Academic journal article African American Review

Teddy Harris's Work

Academic journal article African American Review

Teddy Harris's Work

Article excerpt

Teddy Harris's work is the modernism of everyday perception and rationale. He makes works from vouchsafes and unrealized dreams, lies and advertisements for nowhere. That is, he takes scraps of America North and threads them through his truthoscopic sensibility--for instance, pieces of newspapers, headlines, images from the diversity of our mostly grim experience--and he tells them to us again, and clearer.

Harris is a collagist, a modern form that has been used to great advantage in pinning the political tale on the donkey, or elephant, or corrupt tiger, as the case may be. (One of the greatest practitioners of collage art for popular advantage--that is, to tell the truth--was the German collagist Heartfield, who actually pulled Hitler's tail during the waning years of democracy in Germany. Right-wing politicians feared Heartfield [Herzfeld] because he used the collage to whack them sharply across the face, and lips, revealing their lies and evil to the people.)

Harris, still a young man, has entered the collage with an astonishing clarity of form. The diverse pieces of reflected reality and unreality he thinks and pastes together create new images, replenishing our knowledge of the known, or making us aware of the unknown. …

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