that whole work-of-art-in-the-age-of-mechanical-reproduction thing
i'm very pleased to be bringing you pictures not available on the Internet, as far as my cursory research suggests, and information about an important person NOT IN WIKIPEDIA. get it here, or don't get it at all (unless you want to get your ass to a library or to LACMA).
the person in question is an Ecuadorian artist who lived between 1723 and 1796 called Manuel Chili, or Caspicara, because of his pockmarked face. the pictures in question are of his works, which are on view at LACMA's "The Arts in Latin America: 1492-1820."
now, i don't know if you've ever had the experience of seeing a piece of art that you just...need. like, it's so overwhelmingly beautiful to you, you know that staring at it for as long as you're in the museum won't be enough. that's what caspicara's stuff felt like to me. i didn't have my camera the first time i went to the show, so i returned today with it, only to be told that photographs weren't allowed in the galleries. i took pictures anyway. what i got sucked, mainly because i was nervous about getting kicked out (but also because i have a new, shitty camera), so i resorted to the pathetic move of taking pictures of pictures in the exorbitantly priced exhibition catalog. those were horrible, too. but, by god, i got them.
ah, they kill me.
i did think to myself as i was going through this process that maybe i was just a little crazy, and why couldn't i be satisfied seeing the actual sculptures in the museum like a normal person? and maybe the thing is that, having read walter benjamin's piece with the same title as this blog post at an impressionable age, i've been instilled with this guilt thing about valuing images of things over actual things. but i think that's bullshit. i value the actual things above the images. WAY above the images. but i can't own them. the closest i'll get after that exhibit is looking at them on my computer, and that's better than nothing.
so suck it, walter. and you too, LACMA. you think you own the images of these things as well as the objects? think again.