Kathleen Gilje
Musicians, Restored
1993
Oil on canvas
34 5/8 x 47 1/16
A 1997 collaboration at the MIT List Visual Arts Center between Gilje and Jospeh Grigely, word artist, that involved a “newly discovered” version of Caravaggio’s Musicians. In the catalogue essay, Grigely-as-art-historian convincingly supports the existence of another, quite different image beneath the surface of the painting, one that is disclosed in Gilje’s x-ray. In the subsurface image, a mirror reveals that the foreground boy is not singing but masturbating. “Instead of grasping a love madrigal: his erect penis,” declares the scholarly text. Combining art-historical fact and a deconstructive fiction, the collaboration works its magic.
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