Robert Arneson was a funny, funny man. Here, he's playing with some really neat thoughts in a series that is closer-related to a moving picture than to ceramics. The idea is that a brick is slowly sinking through a plate that is full of water... or is it?
The point is not that it's a literal plate of water, but that it's a plate. The point isn't that the brick is sinking; it's that the brick is a piece of ceramic made to look like a brick. In many ways, this is Magritte's picture of a pipe that is NOT a pipe. This is not a brick, but a representation of a brick. This is not a plate, but a representation of a plate, and not only that, but it's not truly a representation of a plate, but a representation of a plate as a pool.
There's also an idea that seems to come across a lot in Arneson's work. The idea that the critics HATE what he's doing. It's as if he's flippin' 'em the bird. This work is a brick, sinking. That's exactly how he expected his art to go over, which is a lovely thought when you look at how Arneson's Funk has been transformed into a defining form of California Art.
Christopher J Garcia - Curator, Fan Writer, Podcaster, and a guy who just loves art.