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Posted by Peter Kalisch on Saturday, May 21, 2016

“I am looking for transcendence. You find that in accepting that submission. It’s humbling. I want to experience catharsis.”

Before his studio class at Otis College, Peter shows me a series of small “Roman busts” that he’s made using mold-making process to bestow them with the appearance of age.

He’s fashioned these faces from the visage of Michelangelo’s David, but which he does not recognize from that context; or, as his instructor points out, from the cliché of “gay” design that it has become.   


Instead, Peter says he was inspired/horrified when he saw images of ancient statues being destroyed in the Middle East, a reference to Isil’s destruction of historical buildings and artifacts in Iraq.  

(Later he tells me the faces are the idealized-male to him, and that he likes “to smash them. The act of smashing is something really speaks to me.” I guess the smashing comes later...)

During his review, Peter wears a dark apron with the Davidic gaze imprinted on the fabric, and passes around a bowl of warm water to assembled members of the faculty and students.

It turns out the multiple David heads are made of soap, and the audience is encouraged to test out his arty cleanser. They giggle and seem to enjoy the sudsy, tactile experience.

Kalisch is young and it will be entertaining to follow his artistic journey, as he sets out to bring the audience into the work.

“There’s this anxiety in the audience. There’s a way they feel like they should act. But to me an artist has the privilege of giving the audience power.”

He smiles as he looks out over his painted heads, “I like giving the power away.”

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