Ursus Wehrli Cleans Up

I’ve been thinking about art lately.  A lot.  Naturally this has made me blissfully happy, and I’m itching to create as soon as this GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING HEAT LETS UP.

Sorry.  I’m alright.  Where was I?

Art.  I recently discovered the Swiss artist/comedian Ursus Wehrli, and I must say I’m a bit smitten.  Essentially what he does is take works of art by modern masters and “tidies them up,” showcasing the improved paintings in his book Tidying Up Art.  His work is hilarious, but not snarky, which is refreshing.  It’s playful, and Wherli isn’t trying to make any serious critical commentaries on art or aesthetics (although to be fair I can’t read Swiss German, so maybe his website has more insight).

Even though his work has given me some things to think about, and certainly could spawn a whole lot of serious discussions, I prefer its lightheartedness.  Watch Wehrli’s TED speech and you’ll get a better idea of what he’s after – no pedantry, just humor (with the exception of his bit on Keith Haring’s “spare parts shop” and how it can be used to study art, which flippantly pokes fun at how some art critics get mired in trivial details and unfounded arguments of their own creation).  At one point he decides he can’t clean up a work by Pollock and simply returns the paint to the cans.

Now he’s turned his attention from correcting the hurried mistakes in works of art to organizing the chaos of everyday life with his new book The Art of Clean Up, which comes out in September.  I, for one, am mighty excited.  This is also exclusively how I will eat my soup from now on:

Actually that last image reminds me of the photos in IKEA’s new cookbook.  They’re not meant to be funny; it’s actually a really innovative and intriguing approach to food photography, and yet another thing I’m loving right now.

The geometry of the photographs is such a contrast to traditional cookbook images, and such a unique way to conceptualize food at all.  It has that same sort of clean, distillative effect of Wehrli’s photos, but for entirely different reasons.  IKEA is being cool, Wehrli is being funny…although if I had to choose, I’d go with the one that makes me laugh.  That’s just a little wisdom from me to you.  Free of charge.

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