Probably the strangest thing about the artist Robert Larson is that none of the writeups of his work that I’ve seen bother to say whether he smokes or not.
Not knowing anything else about it, I’d surmise that he does, but so much emphasis is placed on the role of “scavenging” in his work that I have to assume he does not smoke. Which is a little weird!
So Larson spends hours and hours walking around his hometown of Santa Cruz, California, where he collects discarded cigarette packs and other ephemera in order to create his striking geometrical collages.
It seems an intriguing variant of pop art in which the actual mass-produced product is incorporated in the art. After all, Andy Warhol didn’t use actual Brillo boxes, he made them. Larson’s cut out the middle man here.
Larson’s work is interesting because it’s almost too aesthetic and/or beautiful to land any particular point about the dangers of lung cancer if such is even his aim.
And to be honest, that’s the right approach because the links between smoking and disease are, after all, very well known.
But to take such depressing subject matter and turn them into a pleasing piece of art, that’s more impressive.