Pouring it on

Today’s Zippy:


Well, about Bosco syrup, Vik Muniz, Hans Namuth, and Jackson Pollack. Zippy about art about art about art, with chocolate.

Let’s get Bosco, the artistic medium in #1. out of the way first. From Wikipedia:

(#2) Modern Boscos, in assorted flavors; the third is the direct descendant of the original.

Bosco Chocolate Syrup is a brand of chocolate syrup first produced in 1928. The company, Bosco Products, Inc., is based in Towaco, New Jersey, and products are sold throughout the United States and Europe.

Bosco is still being produced. But its high moment came in the 1950s and 60s, when it was heavily advertised on children’s tv, and then it seems to have been eclipsed by Hershey’s. You can watch two tv ads from its golden age: three Bosco commercials with voice actor Daws Butler as the voice of a Bosco rabbit; and a Dick van Dyke commercial from the 1960s.

Vic Muniz wields the Bosco. From a 9/25/98 NYT art review “It’s a Leonardo? It’s a Corot? Well, No, It’s Chocolate” by Vicki Goldberg:

Here’s the art history quiz for the day: What connects Leonardo da Vinci to Bosco chocolate syrup? Answer: Vik Muniz, an artist who specializes in unlikely means of not quite fooling the eye and calls the results ”photographic delusions.” Mr. Muniz has copied Leonardo’s ”Last Supper” in chocolate syrup. This is probably a first.

The famous fresco in Milan was already deteriorating in Leonardo’s lifetime because he refused to observe the time-tested rules that fresco painters followed. There are no rules for syrup pictures; the limited amount of unscientific research to date suggests their life expectancy is short. There is a rumor that Mr. Muniz sometimes eats his chocolate pictures (talk about consuming passions) but not before enhancing their prospects for a long and healthy life by photographing them.

What results in this case is a kind of cockamamie tour de force: a copy of a major artwork already frequently copied (preferably on velvet), here blown up large and looking at first glance more like a photograph by the Starn twins than a drawing in Bosco (whatever that looks like). It’s no surprise that Mr. Muniz is attracted to the attitude of Dada and Fluxus art, which he says is ”like conceptual art without a frown.”

His own art will make you smile faster than you can say ”cheese.” ”Vik Muniz: Seeing Is Believing,” at the International Center of Photography Midtown, includes about 100 images from the last decade by this Brazilian-born artist who came to the United States in 1983 and has since wrought gentle mayhem on photographic representation. An interview with the artist in an accompanying book (Arena Editions) by the same name proves he can sometimes be as thoughtful and dryly amusing on the hoof as he is on paper.

Two earlier postings of mine on Muniz, with links to his Wikipedia entry:

on 9/29/11, “Vik Muniz (and me)”

on 1/5/17, “Gay men on the new subway walls”

The Muniz work depicted in #1 is this:

(#2) Muniz’s Action Photo, After Hans Namuth (From Pictures of Chocolate), a Cibachrome print, is a Bosco Chocolate Syrup recreation of one of Hans Namuth’s photographs of Jackson Pollock in his studio

The Namuth photo:

(#3) Jackson Pollock in the act of painting (1950), photographed by Hans Namuth.

The first two panels of #1 reproduce #2 and #3, with Zippy in place of Pollack and a bottle of Bosco in place of a can of paint.

On Namuth, from Wikipedia:

Hans Namuth (March 17, 1915 – October 13, 1990)[1] was a German-born photographer. Namuth specialized in portraiture, photographing many artists, including abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. His photos of Pollock at work in his studio increased Pollock’s fame and recognition and led to a greater understanding of his work and techniques. Namuth used his outgoing personality and persistence to photograph many important artistic figures at work in their studios.

Note on cartoon appreciation: #1, with an artist using Bosco as his medium, is funny as it stands. But your appreciation is deepened if you know about #2, #3, and the abstract expressionist drip paintings of Jackson Pollack.

In any case, #1 is

[Zippy about
[Muniz about
[Namuth about Pollack]]]

Whee! We’re all embedded!

Now what we need is another cartoonist doing a take-off of the Zippy.

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