Cleaning the meat wall (yes, that says “meat wall”)

August 16, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Intern Aubree Jacobs tidies up Adriana Varejão’s Ruina de Charque-Quina.

The ASU Art Museum is known for having some powerful pieces of social commentary in its permanent collection; one example is Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão’s Ruina de Charque-Quina (Corner Jerked-Beef Ruin), 2003, a piece acquired by the Museum in 2006.

Sitting between the Museum’s front doors, this imposing piece — oil on wood and polyurethane, although it looks much heavier and more substantial than that, as if it had been ripped from the corner of a building covered in glazed tile — is a head turner. For one thing, it towers over visitors, even the tall ones. But even more remarkable is the red substance sandwiched between the tile surfaces. Where insulation might normally go, the space appears to have been packed with large slabs of raw meat.

Varejão’s intention is to show the underbelly of Brazil’s rich history, and to expose the dark truth behind the dazzling churches and ornate dwellings of that country’s colonial elite: The economy that made possible such wealth and extravagance rested on slavery. A text panel next to the work explains that it’s about the tension between social convention and what it glosses over, and that it references both violence and the body without actually showing either.

Aubree Jacobs, a senior double-majoring in Art History and Museum Studies, is the intern in the Museum’s registrar’s office . The other day, as part of her museum duties, Aubree was called upon to deploy skills that she probably didn’t learn in college. Armed with a small brush, white gloves and a special over-the-shoulder vacuum cleaner, Aubree meticulously cleaned the Varejão, particularly those places on the explosed edges of the wall that tend to gather dust. It must have looked a little strange to visitors, but it’s all part of a day’s work when you’re taking good care of the art that visitors come to see.

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Entry filed under: Art + Performance, Art Events, ASU Art Museum, ASU Art Museum Press, ASU Art Museum: Behind-the-scenes, People at ASU Art Museum, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Meeting Meredith The Americas Gallery gets a facelift — and the Museum gets an Interim Curator!


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