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Michael Aurbach:
Secrecy, the Promethean Weapon

by Dorothy M. Joiner


Chained to an icy crag by Zeus and tormented by an eagle, Prometheus had one weapon, a secret: he knew who would bear the son fated to dethrone the father of the gods. Secrets, the myth tells us, give power to their bearers, however vulnerable they might seem. While Prometheus is a hero, having given fire to man, other secret-bearers are far less admirable. For the last 17 years, the malignant collusion of secrecy and power has informed the sculpture of Michael Aurbach. This focus evolved from his earlier investigations into the dark corners of American life: inequality, white-collar fraud, middle-class pomposity—all derived from what he calls the “Leave It to Beaver” environment of Wichita, Kansas, where he graduated in the same high school class as David Salle and Tom Otterness. Aurbach was raised to expect people to tell the truth, to treat each other fairly, to be faithful to their spouses, and not to cheat on their taxes.

The Institution, 1997.
Mixed media, 8 x 18 x 12 ft.

Image: Courtesy the artist


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