Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Agustina Woodgate sews poetry into clothing tags. She calls it Poetry Bombing.

"For the past month," according to the Miami New Times, "the artist has been sewing verse by Sylvia Plath and Li Po into jackets, pants, and dresses on thrift store shelves all over the county. We caught up with her at Flamingo Plaza in Hialeah to document her work."

"The intrusive nature of guerrilla art can be problematic sometimes," says stodgy uncle Time magazine, "especially in the case of poetry storming because clothes are for sale. Luckily for the artist, the stores, don't seem to care much, even though she had fair amount of coverage in the local media."

From the Situationists to Banksy, guerrilla artists have challenged our expectations with subversive messages, stencils, street theater, graffiti, billboard remixing, flash mobs, wheatpasting, stickers and poetry bombing. They have taken art off the gallery walls and poetry off the shelves and put it out in the streets. They have stormed the reality studios and left no place safe for the mundane and humdrum. They've reduced our Comfort Zone to the circumference of an easy chair in our living room and then stolen our favorite slippers.

Or they would like to think so.

Vandalism? Guerrilla art? Maybe it's best that poetry remains safe on the shelf, out of sight and unread. Maybe art should be locked in a vault and only interpreted by experts in bite-size wall-text. Maybe the marketplace--where serious business is conducted--should be completely off limits to the artist, a roped-off area where art isn't permitted and the only permissible flash comes from advertising, unalloyed with the ambiguous, the challenging, the unsettling. Then again, since the marketplace has expanded to include most of our world, and the art world has painted itself into a corner, maybe some unexpected creativity would come as a welcome surprise. We think so. And we think Agustina Woodgate's high energy artistic antics add a splash of color to a field of grey.

No comments: