March 1, 2015

MODERN ART & DESIGN AUCTION

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Lot 104: Reverend Ethan Acres

Lot 104: Reverend Ethan Acres

Camel Passing Through the Eye of a Needle

1997
Crocheted-yarn, matchsticks, sewing needle
As illustrated: 91 x 140"
Provenance: Patricia Faure Gallery, Santa Monica, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, 1997)
Exhibited: "Lamb of God," Patricia Faure Gallery, Santa Monica, 1997
Illustrated: Perchuk, Andrew. "Reverend Ethan Acres." Artforum Sept. 1997: 123.

Literature: Drohojowska-Philp, Hunter. "A Preacher's Art of Spreading the Word." Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles] 8 June 1997, Arts section: 52.; Harvey, Doug. "Art for God's Sake: The Gospel According to Reverend Ethan Acres." LA Weekly [Los Angeles] 26 May 1999, Arts section.
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Inventory Id: 18003

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Alabama-born, Las Vegas-based artist Reverend Ethan Acres (b. 1970) creates scripture-based performances and mixed-media sculpture that shock and surprise with their sensationalism, whimsy, kitsch, and ostentation. Acres received his MFA from the University of Nevada and an honorary doctorate of divinity from the online, mail-order World Christianship Ministries in Fresno, California, and he is fond of saying that he puts the "fun back in fundamentalism."

Camel Passing Through the Eye of a Needle (1997) appears to be a folksy wall hanging—it looks like something a crafty grandmother might crochet, with the exception of the tongue-in-cheek humor. The workplays off of a verse from The King James Bible: "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). Acres interprets the metaphor literally, as the knit camel slowly unravels to physically pass through the eye of the needle, one stitch at a time. A sense of sincerity surrounds the work—perhaps a message of inclusion for the wealthy who would be refused admission to heaven—until one notices the large and unmistakably human genitalia on the lower regions of the camel. Like his work, Acres is hard to pin down. His sincerity, or perhaps lack thereof, is always in question. And, as he keeps audiences guessing, he also continues to draw attention to his art and to his church. Acres' work can be found in public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Fisher Museum at the University of Southern California, and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Iannaccone, Carmine. "Reverend Ethan Acres, Patricia Faure Gallery." Frieze Magazine 49 (1999): n.pag. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. Drohojowska-Philp, Hunter. "A Preacher's Art of Spreading the Word." Los Angeles Times 8 June 1997: n.pag. Web. 8 Dec. 2014.

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