Scottish artist Robert Montgomery and his billboards and neon signs
May 20, 2011 6:27 AM   Subscribe

"Robert Montgomery works in a poetic and melancholic post-situationist tradition. He makes billboard pieces, recycled sunlight pieces and drawings." This one's my favorite but I like others too. Here are a few more examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
posted by Kattullus (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks a lot. That's beautiful. Blaise Cendrars used to say that advertising was the new poetry, now that's the other way round. Stunningly beautiful.
posted by nicolin at 6:51 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was trying to remember that quote, nicolin, to use as the post title, but I couldn't remember it accurately enough to google for it and couldn't remember who said it. Thanks!
posted by Kattullus at 7:01 AM on May 20, 2011


I'm a Situationist and I approve this message!!!
posted by theartandsound at 7:06 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm sort of meh on this for a few reasons.

1. Bilboards aren't particularly effective methods of advertising.
2. His poetry fails in visual implementation. The line breaks are incongruent. Noone will confuse him with ee cummings.
3. His subject matters were a little hokey in the Chicken Soup for the Soul sort of way. Great for Middle America, but counterproductive to his art being taken seriously*.


* You have every right to disagree with me on this. I am neither an artist nor an art history major.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:00 AM on May 20, 2011


Nanukthedog's third point is right. This is really unsubtle stuff, and the writing style is prosaic.
posted by kenko at 9:04 AM on May 20, 2011


Nanukthedog: "3. His subject matters were a little hokey in the Chicken Soup for the Soul sort of way. Great for Middle America, but counterproductive to his art being taken seriously"

kenko: "Nanukthedog's third point is right."

I refute it thus.

Or are we so jaded and world weary that being reminded of the horrors we all consent to is a comfort?
posted by idiopath at 9:13 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Totally trite. I guess maybe the idea is that even Art which is supposed to Take Us By Surprise and Confront Us and Wake Us Up can also be totally banal? But, to put it simply, that's been done.

If your work depends for its effect on a jarring incongruity, you should make sure that once the individual is wrenched from the dreary quotidian cage of their everyday mind, they are looking at something interesting.
posted by clockzero at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2011


Not a huge fan of this either; his work reminds me for some reason of his countryman, Ian Hamilton Finlay--who worked similar ground.
posted by Chrischris at 10:12 AM on May 20, 2011


Robert Montgomery lived on the good side of town ...
posted by philip-random at 10:57 AM on May 20, 2011


1. Bilboards aren't particularly effective methods of advertising.

Well, it wasn't a billboard, it was just a big scrawl of graffiti, but man, it worked for me.

I was in my mid 20s, going through a rough phase. Out of love, fighting tooth and nail with my producers over an edit of a film I was making, and losing the fight. At the end of a particularly hard day, I was leaving work for the day, my mind full of all the unresolved bullshit of my life, thinking very seriously of just chucking it all, going back to school, getting a business degree like my dad kept urging (and offering to pay for) ... and suddenly there it was, BIG, freshly scrawled across the backside of the building where my car was parked:

YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME

Like a slap in the face. Like a message from God. Wake up, son, it said. You're a man now. Deal with it. I never did a business degree.
posted by philip-random at 11:07 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Folks, trite or not, I really love this stuff. I'm glad to learn of this man and his art. We need more counter-messaging. Great post.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:29 PM on May 20, 2011


Poetry as Visual Art, sculpture. Love it.
posted by cross_impact at 3:03 PM on May 20, 2011


> and suddenly there it was, BIG, freshly scrawled...

Mine was: THIS IS THE SEA, in huge letters, on my first day in this town...21 years ago.

I like living in a universe which favors the existence of apophenia.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:52 PM on May 20, 2011


Or are we so jaded and world weary that being reminded of the horrors we all consent to is a comfort?

The prose is still kinda bad. And … actually, that's a pretty shitty reminder o the horrors we consent to, what with its being all aestheticized and glossed up. (My memories of torture abroad are taken into the upper air and condense into dreams by morning? what?)
posted by kenko at 7:34 PM on May 20, 2011


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