manifesto 1961

well, this man­i­festo has to be here real­ly, if only for its exu­ber­ance

I am for an art …

claes oldenburg

I am for an art that is polit­i­cal-erot­i­cal-mys­ti­cal, that does some­thing oth­er than sit on its ass in a muse­um.

I am for an art that grows up not know­ing it is art at all, an art giv­en the chance of hav­ing a start­ing point of zero.

I am for an art that embroils itself with the every­day crap & still comes out on top.

I am for an art that imi­tates the human, that is com­ic, if nec­es­sary, or vio­lent, or what­ev­er is nec­es­sary.

I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accu­mu­lates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stu­pid as life itself.

I am for an artist who van­ish­es, turn­ing up in a white cap paint­ing signs or hall­ways.

I am for an art that comes out of a chim­ney like black hair and scat­ters in the sky.

I am for an art that spills out of an old man’s purse when he is bounced off a pass­ing fend­er.

I am for the art out of a doggy’s mouth, falling five sto­ries from the roof.

I am for the art that a kid licks, after peel­ing away the wrap­per.

I am for an art that jog­gles like every­ones knees, when the bus tra­vers­es an exca­va­tion.

I am for art that is smoked, like a cig­a­rette, smells, like a pair of shoes.

I am for art that flaps like a flag or helps blow noses, like a hand­ker­chief.

I am for art that is put on and tak­en off, like pants, which devel­ops holes, like socks, which is eat­en, like a piece of pie, or aban­doned with great con­tempt, like a piece of shit.

I am for art cov­ered with ban­dages, I am for art that limps and rolls and runs and jumps. I am for art comes in a can or wash­es up on the shore.

I am for art that coils and grunts like a wrestler. I am for art that sheds hair.

I am for art you can sit on. I am for art you can pick your nose with or stub your toes on.

I am for art from a pock­et, from deep chan­nels of the ear, from the edge of a knife, from the cor­ners of the mouth, stuck in the eye or worn on the wrist.

I am for art under the skirts, and the art of pinch­ing cock­roach­es.

I am for the art of con­ver­sa­tion between the side­walk and a blind mans met­al stick.

I am for the art that grows in a pot, that comes down out of the skies at night, like light­ning, that hides in the clouds and growls. I am for art that is flipped on and off with a switch.

I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze, like your sweet­ys arm, or kiss, like a pet dog. Which expands and squeaks, like an accor­dion, which you can spill your din­ner on, like an old table­cloth.

I am for an art that you can ham­mer with, stitch with, sew with, paste with, file with.

I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such a street is.

I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street.

I am for the art of the wash­ing machine. I am for the art of a gov­ern­ment check. I am for the art of last wars rain­coat.

I am for the art that comes up in fogs from sew­er-holes in win­ter. I am for the art that splits when you step on a frozen pud­dle. I am for the worms art inside the apple. I am for the art of sweat that devel­ops between crossed legs.

I am for the art of neck-hair and caked tea-cups, for the art between the tines of restau­rant forks, for odor of boil­ing dish­wa­ter.

I am for the art of sail­ing on Sun­day, and the art of red and white gaso­line pumps.

I am for the art of bright blue fac­to­ry columns and blink­ing bis­cuit signs.

I am for the art of cheap plas­ter and enam­el. I am for the art of worn mar­ble and smashed slate. I am for the art of rolling cob­ble­stones and slid­ing sand. I am for the art of slag and black coal. I am for the art of dead birds.

I am for the art of scratch­ings in the asphalt, daub­ing at the walls. I am for the art of bend­ing and kick­ing met­al and break­ing glass, and pulling at things to make them fall down.

I am for the art of punch­ing and skinned knees and sat-on bananas. I am for the art of kids’ smells. I am for the art of mama-bab­ble.

I am for the art of bar-bab­ble, tooth-pick­ing, beer­drink­ing, egg-salt­ing, in-sult­ing. I am for the art of falling off a bart­stool.

I am for the art of under­wear and the art of taxi­cabs. I am for the art of ice-cream cones dropped on con­crete. I am for the majes­tic art of dog-turds, ris­ing like cathe­drals.

I am for the blink­ing arts, light­ing up the night. I am for art falling, splash­ing, wig­gling, jump­ing, going on and off.

I am for the art of fat truck-tires and black eyes.

I am for Kool-art, 7-UP art, Pep­si-art, Sun­shine art, 39 cents art, 15 cents art, Vatronol Art, Dro-bomb art, Vam art, Men­thol art, L & M art Ex-lax art, Veni­da art, Heav­en Hill art, Pam­ryl art, San-o-med art, Rx art, 9.99 art, Now art, New ar, How art, Fire sale art, Last Chance art, Only art, Dia­mond art, Tomor­row art, Franks art, Ducks art, Meat-o-rama art.

I am for the art of bread wet by rain. I am for the rat’s dance between floors. I am for the art of flies walk­ing on a slick pear in the elec­tric light. I am for the art of sog­gy onions and firm green shoots. I am for the art of click­ing among the nuts when the roach­es come and go. I am for the brown sad art of rot­ting apples.

I am for the art of meowls and clat­ter of cats and for the art of their dumb elec­tric eyes.

I am for the white art of refig­er­a­tors and their mus­cu­lar open­ings and clos­ing.

I am for the art of rust and mold. I am for the art of hearts, funer­al hearts or sweet­heart hearts, full of nougat. I am for the art of worn meathooks and singing bar­rels of red, white, blue and yel­low meat.

I am for the art of things lost or thrown away, com­ing home from school. I am for the art of cock-and-ball trees and fly­ing cows and the noise of rec­tan­gles and squares. I am for for the art of crayons and weak grey pen­cil-lead, and grainy wash and sticky oil paint, and the art of wind­shield wipers and the art of the fin­ger on a cold win­dow, on dusty steel or in the bub­bles on the sides of a bath­tub.

I am for the art of ted­dy-bears and guns and decap­i­tat­ed rab­bits, explodes umbrel­las, raped beds, chairs with their brown bones bro­ken, burn­ing trees, fire­crack­er ends, chick­en bones, pigeon bones, and box­es with men sleep­ing in them.

I am for the art of slight­ly rot­ten funer­al flow­ers, hung bloody rab­bits and wrinkly yel­low chick­ens, bass drums & tam­bourines, and plas­tic phono­graphs.

I am for the art of aban­doned box­es, tied like pharohs. I am for an art of water­tanks and speed­ing clouds and flap­ping shades.

I am for U.S. Gov­ern­ment Inspect­ed Art, Grade A art, Reg­u­lar Price art, Yel­low Ripe art, Extra Fan­cy art, Ready-to-eat art, Best-for-less art, Ready-to-cook art, Ful­ly cleaned art, Spend Less art, Eat Bet­ter art, Ham art, Pork art, chick­en art, toma­to art, bana art, apple art, turkey art, cake art, cook­ie art.

add:

I am for an art that is combed down, that is hung from each ear, that is laid on the lips and under the eyes, that is shaved from the legs, that is bur­shed on the teeth, that is fixed on the thighs, that is slipped on the foot.

square which becomes blob­by

May 1961

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