Critical Reflections: Bling

Santa Fe Clay<br /> 1615 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe

Date June 30, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Author Jon Carver

Publication THE magazine

Categories Performing Arts


Bling is a special kinda sparkly magic that happens between you and your financeabilities. Bling is the shine of the big pimpin' high life as flashed and splashed across the new media plasma-screen. Early hip-hop was politics; late hip-hop is strip bars, cars, and bling. Bling constitutes an announced utopian capitalism-Ka-ching! Bling is the thing.

The thing about Bling is the status it portends, and that is exactly the script that Celebrity, by Benjamin Schulman, so neatly flips. His lawn jockey jug is a traditional Peruvian figure vessel in the form of the little black ring holder who graced front yards all around America not so very long ago as a disturbing signal of white wealth and privilege. Schulman flocks

the form, that is, black velvetizes it (a very strange finish for ceramics), and gives the little

man earrings in the form of tiny diamond stars. suggesting an Adidas-clad rapper in

motion. There is more than the suggestion here that hip-hop's embrace of big bucks is

also a full-scale capitulation to advertising the joys of capitalist enslavement. Sorry,s Miss

Jackson, but I am for real.

A similarly successful figurative piece is John de Fazio's Gold Spaceman Bong. This miniature bright gold astronaut is fully smokable, a great send-up of certain individual "space programs"€ and a classic reference to every high school ceramics class ever taken.

Chris Antemann's Are You Jealous? rounds out this trio of strong figurative pieces with an exquisitely wrought vision of two nubile nymphets bookending an elaborate, mini Marie Antoinette-style trousseau. All white and gold, these nymphs have Nubian attributes; the piece is as appealing in the wit of its subject as in the consummate craftsmanship that inhabits its every subtle detail. You know there's styly stuff inside that fancy box you wish you could get into, and that stuff is Bling, darling.

A lovely near-nude baby mama wrapped around your, um, arm, wouldn't exactly ruin your day either. Do you object to objectification or Are You Jealous?

These are just three of the most stellar pieces in a thirty-seven-piece show of immense inventiveness and well-crafted clay conceptualism. Santa Fe Clay sparkles, shines, and shimmers like an old jewel being reset amidst the chaos of new construction on the Railyard. The place is actually pretty unpretentious considering how valuable it is to this community. Proving that you don't hafta glimmer to be golden.