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Ten-Minute Tour From top to bottom: 1. Untitled (Ox Head; The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music) (detail), 2014. Water buffalo skull, gold leafing, and brass rings. Dims as provided by The Propeller Group: Courtesy of The Propeller Group and James Cohan, New York. 2. AK-47 vs M16, 2015. Fragments of AK-47 and M16 bullets, ballistics gel, and custom vitrine. Courtesy of The Propeller Group and James Cohan, New York. 3. AK-47 vs. M16 The Film, 2016. Single-channel video (color, sound). Duration: approximately 40 minutes. Courtesy of The Propeller Group and James Cohan, New York.

We asked Gilbert Vicario, the Selig Family Chief Curator, who organized The Propeller Group exhibition, to give us his top two can’t miss aspects of this upcoming exhibition. If you only have ten minutes to spend in the gallery, here are the pieces you can’t miss. TWO BULLETS/THE AK-47 VS. THE M-16 “This piece is a recent project inspired by a Civil War myth about two bullets that fused together mid-air. Using a Soviet-designed AK-47 assault rifle and an American-made M-16, the group re-imagined the artifact’s narrative by placing it instead within the Cold War – enemy soldiers with lethal motives, collaborating by accident to make a single, extraordinary object.” THE LIVING NEED LIGHT, THE DEAD NEED MUSIC “This piece reflects on the passage from life to death, tailored around similarities between funeral traditions in Vietnam and New Orleans. The title, translated from a Vietnamese proverb, exemplifies how, in Vietnam, funerals are celebrations. Death is seen as a transition, not an ending. As one voice in the film intones, ‘the journey continues forever.’ Embodying this notion, the camera is in constant motion; it floats among a cast of musicians, fire breathers, snake charmers, and other funeral performers, seamlessly blending documentary film and fiction. The project was made on the occasion of the international exhibition, Prospect.3, in New Orleans, where funerals are also famously accompanied by brass bands that typically lead a processional to the cemetery and afterwards accompany a rousing celebration. Suggesting the affinity between the two places, the soundtrack in The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music mutates from traditional Vietnamese music into a sentimental ballad with brass accompaniment and finally to a New Orleans– style jazz number. The artists were further inspired by the similar geographies of the Mississippi River Delta and the Mekong Delta, and in the film the landscapes of Vietnam evoke their counterparts in Louisiana.” The Propeller Group is co-organized by the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, Texas, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Phoenix Art Museum. The Phoenix presentation is curated by Gilbert Vicario, The Selig Family Chief Curator. It is made possible through generous contributions to the Museum’s annual fund.


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Phoenix Art Museum Magazine  

November 2016 - February 2017

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