson. My new acquaintance with his work came via this book : Time People Money Crickets.

Perhaps it is the variety of 20th century subject matter that attracts me to his work: (Dylan, Chuck Jones and Jack T. Chick), or the way Thomson varies the subtext of such familiar things.  As Martin Herbert says in the book:  “That by pointing to the margins he’s talking about the existent breadth of a spectrum: of experience, of culture.”



Take the above, for instance: Yes, it’s truly that much time, only the Bob has been removed.  It’s about the audience and thirty years of the sound they make. (If you have a Real Media player, you should be able to hear it here.)



The American Desert (For Chuck Jones):  Again, what’s taken away is Coyote and Roadrunner.  What you are left with is the truly beautiful, abstract byways of the great Chuck Jones.


Acoustic Partition:  Of course these thing should be giant accordions!  Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?


Coat Check Chimes:  For the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Thomson made a random enormous musical instrument that still allowed the function of coat-checking to commence.  (I hope they kept this.)



Everything Has Been Recorded: In the style of the evangelical comics of Jack Chick, Thomson hems a comic from his old journals.  He left these at various airports!

Here’s a panel, that encapsulates (to me) the spirit of his work:



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