Not all books are holy

about Brad Downey

The advent of new technologies and formats has almost completely overthrown books, making them just bulky objects or, at best, pieces of furniture for homes or offices, maybe to enhance your image as an intellectual. In Uso dei LibriUse of Books — a project by Brad Downey with Matthias Huebner, “not all books are holy. Some fill holes. Some bridge gaps, some balance objects, hide things, make good kindling”.

Finally, some can still raise you to get over a wall — if not that of ignorance, at least the one of the property where your ball is unfortunately ended. But, next time, just kick slower.

Brad’s work over the past decade has consistently pitted itself against the sanctioned and the predictable. His public sculpture often needs to play it very safe and appeal to its local audience, while being grand enough to warrant funding and wider media attention. On the other hand, the spontaneous sculptures only last as long as the public or officials care to allow — from 10 seconds, in the case of a cheekily placed plastic bottle that adds a phallus to an otherwise sexless Antony Gormley figure in Stavanger, Norway, to a few days. Romance, humor and a little bit of nostalgia are the key elements.

Born in 1980, in Louisville, Kentucky, Brad earned a fine art master’s degree in painting and sculpture from the Slade School of Art. He studied under Bruce McLean, who has gained international recognition for his paintings, ceramics, work with film, theatre and books.


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