I have once again contributed to a "podcast" for the renowned internet art podcast sender in Chicago, Bad at Sports , or "B.A.S." as they are fondly known. For my contribution this time, I'm discussing a work of art in book form by a former Chicagoan, now California artist: The Museum of Lost Wonder by Jeff Hoke. This is, in short, a marvelous work of art. One of the best I have ever seen.
(For those who don't know, a podcast is a kind of download-able radio broadcast on the internet, which many people listen to on their computers or on their mp3 / iPod players, technically a "multimedia file distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers." )
Link to download here.
Link to blog discussion with tab for direct listening here.
Yes, this is a book, but what a book, an artist's book, a wonder. ... It has text, paintings, cartoons, diagrams, cut-and-paste models and more, all united into one mammoth gem, a banquet for the eye, mind, soul, and imagination --- a strange amalgamation of science volume, esoteric textbook, graphic novel, painter's catalogue, psychological manual, do-it-yourself, think-for-yourself activity book and sprawling, gorgeous dream. Hoke's tome is encyclopedic, drawing on all the influences I have already mentioned, but also philosophy, astronomy, religion, biology, physics, psychology, quantum physics, and Tibetan Buddhism. That may sound scary or overwhelming --- but the true strength of Hoke's book lies NOT only in its fascinating breadth, but in the clarity with which it all fits together --- and the joy in discovery and wonder that arise in me every time I dip back into it.
This is indeed the preeminent work of art ex-Chicagoan Hoke has created, a culmination of at least 20 years of work and research, as far as I can see. It is a dazzling pièce de résistance. And one of the best works of art in any field or genre to have come from an American, in my opinion. A celebration of Wonder Re-Found.
For those of you who like to read more than listen, I'll be posting a text discussion of Hoke's book here on Sharkforum soon.
Hoke's own web site is www.lostwonder.org/