I Don’t Know Art, But I Know What I Like

“Now up for bid, this absolutely stunning piece of modern work entitled ‘I Will Be There At The End of All Things, or, The Shreddination’ by the prodigiously talented artist Zeus Scalzi. Zeus Scalzi has quickly established himself as a young master of the paper form, rending and shredding fibers as a way to comment on the fraying of the fibers of life, and how each of us, in the end, is wiped away by the progress of events; indeed, our expulsion and removal is necessary for the continued health of the whole, to allow space for new generations. Gazing upon the work, one can appreciate this new and vital metaphor for the inevitable pinching off of our continuity with the community, after the community has, with animal efficiency, extracted all that is valuable from us. Truly, a difficult work best contemplated through solitary effort, perhaps after a fine meal with companions.

“What am I bid for this dark yet exhilarating work?”

48 thoughts on “I Don’t Know Art, But I Know What I Like

  1. My dog Jiggle Low does it too, with a distinctly different flair, though, since he likes to pull one end and run with it round and round the room first before massacreing (is that even a verb?) the remaining roll. He wasn’t as deep or philosophical as Zeus Scalzi, though. He called his piece, “Love My Mommy, Love My Mommy’s Scream, Love My Mommy Chasing Me.”

    I have to go to RWA Conference in San Fran on Monday and I shudder to think of what art work he’s going to produce to welcome me home.

  2. Tell ya what: I’ll trade you for your choice of:
    1) A SHOCKINGLY similar, perhaps derivative, work by Apolo McCarver
    2) A random item artistically peed on by a Jack Russell Terrier.
    I recommend (2), It’ll drive all your animals into an absolute frenzy.

  3. While you may think young Zeus in on a roll with this effort, signing an ablutionary apparatus with his teeth is clearly a sophomoric pun on Duchamp’s [Du-chomp] porcelain urinal.

  4. Personally, I like how he leaves the core almost untouched, as if to say that there is an inner strength in all of us, and yet, by leaving it hollow, he emphasizes that even this victory is empty.

  5. Are the image rights available through CORBIS? I would like to include it in my next round of art text books, possibly in the chapter on texture.

  6. Me neither, Kevin. Getting that close to it would leave bits of it distastefully embedded in my, er, soul. I’d feel unclean.

  7. Yeah. It’s all cute until he tries to chew on a paperback instead. I think my copy of OMW has kitten teeth marks in it, in fact.

  8. Our cat’s brother, who lives with a friend, works on a larger canvas, so to speak. One of his best is a piece called “Where You Rest May Not Endure,” or “Recliner with frayed skirt and exposed fill.”

    My late Lab Jack was a fashion designer. He was prolific and his work was — how can I describe it? — transformative. One evening he took a brand new pair of boring old $100 dress shoes and turned them into intricately textured clogs. It was breathtaking.

  9. “Texture is the quality that evokes a tactile response in the viewer, even when the work is two-dimensional, such as Kahlo’s Nataturaleza Muerta, 1942 (Fig. 6-18). An exemplary three-dimensional work that has recently caused quite a stir when it sold at Sotheby’s to an anonymous collector is Zues Scalzi’s I Will Be There At The End of All Things, or, The Shreddination, 2008 (Fig 6-19).”

  10. I have a book that had its cover “validated” with teeth marks, much like a train conductor’s ticket, by a since-deceased Maine Coon cat, and thus doubly valuable as no further art from the artist will be made available. Simone LaPlume commented on the vain and foolish desire to sequester and preserve things that, ultimately, must succumb to the waves of entropy that will take us all sooner or later. Much like Shelley’s Ozymandias, the remains of a once-great work remind us that all artistic vanity is futile.

    Trade you. :D

  11. Mike:

    My black long haired cat has never met a book spine that could not be improved with a little freshly rubbed-on eye gunk. He’s particularly fond of my Elizabeth Bear books. Sorry John, he doesn’t seem too wowed by TLC.

  12. Have you tried him with paper napkins yet?

    We had a cat who preferred shredding paper napkins, or newspaper. The ones who liked TP generally just unrolled it while leaving extra holes in odd locations.

  13. Too funny. Both the original post and the replies. All thanks to Mr. Scalzi’s liberal application of Troll-B-Gone.

  14. Scalzi – your photo that you are hosting on their server. I think so. I haven’t read the whole guidelines, but this seemed pretty clear.

    “Remember! Flickr Community Guidelines specify that if you post a Flickr photo on an external website, the photo must link back to its photo page. (So, use Option 1.)”

    Obviously, your photo and if you uploaded it to your server, clearly there would be no need to link to their site, even if you posted a copy there.

    I know. really this is uninteresting. I’m sort of surprised though.

  15. I have it on good authority from my cousin’s girlfriend’s sister that one time, this kid posted a Flickr pic on his website without linking back, and they totally sued him for a trillion dollars and then bulldozed his parents’ house.

  16. Ah, fond memories…
    Many years ago I had a german shepard named Susie who frequently graced our home, and yes, car, with similar works of art. The shredding of the interior of a ’69 Camero was particularly striking piece of performance art, one that she completed in about 15 minutes. Quite talented.

    And then there was Sofa Cushion Snow, by Heidi, a shepard mix and Susie’s successor.

    Alas, both the artists and art are both long gone. Although I do believe there are still a few smaller pierced offerings enshrined in the bookcases.

    We appreciate that sort of originality in our family. As a matter of fact, the leg that supports the island in my mother’s kitchen is permanently adorned with the art work of a small, red dachshund named Nikki!

