Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now

Matthew Brannon
(American, born 1945)
The Never that Lasts Forever

Matthew Brannon. The Never that Lasts Forever. 2004

Digital file for vinyl cutout, Dimensions: vary. Fund for the Twenty-First Century. © 2018 Matthew Brannon

MATTHEW BRANNON: This is Matthew Brannon, and the artwork that we're looking at is called The Never That Lasts Forever.

Public art is a subject I was thinking about at this time, living in New York in sort of post-9/11 situation, and public art I think often is used to sedate in spaces which can create anxiety, such as airports, intersections, bank lobbies. There's a danger of it becoming patronizing, which I worry about. It easily slips into all form and no content, or the sort of slight on the viewer.

So looking at public art at this period of time, and having the criticisms I had, then I took upon that challenge to myself, and imagined what I would make.

The knives are hopefully well balanced, and both suggest that they're flying through the air, but that they're somehow resting upon each other, or obviously referencing slightly the idea of a mobile or a kind of a classic modernist public sculpture.

The precariousness of the arrangement, certainly part of it is that the knives imply danger. In fact these are very domestic utensils. The design itself, you know, admittedly has a certain Crate and Barrel, look to it, which is intention as well.

I made this work very simply, by looking at kitchen knives and doing sketches, and then what I do is I draw, using a very simple, vector-based computer program, and spent a long time collaging it to get this relation of the knives.

What you're looking at is a vinyl reproduction of the artwork. It's basically a big sticker, and that is a bit of a hopefully humorous or cheeky part of this work, in that even though it's so large and black, and sort of implies, we would imagine, authority. It's very casual in another sense, in that, you know, when it comes down it'll just be peeled off the wall.

I'm very interested in word play and writing, and a large part of my work, I would say takes the form of poetry. So The Never That Lasts Forever should be a bit over the top, and have a sense of humor to it.

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