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Edwin Schlossberg ─ United States of America

Truly a polymath, Schlossberg is a celebrated poet, visual artist, and interactive environment creator. His assimilative interdisciplinary nature and practice are communicated through United States of America, the artist's poetry generated by each separate word of the loaded title, conveyed across four drawings. The poetry expresses national imagery ("A people let a land be seen" is how America begins) and the unstable use of Liquid Crystal paint changes color, together with more conventional drawing materials, to animate the flaglike unfurling of the drawing composition. Schlossberg is based in New York.

Artist's Statement

I always thought I was composing a poem to be translated into both a conceptual and a visual experience.

What interests me the most is the idea that the words can be used to describe the process of discovering them and not simply describing a subject.

I have always acted on the premise that knowing was better than only describing and suggesting ways to know more was even better because it shares multiple insights.

Linking knowing with the feelings about being enables the creation of an experience that I find thrilling.

My artwork is meant to represent the way that I know how to describe the world, and not the world itself.

Edwin Schlossberg, United States of America

United States of America, 1983
In four parts
Ink, pencil, crayon and Liquid Crystal paint on paper
30 1/2 x 40 each
Edwin Schlossberg and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Transcription of the Poems

UNITED

Monumental aspirations

Our voices as we are 
Not impatient whim revered as limits 
Never unquestioned 
Surrogate explanations of isolation

We love to connect, admire 
Nervous shocks recall rewards for numbness

Rebellion is the fabric, not what is on it. 
Working is with not against

Living demands preparations for weather 
Some within 
Others looking considering far without 
Taking responsibility for not from us

Together assumes individuals

Complexity is the structure of chaos 
let each join without diminishing

Trust no one who would eliminate 
The ability to choose someone else

We'll lead we are all leading

UNITED

States

Diversity is strength
long and resident yes to self
We are isolated
         surviving 
         changing slightly 
         trying to remember

We become mechanical
         living
         changing dramatically 
         trying to feel

We are electronic
         pulsing 
         changing paths 
         trying to touch

We are becoming biological
         thriving 
         accepting change 
         growing together

Our system accepts chaos, respects diversity
contributing hand-in-hand differences become resources

Isolated resisting voices complain
rehearse absence celebrate petty losses
They are a part
not the voice, never

Our goals must elude our daily attempts to model our mood

Living is gorgeous    All firsts
                                 All seconds

Of

Never a part of being 
voices drew us out 
not asking for attention 
not asking for sacrifice 
only silently acting   wishing

There is enough stuff
           not enough coordination 
           not enough perceived cooperation 
           not the breath of excellence of understanding

This can be changed, it is changing, has us waiting and wanting has us held 
safe near to our blood streams we open hold passionately 
let our masks drop our gaze fill watching our dreams build 
our lips open we are alive

A resource is a dream

We were dreamers of things 
but dreams are changing 
we dream of each other now 
of rivers 
we dream of dreaming

Across the fog along the coast beneath the limbs 
There are each moment new sounds new voices 
we are listening      speak 
Look at what reward and who

Greatness occurs between people

America

A people let a land be seen

We are various this is our strength 
Indifference is isolation

In difference is texture and wonder

Our power comes through living as an entity 
supporting each possibility that does not deny/destroy any other

We offer safety from and safety to. Limiting excess

The threat in each of us is to become numb 
miss the excitement learn to survive without it

Think of two oceans, mountains and sky between, alight 
shaking in the branches, things worth standing in the wind for 
Ways of looking through all of the eyes that we have

What the earth does is in our veins 
the sun welcomes strength

The laboratory has been founded

We are the experiment and experimenters.

Statement on United States of America, 1983

Created in 1983, this work in four parts was included in the Ronald Feldman Fine Arts exhibition entitled 1984. As their stenciling indicates, the four parts are entitled “United,” “States,” “Of,” and “America.” Poetry written by the artist forms the text of each segment. The poems relate to the title of the whole through their national imagery; the messages are carried out through the coloration of the whole, with the manner of drawing unfurled like a flag.

The Ronald Feldman Gallery show called 1984 was a protest to Reagan. The show was conceived to use Orwell’s book, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), as a cautionary tale that might lead to a president usurping all authority to himself and lying and destroying the cultural fabric of the United States. Unfortunately no one paid attention, and so we are living in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four now.


Edwin Schlossberg

Edwin Schlossberg showing his work at Hiromi Yoshii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 2015
Courtesy of Hiromi Yoshii Gallery

Biographical Statement

Edwin Schlossberg’s artwork portrays words as art, turning poems into visual objects to make them more accessible for the viewer. He has worked in a variety of mediums, including vinyl, plexiglass, aluminum and copper. His works have appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally, and can be found in private collections and museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. In addition to his accomplishments in visual art and poetry, Schlossberg is the Founder and Principal Designer for ESI Design, a leading experience design firm in New York.

art@edwinschlossbergart.com via Karen Conway, Curator

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