Outtakes

Barry Kite explains his anti-establishment art
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Indy Lifestyle Online
I'm not a painter, I'm an appropriationist. I take other people's art and I rearrange it, re-interpret it - make it more relevant. Art is an accumulation of symbols, and people are welcome to rearrange those symbols.

It's an anti-establishment thing. For my generation - the baby boomers - anything anti-establishment pushes buttons. I try to do art that gets a reaction. More specifically, I take something that has been iconised, not necessarily to spoof it, but just allow people to put their own signature on it. Often, you're told of a painting: "It's an icon, don't touch it, you are supposed to revere it, it's art, it's culture..."

I work with art historical references, but not everyone is sophisticated enough to relate to that part of it. Maybe someone will buy Sunday Afternoon, Looking for the Car because they like pictures of cars, or buy The Eviction because they like pictures of cops.

Sunday Afternoon, Looking for the Car is my best-selling image. It's based on Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte by Seurat. I think it's popular because of the Seurat reference, and because people remember the musical Sunday Afternoon in the Park with George, or just because they remember a VW they used to drive.

In The Eviction, the figures of Adam and Eve are taken from The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden by Masaccio - and so by calling it The Eviction I'm updating it. Some people will relate to it because of times when they perhaps had concerns about paying the rent, some people will relate to it because they recognise the Masaccio Adam and Eve, and some will relate to the neighbourhood in the background.

People ask: "Why are Adam and Eve there? Why are the police kicking them out?" Maybe that's my conception of the Garden of Eden. Or maybe the story is that after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve set up house, but the neighbourhood went to hell and they couldn't get a good job - because they didn't wear clothes. They couldn't pay their bills - maybe God sold their lease to somebody else - and so they got thrown out. But you could make your own interpretation.

The other elements in these pictures are from old photographs from magazines and textbooks. I think the Volkswagen cars came from a picture of a car loading dock in New Jersey. The fact is that I looked at the Volkswagen shot and the Seurat painting, and my mind put them together - it was like they were made for each other, and so I cut them up to interspace the figures with the VWs.

I don't really take any of the credit for my pictures. They just sort of develop themselves; wherever things fit is where I put them, like the policemen in The Eviction. And, above Adam and Eve, there's a Watteau angel, carrying a bag cut out of a Sears catalogue. It's a mixing of art styles, a mixture of culturesScott Hughes

`Sunday Afternoon, Looking for the Car: The Aberrant Art of Barry Kite' is published by Pomegranate at pounds 14.95. A 1998 calendar is also available, priced pounds 10.95

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