if i did it
9.41 x 11.36 inches
Text by Ellen Seifermann, John Kelsey, and Heike Munder
Gracing the cover jacket of Rachel Harrison's highly anticipated second monograph is an informal monument to the man who holds the Americas' namesake. The only hint to this memorial for the 15th century Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, is an apple resting on an outcropping of neon-green cement; of course the fact that the apple is not only artificial but has a bite taken out of it suggests otherwise to the discovery of these "Edenic" continents. This slight yet important fact raises the basic conceit of if i did it: the active disavowal of art's political function as a museological testament to the "progress" of social history. By tossing off this monumental propensity, Harrison builds "antimonuments;" not so much sculptures but lumpen aggregates of pop psychology. In addition to Vespucci, throughout the book, one finds that celebrities Johnny Depp and Tiger Woods are included in a pantheon with John Locke and 18th century Corsican revolutionary Pasquale Paoli, meanwhile Al Gore checks the temperature, Claude Levi-Strauss checks the door with a taxidermied hen and rooster and a bi-curious Alexander the Great is the master of ceremonies. The title, taken from O.J. Simpson's infamous "hypothetical" account of his murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Donald Goldman, groups this role call of high- and low- brow idols into a nonhierarchical tableau where cultural and political value are allotted only where one sees fit.