REVEREND ETHAN ACRES
Something about his art I just don’t understand. When I first looked him up I found one of his pieces to be reminiscent of a creepy teletubbie and that thought has stuck. Also, is he even a reverend?
Turns out the answer is yes. Reverend Acres has, “an honorary doctorate of divinity from the World Christianship Ministries in Fresco, Calif., a mail-order organization he came across on the Internet. He preaches on Sundays along Fremont Street in Las Vegas in his powder-blue tuxedo. Sometimes he preaches in trailer parks around northern Nevada, taking along a portable chapel in the back of a 1965 Shasta camper.” http://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/21/arts/art-in-review-ethan-acres-reverend-ethan-acres-s-rockin-millennium-countdown.html
So this guy is interesting. Preaching in a powder-blue tux out of a camper? Perhaps I can get on board. Perhaps not. From what I can gather Reverend Ethan is spreading the Word in more modern and unconventional ways. Not only does he deliver sermons but performances and mixed-media pieces as well. Many of his pieces are supposed to inform the viewer of biblical passages but it has been said that, “nobody could leave Acres’ exhibition with any deeper understanding of Christian principles.” http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/reverend_ethan_acres/
He has several different materials and forms. Weather it be digitally altered photographs, sculptures, or him dressed in some interesting get-up I think that he finds a way to communicate his idea well. The generalization that I get from most critics is that he creates a mixture of religion and pop culture and his goal is to portray the truth about the Word of God without mocking it. “His work is funny, flashy, gauche and eye-catching: all things which generally arouse suspicion about the integrity of what is being said.”http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/reverend_ethan_acres/
This is exactly what he is going for, as he says in an interview with Paul Young:
“YOU’VE BEEN ATTACKED AND CALLED THE DEVIL BY DETRACTORS. DOES THAT EVER GET YOU DOWN?
There’s a long, great history of religious figures and holy fools doing outrageous things to get people to stop what they’re doing and reconsider their relationship with the divine. I feel that that’s my job: to put a big old fork in the road and force people to stray to the right or left. I could care less if that means they love me or hate me, just as long as they have to take a moment and think about their faith, or lack of it, in a new way.”
Overall, I still can’t say his work is for me or really makes me question my faith. However, I now have a better understanding of what he is trying to achieve and I appreciate it. I would much rather see this look at faith than some others, I find it fresh and intriguing.