Blast Furnace Funnies
by Frank Santoro

BFF A2011 marked the culmination of a decades-spanning career arc as Frank Santoro found his art at the center of the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial at The Carnegie Museum of Art, where he attended studio art classes as a youth.  We are excited to at last be able to offer for sale copies of Frank Santoro's 16-page tabloid newspaper comics work that was the highlight of that exhibit.  In a signature Santoro move, Blast Furnace Funnies is a work of "High" (i.e., museum quality) art executed in the lowest of the "Low" art forms (a disposable newspaper); employing ephemerality to evoke eternity, he has here worked (in a form that often ends up) in the gutter to reach for the stars.  The originals for all 16 pages of Blast Furnace Funnies wereBFF B exhibited at The Carnegie alongside of a giant stack of the newspapers we're offering here, and they really stood out on the walls for the wide tonal range displayed on each page; from wispy grays to solid blacks, from strong straight lines to streaks, curves, scribbles and blurs, each page contained marks made to match the mood.  The color scheme of the newspaper itself is a duo-tone of varying saturations, consisting of yellow and magenta, that yields a surprising variety of hues, suggested and actual.  The message that Blast Furnace Funnies has to deliver is a meditation on the relationship between the here and now and the past and gone that is, critically, played out in parallel on the scales of the personal and the historical.  The narrative works to convey how we use our sense of the historical to understand our own lives – and even more, to suggest that, at the end of the day, all we really have are our own personal histories; that perhaps the ultimate function of the history that we learn from books and at school is to help us come to grips with existence.  We all live in a relentless forward motion, each moment is here and then it is gone, replaced by the next and never to be physically experienced again.  The memory of each moment is, however, in the context of an individual's own life – and, like "historical" events – always there.  The personal is the historical.  Memory is history.  Pittsburgh is Pompeii. 

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prices and availability current as of 10 June 2013