  17. I wonder what would result if you scanned this and turned it over to a 3D printer. Seriously. *That* would be something “Du-chomp” could sign.

  18. In the feline domain the art lies not in the product, but in the production. The roll is but a discard, to be tossed with alacrity. The art is a truly transient thing, to be savored in the brief time of its existence. As true of cats shredding toilet paper as it is of the poetry of horses.

  19. I’d be wary of buying artwork like this on eBay, for fear it might get damaged during shipping.

  20. Years ago, purely by accident, I got a glass sculpture I’d made into a curated show at a pretty good gallery. I wasn’t then (and am not now) an artist, and I was just fooling around when I made the sculpture. One of the obligations of the artists in the show was to write an “artist’s statement” about their pieces for the show’s program, or catalog, or whatever the hell it’s called. I submitted

    I was just fooling around and this is how it came out.

    Obviously I should have hired Scalzi to write it for me.

  21. RBH@36: No, I think what you wrote was just perfect. Heck, I would have bought it.

    No, that’s a lie, but I would have laughed.

  22. Before I scrolled down and saw the lower part of the picture, from the color scheme I thought I was looking at one of those supercomputer modelings of Hurricane Dolly… only to find that I was very close!

    Ah, Wendy B, I still have some of your dogs’ “art-o-graphed” hardcover books, including one of Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice.

    It is easy to understand why books are so commonly modified by dogs and cats — they are competitors for both attention and lap space. In other words, those books are just asking for it. (grin)

    Dr. Phil

  23. My cat does this to any loaves of store bought bread I leave out. When it got old enough to jump on the counter I had to invest in a bread box to secure my bread if I wanted toast in the morning.

  24. Patrick M @25
    “I know. really this is uninteresting. I’m sort of surprised though.”

    It’s quite reasonable IMO. If you use them to host an image that you use on another site, you do it in such a way that makes it as easy as possible for people to go Flickr (and hopefully further increase their traffic).

    They would of course be fools to enforce this for casual ‘wrong-doers’ (especially those that provide links to their Flickr accounts elsewhere on the page).

    I think I technically contravene this rule when I post in a forum that uses something like BBCode to embed an image in a post. Viewers can of course find the link if they look in the photo’s properties, and I include my Flickr account in my profile on the site.

    I miss not having a cat in the house :-(

  25. I hope he doesn’t become a paperologist. I’ve got friends who have to keep all paper locked up in cat-proof cupboards or drawers because one of their cats will destroy it all. (hey, they named them Mischief and Mayhem, cats can hardly be blame.)

    The first time I cat-sat for them, they didn’t realize how far the (then) kittens would go. they also have an old house and have odd cupboards in their kitchen, they left the paper towels on top of one of them, that the kittens hadn’t reached–yet.

    I went over and was greeted to shreds of paper towels EVERYWHERE. I raked it up and left a note. As well as storing the remains ‘in’ a cupboard.

  26. Our older Traditional Siamese, C’Mell, has confronted that enemy many times and has always come out victorious. We would find her, lying atop the shredded ruins of her foe, giving off her triumphant purr.

    Now all that evil scheming toilet paper is safely confined in cupboards. If ever it gets out, she is waiting . . .

  27. Strongly reminiscent of the great Paper War of ’84, during which time I boarded two cats and a guest. :-) In my youth I was much less appreciative of shreddination, or even the “Hey! We unwound all the TP so you won’t have to” exhibits of the guest felines.

    After one memorable exhibit, I cleverly found some Velcro+Spandex straps (ski tie-downs?) and secured one around each roll of TP before leaving for work. Throughout that day I kept envisioning the cats’ frustration and chuckling under my breath … “Ha, that’ll fix ‘em!”

    (Can you tell I knew nought of cats at this time?)

    Rode home, entered apartment with an SEG on my face and an eagerness to see how well my plan had worked. Nodded a diffident “hello” to the cats, made straight for the little room, noted the rolls were slightly clawed but, for the most part, intact. *triumph*

    Deposited motorcycle helmet, strode toward kitchenette to grab a beverage, and paused…
    There on the floor … all over the floor … was the flock-flaked residue of a full roll of paper towel, an actual cloth towel, a pizza box, and the stack of mail which I’d set aside to deal with in future.

    I have never, ever since, seriously offered to match wits with a cat.

  28. Honestly, to my eye, that DOES look like a piece of modern art (and I say this as an art historian).
    However, I am not really sure if this is a comment on the precocious talent of the cat, or on my on opinion of modern art.

    “I hope he doesn’t become a paperologist. I’ve got friends who have to keep all paper locked up in cat-proof cupboards or drawers because one of their cats will destroy it all.”

    My kitten was paper and bag trained in the free kitten jail. Apprently, what this means is that he sees everything that is paper, was once paper, or is distantly related to paper as free game to use for #1. I learned to keep all papers off the floor. Now I learn that, apparently, the ‘free game’ extends to books and papers ON A DESK.

  29. I think that the idea is that if you embed a Flickr image on your site (i.e., SRC=”http://flickr.com/…” in the IMG tag), then that image should also be a link to Flickr. If you use their bandwidth to serve up the image, you should drive traffic to their site, quid pro quo. But that’s not the case here: the embedded IMG lives on your site and uses your bandwidth; there just happens to be another copy of it on Flickr.

  30. We regularly find taller versions of that around. As far as I can tell, they are all titled “Cylinders Must Die!”

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