Bently Spang

New American Relics-Redux
January 16 - February 20, 2009

  2009 Bently Spang

Director's Note

Bently Spang contemplates issues of identity with both humor and breathtaking beauty. This installation presents the viewer with objects from a lost culture in the standard way of a museum of anthropology; discrete objects displayed reverentially. The objects, each one created from fused glass, are suspended on light boxes that glow in the darkened gallery.

These forms are the focus of Spang’s speculation on meaning and the interpretation of a culture long forgotten yet somehow familiar. With witty commentary he takes on the role of interpreter from outside the culture seemingly lost in his own ethnocentric views. His interpretation, posed as an arbiter of the dominant culture, underscores the assumptions that many tribes have experienced. For you see, the word Vit-heut means white man in Northern Cheyenne.

The ghostly glow of the objects and our realization what they actually are brings a disquieting feeling to our gallery experience. With technology and dominance hand in hand threats of annihilation come to mind. Could these objects have been the result of a nuclear blast? These feelings are halted however, for in the corner there is a video tape of Spang during a faux interview. He speculates with bluster and absurdity and his role of the clown adds a light hearted quality to the installation.

It would be a sad testament if a future archeologist found the shopping mall as the most prominent “place or worship” amongst the remains of 21st Century culture. Yet with Spang’s gentle chiding we can actually imagine what such an interpretation might be like!

Deborah Mitchel Director -- APEX Gallery

archive 2009

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