“Lot 138-2097: COLLECTION OF ENGLISH BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN TABLE ARTICLES. Comprised of a G. Phillips covered gravy dish, two creamers, a Wedgwood plate, a Staffordshire plate and an Ashworth covered vegetable bowl. Estimate: $150 – $250”
This lot is referred to as a “box lot,” a collection of objects that aren’t worthy enough to be sold for their unique singularity. I wrote this description in 2014 when I was working for an auction house cataloguing the disregarded stuff of the upper middle class. My job was to research and assign value to objects that would someday rest on shelves, cabinets and walls as tokens of western supremacy. The objects’ in this lot lacked historical or material pedigree, reducing the market desire for their particularity.
When I think about my body, it is never the whole thing, but rather some part that I am obsessing over. As I am writing this, sitting alone on the couch: the skin on my hands is dry and tight from working with clay; my mouth feels parched because I always forget to drink water; my scalp itches from my ongoing dandruff issue; my anus is regularly exhaling as I pass gas, because I ate a hamburger earlier today. My body contains me, it is the constant changing material that I use as an instrument, thrusting meaning into the world.
The pieces in this exhibition are all whistles. When we play wind instruments we force the air from our bodies into the form separate from us, filling it. The air from our mouth vibrates and reverberates, and the sound waves penetrate the audience, rattling in their ears.
Liz McCarthy | 2020
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